Scale up good practice

“We are not saying there needs to be whole different approach but we need to be clear about what works well.”

Jackson points out the US, Canada, Germany and many other countries are ramping up their attempts to attract growing numbers of international students. Like New Zealand, many are targeting students from China and India. 

Jackson recently joined tertiary education providers and government officials on an education mission to India led by Minister Steven Joyce.

She says the experience challenged mission members to think about New Zealand’s comparative strengths in international education.

“There were some,” she says. “The Indians were particularly interested in vocational education training, research, and the learnings we have from the qualifications framework and how that is applied to the system as whole.”

Jackson says there are “huge opportunities in some overseas markets but we will only be able to exploit them if we are smart about what we do”.

That, she says, may require NZ Inc approach rather than separate initiatives by individual institutions.

“We need to work out what New Zealand’s comparative strengths are in education. We will only succeed by doing things collectively rather than individually.”

She adds that the New Zealand environment in which educational institutions operate “relatively autonomously” doesn’t necessarily lend itself toward parties learning from each other.

“So some of the research over the next few years will look at how we can better understand what’s going on in terms of best practice and how we can spread that across the sector.

“We are not saying there needs to be whole different approach but we do need to be quite specific about what’s working really well and in what context.”

Emphasising the strategic importance of the tertiary education sector to the New Zealand economy, Jackson points out that skills, innovation and focus on export markets are three of the six strands in the Government’s current business growth agenda. All are directly relevant to the education sector. 

Education New Zealand, new crown entity established last year as the country’s lead organisation in marketing New Zealand’s education industry overseas, is developing marketing strategies for China, India and other markets. 

It is working with tertiary education providers to implement marketing plans.

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