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Delivering quality teaching and learning

New Zealand universities are committed individually and collectively to delivering high-quality teaching and learning that is of benefit to individuals and to New Zealand as a whole. Our universities have evolved over time in response to student, employer, industry, society and government needs, changing programme offerings, and opportunities offered by new forms of technology. Underpinned by strong internal and external systems and processes, the universities are collectively responsible for quality assurance across the university sector.

In New Zealand, the statutory responsibility for quality assurance rests with the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors Committee. NZVCC gives effect to their responsibilities through the Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) and the Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities (AQA). This is a unique and long-standing arrangement internationally and is one of the key reasons why all New Zealand universities are so highly ranked. Via CUAP, all eight universities jointly peer review proposals to create new qualifications. 

Some key facts

  • Our universities enrolled 144,010 domestic students in 2019 including 17,245 Māori students (12% of domestic students) and 13,010 Pasifika students (9% of domestic students).1
  • 33,900 international students (19% of all university students). The proportion of international students in our universities is similar to that of countries like Australia and the UK.1
  • All 8 universities ranked in the world’s top 500 (3%).2
  • 92% of international university students choose to study in NZ because of the strong reputation of our universities.3
  • Universities employ around 21,325 full-time equivalent staff.4
  • Universities were awarded 80% of National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards in 2019 – while employing approximately 47% of all academic staff.5,6
  • All 8 NZ universities offer pathway programmes to support and assist students to meet university entry standards.7
  • 2015 international review confirms confirmed that NZ universities’ external quality assurance audit process “meets the highest standards of independence and integrity.”8

Want to know more?

[1] Education Counts Tertiary statistics, Participation. Provider based enrolments Ministry of Education, 2019 data (updated June 2020)

[2] QS World University Rankings 2021.

[3] I-“International Barometer Survey 2017: University sector summary report”. Available from Education New Zealand's IntelliLab

[4] Education Counts, Tertiary statistics, Resources, Human resources, 2019 data (updated May 2020).

[5] Ako Aotearoa National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, 2019, “Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards”.

[6] Education Counts 2016 tertiary statistics – Resources.

[7] University websites and calendars.

[8] “External Review Report: Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities”, September 2015.

Links to more resources