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April 7, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Unit-standard degree knocked back

An application made last year by the Extractives Industry Association (Exito) to register a degree comprised of unit standards has been turned down, with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) reportedly instead insisting on a course-approval process different from that required for other programmes registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

According to the Education Review, Exito proposed a degree comprising of existing unit standards at levels four to six of the NQF as well as new level seven standards based on courses offered by the University of Queensland. After consultation, the NZQA is said to have agreed that degrees could be registered on the framework, but would require an application for course approval, an application for approval to offer the degree, and an application for NZQA approve the degree.

NZQA Deputy Chief Executive (Quality Assurance) Mike Willing said that a degree provider must also satisfy the Education Act’s degree requirements. “An NQF degree would have to meet the same quality standards that apply to all degree applications irrespective of whether the application is a national degree or not.”

“The statutory requirements mean such applications need to demonstrate that the degree constitutes a course of advanced learning, that degree teaching is underpinned by research capability, and the degree course emphasises the general principles and basic knowledge for self-directed learning and work.”

Exito Chief Executive Kevin Walker said that his organisation would seek more information about the degree-approval process but that it is possible it would abandon its application because the process would be too involved and expensive.


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