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Auckland City supports Export Education

MEDIA RELEASE


11 September 2003

Auckland City supports Export Education

Students of the failed Modern Age Institute of Learning no longer have to worry about homestay arrangements today with Auckland City Council taking over the administration of the government’s emergency accommodation grant.

Modern Age went into liquidation earlier this week with about 300 students already having paid tuition and homestay fees up front to the organisation.

“The council places great value on the export education industry and what it provides for Auckland city,” says Councillor Mark Donnelly. “We are pleased to be able to administer the accommodation fees on behalf of the Ministry of Education and support its prompt response to this crisis.”

Auckland City is working with Westpac Trust to process the payments as quickly as possible after it was asked to undertake the management of these payments by the Ministry of Education, who did not have the accounting systems to deal with them. Most will be made on Friday and the balance will go through on Monday.

Study Auckland, part funded by Auckland City, is providing a support line for homestay families and places have been offered to students at other educational institutes.

“Students will have the comfort and security of being able to stay in their existing homestays, which will help them adjust to studying in their new schools,” says Mr Donnelly.

Auckland City will also seek to be involved in discussions surrounding additional support for the industry including putting processes in place to prevent further financial collapses.

“Education institutions are required to have a fees protection system in place to be a signatory to the Ministry of Education Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of Students.

“One area of possible improvement is the auditing process NZQA uses with language schools, especially with regard to accommodation fees.”

The Modern Age collapse highlights the need for better regulation and enforcement within the industry.

“The export education industry is the fifth largest foreign exchange earner in New Zealand but it doesn’t have the much needed systems and regulations required for its size and importance.

“The audit and procedure systems of NZQA have proved inadequate in this case. This cannot be allowed to continue,” Mr Donnelly says.

Auckland City will work with both government and the industry to help develop more appropriate systems for an industry whose benefits are spread widely throughout the community.

Export Education is a $1.7 billion industry, $900 million of which is estimated to go into Auckland’s economy.

Ends

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