English Language Requirements for International Learners and those for whom English is an Additional Language

Approval Date
22 August 2018
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
1 August 2019
Deputy Chief Executive: Learning and Teaching Services
Baldrige Criteria
Customer focus

To enable learners, particularly international learners, who use English as an additional language (EAL) to participate effectively and to complete their chosen programme of study successfully, they must meet the required competency level for English before an Offer of Place at Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) can be made. This applies to all programmes except those which study and assess English language competency and short courses where an interpreter/reader/writer may be used.


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

The English language competency level will not be less than NZQA’s minimum requirement for the level of programme/qualification. Refer to NZQA website https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/providers-partners/qa-system-for-teos/english- international-students/ for English language requirements.

2.         Where a programme document does not specify the necessary levels of English language competency, the entry requirement will be deemed to be that listed in Appendix A for the level and type of programme.

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.

4.         IELTS is the preferred English language testing system for Otago Polytechnic Limited. IELTS scores must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report taken in the preceding two years (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). Equivalent testing systems that are listed in Appendix A are also acceptable when taken within the preceding two years.

5.         All English language competency results must be supplied in original format or as certified copies before an Offer of Place can be made.

6.         Evidence of English Language Proficiency must be retained for 2 years following each enrolment.

7.         Previous tertiary study in English: All International learners are eligible for enrolment at all levels of the NZQF when they

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and have met New Zealand university entrance requirements; or
  • Can provide clear evidence of completion of:
  • 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

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.

8.         International learners from countries with Immigration NZ annual learner visa approval rates of at least 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 1 to 8) and at least three years of secondary education (being the equivalent of three years from New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools where the learner was taught using English as the language of instruction; or
  • Completion of at least five years of secondary education (being the equivalent of New Zealand secondary school years 9 to 13) at schools where the learner was taught using English as the language of instruction.

9.         Those EAL learners who have been identified as at-risk learners may be required to undertake supplementary tuition in English language to ensure success.