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Education a vital part of NZ-China relationship

Education a vital part of New Zealand-China relationship

Friday 12 April 2013

The significant contribution of education to the New Zealand-China bilateral relationship was emphasised in a speech by Universities New Zealand incoming Chair and Vice Chancellor of Waikato University Professor Roy Crawford, speaking at the inaugural New Zealand China Partnership Forum in Beijing today.

The forum is being held as part of Prime Minister John Key’s trade delegation to China.

Professor Crawford spoke on behalf of the New Zealand education sector, one of the key export areas that the forum is focussed on, alongside trade, investment, creativity, science and tourism.

There are more than 24,000 Chinese students studying in New Zealand and in the last two years there has been a 14.8% increase in numbers, making China one of the fastest growing international education markets for New Zealand.

In his presentation to leading government officials, business and other representatives from New Zealand and China, Professor Crawford said there was a strong history of educational collaboration and exchange between both countries, underpinned by diverse linkages and frequent high-level interaction.

“Just this week, here in Beijing, Ministers signed a new Strategic Education Partnership between our two countries.”

Professor Crawford said the education relationship had been enhanced by the Free Trade Agreement, resulting in positive initiatives such as the establishment of a reciprocal doctoral research scholarship and an agreement that both countries work together on quality assurance for courses with a distance education component.

While the number of Chinese students coming to study in New Zealand was high, Professor Crawford highlighted that this was not “one-way”, and more New Zealand students are now studying in China.

“There are numerous programmes which encourage New Zealand students to take up opportunities in China, such as the Chinese Government’s Confucius Institute summer school scholarships.”


Professor Crawford said that in addition to the economic benefits of the education relationship, the spirit of ‘partnership and understanding’ was hugely valuable.
“A student who studies in either country will obtain a unique understanding of the other country’s culture. Chinese students who have studied in our country are ‘ambassadors’ for New Zealand on their return home. Such alumni not only contribute greatly to the goodwill between our two countries, but they are also an important pool of talent when New Zealand companies doing business with China are looking for staff.”


New Zealand’s university sector has strong links with China, with formal agreements in place between our eight universities and universities in China. These included research collaborations between university-based researchers in both countries, including the flagship tripartite partnership programme.


“My own university, the University of Waikato, has a tripartite partnership with Fudan and Yunnan Universities. Both the New Zealand and Chinese governments make funding available to support the development and growth of these strategic partnerships.”


Professor Crawford said that in the last five years there has been considerable progress in the education relationship, with New Zealand also expanding its joint activities with China in areas such as early childhood education, vocational training and e-learning.


He said he was confident that dynamism and strategic cooperation would guide the next five years of the relationship for the benefit of both countries.


The forum is being co-hosted by the New Zealand China Council (NZCC) and the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges.

ENDS

New Zealand China Council (NZCC) http://www.nzchinacouncil.com/
China Centre for International Economic Exchanges http://english.cciee.org.cn/

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