In its recently released EER report, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority says it is “highly confident” in EIT’s educational performance and its capability to self-assess.
Already classified as a category one institution from NZQA’s 2010 review, this 2014 external review confirms that position. The evaluation takes EIT to the forefront of New Zealand’s institutes of technology and polytechnics sector and makes it the first ITP to achieve the highest possible ratings in the NZQA’s latest round of external evaluations.
“We have worked hard to continue to improve and build off our strengths,” says chief executive Chris Collins.
“Our communities can be satisfied that in Tairawhiti and Hawke’s Bay they have access to top quality tertiary education at one of New Zealand’s highest ranked tertiary institutions.
“Since 2011, we have merged EIT with Tairawhiti Polytechnic to establish one combined institution, so this was also a huge independent ‘tick’ of “high confidence” into how well that has gone, as this external review covered both regions.”
In what EIT’s director of academic and student services Jo Blakeley characterises as a “hugely rigorous” process, the review covered a wide range of Levels 1 to 9 study programmes.
Drawing on student achievement data from EIT, NZQA and the Tertiary Education Commission, the review considered course and qualification completions in new and more longstanding programmes, some offered across both campuses with others based at Tairawhiti (Gisborne) or in Hawke’s Bay.
It also appraised the value of qualifications to employers and their level of satisfaction with graduates.
NZQA says the focus areas – Maori studies, horticulture, travel and tourism, computing, trades, health and sport science and the blended learning options for the Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences and the Bachelor of Nursing – were chosen “to represent a reasonable cross-section of programmes and activities across the organisation and its campuses”.
EIT has been the first ITP to have blended learning offerings assessed as a focus area. And in another first for an EER review and at EIT’s request, the Matauranga Maori Evaluative Quality Assurance framework was used in evaluating the Bachelor of Arts (Maori) and Certificate in Maori Studies.
The process draws on key principles and concepts from Te Ao Maori (the Maori world view), thereby recognising the uniqueness of Matauranga Maori qualifications.
The report points to EIT’s “important contribution” to Matauranga Maori.
“Students are gaining the opportunity to contribute back to their communities in a range of ways, including marae and iwi restoration projects, mara kai (growing vegetable gardens) and te reo Maori projects.
“This has been acknowledged positively by iwi in particular, who have not underestimated the contribution and dedication of Maori studies staff across both campuses to the maintenance and revitalisation of te reo and tikanga Maori in their respective communities.”
The report also points to EIT’s focus on supporting priority students.
“EIT has the third-largest percentage of Maori students (43 percent) in the ITP sector (30 percent of students at the Hawke’s Bay campus and over 70 percent of students at the Tairawhiti campus identify as Maori). Almost half the student population is under 25 years of age.”
NZQA says EIT had responded to the changing demographic through a strong analysis of performance for priority students while acknowledging more work was to be done.
The institute’s Youth Guarantee programme had grown from 74 equivalent full-time students in 2010 to 204 in 2013 while the Trades Academy, opened with 245 students in 2012, had 368 enrolled in the following year.
Blakeley says the review boosts EIT’s confidence in continuing to provide high quality educational programmes tailored to the needs of the Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti communities.