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Our functions and focus

Our key functions

  1. Ensure academic quality assurance
    We have statutory responsibility for quality assurance in the university sector to ensure academic programmes and qualifications are relevant, of the highest quality, and respected internationally. We also make recommendations to NZQA on criteria for University Entrance.
  2. Co-ordinate international education policy
    We contribute to international policy and ensure international education initiatives are well coordinated within New Zealand. We work with other governments and international research agencies to create new, and strengthen existing, agreements.
  3. Provide sector coordination
    Through our committees, made up of representatives from each university, we contribute a sector-wide approach to government policy and decision-making; share information and best practice; and facilitate planning and collaboration. The committees cover the following areas: Academic quality, Facilities management, HR, International Policy, ICT, Libraries, Māori achievement, Planning, Research, Scholarships, and Student administration and academic services.
  4. Inform and influence decision-making
    We work with other organisations and sectors to support informed decision-making, and to increase awareness of the significant role universities play in New Zealand’s economic growth and social well-being.
  5. Administer scholarships
    We administer over 40 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, valued at over $2 million per annum

Our focus

  1. To maintain a high quality tertiary education system that benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders. Investment in our universities is critical to ensure they can continue to deliver high-quality education.
  2. To produce well-educated graduates, and to ensure they have the skills to prepare them for their future life and careers – not just their first job, and meet employers’ skills needs. Universities work closely with industry and employers to ensure universities deliver the technical and soft skills that graduates and employers need. A key focus is to lift participation rates for Māori and Pasifika.
  3. To increase understanding of the economic and social contribution made by universities and university research, regionally and nationally. Universities are the engine rooms of New Zealand’s future growth and innovation.
  4. To contribute to New Zealand’s GDP through export education earnings. We support the government’s goal to double the value of international education by 2025.
  5. To contribute to tertiary sector strategy and policy to help inform decision-making. We contribute a reasoned and reasonable sector-wide position on key issues, to ensure universities can continue to make a positive and significant contribution to New Zealand.

Our statutory functions and responsibilities

The functions of Universities New Zealand under the Education Act are:

  • to act as the body primarily responsible for quality assurance matters in the universities
  • to set up inter-university course approval and moderation procedures
  • to exercise in relation to universities in accordance with section 253A the powers of the Qualifications Authority under sections 249 to 251C, 254A(2)(b), and 255
  • to list university qualifications on the Qualifications Framework
  • to grant scholarships to students enrolled or proposing to enrol at universities out of money under its control on such terms as the Committee considers appropriate
  • to make recommendations to the Qualifications Authority on criteria for entrance to universities for the purposes of the performance by that Authority of its functions under section 257
  • if requested by the councils of the universities to do so, to consider applications by foreign students for enrolment at any of those universities and make recommendations to the councils in respect of those applications
  • to liaise with the councils of institutions other than universities in respect of procedures for enrolling foreign students
  • to issue certificates relating to degrees and other academic qualifications and courses of, or examinations conducted by, the University of New Zealand as if that University had continued in existence and to charge such reasonable fees for the certificates as the Committee determines
  • to perform any other functions conferred on it by the Act or any other enactment.