Successful Colleges Of Education In China And HK

Published: Wed 28 Nov 2001 06:11 PM
Successful Colleges Of Education Grow Opportunities In China And Hong Kong
Auckland, November 28, 2001 -- Patience and a commitment to relationship building are paying off for ACENZ (the Association of Colleges of Education in New Zealand), as it grows its presence in the Chinese education market.
Last year ACENZ became one of the first international organisations to win a contract from the Chinese education authorities when 25 teachers came to New Zealand to participate in a four-week training course to improve their English teaching skills. This year 100 Chinese teachers have participated in three programmes, graduating in ceremonies recently, and this number is now expected to double in 2002.
To support and further grow this interest, ACENZ has just returned from a further scouting trip to the region and is developing other programmes, such as leadership and management courses for senior teachers and principals, and a Masters in Education programme that could be delivered in both China and New Zealand over a two-year period.
Verification that ACENZ’s efforts are gathering high-level interest in the Chinese market has come in the form of recent visits by senior education officials from Beijing and Hong Kong. A delegation from the Hong Kong Department of Education came to New Zealand to discuss, among other matters, training opportunities for Hong Kong’s teachers.
“Hong Kong is a new market for ACENZ,” says ACENZ director Graeme Oldershaw. “Its delegation made the approach to us, which shows that what we are doing and what we can offer is being shared among officials at a national level.
“ Our recent visit to Hong Kong was very well received with a high level of interest being shown by the officials. ACENZ is now working on detailed proposals for a range of possible training ventures for 2002 and beyond.”
ACENZ was formed by the four colleges of education based in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Earlier this year ACENZ was awarded a Trade New Zealand Export Commendation for its initial marketing of their teaching training services to the Chinese market.
China is the world’s most populous nation and has over 10 million teachers and a Government committed to having its senior schools (years 10,11 & 12) taught bilingually within the next five years. To achieve this goal, 10,000 teachers are being upskilled by the Ministry of Education, with many of these and several thousand others funded by regional groups going overseas for intensive training.
Mr Oldershaw says there is a huge drive on to upskill teachers of English and New Zealand’s four colleges of education joined together to provide courses to meet the demand.
In the past year ACENZ has worked with Trade New Zealand to research the opportunities in the market and to identify decision makers. As a result groups of teachers have visited New Zealand, and in October the four colleges of education hosted Director Ding Hongyu, Director of the Office of International Education of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, who was following up on what New Zealand has to offer.
Mr Ding had shown great interest in what New Zealand had to offer teachers in the Beijing Commission and had met subsequent ACENZ delegations. While in New Zealand, Mr Ding met with Education Minister Trevor Mallard and left New Zealand with a greater appreciation of what ACENZ members can offer beyond just upskilling teachers of English, Mr Oldershaw says.
ACENZ were able to discuss with him their new programmes, such as the leadership and management courses and Masters in Education programme.
Trade New Zealand Account Manager Dolly Seow-Ganesan says ACENZ’s successes are due to the importance it placed on being thoroughly prepared before entering the market, and the attention staff gave to fostering close relationships with the right people.
Bigger players from larger countries are courting education authorities in the ACENZ focus areas of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Hong Kong. But Ms Seow-Ganesan says the ACENZ product has many advantages over potential competitors.
“The colleges are specialist providers of teacher education and all have been in the business for more than one hundred years,” she says. “Students are spread over four campuses, and only home stay accommodation is used.
“The Chinese Government also perceives New Zealand as being a safe destination for its citizens.”
New Zealand’s foreign exchange generated from the education sector totalled $710 million in 2000, an increase of 24% over the previous year. This is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2004. The Chinese market accounted for over 20% of the total in 2000 – worth $152.5 million.
Trade New Zealand’s Beijing-based Trade Commissioner, Jim Tait, says the district bodies that run the Chinese schools and employ the teachers were comfortable dealing with ACENZ, both because of its long background in New Zealand as the organisation responsible for the training of teachers and because it offered tailor made courses and a programme that included teaching methodology.
“However, equally important has been the commitment shown by ACENZ in producing material in Chinese, in responding rapidly to questions and in regularly visiting the market. All to often Chinese companies see exporters making an initial foray in to the market with some initial follow-up, but then not show a commitment to sticking with the market,” Mr Tait says.

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