By: Simon Collins and Luke Kirkness

James Zhu, principal of the International College of Auckland, has apologised to his students for passing students who should not /have been passed. Photo /

The principal of an Auckland school for foreign students has apologised to his 500 students for poor-quality teaching.

James Zhu, principal of the International College of Auckland (ICA) which operates out of two office blocks in Queen St, said he apologised to all his students today after the NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA) said the college had voluntarily withdrawn its accreditation to teach four business and management courses.

The move affects 82 students, including 80 from India. But the college continues to teach engineering, information technology and English to its remaining 420 or so students.

Zhu, who came to New Zealand in 1995 and founded the college in 2001, said he agreed with the NZQA action.

“We have our problems and we haven’t offered the students proper teaching,” he said.

“Passing was too easy. One unit started students who were supposed not to pass and there are some lecturers who let them pass, and the school from the management level hasn’t found this issue.

“We haven’t supervised our team well, so it’s our school’s mistake.”

He said the college’s three other departments were all headed by people with doctoral degrees and included teachers with NZ experience.

“Our engineering department, we have got seven PhDs from Auckland University and AUT, so they have NZ experience, they were already teaching students at Auckland University, so they bring the Auckland University and AUT level to ICA so we have no problem,” he said.

“In business and management some have NZ experience, some don’t, so that means they had a mixture. Some low- or no-NZ-experience staff, they have made a mistake, but we had to find it. We haven’t given the right staff training for them. That’s why I totally agree with their decision.”

He said he would like to introduce business and management courses again, but not next year.

“Next year is too fast. We need to do things properly,” he said.

“For us, it’s a good experience. We would like to improve ourselves, but slowly.”

NZQA deputy chief executive Dr Grant Klinkum said NZQA would “be assisting the International College of Auckland to transfer around 80 international students to a high-quality tertiary provider, after a voluntary withdrawal of accreditation by ICA”.

The accreditation relates to four programmes offered by ICA: NZIM Diploma in Management (Level 5), NZIM Diploma in Management (Advanced) (Level 6), National Diploma in Business (Level 5) and New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 6).

“Routine monitoring by NZQA identified quality assurance issues in relation to ICA’s assessment and moderation of these programmes,” Klinkum said.

“As a result of these issues, ICA has opted to undertake a voluntary withdrawal of its accreditation of these courses with the assistance of NZQA.

“NZQA, ICA and the new provider have ensured students are fully informed and are working together to provide a transition package that allows these students to continue their studies with a full package of learning and support.”

As well as its two Auckland locations, the college website lists an address in Garden Place, Hamilton. But Zhu said that was a new site, for information technology only, with the first students due to start there next February.

In the past year NZQA has cancelled the registration of five tertiary education organisations including four that enrolled international students.

Source: NZ Herald


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