25 June 2020 at 9:00 am

From the CE: A transitional phase

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ramp up overseas, New Zealand is in the very fortunate position of being able to rebuild its economy. At ENZ, we’re shifting our focus from the immediate response phase to a longer view.

Grant speaking2

First of all, a big thank you to everyone. Your insight and problem-solving on so many urgent matters, including student wellbeing and repatriation, has been invaluable.

I’d like to reflect quickly on how we’ve worked together so far. Our activities together represent just a beginning on the long road ahead. Within ENZ, we have: 

  • Created and administered the International Student Hardship Fund, which has allocated $1m to 105 providers and community organisations, assisting approximately 11,000 students. 
  • Created the Future Focused Programme and invested $1.2 million of reallocated government funds into the future of the industry to encourage innovation. 
  • Stood up cross-organisation teams within ENZ to focus on student wellbeing and support the repatriation of school-aged students. 
  • Communicated and engaged intensively with peak bodies, education providers, agents and in-market partners. 
  • Invested in NauMai NZ and increased our communications to students within New Zealand 
  • Continued to maintain visibility of New Zealand as a high quality study destination, and 
  • We’re continuing to work closely with other agencies, who have optimised policy settings to cushion the sector from the impacts of COVID-19 as far as possible.

Of course, a crucial step of the international education sector will be bringing in students.

International students remain a priority group in the government’s planning for any managed border entry agreements. We’re looking forward to welcoming international students into New Zealand again, but we need to make sure we do so in a way that is safe for everyone.

There are many details to be worked through, including practical quarantine and self-isolation arrangements, monitoring processes, and how the costs can be shared by those arriving.

As a result of this complexity, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has advised our sector leaders that international students will not be returning to New Zealand in July and August this year. He hopes that we will be able to safely welcome small groups of students by the end of the year and begin building up towards 2021.

We need to have and retain public confidence in the managed border re-entry process, before we welcome cohorts of students to New Zealand.

Finally, our work towards a sector recovery strategy continues and I look forward to sharing more with you this July.

He waka eke noa (we’re all in this together).

Ngā mihi,

Grant McPherson

Chief Executive

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao

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