23 May 2017

Anger and shock over business course closures

9:20 am on 23 May 2017

The surprise closure of four business courses at an Auckland tertiary institution has angered and shocked foreign students.

A young man in a classroom, writing, in a file photo to illustrate foreign students.

Photo: 123RF

New Zealand National College agreed to stop teaching the courses after the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) found problems including plagiarism and poor marking.

The authority said the 300 students enrolled in the Level 5 and 6 business diplomas would be transferred to another provider.

However, the students would first be re-assessed to ensure their English was sufficient for their level of study and to check that they should keep the credits that their college had already awarded them.

A student told RNZ he had been enrolled at the college for two years and it had provided a good education during that time.

He said he and his fellow students were shocked by the course closures.

"People are angry, yeah," he said.

The student said he had only a few more assessments remaining in his Level 6 business course and was worried about the outcome of re-assessment of the work he had already completed.

"If I fail the previous assessments I need to do again these whole assessments," he said.

"I am feeling not good," he said.

The student said the people enrolled in the course were from India, China, Korea and Brazil.

The Qualifications Authority's deputy chief executive quality assurance, Grant Klinkum, said it would now look at the college's other courses, which included preparation for university study, English language, and a Level 7 business diploma.

"We will look more widely and if we do find further problems then we will take appropriate action," he said.

Dr Klinkum said NZQA assessors found problems with two business courses in September last year.

"Our assessors disagreed with 80 percent of the marks that the provider had given to students," he said.

He said the college stopped enrolments in those courses, but when the authority looked at two other business programmes this month it found further problems.

"Again we've found poor quality assessment, examples of plagiarism and spin-botting," he said, referring to a practice that uses a computer to hide cheating.

The college also had poor record-keeping and was not to schedule for assessment and moderation.

Dr Klinkum said students might need to re-sit credits or even be re-taught parts of their course if they failed the re-assessments.

New Zealand National College would have to cover the cost of the re-testing and also of any re-teaching that might be required, he said.

The college has not responded to a request for comment.

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