29 Sep 2017

NZQA closes tertiary institution course

1:38 pm on 29 September 2017

One of Auckland's biggest enrollers of foreign students, the Cornell Institute, is losing its right to offer a business diploma at the end of the year.

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

Photo: 123RF

The Qualifications Authority said it would withdraw the institute's accreditation to provide the level five diploma on 18 December because of concerns about the institute's ability to assess the course.

The action followed an audit conducted last year and published in March this year which gave the institute a quality rating of three out of four.

The audit said NZQA was not yet confident in the institute's educational performance and ability to monitor itself and warned that the institute should not attempt to grow further until it had resolved its problems.

"Cornell has high course completion rates, but breaches of assessment and moderation requirements that have led to conditions being placed on Cornell's registration raise significant questions about the validity of these achievement rates in some programmes," the audit report said.

A spokesperson for the institute, former NZQA manager Richard Thornton, said it was voluntarily withdrawing from the programme but would addess the problems and was likely to seek reaccreditation in about a year.

Mr Thornton said there had been problems with former staff failing to pitch the course at a high enough level.

"In the end we've decided that its better to actually cease delivering the programme, do some work in the background to prepare better for it and then to come back into the market," he said.

The course had 19 students and the institute, which last year had more than 1500 students, now had about 970 overall, he said.

Most students were enrolled in cookery programmes, but the institute also offered a level seven business diploma.

The NZQA audit report said the institute had four conditions placed on it at the time of the audit, one of which it had breached.

"The concerns raised prior to and during this evaluation indicate a strong need for the owners of Cornell to dramatically lift their focus on the quality of learning and teaching, including the quality of assessment."

The Qualifications Authority had shut down courses at three other institutes this year and had also cancelled the registration of two private institutions.

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