Draft refreshed Int Ed Strategy consultation

The Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, has launched a consultation on a refreshed International Education Strategy for 2022-30.

The Strategy launch follows the Prime Minister’s announcement on 11 May 2022 that New Zealand’s borders would fully open from 31 July 2022.

From that date, all international students with valid visas can enter the country, and new students, eying New Zealand as their study destination, can start preparing and progressing their plans with their chosen providers.

New Strategy

The new Strategy is a refocusing of the 2018 strategy, taking account of the disruption caused by COVID 19 and what needs to happen to get back on track. It also draws on work done with the sector in 2021 to move towards a more economically sustainable and high-value international education sector post COVID-19.  

The Strategy describes a more high-value, resilient and innovative international education sector, for both international and domestic students. This includes offering products and services on-shore, off-shore, in person and on-line for the benefit of students, the New Zealand economy, and all New Zealanders. Both now and into the future.

The draft Strategy has two phases and is available for comment on Refresh of the New Zealand International Education Strategy - conversation.education.govt.nz(external link) from now until 24 June 2022.

Phase one : Build and recover

The first of the draft strategy is about build and recover. It suggests focusing on providers rebuilding their bases for onshore study and helping them continue to offer high-quality programmes. Promoting New Zealand’s international brand, and student recruitment, is a big part of this phase. The border opening also means more opportunities for Kiwis to study abroad and that is an important part of this refreshed strategy as well.

During this phase, the Strategy proposes that New Zealand taps into our worldwide partnerships to promote our brand and let prospective students know that our high-quality education system is open to them all again.

Phase One also suggests a focus on providing timely, accurate information to prospective students to encourage them to study here. And, as the sector recovers, it considers how online and offshore provision can form part of its  base offerings. 

Phase two : A new future for international education

The second phase focuses on developing a new future for international education. To support the ongoing success of international education, this Phase suggests a focus on delivering high-quality education and on making make sure that we provide an excellent student experience and prioritise both student wellbeing and attracting students looking for internationally recognised qualifications.

The refreshed Strategy aims to ensure that international education benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders long-term.

To achieve this, its suggests that regional development agencies and international education agencies work together to ensure that education, immigration, and labour market policies work positively across our regions, for both international students and New Zealand.  It also reflects and incorporates insights from the consultation on the high-value policy statement.

The draft Strategy suggests we should look at how our regions might benefit more from a revitalised international student presence, and at how we might achieve a more equitable approach when it comes to having domestic students access international education. Particularly for Māori, Pacific, and disabled people, who participate at a lesser rate when it comes to these opportunities.

It places importance on developing all students as global citizens. Global citizens can study, work, and live across cultural and national boundaries. We want to produce global citizens who are well equipped for the world in which they will be living and working.

The consultation also seeks the sector and the public’s views on the actions to prioritise in the Strategy. It asks how the Government, and government agencies, can best help the sector identify its capability needs. It also asks about how to best develop new and existing programmes and markets, to better capitalise on our unique international education offerings.

The final strategy is expected to be available later in 2022.

Immigration Rebalance

The launch of the refreshed Strategy coincides with a major rebalancing of New Zealand’s immigration settings. Some of these new settings impact the post-study work rights of  international students. The changes also increase the funds international students need to have to support themselves while studying. You can read more about these changes on Immigration Rebalance: International Education Sector [PDF, 169KB] - immigration.govt.nz(external link)

Decision on international fee-paying students under year 9

Also announced, at the launch, was the Government’s decision that international fee-paying students under year 9 can continue to enrol in New Zealand schools. You can read more about that decision on Enrolling international fee-paying students under Year 9 - conversation.education.govt.nz(external link).

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