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New EdNZ manifesto; plans for image change

Education New Zealand has published its latest international education manifesto, underlining that the country’s industry still has some way go to reach published targets of raising NZ$5 billion in international education revenue by 2025. Charles Finny, Chair of EdNZ, noted that greater focus to the country’s education excellence needed to be made when marketing NZ, rather than selling the lifestyle and landscape. “We have to sell ourselves better,” he said.

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"Our promotional efforts in the past have perhaps been too heavily focused on our scenery and the adventure side of life"

“Our promotional efforts in the past have perhaps been too heavily focused on our scenery and the adventure side of life,” he said, highlighting NZ’s personalised education experience, and ‘nimble’ industry.

Finny noted that “We have one of the world’s best education systems”, but that market perception studies indicated this was not “as appreciated as it should be”. He may have been referring to a recent International Student Barometer survey of 6 of the 8 universities in the country.

So, a new marketing brand for New Zealand is on the cards, focusing on the country’s unique value proposition; one of six new priorities unveiled by Education New Zealand (a revised Crown agency re-launched in September 2011).

This is the same approach that Antipodean neighbour, Australia, has taken with its new brand, Future Unlimited; stepping away from the ‘sunshine and kangaroo’ image, as Austrade chief told  The PIE News.

The new EdNZ priorities are: work with the industry to achieve growth targets; new international education brand; continued support for Christchurch, (affected by the earthquake); develop service support package; emphasise collaboration and partnership (both with government agencies, on a government-to-government level, and with and between industry participants); and to build EdNZ organisational capability (already has 55 staff).

NZ will promote its academic excellence and personalised education experience

The Statement of Intent also details a drive to build offshore education exports; noting possible capacity issues onshore and a target of NZ$500 million in offshore-delivered education products/services, up from NZ$109 million in 2010/2011.

“We need to build our knowledge of the offshore education export industry, to find out how to support them to grow to a $500 million industry by 2025,” stated the agency.

EdNZ proposes it develop a value proposition that build agent relationships, preference for and commitment to New Zealand

Within this framework of building growth, EdNZ acknowledged it was specifically working towards agreed targets for ASEAN countries, China and India. It also nodded towards a concern for welfare and integration against a backdrop of growth – another theme being raised in other countries.

“How many students can New Zealand institutions absorb before the quality of the experience for New Zealand students is affected? What number of international students can New Zealand society feel comfortable with?,” asks the agency – which charges all institutions a levy to help promote the industry-at-large.

“These issues need to be considered in the context of increasing numbers of students in New Zealand and also in terms of the scope to expand offshore delivery.”

Interestingly, ideas raised in the Statement of Intent to mitigate the risk of students choosing other destinations included nurturing relations with education agencies overseas. EdNZ proposes it “develop programmes and a value proposition that build agent relationships, preference for and commitment to New Zealand”.

The government is fully supportive of its international education sector, releasing a Leadership Statement outlining its goals in September last year.

EdNZ predicts growth of 6% annually under current modelling, but the latest statistics published to end April 2012 indicate it has some work to do, with a decline of 1% in enrolments year on year.

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