Qualification Development

Ako Aotearoa is the Qualification Developer for most qualifications in NZQA's Teacher Education suite. As Qualification Developer Ako Aotearoa can provide advice to organisations wanting to develop a relevant programme and manage the formal review process for new qualifications that fall under its responsibility.

These qualifications were developed through an extensive review process led by an independent Governance Group.

The Qualifications

The qualifications are:

There are some other qualifications in this suite, such as teaching for learners with specific disabilities, teaching support, and teaching based on mātauranga Māori, but those are looked after by other Qualification Developers.

Guidelines to assist programme developers

Ako Aotearoa has guides that outline what tertiary education organisations could consider when developing a programme of study leading to the various qualifications. These guides will help those who apply to NZQA for programme approval.

They will also help as part of an internal self-review. The self-review may focus on ensuring that an existing programme meets current requirements, such as in the case of a recently updated or new version of a qualification.

Frequently asked questions

What does a Qualification Developer do?

As Qualification Developer (QD), Ako Aotearoa acts as the ‘steward’ or ‘guardian’ of the qualifications that fall under its responsibility. We do not offer programmes leading towards those qualifications, and we do not approve/ accredit other organisations to offer programmes.

Instead, a Qualification Developer looks after the integrity of the overall qualification itself. There are three main things we do as part of this:

  1. Provide advice to organisations wanting to develop a relevant programme, including as part of the programme approval process.
  2. Manage the formal review process for each qualification.
  3. Maintain a general overview and understanding of programmes being offered, and developments that might affect them.
I want to study for one of these qualifications

Ako Aotearoa does not teach or enrol learners in programmes. You need to contact a provider that offers the qualification you are interested in. Select the qualification you’d like to study from the list of qualifications at the top of this page. Look for the profile that lists the education organisations that can be of assistance. If Ako Aotearoa is the only listed organisation, then that indicates that currently there are no organisations with approved programmes leading to that qualification.

I’m a TEO, and would like to offer a programme for one or more of these qualifications

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority is still responsible for approving and accrediting organisations to offer programmes leading toward qualifications. Qualifications Services will be able to assist you in this process.

Note that there is a difference between ‘programme approval’ – which relates to developing a new programme – and ‘programme accreditation’ – which involves being accredited to offer an approved programme (including a programme that another TEO has developed).

You can find out more about these distinctions here.

What is Ako Aotearoa’s role in programme approval?

As part of programme approval processes, NZQA will ask you to contact Ako Aotearoa and request comment on your proposed programme – mainly to ensure that it complies with the formal programme conditions outlined in the relevant qualification profile. We have a dedicated point of contact to assist with this. When you are ready to send your programme to us for comment, please email it to John Milne on john.milne@ako.ac.nz.

NZQA also maintains ongoing quality assurance processes for each programme/qualification, such as consistency reviews. As a Qualification Developer, Ako Aotearoa will participate in these processes but is not responsible for managing them.

What is Qualification Review?

Every qualification has a listed review date, such as May 2026. This means that the qualification needs to begin a formal review process before that date – although it might begin earlier if the Qualification Developer believes this is necessary. The review date is usually some date four to five years after the qualification was originally listed.

The review process involves ensuring that a qualification is still relevant – particularly through evidence that it is being used by organisations and learners – and revising its elements to make sure it is still fit-for-purpose.

What will Qualification Review involve?

Each review process is managed by the relevant Qualification Developer – in this case Ako Aotearoa – and although the specifics will vary, in broad terms it will be similar to the original review that led to the development of this suite of qualifications. This will include developing a needs analysis and engaging with those organisations who offer programmes leading to these qualifications and/or have an interest in their outcomes.

Depending on what is considered appropriate by us, NZQA and the sector, a given review may concern an individual qualification, a sub-group of linked qualifications (e.g. Assessment Practice), or the full suite of qualifications at once. When we start a review or set of reviews we will publicise these widely.

Further Information

If you would like further information on the Qualification Developer role, including programme approval, please contact John Milne on john.milne@ako.ac.nz