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NZ takes first step towards new int’l ed strategy

The development of New Zealand’s new international education strategy is underway after Education New Zealand announced the initial consultation period would commence this month.

The initial consultation will ask for input from stakeholders as well as international students. Photo: Julian Capse for Tourism New Zealand.

"It is time to take stock and ensure the system and settings are right, and to develop an overarching strategy"

The government has called for input from sector players as well as students themselves before releasing a draft strategy in mid-December.

“Our approach to developing the strategy needs to be as holistic as possible in considering the broader social, cultural, economic and educational benefits that international education brings to New Zealand,” John Goulter, ENZ general manager stakeholders, communications and intelligence, told The PIE News.

“It is important that we cast the net wide in gathering the thoughts of as many individuals and organisations as possible”

Goulter said the strategy’s working group had already identified the key elements of student satisfaction and wellbeing; positive community and cultural experiences; further promotion of New Zealand’s education expertise; emphasis on regional communities and further collaboration between providers and other stakeholders.

The initial consultation period will also include feedback from international students.

“International education touches many parts of the country and many individuals, businesses, organisations, groups and agencies. It is important that we cast the net wide in gathering the thoughts of as many individuals and organisations as possible,” said Goulter.

“We have a keen interest in ensuring international students are well informed, safe and enjoy their study experience in New Zealand,” added Claire Douglas, deputy secretary of graduate achievement, vocations and careers at the Ministry of Education, which will work alongside ENZ in the strategy’s development and implementation.

The announcement that the government will develop a national international education strategy has been welcomed by New Zealand’s education exports industry.

“Universities New Zealand supports an aligned strategy across government and key stakeholders,” said Chris Whelan, Universities New Zealand executive director.

“For Universities New Zealand, it is time to take stock and ensure the system and settings are right, and to develop an overarching strategy that works for universities, the sector, the country, as well as international students and their families.”

The upcoming strategy will replace the 2011 Leadership Statement for International Education which aspired to raise the value of New Zealand’s industry to $5bn by 2025.

Goulter said the update is welcome as “student numbers and the economic value of education have matured significantly” since the release of the plan.

The initial consultation period will include a series of workshops and online engagement with industry stakeholders before the release of the draft strategy, followed by a formal consultation period and strategy launch in early 2017.

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