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NZ formally recognises micro-credentials

New Zealand has become one of the first countries to recognise micro-credentials in its qualifications framework. The move has been labelled “important” by edtech stakeholders.

New Zealand will become one of the first countries to benchmark micro-credentials against its qualifications framework. Photo: rawpixelNew Zealand will become one of the first countries to benchmark micro-credentials against its qualifications framework. Photo: rawpixel

A second service will be set up for international and non-tertiary institutions

The service, provided by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, will allow for short-courses to receive between five and 40 credit points on the country’s qualifications framework, as it looks to prepare education and training for the future of work.

“Any entity could show us a training package and seek to show its relationship to the qualifications framework”

“We’re seeing changing expectations from employers and learners around the nature of qualifications,” said Grant Klinkum, NZQA deputy chief executive, quality assurance division .

“We think over time, there will be more demand for shorter, sharper units of learning, particularly as people change career more and stay in the workforce for longer.”

Klinkum told The PIE News NZQA did not anticipate micro-credentials would replace formal qualifications but said the move would provide confidence for employers to accept and understand them.

“If you enrol in an eight-week course at Stanford on AI and give that to an employer, the Stanford name would mean a lot, but otherwise it would be really hard to understand,” he claimed.

As part of the platform, a service will be available for those outside the education space to have their skills and training programs receive equivalence statements. This will enable in-house professional development from large corporations and MOOCs to carry NZQA recognition, said Klinkum.

“Any entity could show us a training package and seek to show its relationship to the qualifications framework,” he added.

The platform has been called “important” by stakeholders outside traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.

“It is recognition by a national regulator that universities need to unbundle their provision to support employees across their working lives,” said Mark Lester, managing director of universities and educational partnerships at FutureLearn.

“New Zealand might be one of the first, but they certainly won’t be on their own for long. This is an important move in the sector and other markets will, and should, follow suit.”

NZQA will issue equivalence statements showing credit value, available from October 31. A second service will be set up to evaluate micro-credentials from international and non-tertiary New Zealand institutions.

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