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  • New approach for Korean middle schools

    The Korean government wants to improve levels of student happiness, and move on from students validating their success and self-worth only in terms of academic performance. A priority is to support students to pursue “non-core learning areas” (such as music, arts, physical education, career exploration, club-oriented activities, etc). Each school will now designate a semester that is exam- and test-free to allow students to experience a wide range of these activities.

    This approach represents a big change in the Korean education environment. To date these students have relied heavily on simple memorisation and rote learning instead of thinking creatively or critically. The government now expects students to freely discover their competencies and capability, free from the stress associated with exams. Korean President Park Geun-hye describes this initiative as a “key task to fundamentally change Korea’s education system”.

    Under this new initiative, schools will teach students using diverse and engaging methods such as discussion, experiments, outdoor activities and team projects. Opportunities for students to engage with activities that may inform their thinking about future career options and/or future subject choices is also encouraged.

    The initiative began as a pilot in September 2013 with 42 Korean middle schools (1 percent of all Korean middle schools). It was expanded in 2014 to around 800 schools (25 percent), and to 1,500 schools in 2015 (nearly 50 percent). This year, all 3,204 middle schools – and their 1.5 million students – will implement this approach.

    Opportunities for NZ schools

    This new way of working not only requires a significant paradigm change in thinking for educators and parents, it also requires Korea to develop new infrastructure outside the classroom. It may therefore take some time to fully develop.

    This new initiative presents an opportunity for New Zealand schools; two groups of Korean parents may be interested in sending their children to study abroad during the exam-free semester:

    1. Families that wish to take advantage of the New Zealand curriculum, teaching expertise and existing infrastructure in terms of these broader subject areas (especially opportunities to learn outside of the classroom that are available at New Zealand’s intermediate schools); or

    2. Families that have a more traditional Korean academic education preference and wish to provide their children with an intensive learning experience (such as significantly develop their English language skills).

    New Zealand schools may therefore wish to reframe their marketing collateral for parents to demonstrate the strengths of their school’s programmes to deliver quality educational outcomes for Korean middle school students during these exam-free semesters.


    What age and year level are Korean middle school students?

    Students in Korea start school at age seven, rather than five, the usual age in New Zealand.  Korean middle school students are in years seven and eight and aged 13-14 years. The table below compares the age and year of the two school systems.

    What are the Korean school semester dates?

    Korean school year is divided into two semesters, running from 1 March to mid-July, and from mid/late August to February.

    Who decides which semester will be exam-free? Will it be the same semester for all schools in a region, for example? 

    Individual principals, in consultation with their school staff decide which semester will be selected as the ‘exam-free’ semester. This could be any semester between the first semester in the first year and the first semester of the second year.

    Korea graph

    Would this be an opportunity for students to spend the whole semester away from Korea, or are we talking about short (say 2-3 week or 4-5 week) programmes for groups?

    This will likely be predominately an opportunity for individual students to study for a full semester in New Zealand.

    That said, it is possible that schools with MoUs with Korean schools could promote an exchange or short course study abroad programme, but New Zealand schools who are interested in this should carefully canvas existing sister schools first to confirm whether this approach would meet the requirements.

    What does experiential learning mean in Korea? 

    The following four types of activities have been recommended by the Korean Ministry of Education:

    • Topic of interest: students choose topic(s) of interest and participate in a programme of activities around the topic, such as: entrepreneurship, design, animation, film, barista skills, smartphone app development, robotics, cooking, science etc.

    • Arts and physical education: students undertake activities that are not part of their regular school curriculum such as: participating in a musical or in a band, curating, industrial design, or physical education activities such as sports leisure industry experience or exploring career options around soccer, dancing etc.

    • Club activities: student clubs can be organised by students around topics of interest. These could be linked to other activities such as sports, career or volunteering such as a hospital volunteering group of 20 students who go to local hospitals to help out.

    • Career: students discover what employment options await; giving a chance for them to begin thinking about the sort of work they would like to do in the future and to gather information that will help them make good decisions about the courses they will undertake when they enter secondary school. This could include going into workplaces to experience, observe etc. and could also include a career counselling component.

    The New Zealand curriculum, teaching techniques and education outside of the classroom experience and infrastructure appears to be a good fit with this initiative.

  • Planning for success in Taranaki

    The Taranaki International Education Strategy was launched by Minister Joyce in New Plymouth on Tuesday 23 February, when he announced that the government is investing $162,000 in the initiative over two years, through the RPP.

    And, the news of the launch reached China!

    A partnership between Venture Taranaki and local education providers will allow the group to share resources and make strategic and targeted investments. It will also enable collateral and pathway products to be developed, agent familiarisation visits to take place, and make it possible for the region to be represented at the Australia New Zealand Agent (ANZA) Workshop on 13 – 15 April 2016.  

    Minister Joyce’s visit to Taranaki sends out a strong message that international education in New Zealand’s non-metro regions is high on the agenda.

    The government has committed an additional $2 million in 2016/17 to ENZ’s RPP for supporting growth initiatives in the regions. The additional funding is to build on the successes in 2015, with 11 out of 14 regions experiencing an increase in international student numbers.

    The RPP will support the implementation of growth projects involving our regions outside of the metro centres. As announced previously in E-News, three new Regional Project Managers join our Business Development Managers in supporting regional growth initiatives: Sahinde Pala, based in Auckland with a focus on the regions north of Taupo; Jo Keane, based in Wellington and supporting our central regions from Taranaki to Nelson Marlborough; and Sarah Gauthier who will manage a range of pan-regional projects including New Zealand’s regional presence at ANZA, the development of an online regional resource and an agent familariisation programme.

    For more information about ENZ’s RPP contact Greg Scott, Programme Manager Regional Partnership:  Phone: 64 3 3795575 Mobile: 64 21 2422868

  • Chile announces 500 more ‘penguins’

    In the last edition of International Education News we reported that Chile’s Economy, Development and Tourism Minister, Pablo Longueira, had announced that the pilot scheme for the ‘Penguins without Borders’ scholarship programme that brought 40 Chilean students to New Zealand in January, would be widened to 100 for terms three and four of this year.

    Things have progressed since then, with Minister Longueira announcing during his current visit to New Zealand that 500 more ‘penguins’ (so called, due to their distinctive black and white uniforms) are coming to New Zealand.  The first group of 250 ‘penguins’ arrives in July to live and study in towns and cities around New Zealand for two semesters. A further 250 will arrive in January 2014.

    New Zealand was the only country chosen to pilot the scholarship programme, but this announcement may help secure New Zealand’s place as a regular destination for these high-achieving students.

  • Get ready for unprecedented profile of NZ education in China

    We also need to make a leap in scale.

    We can’t do that with a business as usual approach.

    This realisation is behind the Dragons in a Distant Land documentary now set to screen before 650 million people in China from August 2013.

    The documentary highlights the experiences of Chinese considering studying in New Zealand and of successful alumni who have returned to China.

    Education New Zealand (ENZ) General Manager of Marketing and Channel Development Kathryn McCarrison says the two-part documentary (renamed from Dragons in the Land of the Long White Cloud) is designed to be a “game changer” for New Zealand’s student attraction marketing in China and will boost referrals to Chinese agents and New Zealand institutions. The documentary seeks to capture parents’ attention; students aged 16-25 will be targeted by a digital campaign.

    “We’ll get unprecedented coverage of New Zealand education in China with the documentary.

    “We all need to get ready – the Chinese networks will only give three days’ notice of the first on-air date.

    “To get full value out of the investments in the documentary, we – that is ENZ and the industry – need to run an integrated campaign leveraging each other’s work.”

    ENZ is developing marketing materials to help institutions plan their marketing in China following the screenings of Dragons in a Distant Land on national and regional television.

    These materials will be made available to institutions.

    ENZ’s production company, the Gibson Group, is negotiating with Chinese networks to have the documentary screened in August. The associated student dragons’ marketing campaign will be ready on 1 August 2013 to support the launch of the documentary.

    Key features of the campaign include:

    • Using alumni and agents on Weibo (the Twitter of China) to post about studying in New Zealand and direct people to the campaign’s website

    • Creating posts for targeted internet forums and bulletin board sites

    • Posting content to Youku, the YouTube of China.

    To directly engage the target audience – parents, prospective international students and education agents - there will be:

    • Video advertising targeting social networking and video sites and  top student portals

    • Performance display advertising.

    ENZ’s current Baidu search campaign will be reconfigured to ensure relevant searches are directed to the student dragon’s campaign website.

    Kathryn says the traffic from the student dragon’s campaign website will go to the New Zealand Educated website. “Your information on it will likely be the first impression of your institution for many Chinese visitors. 

    “We recommend you check out your institution’s page on very soon to ensure your content is up to date.”

    Closer to the launch date ENZ will make available key messages for each episode, press releases, a media question and answer and photography from the documentary. The final media buying plan, showing when and where ENZ will be advertising in China as part of the campaign, will also be available to help institutions with their own media buying.

    A drop-box folder has been set up to access these materials when they become available. Email Deena for details. She will keep you posted on developments through e-news.

  • Understanding Indonesia’s education market

    Every year, more and more Indonesian students look to further their studies overseas. There is an awareness of the need for a better quality of education and the current circumstance in Indonesia is that facilities and quality education are somewhat still below expectations, especially when compared to abroad. International schools based in Indonesia also take a part of the increasing number of Indonesian students looking for an international education. After finishing at these high schools with an “overseas” qualification, these students usually opt to pursue their tertiary study abroad.

    With the number of Indonesian students choosing to go abroad increasing each year, why has New Zealand not truly benefited? It is simply because of the lack of information about New Zealand and the perception that New Zealand is a very quiet country with more sheep than people. We in Indonesia seldom see advertisements about New Zealand or the institutions while other countries have put lots of effort in branding their country and their institutions consistently. People are all the same. We tend to remember products that have a strong branding.  So, if you want people to always remember your product, you need to keep reminding people by persistently branding your product to the market.

    At first, I had the same perception of New Zealand being quiet too. Joining the May 2013 trip was my very first time to see New Zealand. I was so excited.

    I got a chance to visit representative institutions in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. In the South Island, my first destination was Christchurch where I found lots of major work to rebuild and renovate its buildings.

    The first day touching down in Auckland, and seeing the city itself, changed my perception. Auckland is not as crowded as in my country, Indonesia, of course. But it is not as quiet as what I thought! The city has everything that a student needs - shops, cafes, restaurants, flats, shopping centres and even the education institutions are all within walking distance.

    New Zealand is such a perfect place to study. You have everything in town, people are so nice and friendly, and it’s very safe. I don’t need to worry about pick-pockets or drunken people when walking with my female friends back to hotel at night.

    After seeing these cities, and visiting various institutions, I also found that New Zealand has a great education system. Students are taught in a very practical way, both, in high schools and tertiary institutions. And this is what New Zealand needs to show. You need to educate the Indonesian market about this and change the perception of New Zealand.

    Indonesian families are unique. They have a strong family relationship. Their children’s study destination is also influenced by their relatives and friends. Parents feel more comfortable about letting their children study in a country where they have relatives or friends staying. Most of the time, the experience and opinions from their relatives play a great part in their decision. Apart from that, Indonesian parents will usually send their children overseas after they graduate from high school. They believe at this stage their children are mature enough and can take a good care of themselves overseas. Therefore, tertiary education is more attractive to the Indonesian market.

    Recently, the postgraduate market for Indonesian students has also been growing significantly. For postgraduate students, study duration, value for money and the opportunity for job placement are the key areas they are usually looking at. Little do they know that New Zealand offers a postgraduate job search visa and the opportunity to work and stay in New Zealand after they graduate.

    So, by understanding Indonesian market better, I believe institutions can plan a better strategy for their marketing activities. Together we can promote New Zealand as one of the top destinations for Indonesian students to consider as a study destination.

    Key points:

    • New Zealand has a low profile in Indonesia

    • To change this we need persistent and consistent marketing in Indonesia

    • The Indonesian market is primarily a tertiary education market, but there are opportunities for other sectors

    • The postgraduate market is growing significantly.

    SUN Education describes itself as the “most complete” International Educational Consultancy firm in Indonesia, providing the largest selection of quality education and country destination under one roof with its main focus being Australia, Singapore, UK, USA, Malaysia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada. Suwarni has more than eight years of student recruitment activity and currently works with 10 countries including New Zealand.

    Suwarni Puspita, Branch Manager, Mal Ciputra, with Indonesia’s SUN Education Group recently took part in a visit to New Zealand with other education agents from Indonesia. She offers some impressions of the opportunities and challenges for New Zealand institution, and in particular tertiary institutions, in Indonesia.

  • Strong team established in South East Asia

    It was first time everyone in the South East Asia team had been together in one location and it was a great opportunity for the them to work on the business plan for the coming year.

    Three areas of focus were identified during the planning sessions; first, delivering great marketing events (such as those recently held in Indonesia and Malaysia and soon to be held in Thailand and Viet Nam); second, introducing New Zealand institutions to potential partners and facilitating business development. Opportunities currently being explored in this area include early childhood education in Indonesia and Borneo; vocational education in Viet Nam; and English language opportunities in several countries. The third area of focus is leveraging Government connections and relationships.

    Also over the two days, the team spent time working out the best way to ‘pitch’ New Zealand as a destination for tertiary education to students at selected schools in all countries of focus. The first task was to identify which Year 8-10 students and parents would consider New Zealand as an education destination, and what types of schools they were at; and then, how the team could most effectively raise awareness of New Zealand education as a study destination among this group. The South East Asia team will be trialling a pitch in selected schools soon, and awareness-raising activities of this sort will become an important part of their job at the conclusion of the fairs.

    Many of you will already know some of the team – but perhaps only as a voice over the phone, so the accompanying photo shows, from left to right: Sarah Gauthier, ENZ’s Wellington-based International Market Manager who supports South East Asia; Izak Human, ENZ’s Regional Director – South East Asia; Margaret Low (Malaysia), Yenny Chen (Indonesia); Gewalin (Nan) Lertrasameewong  (Thailand), Dinh Duong (Viet Nam) and ENZ General Manager – International, Peter Bull.

    Yenny and Dinh are new to the team and next month Dinh will be in New Zealand for the first time. During her stay in New Zealand, from 10–18 October, Dinh is hoping to gain as much understanding of New Zealand education as possible and would very much like to meet education providers and visit schools and other education institutions

    If you would like to meet Dinh and show her what New Zealand can offer Vietnamese students, or discuss your plans for market development in Viet Nam, please email Sarah Gauthier: due to itinerary constraints, we may not be able to honour every request, so please understand if we are unable to visit you – but rest assured that we will do our best!)

  • Expert advice for schools

    The case studies provide expert advice for schools from leading international education practitioners within the school sector.

    The case studies highlight key lessons from a primary, an intermediate and five secondary schools, from Auckland to Invercargill. The case studies explore a range of themes, including marketing, staffing models and capability, economics and financing, planning and processes, student experience, homestay and academic support, and overarching principles.

    A summary of the key lessons from all the case studies has been compiled into the Top tips for international student programmes

    The case studies are part of the growing range of ENZ products and services for schools. Other support includes the Strategic Roadmap programme, the International Education Growth Fund, school website review service, school reference group and Business Development Managers who can provide advice and support to help you grow your international business. More tools to support schools will be released in the coming months. To keep up with developments, subscribe to our E-news and keep an eye on our web site.

  • Student Voice 2013 a ‘great opportunity’

    Twenty five current and former international students gathered to share their education experiences and to network with other international students.

    Activities kicked off with a scavenger hunt where the teams were given a list of clues and tasks to complete at different locations around the city. The scavenger hunt included a creative photo competition to create content for our social media channels. Photos from the scavenger hunt can be found on our Facebook page.

    During day two of Student Voice, workshops were held to learn more about the pathways students took to study in New Zealand, their education experiences, and their views on what can be done to improve the student experience.

    Participants also fed back on the new, New Zealand Education Story brand, creating their own execution of the brand posters.

    ENZ selected three current international students and one alumnus from the Student Voice group to make up the panel members for the Student Voice 2013 session at the New Zealand International Education Conference. The panel members will share their education pathway experiences and the findings from Student Voice 2013. 

    We are very excited to have such outstanding representatives of New Zealand education joining us.  

  • New penguins arrive in New Zealand

    They are the third group of scholarship students sent to New Zealand by the Chilean Government since the "Penguins Without Borders" programme was expanded from 40 to up to 100 students during the Prime Minister's trade mission to Chile last March.

    The students, known as penguins due to Chile’s distinctive black and white school uniform, are here to expand their international outlook. The breadth of study options and experiences here are a major drawcard.

    Regional Director for Latin America, Lisa Futschek, says 140 Chilean students have experienced New Zealand’s world-class education system through the programme to date. In a new development with this cohort, Education New Zealand (ENZ) negotiated the inclusion of single sex schools and private schools in the programme for the first time.

    "Feedback from the students themselves, their families and Chilean officials has been really positive. There will be a new administration in power in Chile in March, and ENZ is working hard to secure New Zealand as a continuing destination for these students." 

    ENZ's work in Chile has already generated media coverage there about New Zealand education and the penguins programme, including stories in key publications including regional El Mercurio newspapers and national TV stations Canal 13 and CNN Chile. 

    Business Development Manager Richard Kyle says the wide range of course options for students in New Zealand has engaged both the Chilean students and the media.

    "It really is a distinctive strength of our schools that we can meet individual learning needs and interests by offering such a diverse curriculum and extra-curricular activities. It’s one of the first things past penguins talk about and it’s something that’s piqued Chilean media interest when they’re reporting on what these students will see and do."

    To watch an interview (in Spanish) with New Zealand Ambassador John Capper about the penguins, go to:

  • eT4e - Ed Tech for Export conference

    The conference is organised by Grow Wellington with the support of Education New Zealand.

    This year's conference features four international speakers from business and academia - Lee Wilson, CEO of Filament Games in Wisconsin; Dr Erkki Sutinen, head of the edTech Research Group from the University of Eastern Finland; Jennifer Carolan, head of the NewSchools Seed Fund in California; and Hapara founder Jan Zawadzki.

    They will be joined by national speakers including Noelene Anderson, Pixelhouse; David Ellis, NZCER; Adrian Sallis, Vital English; David Cameron, LearnKo and Maru Nihoniho, Metia Interactive.

    Globally, education technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in education. Growth is being driven by increased student and teacher demand for engaging and effective learning solutions, the need to develop digital skills and digital citizenship in modern economies, and the entry of major technology corporates and investment entities into the business of education. Global expenditure is forecast to reach US$220b by 2017.

    “Asia- Pacific is expected to be one of the leading regions for growth of edtech. Education New Zealand is keen to work with those companies with smart content and technology to capitalise on that demand,” says Clive Jones, General Manager of Business Development at Education New Zealand.

    Education technology converts traditional education systems into automated virtual learning environments through web-based courses, assessment materials, online tutoring, professional development, and data management systems.

    Visit for more information, to check out the programme and to register

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