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Edubusiness Benefits Schools, PTE's and Teachers

Schools, PTE's and teachers will benefit from new 'edubusiness'

A start-up 'edubusiness' is offering new efficiencies for New Zealand's burgeoning international English language sector.

Christchurch-based Synergy Education is offering a range of edubusiness specific services to education institutions throughout New Zealand. The company is headed by former teacher, international education marketing and recruitment manager David Shearer. Mr Shearer says New Zealand international educators have special requirements.

"As well as internal administration and government compliance functions that are required of all education institutions, international providers have additional responsibilities; pressure to generate enrolments, manage pastoral care of students, and stakeholder expectations.

This presents a complex management challenge that many institutions are happy to contract out, Mr Shearer says.

"Our research revealed that compliance and marketing are major issues facing the international education sector, and that the vast majority of institutions would outsource professional support in these areas if it were available.

"Well, now it is."

Synergy Education undertakes education-related projects ranging from preparing New Zealand Qualifications Authority applications through coordinating promotional campaigns, implementation of customised software, personnel recruitment to total project management.

"It's all about giving schools an opportunity to deliver the type of education they want to deliver, while at the same time saving money, and improving the result."

The special nature of the international education sector requires professionals with a deep knowledge of its processes, procedures and management. Mr Shearer says mainstream business advice is of limited use to private or state educators.

"We need to be able to provide cost-efficient and timely support for providers. We see ourselves as the independent provider of edubusiness solutions."

"It is a very specialised field."

"We aim to provide international education professionals with access to experts who know the language of education and who understand that the bottom line isn't always about money. If we can make managing international education easier and more effective for our clients, then I will know we have succeeded."

The company outsources the expertise of school principals, education directors, industry consultants, managers and teachers, well versed in the business of global education.

Synergy Education is launching its services nationwide in April and will make an appearance in August at Education New Zealand's annual conference.

Mr Shearer believes New Zealand has an enviable reputation overseas as a location in which to learn international English and he says the country has a unique opportunity to grasp world leadership in the field.

"Other English-speaking countries are looking to capitalise on the growing demand, so the key to New Zealand remaining competitive is supporting our quality programmes with management and marketing systems of similar quality - and we are not there yet."

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