The international education sector is under review by the government, and education providers have been asked to comment on the International Education Agenda, a 42-page document released in April.
The primary goals for 2007 to 2015 are: 1) New Zealand students are equipped to thrive in an inter-connected world, 2) international students are enriched by their experiences in New Zealand, 3) domestic education providers are strengthened academically and financially through international linkages, 4) New Zealand receives wider economic and social benefits.
International student numbers (school and tertiary age), particularly those from China, have decreased over the past four years, worrying not only the institutions that charge them full fees but also the government. Tertiary institutions in particular are losing revenue from the drop in full-paying international students, which contribute nearly $2 billion each year to the New Zealand economy.
The Agenda promotes Education New Zealand’s idea that being ‘New Zealand educated’ puts students among ‘the new world class’.
A significant point on the Agenda was to ensure New Zealand degrees are internationally recognised. The report stressed that New Zealand education is “quality” but the NZ Qualifications Authority was working to achieve greater recognition of New Zealand qualifications overseas, which would benefit domestic and international students. In addition, the government wants more New Zealand students to study on exchange. There are currently about 600 New Zealand students overseas, but there are still many spots left open.
While the need to attract a more diverse group of international students to New Zealand was a primary goal in the Agenda, it also focuses on how New Zealanders can better deal with globalisation and the ‘internationalization’ of education in New Zealand