Codes of Practice
Of interest to both tertiary managers and students, this stocktake and summary report offers recommendations for fair and effective codes of practice for both students and providers.
When domestic students enrol with tertiary organisations, there is a significant contractual undertaking for both parties. These may take the form of:
- codes of practice
- service guarantees
- provider–student contracts.
The agreement to enrol in a course or programme is essentially the formalisation of that contract, but it is often unclear whether mutual expectations are all that well understood.
In 2010 Ako Aotearoa, in collaboration with the Tertiary Education Commission Learners' Advisory Committee, commissioned Networkers to undertake a stocktake of existing codes, contracts and service agreements between tertiary institutions and their New Zealand students.
Stocktake of codes of practice in tertiary organisations
The full report assesses the nature and effectiveness of current Codes of Practice and similar agreements. It outlines their implications for the relationships between tertiary organisations and learners. Included in the report are:
- an analysis of international contracts
- 8 in-depth case studies, and
- a stocktake of 103 tertiary organisations in New Zealand.
Authors: Liz Gordon, Lesley MacGibbon, Sonya Midgway, Tina Mason, Tee Milroy
Codes of Practice for domestic tertiary students in New Zealand
From the full report, Ako Aotearoa has produced a summary report. This brings together the research findings with examples of good practice and recommendations for the future.
The report is endorsed by the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations (NZUSA) and Te Mana Ākonga (National Māori Tertiary Student Body).
Date: February 2012
You can download this publication as a pdf or purchase the print version from the Ako Aotearoa shop.
Further information from the Summary Report
- Do students always fully understand what they are committing to when they undertake tertiary study?
- Do organisations explicitly identify the standards of learning support they aspire to and/or the minimal levels of support that any student within their organisation has a right to expect?
This stocktake of agreements in place for domestic students in New Zealand’s tertiary education system gives an overview of how providers deal with the commitments and obligations (for both organisation and student) that come with enrolment.
The aims of the project were to address the following questions:
- How good is New Zealand’s tertiary sector at ensuring prospective students understand what is expected of them before they enrol in qualifications?
- How explicit are the commitments and obligations for both provider and student, and what is the level of reciprocity?
- How well do providers articulate their service standards to students? How do they ensure these standards are met in practice?
- How democratic are these processes?
- Are there any differences in approach between different parts of the sector?
The project looks at international trends in developing codes of practice and terms of engagement for tertiary organisations and students, how these have been (and are being) developed in a New Zealand context, and what the factors are that drive change.
Good practice and findings
The research shares a series of case studies of good practice, and finds that:
- all New Zealand tertiary education organisations have some form of enrolment document that includes a declaration signed by students. However, codes of practice and policies regarding reciprocal relationships and practices where organisations view students as partners are not common across the sector
- many of the current codes of practice are designed to regulate student behaviour only, and are driven by the need of organisations to manage risk to them
- few organisations explicitly commit themselves to standards of service performance (although this is an emerging trend amongst leading organisations)
- many leading organisations are exploring increased student reciprocity and 'democracy' in their policy development, and there seems to be a growing realisation of its importance.
The recommended responses to these findings are (in brief):
- Tertiary organisations should consider developing value-based codes or contracts that position the student as a learning partner in the organisation.
- Large tertiary organisations must ensure the relationship with students is consistent across the whole organisation. Ensuring consistency is particularly important where third-party agreements are involved in delivery.
- Signed declarations on enrolment forms should only relate to the material on the form and its purposes. If agreement with terms and conditions is a course requirement, the terms should be included on the enrolment form or on a separate document requiring agreement before enrolment is completed.
- Where possible, organisations should promote reciprocal policies and solutions, and foster increased student involvement and representation, at the level of policy and practice.
- Organisations should work to provide a range of supports using technological resources and shared services to reduce barriers to disability support.
- Given recent developments internationally, there may be value in investigating the possibility of an integrated tertiary review and appeal authority that has a broad sector focus and powers of decision-making and advocacy across the sector.
This work is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work noncommercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.