14 November 2019

From the Acting CE: Open for business – international education and the vocational reforms

International education has an important role to play in optimising and supporting core education goals – including the reform of vocational education currently underway.

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I am therefore very pleased that Education New Zealand has the opportunity to contribute and support the work of the establishment unit for the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) and the reforms.

The NZIST will bring together the existing 16 ITPs to create a unified, sustainable public network of vocational education.

As we all know, New Zealand enjoys a strong reputation for work-ready education and industry training.

The reforms should build on New Zealand’s reputation as a high-quality choice for international students. They should also help develop a strong national identity for the vocational sector, representing a significant opportunity for providers to attract overseas students.

They should also help ensure a regional spread of students across New Zealand, with a lot of benefits for the regions – including skills, diversity and revenue.

I’m also very pleased to see that the reforms recognise the importance of international education. One of the seven IST work streams focuses entirely on it.

The International Education Working Group is chaired by Michelle Jordan from Venture Taranaki. Members are drawn from across nine institutes of technology/polytechnics and one skills organisation.

We are working closely with the group to support their work. And we’ll continue to work with them through the journey to share our experience and expertise.

The NZIST has a huge challenge ahead. And the changes to the country’s vocational education system will take time to embed.

While there is much happening at the provider level, the message for the sector and international students is that it’s business as usual. ITPs are open for business. And ENZ is continuing to market them. Students can continue to enrol at ITPs for 2020 as usual, including for multi-year programmes. Existing programmes, qualifications and credentials will continue to be recognised internationally.

The changes will take time, but they are an investment in the future of New Zealand’s vocational education and international education sectors.

What's in it for me?