Aiming high: Can the New Zealand Diploma in Business create the graduates it desires?

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Ayling, Diana
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New Zealand Diploma in Business (NZDipBus)
business education
Ayling, D. (2007, September). Aiming high: Can the New Zealand Diploma in Business create the graduates it desires? Paper presented at the New Zealand Applied Business Education 2007 Conference, Dunedin. Available from
The new NZDipBus is an interesting national qualification. Owned by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), it is not a unit standard based qualification, such as the National Diploma in Business nor is it grounded in any higher education provider as are business degrees. It is a stand alone qualification, not aligned to any specific institution or educational strategy. The graduate profile was developed by NZQA in an extensive and careful consultation process. Over the last two years NZQA, in conjunction with business representatives and academics, has developed a new version (Version 2) of the highly successful NZDipBus. This development process was in response to requests for curriculum update from higher education providers, the business community, the National Advisory Committee for Business Studies of the Institutes of Technology and the Polytechnics of New Zealand (ITPNZ) forum. The aim of this paper is firstly to explore whether the graduate profile is appropriate for developing business graduates for the 21st century and secondly to evaluate whether the graduate profile is embedded into the curricula to ensure it will produce graduates with the capability of demonstrating the graduate outcomes. The NZDipBus graduate profile while focusing on business skills and ethical awareness lacks focus in key areas. There is no specific acknowledgement of students need for knowledge to be of global use. The graduate profile does not address information and communication skills, personal development or reflective capacity or focus on developing the international capabilities of graduates. The graduate outcomes need further explanation to guide curricula developers as to how knowledge, skills, attributes and values are to be integrated and developed within the teaching and learning environment. Overseas governments and higher education providers are well aware of the impact of these trends on the qualifications and are taking deliberate steps to include specific graduate outcomes in qualifications. The NZDipBus graduate programme designers appear to have missed a wonderful opportunity to re-vision the qualification for the 21st century by acknowledging and incorporating these important trends into a popular business qualification. Curriculum developers have not embedded interpersonal and communication skills, ethical and cultural issues, working within teams into the curriculum of the courses reviewed. This is probably due to lack of direction from the programme developers. The curriculum appears to be almost singularly focused on knowledge and skills to the detriment of attributes and values. Furthermore, teaching and learning activities and assessment will not develop graduate outcomes unless there is a clear alignment between the graduate profile and the course learning outcomes. Essentially, the qualification is not delivering what is promised because of a lack of leadership and alignment.
Business Co-ordination Forum
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