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NZIHF Statement of Position - Programme Delivery

COVID-19 Position Statement - Programme Delivery

NZIHF's position is as follows;

NZIHF's agreement with students is to provide a programme of study that will allow the student to achieve the qualification for which they enrolled.

NZIHF is committed to meeting this objective within the framework of accreditation and programme approval it holds from NZQA.

With the recent COVID-19 directives issued by NZQA and the Ministry of Education, NZIHF has moved to an alternative delivery method for elements of the programmes it delivers that are impacted by COVID-19.

Students enrol in a programme of study declaring they meet entry criteria which includes access to the internet and a device.  As such, students should be readily able to engage and complete any learning by the alternative delivery methods put in place. These methods use resources the students are already using, and fall within time frames where students would otherwise have met at an NZIHF campus.

When the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted we will use a mix of learning opportunities to meet the practical (being hands on and face to face) learning requirements within the programme which may include, but is not limited to; small group practical sessions, open practical forums, one on one coaching.  Students will be adequately prepared for practical assessments within the programme.

NZIHF has been delivering fitness education for over a decade and currently produce around half of the new fitness professionals in the country every year. We are acutely aware of all of the requirements a graduate must possess to be successful. There is no change in our programmes that will be detrimental to the students' capability at graduation.  Simply put, we are providing the training and assessment that fits the situation now, and will supplement that further with training and assessment which can only be conducted effectively once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted. 

Where absolutely necessary, for example in the event of a very long and unexpected lockdown, NZIHF will automatically extend enrolment periods of all students to meet the demands of the situation - we do not see this as being necessary but will review this as the situation unfolds.

Students are required to adhere to the directions within the programme of study leading to the qualification, and the tutor's directions, in order to maintain their academic progress so that they can complete their studies within their allocated enrolment period.

Where a student does not adhere to the required programme of study the academic progress requirements, as detailed in the student handbook, will apply.

Where a student is ill they will self-isolate until their COVID-19 test results are in. Then, based on those results a return to study date will be set by the NZIHF tutor based on the advice on the test results and the advice available from the Ministry of Health at the time.  Where necessary, the tutor may involve their manager and/or the National Academic Manager in this decision.

Provided the student is deemed non-infectious at the return to study date, the student will re-engage with the learning materials and the tutor will support the student to catch up on their studies and complete their programme within their enrolment period.

Where absolutely necessary, a tutor may recommend a student applies for a study extension if, in the judgement of the tutor, the student has made a best effort attempt to complete the programme within the enrolment period but needs just a little more study time to successfully complete. 

 

 

Background

At this challenging time we thought it would be beneficial to review and summarise the requirements and obligations NZIHF has when providing a programme of study to achieve a qualification. We also thought it useful to provide guidance to students about their responsibilities to engage with and complete the programme of study provided.

 

NZIHF registration

The New Zealand Institute of Health and Fitness (NZIHF) is the trading name of Network For Fitness Professionals Limited which is an NZQA registered Private Training Enterprise as defined under the Education Act.

NZIHF was registered by NZQA (the New Zealand Qualifications Authority) in 1995.

 

Qualification accreditation

Education providers, once registered, then apply for approval to deliver a programme of study leading to a qualification.  Once approved the provider is 'accredited' to deliver the qualification.  NZIHF holds the following qualification accreditations;

New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4)
New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 5)
New Zealand Certificate in Fitness Group Fitness (Level 3)
New Zealand Certificate in Freestyle Group Exercise (Level 4)

 

Approved Programmes

NZIHF's main programmes of delivery that lead to the accredited qualifications are;

  • Personal Training Progamme - NZ3563 New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4)
  • Exercise Specialist Programme - NZ3564 New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 5)

NZIHF also provides non-NZQA awards (e-Certificates and alike) via short courses including practical workshops and online modules across a wide variety of topics to meet the education needs of graduates and the exercise industry. 

Often these short courses have been offered as a bundle where someone can purchase access to all the content for a period of time, for example they could purchase access for 1, 2 or 3 years to Pro-Series which may have included all short courses NZIHF offered over that period.

 

Enrolment

For NZQA accredited qualifications students enrol into a programme of study to achieve the qualification.  The programme of study comprises a series of courses. As an example, the Personal Training Programme which leads to the qualification NZ3563 New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4) has four courses.

The programme of study includes the courses, their assessments, and an overall enrolment period in which all studies should be completed by the student and competency against the assessments should be demonstrated.  The assessments gather evidence that the student has met the required standards to be passed.

 

Fees

When enrolling, a student has 9 days to withdraw from their programme of study without charge.  This policy meets the NZQA requirements for withdrawals and refunds as stipulated by section 235 of the Education Act 1989.

After 9 days, the NZIHF enrolment agreement states the programme fees are payable in full. This means, if a student chooses to withdraw after the 9 day period all outstanding fees are due and need to be paid.

Where a student has chosen to pay their fees through a 'payment plan' the fees are still due in full, however it has been agreed by NZIHF that payments will occur via a payment schedule which is included with the enrolment agreement between the student and NZIHF.

Where a student has purchased access to a package of short courses, including workshops, online courses and online content/tools, the payments are non-refundable after 9 days of entering into the agreement to access the package.

 

Programme Delivery

Programme approval requires an education provider to submit a plan for how courses will be delivered and assessed including any;

  • Online learning; including readings, videos, tasks, written submissions and so on
  • Contact learning; including tutorials and forums, practise and coaching, group discussions and so on
  • Assessments; whether online quizzes, projects, portfolios, practical assessments, professional discussions, video demonstrations, essays, and so on

NZQA approves the programme on the basis that there is enough teaching and quality assessment allocated to the courses across the programme to meet the standards within the qualification.  NZQA also relies on the registration and quality assurance status of the education provider to have confidence that the provider will use programme and policy settings that, on balance, will meet the requirements of the qualification.

 

Education directives

NZQA provided education providers with directives and the Ministry of Education has provided additional directives to education providers during the COVID-19 outbreak.  There is advice for students as well within the Ministry of Education's information release.

 

Academic Progress Requirements

NZIHF works to an Academic Progress Requirements Policy (APR) which ensures the maximum number of students who enrol in programmes of study achieve their goals of becoming qualified. 

Fundamentally the APR focuses on having students complete compulsory course requirements which have been shown to ensure students progress through the material, including assessments, and complete their studies.  The APR impacts all aspects of NZIHF from learning design through to student management.

With regard to student management NZIHF does the following;

  • When a student misses a deadline for a compulsory element of a course we put the students studies 'at-risk'.  We communicate this to the student as a way of ensuring the student is aware of the slippage.  We also offer help with planning, time management and organisation.  Where appropriate tutors may also provide additional time and support with the learning materials.  This usually depends on whether the 'at-risk' has occurred due to self-management challenges for the student or academic challenges - or a mix.
  • When a student misses a second and third deadline for a compulsory element of a course, we put a second and third 'at-risk' in place. This is necessary as often the student will have fallen behind on several tasks by this stage and likely two or more weeks of study progress.
  • On the fourth occasion we suspend the student from their studies.  The student is given 7 days to apply to re-enter the programme.  We do this as it provides a 'circuit break' in the behaviours that are leading the student to fail the programme.  A student can apply to re-enter the programme which we then consider against a set of criteria.  Often re-entry is accepted however it depends on the application strength and the student's commitment to a change in study patterns.
  • NZIHF's position is that this is the responsible thing to do.  Students who are allowed to 'fail quietly' do not receive the value from the programme they should.  They don't get qualified, don't develop their skills and often the APR saves their studies and helps them prioritise their progress in a complicated world.

A more detailed and official account of the academic progress requirements can be found within the student handbook

 

Student Rights

Students' rights and obligations are framed out within;

A copy of a student's enrolment agreement is provided to the student at the time they enrol with the appendices related to their programme selection and payment option selection attached including the terms and conditions which apply.

 

Entry Criteria

The student enrolment agreement and its appendices establish a number of entry criteria that the student declares they will meet.  For example, for the NZIHF Personal Trainer Programme these are;

  • If English is not the Student’s first language, the Student has an IELTS (Academic) score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5, or equivalent. NZIHF reserves the right to request independent written evidence of the Student’s IELTS score.
  • An appropriate level of personal fitness to enable successful participation in the training and assessment, which can include moderate to strenuous physical activity.       
  • Be eligible to study in New Zealand and have reliable access to the internet and a device.
  • Access to a gym, or fitness facility, or fitness equipment or area where exercise can take place.
  • Access to a minimum of two people to train. Acceptance of the injury risks associated with taking part in exercise of a moderate or vigorous nature and in supporting and training others who are completing exercise.