Te oranga me te haumaru ākonga: tertiary student safety and wellbeing – consultation now open

The Ministry of Education (MoE) has today opened consultation on a proposed code of pastoral care for the safety and wellbeing of all tertiary learners, and is asking for your feedback. It proposes a new disputes resolution scheme for domestic tertiary students, and law changes to clarify tertiary organisations’ responsibilities to learners.

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) encourages the broader tertiary sector including our partners, agents and stakeholders both onshore and offshore, to take part in the consultation process and to share their feedback with MoE. Submissions are due by midnight 21 May, with the new code implemented from 1 January 2022.

The proposed Code, led by MoE and administered by NZQA, clarifies the shared responsibilities government, tertiary education providers, whānau and the wider community have for learners’ wellbeing and safety. It draws on the interim Code for domestic tertiary students and the pastoral care code for international students. The proposed changes address inequalities and strengthen support for Māori learners and whānau to achieve their education aspirations.


About the proposed changes

  • An on-going code of pastoral care for all tertiary and international students will be developed this year for implementation from 1 January 2022.
  • Simplifying the current situation, the proposed code will apply to all domestic and international students in tertiary education, regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, in apprenticeships or employment, learning on-campus or on-line.
  • There are no substantial changes proposed to the requirements for schools enrolling international students.
  • A proposed dispute resolution scheme for domestic tertiary learners and providers to settle contractual or financial disputes that are unable to be resolved using provider or sector complaints processes is being developed in parallel with the new code.
  • Disputes can have big educational, financial and emotional impacts on learners and their whānau. A stronger dispute resolution scheme will help resolve issues and make the tertiary education system fairer and more accessible for everyone.
  • Supporting the proposed changes are a set of proposed law changes that will make sure the new code and dispute resolution scheme are supported by legislation and fit for purpose. They will make sure the code and dispute resolution scheme consistently focus on learner wellbeing and safety, and make it easier for providers to implement the code.
  • The new code and dispute resolution scheme will be implemented in 2022.


About the consultation

  • Consultation is open 7 April – 21 May.
  • Everyone’s views are invited, especially students, whānau, communities, the broader tertiary sector including our partners, agents and stakeholders and those working or volunteering in the tertiary and international education sector.
  • MoE is seeking feedback on the proposed code for the wellbeing and safety of all tertiary and international learners, a new dispute resolution scheme for domestic tertiary learners, and proposed legislative changes to clarify and streamline providers’ responsibilities to learners.
  • The Education and Training Act 2020 requires the Minister to consult before issuing a code. The Ministry has launched this consultation on behalf of the Minister.
  • Learn more about the consultation and have your say on the Kōrero Mātauranga website. Te oranga me te haumaru ākonga | Learner wellbeing and safety.


Interim code changes

  • On Wednesday, 31 March 2021, the Minister issued minor and technical changes to the interim code. These include updating the expiry date of the interim code and references to the Education and Training Act 2020, and being clearer about what the Code Administrator must do if it uses powers to enter student accommodation (clause 33).
  • Tertiary providers don’t need to do anything differently, and NZQA will ensure that it meets the new requirements. You can view the updated Education (Pastoral Care of Domestic Tertiary Students) Code of Practice
  • These changes follow from Parliamentary review of the interim code by the Regulations Review Committee.

What's in it for me?