Disability Action Plans

Mahere Mahi Whaikaha

Last updated 19 March 2024
Last updated 19 March 2024

Disability Action Plans are an important tool to enable tertiary education organisations (TEOs) to evidence their support of disabled learners.

To encourage and support TEOs to take a strong and proactive approach to improving outcomes for disabled learners, in 2022 the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) introduced a new Investment Plan requirement – Disability Action Plans (DAPs).

Requiring DAPs as part of the investment round is part of the Government’s move to ensure TEOs meet their responsibilities under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

What is a Disability Action Plan?

The TEC wants to ensure TEOs avoid discrimination against disabled people, and disabled learners experience better outcomes throughout their education journey. 

A DAP helps TEOs to identify good practices and offers a blueprint for change. The DAP sits alongside other Investment Plan requirements, including Learner Success Plans, designed to improve outcomes for historically underserved learner groups.

To help TEOs develop their DAP, the TEC provides DAP Guidance. The Guidance outlines what we expect from TEOs in terms of their DAP development and implementation.

The DAP Guidance supports you to develop your DAP and gives suggestions on how to use the Kia Ōrite Toolkit as part of this development.

Disability Action Plan report back for 2023

2023 was the second year TEOs were required to submit a DAP as part of the investment round. DAPs were assessed, and feedback provided to TEOs. A sector level report on the development of DAPs in 2023 is available below.

The 2022 sector report is also available below.

Kia Ōrite Toolkit

The Kia Ōrite Toolkit is a New Zealand code of practice to achieve an inclusive and equitable tertiary education environment for disabled learners.

A TEOs DAP must show clear evidence that they are using various processes and measuring their progress against the Kia Ōrite Toolkit and its best practice standards.

Kia Ōrite Toolkit for achieving equity

Kia Ōrite Toolkit – achieve.org.nz

Giving effect to the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES)

Creating and implementing a DAP and improving outcomes for disabled learners also helps TEOs give effect to the TES – specifically Objective Two: Barrier-free access.

Supporting your learner success approach

Fundamental to our work is understanding all learners and their needs and aspirations. Developing and implementing a DAP helps ensure organisations fully understand the needs of disabled learners. Alongside Kia Ōrite, DAPs are a vital resource to support TEOs to redesign their businesses with learners at the centre.

Ōritetanga - tertiary success for everyone


What is the difference between the DAP Guidance and Kia Ōrite?

The DAP Guidance is advice from the TEC on how to develop a DAP and what it should cover.

Kia Ōrite is a toolkit for best practice, developed by a group of sector experts. It advises TEOs on how to best support disabled learners at all stages of their learning journey.

They are two separate resources but support each other and should be read and used together.

Who has to submit a DAP?

TEOs that receive more than $5 million in TEC funding and are required to submit a Strategic Plan must also submit a DAP.

What about TEO’s that aren’t submitting an Investment Plan?

We strongly encourage all TEC-funded TEOs to engage with the Kia Ōrite Toolkit and develop a DAP at the earliest opportunity. Doing so will mean taking all possible steps to reduce discrimination against disabled people, including staff, learners and those in the wider community.

More information

TEC staff are available to answer any questions about the DAP Guidance, the Kia Ōrite Toolkit and the investment process. Please contact your Relationship Manager or the Customer Contact Group on 0800 601 301.