ENZ’s bold new plans

September 2012


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Education Review asks Education New Zealand CEO GRANT McPHERSON how the new government agency plans to achieve its international education targets.

Education New Zealand’s vision for the country’s $2.7 billion international education industry is for one that provides quality, highly sought-after services while at the same time expanding its social, cultural, and economic links, both internationally and here in New Zealand.

The industry also makes an important, often overlooked, contribution to New Zealand’s social and cultural fabric, as well as the educational experiences of New Zealand students.

ENZ is a government agency formed in September 2011 to lead the promotion of New Zealand education around the world.

The Government has given the New Zealand international education industry a set of challenging “export” targets, including doubling the value of our international education industry to $5 billion, part of which will be to increase revenues from the export of education services to $500 million a year from $109 million in 2010/11.

All over the next 13 years.

To achieve these targets, our top priority is to collaborate with stakeholders to identify how we can collectively work towards them.

The industry is a disparate group ranging from 600-plus schools enrolling an average 25 fee-paying international students through to eight universities, with an average of 2375 students. There are also 18 institutes of technology and polytechnics with an average of 615 students.

Last year, private providers catered for nearly half of the 98,930 fee-paying international students studying in New Zealand.

A starting point for ENZ is a comprehensive survey of institutions, education providers, and consultants to improve our understanding of the industry’s growth plans and challenges. The results, along with information from other direct industry engagements, will give us a solid grounding for planning.

Telling New Zealand’s education story is one of the areas where ENZ is looking to do things differently. Research shows that the quality of New Zealand education is often not as appreciated as it should be.

The focus on quality means that we are not seeking to double the number of students studying in New Zealand as a means to achieve our targets.

We need to understand how and why international students decide on New Zealand. There is evidence that our promotional efforts have focused too heavily on our scenery and adventure activities rather than our educational excellence. Paradoxically the quality of

New Zealand’s international education system is well understood by governments around the world.

A relevant target for ENZ is to increase the number of international students enrolled with New Zealand institutions offshore from 3000 to 10,000 over the next 13 years.

Another target is to double the number of international post-graduate students (particularly in programmes in addition to those at PhD level) from 10,000 to 20,000.

To date, New Zealand has been relatively successful in attracting a small, but significant slice of the international student market, but competition is intensifying.