Education and NCEA outside New Zealand: Frequently asked questions

NCEA outside New Zealand – Questions and Answers for international students

How will schools gain approval to provide distance education, and where applicable NCEA, to their enrolled students who are based outside New Zealand and unable to enter the country due to the travel restrictions?

Because state and state-integrated schools cannot normally provide education to students outside New Zealand, they must receive the Minister of Education’s approval to do so. There is currently no restriction on the ability for private schools to provide education to students outside of New Zealand.

Because the provision of NCEA outside New Zealand is generally prohibited under the Education and Training Act 2020, all registered schools (state, state-integrated and private) must have NZQA’s approval to provide NCEA to their students outside New Zealand during this time. NZQA will also approve the standards against which a registered school may or may not assess students in this situation – focussing on those standards that are more suitable to teaching, learning and assessment by distance. They will also require course approval from NZQA for any courses established mainly and exclusively for international students (e.g. an English as a Second Language course) if they do not already have it.

Schools will need to provide evidence of the eligibility of their students outside New Zealand, who must have been enrolled with that school for the 2020 school year, on or before 3 July. In their application, schools must also demonstrate they have the capacity, capability and processes to provide suitable learning programmes, assessments, information and support to these students via distance delivery methods.

To streamline the process, schools can apply to both the Minister of Education and NZQA at the same time through a single form.

The joint application form and further guidance about the criteria and application process are available on this website.

Access the application form and guidance(external link)

For queries please email: schoolsoffshore.learning@education.govt.nz

Why is this time-limited and restricted to students who have a 2020 enrolment with their New Zealand school?

Normally, state and state-integrated schools cannot provide education to students outside New Zealand as it is not one of their functions and powers prescribed in the Education and Training Act 2020.

The provision of NCEA outside New Zealand is also prohibited, with two exceptions, under Section 455 of the Act(external link). More information about this prohibition is available here.

This policy is a third and temporary exception to the prohibition of NCEA outside New Zealand. It recognises that schools’ and students’ teaching and learning plans have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related border restrictions through no fault of their own.

It is not intended to allow for the permanent and widespread provision of New Zealand schooling and NCEA to students outside New Zealand.

Having this policy expire at the end of 31 December 2022 will allow students who are studying towards Level 1 in 2020 to continue through their NCEA pathway.

Outside of this response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the basic policy principles relating to the provision of education and NCEA to students based outside of New Zealand have not changed.

This is because there are a number of risks and challenges associated with providing New Zealand education, including NCEA, to students outside the country. In the limited circumstances allowed for in these provisions, the risks are able to be managed and mitigated.

Our school is planning to apply for the temporary provision of NCEA outside New Zealand under the Act. What can we do for our students’ NCEA external standards in the 2020 school year while we’re waiting for our application to be approved?

If you have decided to apply to provide NCEA to your students outside New Zealand in 2020, you can make a late entry for external standards even if your application has not yet been approved.

Schools are required to submit their internal results by 10 December 2020, but late internal results can be reported up to 28 February 2021.

For further queries, contact NZQA: SchoolsLiaison@nzqa.govt.nz

How will the quality of the provision of NCEA to students outside New Zealand be assured?

In their application to provide NCEA to their students outside New Zealand, schools must demonstrate they have the capacity, capability and processes to provide suitable learning programmes, assessment and support to these students via distance.

Schools must have an existing consent to assess, and the standards they offer to these students must be suitable for a remote learning environment. They must also outline how they have considered the implications of this offshore learning to ensure their assessment and moderation processes will produce credible and authentic results for both internal and external standards. All NCEA results are quality assured by the schools before they are reported.

The teaching and assessment will be done by registered and certificated New Zealand teachers, teaching in domestic schools, and who are experts in the NZ Curriculum and the national qualifications. Schools must not enter into a subcontracting arrangement for the provision of NCEA assessment to their students outside New Zealand.

How should schools set the fees for eligible international students while they are not physically present at the school?

Schools are responsible for setting their own international student fees, so long as this is in line with the Act - Section 521 4B, which requires that international students cover the full cost of their education, including but not limited to:

  • tuition fees
  • additional tuition costs e.g. intensive English language classes
  • extracurricular activities
  • homestay costs (including placement and monitoring costs)
  • marketing and administration costs, including pastoral care
  • additional services e.g. airport pick-up or transport
  • the International Student Levy (for state and state-integrated schools), which cover the costs of using government resources to educate the international students

When calculating international student fees, schools might like to start with the average funding they receive for a domestic student, then add on the extra services they provide to international students.

The fees to sit NCEA assessments remain the same.

Will schools be penalised by the late payment of International Students NCEA fees if they are delivering NCEA outside New Zealand?

There is no late fee for International Student NCEA fees. If a student has an active entry for the 2020 academic year, NCEA fees are due. NZQA will start sending out invoices to schools in late September.

What should schools do with fee payments they have collected for NCEA where international students did not reengage in a NCEA programme in 2020?

Schools are solely responsible for payment of fees for their international students. If a payment has been made to NZQA and the student withdraws with no results being reported, then the school should ask NZQA for a refund.

What happens if you don’t pay the International Student NCEA fee by 31 October 2020?

If fees remain due, schools will continue to be invoiced. Results or qualifications for international students will not be withheld because of fees unpaid by a school.

NCEA outside New Zealand – Questions and Answers for international students

How will I continue my NZ education and NCEA pathway with my New Zealand school, while I am based outside of New Zealand?

If you wish to continue your New Zealand education and NCEA pathway with the New Zealand school you were enrolled for the 2020 year with on or before 3 July, you should contact them to discuss this possibility.

Your New Zealand school will need to complete an application for approval from either or both the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority if they wish to provide education and NCEA to you and their other enrolled students who are outside New Zealand due to border restrictions.

What will happen to my NCEA externals this 2020 school year while my school is waiting for their application to provide NCEA outside NZ to be processed?

If your school has decided to apply to provide NCEA outside New Zealand in 2020, you must ensure your school makes a late entry for external standards .They should make late external entries if there is a chance that you will be assessed in an external standards in the 2020 school year. 

Do I still need to pay the same level of fees for my enrolment even if I am not going to be attending school in NZ?

Schools are responsible for setting their own international student fees. You should contact your school for more information about the fees you will have to pay.

The fees to sit NCEA assessments remain the same.

How can I be assured I will still get a quality education if I am not physically attending the school I am enrolled with?

To be approved to provide education and NCEA to you and other students outside New Zealand, your New Zealand school must demonstrate they have the capacity, capability and processes to provide suitable and quality learning programmes and support via distance.

This includes ensuring the quality of NCEA assessment in this situation. Schools must have an existing consent to assess from NZQA, the assessment standards they offer to students overseas must be suitable for a remote learning environment, and their assessment and moderation processes for internal and external standards assessed overseas must be designed to produce credible and authentic results.

The teaching and assessment will be done by registered and certificated New Zealand teachers, teaching in domestic schools, and who are experts in the NZ Curriculum and the national qualifications.

I was enrolled in a NZ school doing NCEA in 2019 and intended to return in 2020 but the borders closed before I could get back. As a result, I don’t have a current enrolment. Does this apply to me?

No, you need to have been enrolled for the 2020 school year with a New Zealand school, on or before 3 July.

I do not have a 2020 enrolment with a New Zealand school, but I was hoping to come to New Zealand next year – can I?

We do not know the answer to that yet. It will depend on border controls at the time.

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