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NZ admissions staff key to sustainable industry
There are relatively small numbers of people working in the area of international qualifications in New Zealand, so training and the sharing of knowledge is vital.
To support this need for professional development, AUT and ENZ jointly hosted UK NARIC to run training sessions on 17 and 18 September for New Zealand admissions staff. The workshop also provided a valuable opportunity for admissions staff from around the country to share their knowledge and expertise.
UK NARIC is the designated United Kingdom national agency responsible for providing information, advice and expert opinion on vocational, academic and professional skills and qualifications from over 180 countries worldwide.
The sessions were well attended and well received. Here’s some of the feedback, grouped under each of the four training session topics.
Evaluating International Qualifications.
This session provided some guidance in the all-important area of qualification evaluation.
This session helped me to understand different models of education and evaluation process of international qualifications. Among the four traditional education models of: Anglo- Scottish, American, Humboldt and Napoleonic. The first two models are quite straight forward, unlike the last two!
Exercises in identifying which model to apply where, gave us better understanding of the entry requirements, duration, progression route and qualification comparison the various qualifications.
I now have a greater understanding on what to request and look for while checking and accepting documents.
Degrees of Deception.
This session looked at the worldwide problem of applicants presenting fraudulent documents to ensure a place in a learning institute.
The overview, general and brief as it was, gave me a starting point as to the kinds of alterations to look for when presented with a document for assessing.
A major part of an admissions staffer’s daily workload includes deciphering international documents and recognising the difference between acceptable and fraudulent qualifications. The NARIC training course has made me think twice and question things I may have otherwise not thought about.
Education in China.
This session gave an overview of the structure of the education systems in China.
As well as gaining a general understanding of the Chinese education system in different provinces, I found the session on numbers and dates in Chinese characters particularly helpful, as it helped me get a precise understanding of the course duration, start date and completion date in order to verify authenticity of the translation. Also, the exercise we did identifying Chinese characters to confirm the school and entry to higher education will help me to understand Chinese certificates more easily.
The other interesting exercise was identifying the authenticity of the certificate by looking at its serial number. After this session I am clear about how to read the transcript and the completion certificate.
Education in North America.
This session gave an overview of the structure of the education systems in North America.
My top three takeaways from this session were:
There is no national qualifications framework in Canada, thus there is a lot of variation in education between the provinces.
There is also no national accrediting body in Canada to evaluate the quality of all degree programmes, although a number of regulatory authorities perform this function for programmes in professional subjects at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Many countries in the Caribbean have very few nationally accredited higher education institutions, so links with international universities to offer recognised qualifications are common
Ways in which the training will change or improve the way I work:
More knowledge of the education systems in North America will make it easier and more efficient to assess applicants from this area, as less time will be spent looking up information.
A particular challenge in my job that is now made easier since having the training:
The training provided specific information on the difference between vocational and academic Associate Degrees from the United States. This was useful as we only accept Academic Associate Degrees for University Entrance and it was previously not always easy to identify if the qualification was academic or vocational.
Notice: Brief shut down of INZ’s online client accounts in late May
This means that education agents and providers will not be able to access their online client accounts for four days, from 8am NZT on Saturday, 28 May.
New online applications will not be possible during this period, except for working holiday visas and skilled migrant category expressions of interest. Hard copy paper applications will still be accepted.
IDme will significantly improve INZ’s ability to confirm a person’s identity, making it a vital new protection against identity fraud by visa applicants.
The system will enable biometric information (face photographs and fingerprints) from visa applicants to be uploaded online and automatically matched against personal information already held by INZ.
IDme will be released in two tranches – the first release, from 31 May, will enable automated matching of all biographic details (personal data), fingerprints and a small volume of facial photographs. The second release, in the last quarter of 2016, will allow automated matching of all photographs.
IDme is the latest in a series of business changes known collectively as Immigration ONLINE. Better customer service is a key aim of these changes, which include:
online applications for student, work and visitor visas
third party “apply on behalf” for INZ partners such as immigration advisors, and
eVisas (passport-free and label-less visas).
The next new service will enable families and tour groups to apply online using a single form. Once this happens, 80 percent of visa types by volume will be available online.
Sitting behind these new services are business changes that standardise best practice and apply consistent, measurable quality standards across INZ. Traditional visa processing tasks will reduce as customers increasingly go online to apply for visas and check their visa status.
New acceptable photo rules
Photos can still be submitted online along with application forms, but they must now meet strict approval guidelines to avoid rejection by the system. INZ recommends that applicant photos be taken by a professional photographer or a business set up to take passport-quality photos.
Registrations now open for 2016 IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad
The U.S. welcome mat is out.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) welcomes participation from New Zealand at the 2016 IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad.
The summit will take place from October 23-25, 2016 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The summit will bring education, government and business leaders together for discussions on international experience as a key part of a 21st century education and how to make study abroad opportunities available to all.
It is more important than ever that U.S. students graduate with the international, intercultural, and language skills that they will need to help solve today’s global challenges.
The 2016 IIE Summit is part of IIE’s Generation Study Abroad®, a five year initiative to double the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade.
Generation Study Abroad seeks to increase and diversify participation by bringing higher education institutions, employers, governments, teachers, associations and others to build on current best practices. They are also looking at new ways to extend study abroad opportunities and resources to tens of thousands of college students whose needs are not currently served by existing study abroad programmes.
More than 600 participants from across the US and from around the world are expected to attend the Summit.
Putting New Zealand in agents’ hearts and on their maps
Education New Zealand (ENZ) recently organised a series of agent familiarisation tours.
Four groups were immersed in New Zealand’s learning, living and working opportunities for international students.
Agents from Brazil, Colombia, South Korea and Saudi Arabia were treated to tours of New Zealand’s special places – from regional centres to our bigger cities.
ENZ’s regional and international teams organised the programmes and toured with the agents over May and June. They were shown the full spectrum of the sector, and were also given updates and presentations from government agencies like Immigration New Zealand and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA.
“The agents enjoyed and appreciated the chance to learn about education in New Zealand, meet current international students and understand the distinctive offerings for students across all of New Zealand,” said Greg Scott, ENZ Regional Programme Manager.
The tour included interactive activities, including an emphasis on education pathways, applied learning and creative technologies, and special open-invitation networking opportunities, like the Networking Starts at Home event
The agents visited Taranaki, Nelson, Canterbury, Waiuku, Hamilton, Dunedin, Queenstown and Napier.
“As our regional centres become better known international education destinations, the agent familiarisation tours demonstrated how each regional centre has a unique story and value proposition that can appeal to different student interests,” says Greg Scott.
The potential benefit to increasing the profile of New Zealand education amongst all these markets is immense.
“The feedback from the participating agents was extremely positive and heartfelt,” says Sarah Gauthier, ENZ Regional Project Manager.
“We ensured the agents enjoyed themselves and their time in New Zealand. They enjoyed tourist activities, speaking to international students and their homestay families and gaining a deeper understanding overall of the value of a New Zealand education.”
“We are seeing lots of photos of New Zealand on the agents’ social media feeds and their agencies’ websites,” says Jo Keane, ENZ Regional Project Manager.
“We’d like to thank all the people, organisations and regional groups that supported these familiarisations,” says Sarah Gauthier.
“It was a true Team New Zealand effort. We appreciated the time everyone took to host us, meet the agents, organise tours and ensure that the students were available to speak to the agents in their own language.
“There’s nothing like hearing why New Zealand is such a great place to be a student than from real international students. By speaking about their study, lifestyle and work opportunities, the tours were really brought to life,” she says.
Putting us in their hearts and on their maps
Some 21 agents from Brazil, Colombia, South Korea and Saudi Arabia were treated to tours of New Zealand’s special places.
ENZ's regional and international teams organised the programmes and toured with the agents over May and June.
“The agents really enjoyed and appreciated the chance to learn about education in New Zealand, meet current international students and understand the distinctive regional offerings for students across all of New Zealand,” said Greg Scott, ENZ Regional Programme Manager.
The tours included stops in Taranaki, Nelson, Canterbury, Waiuku, Hamilton, Dunedin, Queenstown, Napier, Wellington and Auckland.
Each tour contained lots of interactive activities and emphasised education pathways and applied learning and creative technologies.
The potential benefit to raising the profile of a New Zealand education amongst all these markets is immense.
“The Korean agents indicated that their understanding has greatly increased of everything New Zealand has to offer,” said Tania Woodcock, International Market Manager, China, Korea and Japan.
“So far, the feedback from the participating agents has been extremely positive and genuine,” said Sarah Gauthier, Regional Project Manager.
“We ensured the agents enjoyed themselves and their time in New Zealand – so that they could speak authentically to prospective international students and their families about the value of a New Zealand education.”
ENZ was seeing lots of photos of New Zealand on the agents’ social media feeds and their agencies’ websites.
“This type of engagement with New Zealand post-famil is great,” said Sahinde Pala, Regional Project Manager. “It shows the impact we made on the agents, and their commitment to promoting New Zealand education.”
“We’d like to thank all the people, organisations and regional groups who supported these famils,” said Sarah.
“It was a true Team New Zealand effort. We appreciated the time everyone took to host us, meet with the agents, organise tours and ensure that relevant international students were available to speak to the agents in their own language.
“There’s nothing like hearing why New Zealand is such a great place to be a student than from real international students. By speaking about their study, lifestyle and work opportunities, the tours were really brought to life.”
For more information contact Sarah Gauthier, Regional Project Manager, email@example.com
Grow your business with the Skills Lab
At the heart of the Skills Lab is project-based learning. These projects are designed to give you top tips and advice that you can consume in bite-size pieces. The Skills Lab also allows you to post your own comments and share your top tips so we can develop a professional community.
Collaboration at the heart
The Skills Lab was born of industry feedback. In the 2015 Industry Survey, you expressed a desire for more professional development support, and in particular asked for online support in order for you to access content at a time and location that suits you.
We’ve since co-developed the Skills Lab with multiple groups of industry representatives, having taken into account your advice on the structure and features of the website, as well as on key content areas. We’re already working on a range of refinements that you’ve suggested, including on individual projects and website functionality.
Helping grow your business
The Skills Lab is already proving useful. Robbie Pickford, International Director of Takapuna Grammar School, told The PIE News at the New Zealand International Education Conference that the Skills Lab helped her institution learn about new markets.
“I’ve been in the industry for a long time and there hasn’t been that go-to place that I could get intel about the market, the country or the culture. The Skills Lab also encourages industry collaboration, with users able to upload their own information and expertise. There’ll be more and more information available for the sector. It keeps us growing and thinking towards the future,” Pickford said.
Kirstyn Mawdsley, Director International of St Hilda’s Collegiate School, also told The PIE News that the Skills Lab would be of particular benefit to New Zealand’s regional and smaller providers.
“We don’t have the same budget available as bigger programmes, and often we’re working in very small departments. Trying to keep up to date with everything and find professional development opportunities is quite complicated. The Skills Lab helps with that and also alleviates the distance barrier,” she said.
But wait, there’s more!
The current version of the Skills Lab is just the beginning. We’ll continue to roll out new content, so stay tuned for more case studies and international education-specific content over the coming months. We’re planning more detailed and useful projects that will help you in your specific organisational context.
We’ll also be partnering with individual industry experts to bring you case studies and projects based on their successes. If you have suggestions on content, or would like to offer some of your expertise and contribute to a case study or project, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up and participate
Make sure you watch the introductory video to learn how you can use this exciting new tool.
Note that only approved New Zealand education providers are able to access the Skills Lab and its content.
If you are experiencing any difficulty in signing up to the Skills Lab, please email email@example.com.
Letter from the CE on India student market
India is and will continue to be a large part of the international education industry. The vast majority of Indian students who study in New Zealand make a very valuable contribution to our campuses, our workplaces and our society. Every day Indian students, alongside other international students, are helping New Zealand to build its research capability and global linkages, to fill skill shortages and to enrich New Zealand culture.
However, we do currently have a small number of students from India facing potential deportation because of issues with their visa, or with illegal behaviour while they have been in New Zealand. Separately, students affected by the recent sale of an Auckland private training provider are being supported to transfer to a new provider to continue and complete their studies.
There have also been disturbing stories about some cases of the exploitation of international students from employers and others.
New Zealand government agencies are working closely together on these issues, to ensure all students are treated fairly and are well cared for, and to protect New Zealand’s educational reputation. This joint-agency work on international student wellbeing has focused in recent months on Auckland where the majority of international students are located, and involved a range of community meetings and student focus groups to ensure student needs and concerns are being heard and addressed.
It is vital that New Zealand maintains high standards across the international education industry.
It is also important that these events do not tarnish the reputation of an entire community nor devalue the significant contribution that international students from India and elsewhere, and our education providers, make to New Zealand.
To all of us involved in international education, it is a timely reminder to honour our obligations and responsibilities to students. We all – providers, agents, employers, community and ethnic groups, government agencies and other support services – have a role to play in a successful international student experience.
When I talk about shared responsibilities, I am talking about government agencies which set the regulatory frameworks (including setting rules around proof of financial means), and agencies like Education New Zealand which promote New Zealand’s education opportunity offshore. I am also talking about providers which offer students – domestic and international – a wide variety of education programmes. These programmes can act as a stepping stone to further study in New Zealand or overseas. They can also provide a pathway to residence if a student gains the skills that are in demand in New Zealand. At other times, they are very much about the overseas experience.
Education agents and students also have a responsibility for great student experiences. There has been a lot of communication about the obligation on New Zealand providers to manage their agent relationships. Information sharing on agent performance is a key part of Immigration New Zealand’s strategy to support providers’ decisions on the agents they work with. Providers can expect to see greater government engagement on this area of compliance with the new Code of Pastoral Care.
We also have a collective responsibility to share and promote the positive contribution that international education makes to our communities.
We believe that students too have an obligation to come here with genuine intent – that their primary purpose is to study and that they have the means to do so. Working in New Zealand while studying is a way to complement the classroom skills they learn and to really engage with everyday life. It is not intended as a lifeline to cover living costs which can expose vulnerable students to the risk of exploitation.
Of course, New Zealand employers are important contributors to the education experience as well. Everyone in New Zealand has the right to protection through minimum work rights, and we expect employers to uphold New Zealand employment law. We continue to encourage individuals to come forward if they have specific examples of workplace mistreatment. This is the only way we can address these issues.
We are also working alongside the New Zealand communities of international students because we see this as crucial to good outcomes. It helps to bridge the gap that may exist through the different cultural contexts which operate and where, for example, some international students aren’t aware of their rights and protections under New Zealand law.
Of the students and former students facing deportation, some are in New Zealand unlawfully, some have been found to have submitted fraudulent visa applications, and some have committed crimes here. It’s critical that only those who have the right to be in New Zealand remain. This helps to support a quality system for the majority of international students who have, and continue to come here with, genuine means and intent.
Lastly, we acknowledge the role of education providers in this process – we do not accept poor performance. For the hundreds delivering high-quality education programmes in New Zealand, the outcomes for international students are obvious. Education New Zealand has numerous student stories of success. For the small number of providers not performing, agencies are taking appropriate action, not all of which makes it into the public arena, and for good reason. But I can say that agencies are working together more closely than before, sharing information to support change where it’s needed and to continuously improve the New Zealand education experience.
International education is one of the most powerful ways to connect us across the world. Let’s all continue to take responsibility for our part in it.
Chief Executive, Education New Zealand
Wellington International Student Excellence Awards 2016
Twelve international students were acknowledged at the inaugural Wellington International Student Excellence Awards, held at Parliament on Friday 14 October. The awards, presented by Deputy Prime Minister, Bill English, recognise the region’s best all-round international students.
Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) Chief Executive, Chris Whelan, says international students are an important part of New Zealand’s education community, with the awards taking into account academic achievement as well as contributions made in sports, arts and the community.
“Last year, approximately 7,500 international students studied in Wellington. They not only make a valuable economic contribution, but make an important cultural impact on their school communities,” said Whelan.
“We’ve developed these awards to recognise the contribution made by individual students.”
The winners covered a range of ages, from a primary school pupil to PhD student, including:
To Quan Quach
As a member of young leadership groups including Vic Crew, Victoria University of Wellington Student Association, Kiwi Mate and AIESEC, To Quan Quach of Vietnam has made a significant contribution to internationalising Victoria University. To is also on the Business School’s Dean’s List for academic achievement.
Hailing from India, Anamika Nampoothiry has made a second home in Wellington, where she currently studies at WelTec, after previously studying at Queen Margaret College. Anamika was awarded proxime accessit in 2015, and a top IB scholar award. She is a dancer and singer, student librarian, and soon-to-be engineer.
Currently studying at Onslow College, Yang Xiao from China, has helped organise multiple fundraising and social events to encourage integration within school life and beyond. Yang plans to study at Victoria University before pursuing his dream of becoming a pilot for Air New Zealand.
Leaving Germany for Wellington’s Scots College, Lothar Krumpen soon made too many friends to leave his new home, and decided to continue his New Zealand study at Victoria University last year. As well as being a top law student and averaging A+’s in his commerce papers, Lothar has represented both Wellington and the New Zealand University hockey teams.
Asia comes to Marsden School
With funding from the Asia New Zealand Foundation, Marsden Head of Humanities, Fiona Crawford, organised a full day of activities for students, with the aim to increase their cultural awareness and educate them on a region with increasing ties to New Zealand.
"We want our students to thrive and contribute towards putting New Zealand on the map, so it is our responsibility to equip them for their future relationships with Asia," Crawford said.
The day included a range of activities and sessions that represented 11 Asian countries, starting off with a Tai Chi session in the gym, and ending with an inter-house KPop (Korean Pop) dance competition. In between, students broke into groups to take part in Judo, Kung Fu and Bollywood dance classes, sushi, dumpling and curry making, language learning and haiku writing, as well as origami, henna painting, sari dressing, lantern making, calligraphy, kite making – and much more.
“The students really enjoyed themselves, but also gained valuable insights into the many Asian cultures on show. Many commented on how fun it was, and hope to do it again next year,” Crawford said.
Amanda Cundy, a former Marsden student who went on the school’s first exchange to China back in 2010, stopped by Asia Day to share her experience with students. She spoke about the impact that Chinese studies had on her life, and the importance of understanding other cultures in an increasingly globalised world.
ENZ promotes education in Thailand
The counsellors were broken into small groups and rotated between roundtable discussions with Education New Zealand, the US Embassy, British Council, and OCSC.
ENZ’s Marketing and Strategic Relations Manager – Thailand, Chortip Pramoolpol, said this intimate road show format was helpful in sharing key information with the market without overwhelming them.
“It was a great way for school counsellors and students to gain insights into New Zealand’s education system and learn the many benefits of studying there.
“It also means information about New Zealand will be distributed into schools and to students who otherwise wouldn’t have New Zealand on their study abroad radar.”
The following day, ENZ met with the chairman and presidents of Rajamangala University of Technology (RMUT), a system of nine universities in Thailand. With RMUT’s link to industry and practical teaching styles, it is most similar to New Zealand ITPs.
ENZ’s South, Southeast Asia and Middle East Regional Director, John Laxon gave a crash course on the New Zealand ITP system, welcoming the possibility of future collaborations with RMUT in English language training, double-degree programmes and student exchanges.
To build on this knowledge, ENZ’s Thailand team have begun planning an education road show for all nine RMUT universities starting December.