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NZ government backs innovation with $1.6m

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao has allocated $1.6 million to six “innovative” education specialists as the country’s sector adapts to the post-Covid environment.

Virtual Medical Coaching, one of the six awardees, is aiming to solve pregnancy-related deaths globally. Photo: Virtual Medical Coaching

The fund was launched by ENZ in April

The six awardees will be handed support ranging from $200,000 to $300,000 for individual projects over the next 12 months.

“The quality of the entrants was a clear indication of New Zealand ingenuity, market knowledge and cutting-edge innovation,” ENZ chief executive Grant McPherson said.

The country’s government announced $10m in 2020 to fund new “future-focused” products and services to drive onshore and offshore growth as part of a $52m sector support package.

Like the 2020 Future Focus Programme, which was designed to help NZ peak bodies “facilitate innovation” and adapt in response to the pandemic, the International Education Product Innovation Fund also hopes to diversify the country’s international education portfolio.

“The sheer variety of fields and technology being utilised shows how advanced the thinking and capability of New Zealand education providers has become,” McPherson added.

“The potential of each of these projects can now be fully explored”

“The potential of each of these projects can now be fully explored, and I am confident the lessons learned can be shared for the benefit of our whole education sector, inspiring others to follow their lead.”

The six winning applications, chosen from among 150 organisations expressing interest, include BOMA New Zealand, a global course for rugby coaches developed in partnership with The Crusaders, the 18-week online indigenous eCommerce program Te Whare Hukahuka, and Virtual Medical Coaching, which offers virtual reality online medical training focused on childbirth simulation.

Additionally, live-action-drama video English language learning platform Chasing Time English, global citizenship and sustainable development experts Te Kaihau Education Trust/The Windeaters and NZ financial literacy platform Banqer will gain funding.

The fund was launched by ENZ in April to encourage education providers to design and develop new education products and services for international learners.

It is part of the refreshed international education strategy and aims to “fund programs that deliver new, meaningful, and unique learning experiences from New Zealand with education products and services that set New Zealand apart from other countries”, ENZ added.

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