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New Zealand – Yes we care! New national code of conduct supporting international students

New Zealand’s Ministry of Education has released a revised Code of Practice for Pastoral Care, setting a framework for education providers that is designed to strengthen the care of the country's international student body. New Zealand was among the first to establish such a code in 2002, breaking ground on setting professional and ethical standards of advice and care services for foreign students. 

Referred to as “The Code”, it will be administered by the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA),  with allocated powers to enforce sanctions for breaches, along with a new Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS) enabling students to effectively resolve contractual/financial disputes with providers.  
The updated code is to insure that the country “remains world leader in the pastoral care”  of its yearly over 100,000 incoming foreign students, and sets 10 outcomes in areas such as:

  • Marketing and promotional materials that give students an accurate and realistic picture of what to expect in order to make informed choices.
  • Monitoring procedures and ethical standards for agents, which education institutions partner with, to ensure the absence of misleading information and provide full disclosure about studying, working, and living in New Zealand.  
  • Uphold clear systems for study offers, enrolment and contracts management , to enable  enrolment decisions that are appropriate to the educational outcomes sought; and promote an understanding of students’ interest and obligations before making legally binding commitments
  • Ensuring students are fully informed about advice and services that are available in support of their educational outcome.
  • Providing students with orientation to ensure that they participate in a well-designed, for their profile appropriate programme. 

After undergoing lengthy revisions, that commenced in 2013, both The Code and the DRS will come into effect this July, but till then remain in the public feedback period allowing for further amendments.

The new code embraces a student centred approach with proactive support structures, to create positive study experiences in New Zealand that will strengthen educational achievements. International education currently amounts to the country's fifth-largest export sector. Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, Steven Joyce aims to sustain this growth, emphasizing the future to be about “staying well connected to the world especially the Asia- Pacific region” where  ” international education helps to build strong linkages with our trading partners”.  The updated Code will enhance the study experience of students, particularly in terms of accurate information services, and can also be viewed as a tool to better service and reinforce demand for the  international education industry that contributes an annual 2.85$ billion to the country’s economy.   

New Zealand Ministry of Education
Pastoral Care of International Students - Code of Practice 2016
New Zealand Government, press release