Auckland is also keen to take a cross-sectoral partnership approach in building the city’s appeal. “It is an exciting time for those involved in international education,” said Lindsay Spedding, chair of a cross-sector group that will lead the plan.
Backed by Study Auckland – part of the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) – the strategy considers marketing; improving the experience of students in the city; and harnessing trade opportunities through alumni relationships among other initiatives.
Study Auckland said it had “widely” consulted with central government, Auckland Council, other educational enterprises such as Education New Zealand (with which it will run joint initiatives) and institutions. Spedding’s leadership group, which comprises one representative from each education sector along with a representative from Auckland Council and ATEED, also reflects the team spirit.
There are infrastructure issues – such as transport and broadband capacity – “that students believe we could do better on”
“The first goal in developing this strategy was to do it in partnership with the sector,” said Spedding.
“The leadership group has made every effort to understand and agree an approach for developing the sector that balances the interests of each type of institution. It has carefully considered what is required to grow the sector economically while ensuring student wellbeing for all those who choose to study here.”
Darren Conway, chair of ELT industry body English New Zealand, welcomed the scheme, saying that while Auckland was an attractive city that consistently rated well in quality of life and affordability surveys, there were infrastructure issues – such as transport and broadband capacity – “that students believe we could do better on”.
“An Auckland strategy is a good thing…so long as it prioritises the issues that local government can influence”
He added: “An Auckland strategy is a good thing, provided it doesn’t get ahead of the national strategy – we’re a small country and we need everyone pulling together – and.. so long as it prioritises the issues that local government can influence and leaves to the institutions what they are best at.”
Auckland is home to approximately 57,000 international students, representing nearly 59 per cent of New Zealand’s total. Students from 138 countries are educated in the city each year, the vast majority Chinese.
Education New Zealand has announced that it will overhaul its promotional strategy for international education, with details due to be released by early November.