12 December 2023 at 10:00 am

Government delegation from South Korea visits New Zealand to reconnect with several of our education providers

ENZ’s Korea team recently hosted a Korean Government delegation from 28-30 November in Wellington, Nelson, and Christchurch. The purpose of the visit was to reconnect with several New Zealand education providers and review proposals for education programmes that had paused during the Covid-19 Pandemic.  

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The Lincoln University team hosted the delegation on campus for a productive meeting and short campus tour to review the proposed activities for the agriculture group programme.

New Zealand and South Korea have strong education links and one unique partnership is the education cooperation under the Korea-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (KNZFTA) which has historically included education programmes for Korean school and tertiary students. 

The visiting delegation included representatives from the Korea Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), the Korea Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF), the Korea Agency of Education, Promotion and Information Service in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (EPIS) and Korea Fisheries Resources Agency (FIRA), the implementing agency for the MOF-funded project. 

The delegation was welcomed to the ENZ Wellington office with a mihi whakatau on their first day. ENZ, Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) colleagues joined together for waiata and kai with our Korean guests.

Following a welcome and mihi whakatau in Wellington, the group travelled on to Nelson where they visited Te Pūkenga Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and Nayland College. The visit to Nayland College was an opportunity for the Korean representatives to gain a better understanding of the pastoral care for school students and the unique offerings such as outdoor education and horticulture programmes. 

Kay Lee, ENZ Senior Market Development Manager – Korea, said it was important for the Korean delegation to experience firsthand the welcoming and safe environment of New Zealand schools to regain confidence in the Schools Visits Programme 

“After the COVID-19 pandemic, the Korean Government was concerned about sending students, especially younger students, overseas to study particularly on scholarship programmes because parents wanted assurance their children will be well looked after. In the debrief with the Korean representatives, it was clear they gained confidence from speaking to the New Zealand institution representatives around the procedures and systems in place to support students.” 

“We hope that this renewed confidence will mean that we start seeing Korean government scholarship school students studying in New Zealand again in the near future”. 

High on the agenda during the delegation’s visit were the School Visits and Tertiary Training Programmes, both of which were affected significantly during the pandemic.  

From 2016 –2019, the School Visits Programme provided 150 high school scholarships per year for South Korean students from rural areas to attend New Zealand schools for eight weeks. The Korean Government planned to continue the Schools Visits Programme with its own funding in 2020, however, the programme was cancelled due to travel restrictions during the pandemic.   

An alternative programme was run by MAFRA and MOF from December 2022 which involved short-term English Language Training for school students in Korea with three New Zealand teachers travelling to Korea to teach English (Read about their experience here).The Korean organisers have decided to run the English language programme in Korea again with six New Zealand teachers traveling to Korea to teach English in January 2024. 

Nayland College demonstrated manaakitanga by welcoming the group to rainy Nelson but provided an Asia Kiwi lunch complete with meat pies and sushi!

Like the Schools Visits Programme, the pandemic interrupted tertiary programmes and the revised programme ran in January 2023 with short term group programmes. The site visits in November to Te Pūkenga NMIT and Lincoln University provided an opportunity to discuss the institutions’ proposals to host Korean tertiary students in January 2024.  

Also discussed was the importance of reciprocity and it was noted that Korea is a popular destination for New Zealanders under the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia (PMSA) scheme. Since 2016, the scheme has awarded scholarships to 196 individuals or groups for study, intern or research programmes in Korea. Lincoln University, in particular, has been successful in facilitating group PMSA programmes focused on agriculture to Korea.  

Dr Mark Burdass, Aquaculture Programme Coordinator and Tutor, introduces the hands on learning in the aquaculture programme at Te Pūkenga NMIT.

At the conclusion of their visit, the Korean delegation expressed their gratitude to the institution hosts for making their time in New Zealand memorable and valuable through fruitful discussions. The delegation emphasised the importance of conducting these meetings in person and visiting the campuses to meet with institution staff and academics. The ENZ Manapou ki te Ao team is pleased to continue close cooperation with our Korean education partners to facilitate connections with New Zealand education providers for the education programmes. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the education initiatives originally outlined in the KNZFTA, you can read about this in a 2016 E-News article here - New opportunities for New Zealand and Korea. 

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