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International education sector entering new phase

Published: Tue 14 Oct 2003 09:33 AM
International education sector “entering new phase”
The international education sector in New Zealand is about to enter a new phase based around continuing high demand, and a more diversified student mix by country of origin, field and level of study.
That’s according to Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand speaking at the Canterbury International Education Summit.
Mr Stevens says future growth will also be driven by offshore expansion and mergers, greater cross-border investment and a bigger scale of operators.
“The future of the international education sector in New Zealand looks good, despite having had a rough couple of months on two fronts.
“The collapse of the Modern Age Institute and its aftermath within New Zealand and abroad, and the increasingly difficult task of recruiting students from China have been key issues for the sector to deal with.
“An important lesson from the Modern Age debacle is that one bad apple can spoil an entire case in the eyes of the consumer.”
“The entire education export industry has a vested interest in ensuring its delivery matches the standards that are expected.
“While the vast majority are doing this, some providers still treat quality of service delivery as an irritant. The Modern Age failure demonstrates the industry has a collective interest in not tolerating poor quality providers,” says Mr Stevens.
Mr Stevens says the emergence of a more assertive attitude on the part of foreign governments is another feature in the ongoing development of the sector.
“The Chinese Government in particular appears to be taking a more interventionist approach in its attitude to Chinese nationals studying abroad, including New Zealand.
“Because we are more exposed to the Chinese market in percentage terms than our key competitors – Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the US – we need to ensure that service delivery standards are raised,” he says.
Mr Stevens says the education export sector has grown spectacularly in this country in recent years, and its future looks positive.
“Raised standards across the board will ensure the sector overcomes the current difficulties it faces, and continues to grow,” says Mr Stevens.

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