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NZ Minister tours LatAm on education and trade visit

New Zealand is aiming to increase its profile as a study destination among Latin American students as its minister of tertiary education, skills and employment visited the region for the first time last month and announced expanded mobility agreements with key trade countries.

Minister Steven Joyce at the FAUBAI conference in Brazil Photo: Twitter @stevenljoyce

Latin American students make up just 4% of total international student enrolments in New Zealand

Minister Steven Joyce traveled to Brazil, Colombia and Chile for 10 days to endorse education and trade between New Zealand and countries in the region.

“New Zealand is an increasingly popular destination for Latin American students studying overseas,” Joyce said in a statement.

“By collaborating together with countries like Brazil we can boost innovation and expand research frontiers”

“Within the region, plans to internationalise education systems is also an opportunity for New Zealand to expand its existing relationships into new areas.”

Latin American students make up just 4% of total international student enrolments in New Zealand however, during the trip, it was announced that New Zealand will be hosting more students from the Chilean scholarship programme, Penguins Without Borders.

Since its inception in 2013, the scholarship programme has already seen 237 Chilean students go to New Zealand to study, and Joyce expressed his enthusiasm at hosting more.

“Being selected as the primary host country for these scholarship students is testament to New Zealand’s strengthening education relationship with Chile, and the great experiences past international students have had in our country,” he said.

Another 80 secondary school students from Chile will go to New Zealand in July to study in over 40 secondary schools in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland.

Furthermore, Brazil agreed to renew the current MoU between two nations into an Education Cooperation Agreement.

Speaking at the Brazilian international education association, FAUBAI, conference in Brazil during his trip, Joyce emphasised how the internationalisation of universities and research is the key to equipping students with the skills to succeed in a globalised world.

“Innovation is fundamental to growing New Zealand’s economy, and to compete internationally we need to foster a science and innovation ecosystem that brings out the potential of our best and brightest,” said Joyce.

“By collaborating together with countries like Brazil we can boost innovation and expand research frontiers.”

Speaking in Chile, he highlighted the region’s booming economic potential across in several industries.

“There’s great potential for further growth,” he said. “Economic activity in Latin America is forecast to increase, and New Zealand is well placed to meet demand particularly in the agribusiness, food and beverage, technology and education sectors.”

With a delegation of New Zealand university representatives and the Executive Director of Universities New Zealand, this was Minister Joyce’s first trip to Latin America.

His speaking engagements included at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogota, Colombia, at a science, innovation and technology conference, in addition to the FAUBAI conference.

“Economic activity in Latin America is forecast to increase, and New Zealand is well placed to meet demand particularly education sectors”

In 2012, international education was the fifth biggest export industry in New Zealand, with the economic contribution from the sector estimated at $2.59 billion.

In 2013, international student enrolments were down 1.8% to 97,283 students compared with 99,094 in 2012.

As a result, growing international linkages is listed as one of the six priorities in the New Zealand tertiary education strategy 2014-2019.

Under this, the aims of tertiary education organisations include providing a high quality educational experience for international students in New Zealand as well as developing and maintaining mutually beneficial education and research relationships with key partner countries.

Other priorities listed include improving adult literacy and numeracy, delivering skills for industry and strengthening research-based institutions.

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