Ensuring The Right Training

New Zealand is at the crossroads. It can
choose to stay with the old ways and see our standard of living continue to decline or it can embrace the moment by re-inventing an education system which will not only excite our young people but excite business, industry and the community so that together we can stretch the nation.

What NZIM told TEAC
NZIM as the lead body for management took the opportunity to convey its concerns and interests to TEAC in wide ranging submission.
New Zealand can only really survive and prosper in the global market by making full use of the talent, intellect and ideas of our brightest and best. This places the emphasis squarely on education and the need to secure quality outcomes at the best price.
NZIM strongly supports the move towards an expanded, more flexible and more inclusive National Qualifications Framework. The current framework had become more about teaching rather than learning and the unit standards could better be termed “units of instruction”.
NZIM is concerned about the educational creep which has seen polytechnics move to try to be all things to all people. We support the return of community polytechnics and the rationalisation of programmes across the tertiary sector to eliminate duplication.
NZIM supports the establishment of new lead body to replace the current National Standards Body for business and management and is prepared to be the lead body for management education and training.
NZIM is supportive of the Government’s thrust for New Zealand to become more focused on the knowledge economy.

Qualifications Framework
NZIM recognises the strong part the National Qualifications Framework has played in the development of training programmes for technical and vocational training. Indeed the process of defining needs and skills, and of setting acceptable standards for employees, has improved standards in the industries and established benchmarks against which each industry can assess its own performance.
One of the major factors in this success is that industries themselves have had the responsibility of developing the training they need, but within structured and equitable system that guides and manages the student’s learning.
NZIM also recognises the increase in participation in tertiary training and education, as well as the establishment of learning pathways that remain with people throughout their life. Funding provision has been rationalised and made accessible to more students through Skill New Zealand, the funding of transition courses in schools, and the provision of funding to ITOs to subsidise industry training.
Management education has been characterised on the one hand by strongly supported qualifications derived from years of cooperation between industry and polytechnics, and on the other hand by an inadequate and inconsistent coverage of the area within the National Qualifications Framework, leading to qualifications which do not reflect management competence. The National Standards Body for Business and Management has now been disestablished and replaced by committee of the NZQA Board.

Issues of Concern
? The lack of flexibility in the administration of the framework and difficulties associated with moving between unit standards and conventional qualifications.
? The major gap between the unit standards developed by the National Standards Body and the expressed interests and needs of business and educational bodies.
? Lack of consistency or coverage of unit standards.
? Inadequacy of the ?levels’ to reflect the processes of learning and its complexity. In particular, NZIM is concerned that the definition of school programmes at levels 1, 2, and 3 does not equate well with the same levels used in the tertiary area, and that there is often emphasis on technical skill at lower levels, when there is also need for programmes showing general levels of competence.
? rigid adherence to appropriateness of form, wording and definition rather than an appreciation that learning is unique and personal and is not necessarily contingent on particular form of teaching or assessment.

NZIM Recommendations
NZIM supports:
? The move towards an expanded more flexible and more inclusive National Qualifications Framework and the ability for students to transfer credit between approved courses whatever way they are constituted.
? The move to incorporate competency benchmarks for management education and training.
NZIM recommends:
? That all approved courses should be funded through single, consistent system characterised by transparency, flexibility and portability. This funding should be able to be accessed by all approved training providers and ITOs providing workplace learning.
? That TEAC notes the trends in the area of professional and personal development and considers support mechanisms to provide incentives for organisations to take greater responsibility for meeting the needs of their staff.
? rationalisation of funding provision, so that privately funded training providers are placed on the same footing as publicly funded providers.
? The return of community polytechnics, whose basic role is to serve the vocational and social needs of local community and provide bridge between secondary school and higher education.
? rationalisation of programmes, which more cooperative environment would achieve. This would enable polytechnics to offer common general courses but to have special funding provision to enable them to specialise in particular niche markets.

Doug Matheson is Life FNZIM, and Chairman of the New Zealand Institute of Management, National Board.

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