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90% of NZ schools effective for internationals

New Zealand’s Education Review Office (ERO) report on schools’ provisions for international students, released this month, has endorsed the school sector’s international education capabilities – the report found that 90% of assessed schools successfully seek out and respond to the aspirations of international students and their parents.

Head Girl Louise Kuo1

11,107 international students were enrolled at 578 schools in New Zealand in 2011

The report is an interesting picture of the NZ sector, revealing, for instance that although schools surveyed in the report represented a variety of types (primary/secondary and private), 85% of the 11,107 international students enrolled at 578 schools in 2011 attended secondary schools. The largest cohorts came from South Korea, China and Japan.

Integration into the local school and community was a particular success, with all schools achieving this and just over half in a highly effective way. Pastoral care of students – all schools must abide by a Pastoral code of conduct – was also successful, with 67% of schools managing this highly effectively.

Schools used a range of strategies to encourage students to become involved with other students. These included orientation activities, providing buddies, teachers facilitating interactions in the classroom, encouraging shy students to join in, and processes for students to reflect on their interests and how to develop them.

As an independent government body commissioned to evaluate the education sector in New Zealand, ERO has published its fifth report based on assessments of six aspects of international education in 51 schools. They included a school’s self review, overall approach, pastoral care, education programme, progress/ achievement and social integration.

Despite the positive findings, ERO shows that only three-quarters of schools were using self-review to effectively monitor student learning and could demonstrate that students were progressing well.

In comparison with 2010, schools that were less effective in self reviewing increased from 15 to 28% in 2011, and schools that were highly effective decreased from 50 to 35%, which ERO credits to the inclusion of a question regarding schools’ reviews of outcomes for students in the evaluation question.

ERO carried out similar assessments of international student practices in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010.

Much of international student recruitment in New Zealand is based on the strategic goals established in the government’s The International Education Agenda, A Strategy for 2007-2012. Consulting with varoius education organisations in the country including Education New Zealand, the agenda was published in order to “achieve the internationalised education system New Zealand needs in order to be fully integrated with the global economy”.

After the fallout in enrolments due to the Christchurch earthquakes, earlier this year the government pledged NZ$5 million to enable sustainable growth in the international education sector over the next four years.

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