13 February 2024 at 10:30 am

New Zealand well represented at the 2024 World Digital Education Conference

The World Digital Education Conference was recently held in Shanghai from 30 to 31 January 2024. The event was jointly hosted by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. Senior New Zealand government representatives were invited to showcase New Zealand’s innovation and contribution in digital education. 

WDEC Ambassador and ENZ team
From left, Lillian Zhang, Marketing and Communications Manager, Education New Zealand; Ardi Barnard, New Zealand Consul-General to Shanghai; H.E. Grahame Morton, New Zealand Ambassador to People’s Republic of China; Shelly Xu, Business Development Manager Education New Zealand.

The 2024 World Digital Education Conference, attended by representatives from over 70 countries and regions as well as international organisations, aims to work with governments, the education sector, and stakeholders to jointly implement the outcomes of the United Nations Transforming Education Summit, promote education recovery post-pandemic, equitable quality education through digital education transformation, and advance the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Chinese Education Minister Huai Jinpeng provided the keynote speech at the opening ceremony. He noted the impact of technology on education and the need to prioritise education reform to keep pace with changes and harness the benefits of digital education. Minister Huai concluded by saying they look forward to the new impetus into promoting international cooperation in digital education through this conference. 

New Zealand was represented by Minister of Education, Hon Erica Stanford (through a pre-recorded session); H.E. Grahame Morton, New Zealand Ambassador to People’s Republic of China; Ardi Barnard, New Zealand Consul-General to Shanghai; Dr Grant Klinkum, Chief Executive New Zealand Qualifications Authority and Education New Zealand’s China-based representatives. The strong presence at the conference contributes to New Zealand’s reputation as an education partner with an innovative approach to digital learning. New Zealand Education Minister Hon Erica Stanford gave a video address and shared New Zealand’s efforts to harness digitalisation to improve our education system and support lifelong learning. 

“As an education minister with a relentless focus on the progress and achievement of all students, I see that digital tools and the well-designed use of data have enormous potential to help us drive progress and achievement, said Minister Stanford. 

Hon Erica Stanford, New Zealand’s Minister of Education delivered a pre-recorded session, sharing New Zealand’s efforts to harness digitalisation and data in education.

In his address at the Opening Ceremony, Ambassador Morton highlighted the important role of education in the New Zealand-China relationship and gave insights into New Zealand’s innovative EdTech sector.  

“Digital education is at the centre of New Zealand’s EdTech sector and its developments. Three-quarters of New Zealand EdTech companies are actively looking to take their offerings to the world, said Ambassador Morton. 

Ambassador Morton addresses the audience during the Opening Ceremony of the conference.

During the Parallel Session on Governance and Digital Transformation, Dr Klinkum shared New Zealand’s experience in quality assurance, qualification recognition and assessment delivery in the digital era. 

We would like to continue working with our international colleagues to ensure that we provide credible education for learners and that life-long learning and global mobility is supported by digital education and reflects the needs of increasingly digital societies, said Dr Klinkum. 

During the conference, organisers held the inaugural launch ceremony of the World Digital Education Alliance (WDEA). Universities New Zealand, on behalf of the University sector, joined the Alliance. The first batch of members is by invitation and as of 30 January 2024, 104 agencies from 41 countries joined the alliance ranging from schools to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, training centres, colleges and universities as well as research institutions and enterprises. The initiative aims to fulfil the UN SDG 4, build a mechanism for international cooperation and exchange in digital education, form synergy to promote global educational development, and create a new environment for smart education.  

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