Reforming Tech Education
IT Professionals NZ is at the forefront of reforming tech-related education at school and tertiary levels and beyond. ITP is working to create clear pathways for those looking to work in our industry.
ITP has been heavily involved in computing education for the last 50 years, in recent times leading the development of the Digital Technologies curriculum and achievement standards in school for a long time, directly leading to the new Digital Technologies Achievement Standards and reviews that have led to redevelopment of the digital technologies curriculum.
In parallel, ITP has been working with tertiary providers and other industry stakeholders to reform computing-related tertiary education, including reviewing and replacing all sub-degree computing qualifications on the NZQA Framework and recognising the best bachelor degrees for those looking to work in the tech sector.
Through the following initiatives, ITP is putting in place clear and concise educational pathways into the IT profession.
ICT Achievement Standards in Schools
Much of ITP's recent educational work began when ITP (then NZCS) conducting a detailed investigation and report into the Achievement Standards available to teach computing in schools in 2008, which found "serious and significant failings" with the generic standards then in place.
This received significant media and industry attention and alongside other work from ITP, led to significant change.
Following the report, ITP went on to form the Digital Technologies Expert Panel with the Ministry of Education. The Expert Panel made a number of recommendations, including the establishment of Achievement Standards for Digital Technologies. ITP and ITP members were then heavily involved in developing the new Digital Technologies Achievement Standards released in 2011-2013 [Level 1, Level 2, Level 3].
Thousands of students in hundreds of schools now study towards these achievement standards.
Review of Digital Technologies
More recently, ITP was involved in the year-long Ministry of Education review of the content and positioning of Digital Technologies in schools in 2015, and is now part of the Digital Technologies Reference Group overseeing changes as a result of that review.
The review recommended three things:
- Digital Technologies should be extended in the school curriculum, from senior secondary only to full integration from Year 1 onwards
- Digital Technologies should be moved from the Technology subject Learning Area (alongside ) to its own Learning Area, to ensure adequate focus and resources to support a transformational change
- This change should be properly resourced, including dedicated funding for promotion, development of resources, and teacher education
Unfortunately the Education Minister only announced that the first recommendation would be adopted. In ITP's view, without the structural and funding changes necessarily, the other changes to the curriculum are unlikely to lead to the sort of education transformational change needed in New Zealand.
ITP is currently working directly with the Ministry of Education to have these issues revisited.
Reform of sub-degree Tertiary education
In partnership with the NZ Qualifications Authority, ITP co-led a formal review of sub-degree tertiary qualifications on the NZ Qualifications Framework. This resulted in all 224 computing and IT-related qualifications being delisted, replaced with a suite of 14 new qualifications at NZQF levels 2-6.
This involved every NZQA-recognised computing qualification in New Zealand below Bachelor Degree level, offered by Institutes of Technology, Polytechnics and private providers. The process involved comprehensive consultation with industry and providers, with over 1000 companies, individuals and tertiary providers providing input and feedback into the process.
The 14 new Diploma and Certificate qualifications were created based on industry feedback and evidenced need. ITP CEO Paul Matthews chaired the Steering Group for the review.
Degree programmes offered by Universities and Institutes of Technology were outside scope for the review. More details on the NZQA website.
Accreditation of Bachelor Degrees
IT Professionals NZ operates the IT industry's independent degree accreditation process, recognising and endorsing degree programmes that provide good pathways into industry and supporting international portability of qualifications.
Students of ITP accredited degree programmes can have confidence their degree is industry-aligned and of value to the IT industry.
At the invitation of tertiary institutions, the accreditation process involves a comprehensive review of everything to do with a computing degree programme, including a multi-day campus visit by a panel of academic and industry experts.
ITP Degree Accreditation is a very thorough process, and students of accredited programmes can be assured their degrees are robust and will be recognised, both locally and on the international stage, as high quality programmes responding to industry needs.
ITP is a provisional member of the international Seoul Accord. Once full signatory status is obtained, ITP accredited degrees will be recognised as world leading by the other signatories to the Accord.
More information on the Degree Accreditation page.
As well as ITP's comprehensive work on standards and assessment, IT Professionals NZ runs a significant in-school initiative called TechHub.
TechHub (formerly ICT-Connect) is ITP's in-school tech career evangelist programme, providing hundreds of presentations in schools across NZ every year, as well as the CREST Challenge, Careers expos, and advice for those looking at a career in IT.
Check out the TechHub in Schools page for more information.