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International education strategy for New Zealand

New Zealand has become the latest destination country to launch an international education strategy, setting out the government's goals and priorities for the sector through to 2025.

The draft New Zealand International Education Strategy was released for consultation last week by Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, Paul Goldsmith, during a special event at Auckland University of Technology, and builds on the Code of Pastoral Care updated last year and the recently released International Student Wellbeing Strategy.

 

The draft is formed around three goals: 'an education to be proud of'; 'sustainable growth'; and 'global citizens'. Throughout the document, the government also espouses the principles of integrity, collaboration and being student centred and future focused.

 

"The draft strategy aims to ensure New Zealand continues to benefit from international education through a high-quality and sustainable international education sector. The government will work with the sector to encourage the development of innovative products and services, and continue to diversify our markets and to support regional economic growth," said Minister Goldsmith.

 

"This means that we need to ensure that unethical or illegal activity is prevented, and that New Zealand education providers attract students who are motivated to study. It also means that government regulators need to act swiftly to address quality issues and make student wellbeing a priority."

 

Within the goals, the government pledges to strengthen "regulatory levers", monitor trends, increase recognition of New Zealand qualifications, facilitate the development of specialist products, encourage outbound mobility, and "support a shift up the value chain by moving from a volume to value model of delivery and student recruitment".

 

In the draft strategy, the government also outlines a series of immediate priorities, including 'getting the rules right' to "ensure that bona fide students are attracted to study in New Zealand", and 'telling the international education story in New Zealand' to fully communicate the benefits of international education to New Zealanders.

 

Under 'diversifying our markets', the government notes that China and India will remain important source countries, but says that broadening the market base is essential to achieve sustainable growth. It said it would enhance market intelligence capabilities and grow its offshore presence.

 

In the full-year 2016 international education sector data, released recently by Education New Zealand, China and India combined accounted for half of all students enrolled.

 

It also outlines the necessity of regional development as a pressing concern, stating that Auckland currently hosts two-thirds of international student enrolments, which is contributing to infrastructure pressure, while other regions have greater capacity for growth.

 

Minister Goldsmith said the industry was now worth NZ$4.5 billion (US$3.3 billion) to the economy. "As a small Pacific nation, New Zealand relies on global trade and partnerships and the exchange of ideas. And the economic return of international education is valuable, sustaining many thousands of New Zealand households," he wrote in the foreword to the draft.

 

He also expressed the necessity of a coordinated approach. "While this is a government strategy, it recognises that industry plays a key role in delivering our vision. It will require all of us - government, schools, tertiary providers, businesses, researchers, educators, students and communities - to take responsibility and action to ensure international education continues to be a success story."

 

The draft strategy has been released for public and sector consultation, which will close at the end of August following a series of seven workshops. The full final strategy is due to be released later this year.

 

In 2016, both Australia and Ireland released international education strategies, with the latter drawing on StudyTravel Magazine's annual Global Market report on the ELT industry to gauge the country's current and potential market share.

 

 

By Matthew Knott

News Editor