The project fulfils an article in the New Zealand-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement, signed in October 2009, which requires that both countries recognise qualifications from the other country, and follows a 2012 pilot project comparing bachelor’s degrees.
“NZQA believes that the outcomes of the project will make New Zealand a more attractive study destination for Malaysian students”
Rose Jamieson, acting deputy chief executive of NZQA, told The PIE News that facilitating student and labour market mobility is “one of the key drivers for doing this work”.
“NZQA believes that the outcomes of the project will make New Zealand a more attractive study destination for Malaysian students because they will have more opportunities to use their qualification for employment purposes when they return home,” she said.
“For example, New Zealand bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees are recognised for employment purposes in the Malaysian civil service.”
Following on from a pilot project on the comparability of bachelor’s degrees, the latest report found that the New Zealand Qualifications Framework Level 8 master’s degree and the Malaysian Qualifications Framework Level 7 master’s degree are comparable.
It also found that the NZQF Level 9 doctoral degree is comparable with the MQF Level 8 doctoral degree.
While the report does not guarantee automatic recognition of qualifications from either country, it “does support the ability of employers, educational institutions, government agencies and others to make judgements about the value and comparability of particular qualifications in practice”, according to Jamieson.
“It aims to create trust and confidence in the quality and comparability of New Zealand and Malaysian bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees,” she said.
NZQA and MQA are also in the process of producing a publication on the comparability of all three degree types, which is expected to be finalised in the coming months.
“Projects like this tend to result in changes over the long term,” said Jamieson, adding that “universities are now able to use the outcome of the project in their offshore marketing and we will start to learn more over the coming year.”