19 July 2023 at 10:30 am

From the CE: Keeping the focus on NZ


43518 Grant August 2022 Board updatev3 v3

Kia ora koutou, 

It’s July and in New Zealand the middle of winter. Halfway through the year it’s a good time to reflect on how far we have come in a rapid six months. My first reflection is that it is great to have international students back in our communities, lecture theatres and classrooms. Since the borders reopened, we’ve seen good volumes of student visa applications, and those applications are reflected in steady growth in enrolments. While some parts of sector are doing better than others, the big picture is that learners are considering and choosing New Zealand as the place to come for a quality international education.  

Having travelled to India, the US and Canada, and most recently China, alongside sector representatives, we should not underestimate how important this awareness and preference is. International education is hugely competitive. Competitors like Singapore and Ireland are not sitting still and we, collectively, need to keep New Zealand in front of the high-value students we want to attract. 

In my opinion, the Prime Minister’s visit to China did just that. Education was a significant part of the itinerary and its importance as part of the bilateral relationship was mentioned in almost every engagement with the Government of China. The Prime Minister delivered an address at Peking University, and he had the opportunity to meet with alumni in a more informal environment. We also saw excellent coverage of the visit in key China media. China is an important partner market for New Zealand, and this was a very successful visit. A word of thanks to everyone involved in its organisation, the sector members of the delegation who travelled and everyone who participated. I know it was a mammoth task. 

Another reflection I have is how pleasing it is to see young New Zealanders getting out into the world again as Prime Minister’s scholars. Reciprocity, as I am reminded when I am in market, is an important part of international education. Around 171 New Zealanders from 14 groups will travel to Asia and Latin America over the next year as part of the most recent Group round and the second round of individual scholarships will open next week. 

As we look to what lies ahead, the theme of next months NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE KI TUA, Te Ara Ki Tua The pathway forward, will provide an immediate opportunity to focus on our future. Thanks in advance to the sector leaders who are speaking or running workshops in what looks to be a compelling programme at our 30th conference. KI TUA is our annual opportunity to get together as one and to listen, learn, discuss and importantly, network. Globally, we are a small participant and to build on the good start of the past six months we must continue to move forward together. I encourage you to attend and I look forward to meeting and talking with many of you in a few weeks. 

Ki te kotahi te kakaho ka whati, Ki te kapuia e kore e whati  

Alone we can be broken. Standing together, we are invincible

Ngā mihi nui,

Grant McPherson

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