15 March 2021 at 3:32 pm

What is ‘transforming to a more sustainable future state’?

ENZ General Manager – Partnerships & Marketing, Paul Irwin, explains how Education New Zealand is working to explore the diversification of products and services to complement our traditional in-bound international education model.

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ENZ has been tasked with a programme of work that focuses on the diversification of education products and services. It forms part of the Government’s International Education Recovery Plan, under the “Transforming to a More Sustainable Future State” workstream. 

Its overarching objective is to build sector resilience and diversify our offerings to broaden and enhance the value that international education brings to New Zealand over the longer term. This programme of work complements the Recovery Plan’s other focus areas, including early return of students and strengthening the system.

Although the pandemic has accelerated it, the need for diversification through a greater range of innovative products and services was first recognised in the 2018 New Zealand International Education Strategy (NZIES) under Goal 2, ‘Achieving Sustainable Growth’.

We now find ourselves in an environment that has already changed – we must respond to it, both in the short-term while borders are closed, and longer-term to build resilience against further big shocks.

We have a big opportunity now to identify areas where New Zealand can develop new high-value, high quality offerings that are grounded in the unique strengths of New Zealand and our education providers, and to wrap our education system and offerings around those areas.

Areas of focus

It’s important to note that this programme of work is not just about exploring other modes of delivery or a big digital project headed by the Government. Under the Recovery Plan there are three areas of focus in the Diversifying Products & Services programme: 

  • Exploration, testing and development of new products and services, as per Goal 2 of the NZIES and the 2020 sector Future Focus Programme funding
  • Exploration of online platforms or partnerships, both to deliver online products but also to connect with audiences with a specific interest in online learning and/or online pathways to study in New Zealand
  • Offshore pathways that will enable learners to begin their New Zealand journey from their home country and then transfer directly into qualifications offered in New Zealand.

We've already made a good start around our exploration of offshore pathway models with the Global New Zealand Education Pathways partnership with NCUK and New Zealand’s eight universities, launched December 2020.

Our overall goal is to support our established model of in-bound mobility with new and different ways of learning and in the long-term grow the overall value of our industry. Additionally, we want to ensure we maximise international education’s contribution to New Zealand’s wider international connectedness.

As Minister Mahuta said in a recent speech, “I believe that diplomacy is intergenerational in intent, where we put people, planet, peace and prosperity for all at the centre.”

Our international education offerings across in-bound and out-bound mobility, including blended, online and offshore delivery, can all be key enablers of this wider vision for our people and planet.

How are we going to do it?

The project team is currently exploring ideas around both innovative means of connecting with audiences (i.e. technology and channels), but also ideas for the evolution of education products, services and experiences that we might offer to international learners. 

As a first step, ENZ ran an envisioning workshop in December with a range of innovation leaders from across different industries. From this, we’ve gained a draft vision of direction for future product and service offerings, and identified a set of emerging strategic themes.

The next step was taking these themes, ideas and concepts from December’s workshop and exploring further with govt agencies, and in a subsequent envisioning workshop with the same group of innovation leaders.

These workshops, and future sessions with members of the sector, learners and other stakeholders will co-design around agreed themes, from which ENZ will develop prototypes to test in association with the sector and potential audiences.

The project team and I are very much looking forward to updating and involving you as we progress in this co-design and prototype process over the next few months. We will make sure to keep you updated and aware of opportunities for engagement through E-News, your Business Development Manager, and your peak body.

Ngā mihi,

Paul Irwin

ENZ General Manager – Partnerships & Marketing

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