English Language Requirements for Ākonga nō tāwāhi/International Learners and those for whom English is an Additional Language - OPBD Procedure

To be read in conjunction with

To be read in conjunction with 

Parts 1.3(4), 2F, 2.9 of Te Kawa Maiorooro | Educational Regulatory Framework (TKM). 


The relevant Te Pūkenga Academic Policies, current Otago Polytechnic policies (as per Te Pūkenga Transitioning (Grandparenting) of Former Subsidiaries Policy) and the relevant Otago Polytechnic Business Division Procedures.


Approval Date
9 November 2023
Approved By
Executive Director or equivalent
Next Review
17 June 2024
Otago Polytechnic Business Division: Executive Leadership Team

To provide operational procedures that enable ākonga, particularly ākonga nō tāwāhi to participate effectively in their enrolled programme of study at the Otago Polytechnic Business Division of Te Pūkenga.

  1. This procedure applies to all programmes of study except those which assess English language competency and short courses where an interpreter/reader/writer may be used.

1.1. Each programme of study, except English language programmes of study, will have an English language competency level as an entry requirement. This level must be stated in the programme of study document and published for prospective ākonga.

  1. The English language competency level will not be less than NZQA’s minimum requirement for the level of the programme of study/qualification.
  2. Where a programme of study document does not specify the necessary levels of English language competency, the entry requirement will be deemed to be that listed in The NZQA Table for the level and type of programme of study. 
  3. Where English is an additional language for learners, English language competency requirements are applicable to all learners who are new to Otago Polytechnic Limited, or existing learners who apply to a new programme of study.
  4. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the preferred English language testing system for Otago Polytechnic Business Division (OPBD).

5.1 IELTS scores must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report taken in the preceding two (2) years (i.e., combining scores from more than one (1) test is not permissible).

5.2 Equivalent testing systems that are listed in The NZQA Table are also acceptable when taken within the preceding two (2) years.

  1. All English language competency results must be supplied in the original format or as certified copies before an Offer of Place can be made.
  2. Evidence of English Language Proficiency must be retained for two (2) years following each enrolment.
  3. Previous tertiary study in English: ākonga nō tāwāhi are eligible for enrolment at all levels of the NZQF when they:
  • a. Have achieved National Achievement Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3 and have met New Zealand university entrance requirements; or
  • b. Can provide clear evidence of completion of qualifications with English as the language of instruction from tertiary education providers from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, or the United States of America:
  • Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)
  • Bachelor Degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Bachelor Honours Degree
  • Postgraduate Certificate
  • Postgraduate Diploma
  • Master’s Degree
  • Doctoral Degree.
  1. Ākonga nō tāwāhi from countries with Immigration NZ (INZ) annual ākonga visa approval rates of at least eighty per cent (80%) are eligible for enrolment at all levels of the NZQF when they provide evidence of either of the following kinds of previous primary and secondary study in English:
  • Completion of all primary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand primary school years one (1) to eight (8)); and
  • At least three years of secondary education (being the equivalent of three years from New Zealand secondary school years in (9) to thirteen (13) at schools where the learner was taught using English as the language of instruction; or
  • Completion of at least five (5) years of secondary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand secondary school years nine (9) to thirteen (13) at schools where the learner was taught using English as the language of instruction.
  1. Those ākonga with English as an additional language (EAL) who have been identified as at-risk ākonga may be required to undertake supplementary tuition in English language to ensure success.
  2. Ākonga who have New Zealand permanent residence status may be exempt from English language testing if they can provide evidence of having: 

    • completed high schooling in New Zealand including the relevant literacy entry requirements for the programme of study and/or
    • completed higher education in New Zealand and/or
    • worked in a role that requires English language competency equivalent to relevant literacy entry requirements for the programme of study.   
  3. Applications for exemption are considered on an individual basis.



Policy Version V7: Previously Coded: AP0520