ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
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Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal


Questions over NZ early childhood education qualifications having no practical teaching experiences included

graduation photoStudents living anywhere in the world can now gain an approved NZ qualification in early childhood education without stepping into an early childhood centre or being taught practical skills such as how to manage children's behaviour in a professional and caring way or how to make playdough and tell stories.

A range of NZQA approved qualifications in early childhood with no compulsory practical training requirements are provided online by the NZ Tertiary College under the brand name of ‘NZTC Global’ to overseas students

The qualifications are promoted by NZTC and NZTC Global as high quality “NZ” qualifications.

Core values underpinning NZTC’s mission statement include a commitment to God and “his guidance and enabling in our lives” and making “a positive difference in our profession of early childhood teaching through professional service and a commitment to excellence”.

NZTC Chief Executive Selena Fox said “NZTC Global enables the college to extend its reach beyond the regions of our larger teaching and learning markets of New Zealand, India and China, supporting students from all corners of the globe to achieve their early childhood education goals with internationally recognised qualifications.

We are looking forward to sharing our NZTC early childhood education opportunities with students living and working abroad, and supporting them to make a difference in the lives of children and families in their own international communities. ”

A news article by the NZ Tertiary Education Union about this has generated vigorous discussion on social media - raising many points.  This article is an outline of the main points and discussion, providing a summary of this (see points 1 - 4).   Additional information is indicated as 'additional' or 'background' information.  

1. Financial shrewdness

It will benefit NZTC financially to go global and capitalise on NZ’s reputation as NZ early childhood teachers are well regarded internationally.

Overseas students could be more attracted to an NZTC Global qualification rather than studying in NZ as it will save the cost of travelling and staying in NZ as an overseas student. Students living in NZ may also be attracted to no-practicum early childhood qualifications.

The owners of NZTC could have inside knowledge about changes ahead in government funding and policy on qualified and certficated teachers in early childhood education and its CEO is positioning the College accordingly. (Background information: NZTC owners also have the Kindercare national chain of childcare centres and the Living and Learning foundation and they were behind the establishment of the Early Childhood Council business lobby group for childcare owners and remain involved in it. NZTC and the Early Childhood Council have a close relationship. The Early Childhood Council is personally privileged by the Ministry of Education with access to information on policy and funding over most others in the tertiary and early childhood sectors.)


2. Some issues students may encounter

Without exposure to the practical life of early childhood centres students may not find out until after they have graduated that working in early childhood education is not what they expected and be unable to handle the demands of the job.

Students would be paying a lot of money for a qualification that is not really a teaching qualification, coming into the field blind and having not set foot in the door of an early childhood education service and learnt about our curriculum Te Whāriki in practice.

A student who completes an NZTC Level 7 ECE qualification online would not currently be able to get teacher registration without coming to NZ and undertaking the practical training component.

NZTC offers additional qualifications overseas students can do as a pathway to applying to the NZ Education Council for a practising certificate.

Students need to have completed enough hours of teaching practice for full registration status and renewals and not leave it too long or they may be faced with paying approximately $4,000 more for a teacher refresher course.

Students will still need to find a way to get around the IELTS requirement.

Outside of NZ, students, childcare employers and governing bodies may not understand the NZ education system and teacher registration process well and may trust in the quality and reputation of NZ qualifications and not realise that the NZTC Global early childhood education qualifications are not (currently) teaching qualifications.


3. Possible implications for NZ’s reputation in early childhood education

NZ early childhood qualifications are being sold internationally – NZTC joins other private organisations on the worldwide market handing out online professional qualifications to students who may not be properly assessed and may be vulnerable.

Reference to biculturalism and Te Whāriki and the NZ context may be removed from NZTC Global’s courses to suit international markets. Thus a person may obtain a NZ degree that is not relevant specifically to teaching in NZ and NZ’s children.

The absence of practical teaching requirements is ‘bad news’ for such courses in NZ and anywhere.
• Could there be developing a new form of end-on training where the person is not eligible to apply for a practising certificate until they have completed "teaching" for x number of week after completing the degree part?
• Could it now mean we’ll see lobbying by the NZTC and its political counterpart the Early Childhood Council to get the government to remove the requirement for practicum in the NZ Education Council regulations?
• Could we see the Ministry of Education including NZTC Global ECE degree qualification holders as people who can be counted as “qualified” teachers within the minimum staffing ratio and/or for the purposes of higher funding?


4. Employer, teacher and sector reactions in NZ

People with the qualifications who seek work in NZ will be attractive to employers who wish to save on wages as they can be paid at ‘unqualified’ teacher rates while it will appear to parents that the teachers with NZ education degrees are qualified.

A possible backlash by some early childhood service owners and managers may see refusal to consider job applications from New Zealand graduates of NZTC programmes.

NZ Teachers who have undertaken compulsory practical training may view what NZTC is doing through its Global courses as a ‘kick in the guts’ after working hard to complete their qualification.

Employers will need to be aware and take care from now on to check practicum reports and talk about practicum experiences when interviewing new graduates for positions.

It will be difficult for employers to evaluate the safety of NZTC Global graduates to work with children and to complete a safety check satisfactorily in line with the requirements of the Vulnerable Children’s Act. As no practicums will have been completed by the graduate, information will not be available on attitudes and behaviours around children within the early childhood centre setting.


Additional information

1. NZ Tertiary College was started in 1982 by Glennie Oborn and originally named Kindercare Early Childhood Teachers College to provide training for people to work at Kindercare centres. 

2.  The NZ Tertiary College press release states that eight NZQA approved programmes are being provided by it overseas. On the NZQA website NZTC has accreditation for the delivery of three programmes/training schemes worldwide (as at 13 July 2016). NZTC has explained that its three NZQA accredited programmes are to deliver nine qualifications from three different offshore locations. This is what is shown on the NZQA website for delivery to offshore locations:  

New Zealand Tertiary College Limited (Worldwide)

Degree accreditations

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Leadership and Management) (Level 8) (level 8)
  • Master of Early Childhood Education (Level 9) (level 9)

Programme accreditations and approved Training Schemes

  • Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Introduction) (level 4)


New Zealand Tertiary College Limited (Mumbai/India) 

Degree accreditations

  • Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) (level 7)
  • Master of Education (Early Childhood Education) (level 9)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood Education) (level 8)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Leadership and Management) (Level 8) (level 8)
  • Master of Early Childhood Education (Level 9) (level 9)

Programme accreditations and approved Training Schemes

  • Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Introduction) (level 4)
  • Certificate in Early Childhood Education (level 5)
  • Certificate in Early Childhood Teaching (level 6)


The World Forum website features an advertisement by NZTC as its major sponsor and NZTC’s CEO Selena Fox as a listed donor. The advertisement states that NZTC Global offers nine overseas early childhood qualifications:

• Master of Education (Early Childhood Education)
• Master of Early Childhood Education
• Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood Education)
• Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Leadership & Management)
• Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education)
• Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) Graduate Pathway
• Certificate in Early Childhood Teaching (Level 6)
• Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Level 5)
• Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Introduction) (Level 4)

3. NZ Tertiary College lets students (and the ECE sector) down - Ombudsman ruling released The College complained to the Ombudsman in July 2013 after learning that some of its graduates from the previous year had not been given registration. The Teachers Council had expressed concern about the language standards and asked students to undergo further English tests before approving their registration. The Teachers Council said concerns had been raised about English language standards at the New Zealand Tertiary College for some time. The Ombudsman supported the Teachers Council decision not to register a group of newly qualified teachers from NZ Tertiary College and ruled against the College.

4. New Zealand students who enrol with the NZ Tertiary College are asked by it to sign a form acknowledging that they understand that NZ Tertiary College will not guarantee that the quality of training it provides to them will be recognised for teaching and registration as a teacher

5. The New Zealand Tertiary College employed a research manager for five months and then made her position redundant. The Employment Relations Authority held that the College did not act as a fair and reasonable employer because it did not take care to ensure the employee was able to leave with dignity and it did not give any support for helping her to find other employment or to move on.  


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