20 July 2016 at 9:00 am

Strengthening the international student experience

The true value of education starts with a great experience for the international students who choose New Zealand.

The true value of education starts with a great experience for the international students who choose New Zealand. These experiences help us to foster long-lasting connections with the rest of the world. These connections support the social, cultural and economic relationships New Zealand needs for its own prosperity.

In May we responded to allegations of visa fraud. With 125,000 international students studying in New Zealand last year, our industry is strong. To maintain the momentum we need sustainable growth. We all have a responsibility to make sure we have our settings right to attract the right students to the right programmes.

Education providers are at the heart of this. We have an industry of high performing institutions delivering outstanding programmes and products for domestic and international students. However, we acknowledge the concerns that have been expressed in the media around a small number of providers.

At Education New Zealand (ENZ) we are working more closely than ever before with our New Zealand government agencies. We are serious about our role in building a strong, sustainable international education system that works for New Zealand. We are committed to a joined up New Zealand Government approach to tackle issues of non-compliance which negatively impact on the exceptional contribution made by most of the 850 New Zealand providers enrolling international students.

ENZ welcomes the new code of practice for international students launched on 1 July as a way of strengthening provider engagement and responsibility for the student experience and with the agents New Zealand providers are working with.

Providers are the link between agents and student flows. We will be supporting providers to do the right thing, which the vast majority do, and continue working with other New Zealand government agencies for them to better understand where some providers may not be meeting these expectations. This will help us to help the industry safeguard our reputation as a world-class education destination and to protect the education brand that we have built together.

While market diversification is important for us, education markets like India are going to remain a critical part of our industry. Within the next five years India will have the largest tertiary-age population in the world with a middle class expected to grow to around 500 million. The demand for higher education is only going to continue to grow.

To be a part of this opportunity, we need to remain aspirational but we also acknowledge that we need to be smarter in how we operate.

We all need to be thinking long-term about what international education means to New Zealand. We are about sustainability, quality, value and integrity. We are about supporting mutual benefit and need to continually look at the value our own domestic students gain from international engagement. Done well, international education contributes hugely to our positioning in the global community.

Telling the international education story and showcasing the benefits it brings to New Zealand and New Zealanders is a top priority for ENZ. We encourage you to work with each other, your communities, and with us, to continue to highlight the value and vibrancy that international education brings to New Zealand.

John Goulter, Acting Chief Executive Education New Zealand

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