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Better Standards for Internat'l Language Learners

ENGLISH NEW ZEALAND Press Release

Better Standards for International Language Learners
20 June 2005

At a recent meeting, ENGLISH NEW ZEALAND formally adopted stringent new academic standards for English language learners in New Zealand.

ENGLISH NEW ZEALAND believes special standards should protect all international students whose level of English is lower than IELTS 6.5 or equivalent and who are enrolled in New Zealand institutions, whether state or private.

The Ministry of Education Code of Practice for the pastoral care of international students addressed government and industry concerns relating to pastoral care but did not extend into the classroom where, arguably, even greater support is needed. The lack of academic standards tailored to the needs of international students has long been of concern to ENGLISH NEW ZEALAND. In recent years the industry has been plagued with problems because of a lack of suitable and sensible standards governing courses for international students. Low quality providers have been able to deliver courses that have poor teaching conditions, inadequate facilities, lack of monitoring of attendance, admission of students into inappropriate courses with no language support component and no provision for community integration and cultural interaction. All of this has resulted in poor teaching and learning for some students. There has been a tendency for some providers to put profit before quality.

ENGLISH NEW ZEALAND members believe that all international students below IELTS 6.5, who are effectively language learners, should be protected by specific quality standards that will help them to achieve their academic goals. These standards include maximum acceptable class sizes, minimum weekly contact hours with a teacher, attendance requirements, teacher qualifications, guidelines for adequate resourcing and facilities, and provision for effective engagement with New Zealand society and values.

To ensure member schools comply with the standards ENGLISH NEW ZEALAND is setting up a stringent peer monitoring and auditing system. As is the case with other industries of national importance, the ENGLISH NEW ZEALAND system provides for effective monitoring by trained industry professionals. Initially 20 auditors will be selected for training nationwide.

ENDS

ENGLISH NEW ZEALAND is a group of well-established, quality English language schools located across New Zealand. Their website is at www.englishnewzealand.co.nz.

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