12 December 2023 at 11:00 am

From the CE: A monumental year

Linda Sissons

Tēnā koutou katoa,

December already! Where did the past 12 months go?

The good news is that the effort that you have all put into this sector, that we are all so passionate about, has delivered results. My team tell me that enrolments for the first eight months of 2023, and the 12 months since the borders opened, have almost topped 60,000 (59,306 to be exact) and that the number of visa applications is much higher. From where we were when the borders opened this is significant and tangibly real, positive progress. It is also a positive indication for the future as many of these learners will be staying on into next year and are the foundation on which we can build further growth.

That said there is still much to do.

The recovery is not spread evenly across all sector participants and not spread evenly across New Zealand. While, at the time of writing, ENZ is yet to receive its letter of expectation from the new Government, international education was included as a manifesto focus area and I expect we will get very clear direction as to our role in continuing the recovery. This is good news too. Getting clear direction from Government enables us to know exactly what is expected and to focus our efforts accordingly.

In the short time that I have been in the CEO role, I have come to understand the importance of focus. There has never been and never will be a shortage of opportunities when it comes to international education. It is a matter of identifying the opportunity that delivers the impact and focusing our attention there. I look forward to receiving the new Government’s direction and delivering to it alongside our many partners.

The past 12 months have also been significant in the area of scholarships – the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia and Latin America and the Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship Programme. Our scholarship programme was also bought to a standstill by COVID-19 and is itself recovering and recovering well. In 2023 more than 250 New Zealanders have been recipients of a Prime Minister’s Scholarship and more than 900 people from across the Pacific and Asia have participated in the Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship Programme with another 400 in the pipeline. As you know, ENZ administers these on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Both programmes successfully build enduring connections between New Zealand and our offshore partners and contribute to our communities here at home.

For all of us, our colleagues and our whānau, 2023 has been a monumental year. There is much that we can, and should, look back on with pride and satisfaction. On behalf of everyone at ENZ, I’d like to thank you for your support and for the huge amount of effort and work that has been achieved this year. I look forward to working with you in 2024 to continue the momentum towards an international education sector that is sustainable, resilient, and innovative, and of high value for students, providers, and all of New Zealand.

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini

It is not the strength of one person alone, but the strength of many that contribute to our success.

Ngā mihi,

Linda Sissons
Acting Chief Executive

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