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New Zealand “upping its game” in international education

On 20 September 2011, the New Zealand Ministry of Education released a Leadership Statement for International Education. The document outlines three “stretch goals” to be achieved by 2025, along with attendant actions to be taken by the government and the education sector. The articulated aim is to strengthen the country’s competitive profile over the next 15 years with regard to “international social, cultural and economic engagement”, as measured against several concrete objectives, among them:

  • doubling the annual economic value of the country’s education services delivered in New Zealand (by tertiary education, private providers and schools), to NZD 5 billion (EUR 2.9 billion); 
  • growing the country’s annual revenues from the offshore provision of education services to at least NZD 0.5 billion (EUR 287 million); 
  • increasing the number of students enrolled in New Zealand’s offshore education services from 3 000 to 10 000; 
  • doubling the number of international postgraduate students from 10 000 to 20 000; 
  • increasing “New Zealanders’ skills and knowledge to operate effectively across cultures” – particularly with regard to Asia.

The leadership statement notes, among other developments, that the creation and robust funding earlier this year of a new crown agency – Education New Zealand – (see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe, April 2011 and July 2011), is a key step on the path toward realising the country’s ambitious goals for international education.

Further areas to watch now include plans for greater international promotional assistance for New Zealand education providers; the development (and implementation) of quality assurance standards for offshore delivery of New Zealand tertiary education programmes; and an evolving proposal to simplify student visa processing mechanisms for “high-quality education providers”, not unlike the “highly trusted sponsors” regime that has recently been introduced in the UK (see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe, June 2011). A 12-month consultation period now begins with key stakeholders such as schools, universities, institutes of technology/polytechnics, private training establishments, English language schools and education consultancies. Version two of the plan should be ready sometime next year, providing more detail as to how the government’s goals for sector growth can best be achieved.

New Zealand Ministry of Education