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Draft revised code for international students

Draft revised code for international students

Acting Education Minister Steve Maharey today launched a draft revised Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students, following an initial round of consultation with providers.

“The Ministry of Education received more than 300 submissions on the discussion document circulated in April and a range of amendments to the code are proposed,” Steve Maharey said.

These include: Changes to accommodate new requirements that short courses (of less than three months) be covered by the code. This is to align the code with the Education (Tertiary Reform) Amendment Act 2002 which requires providers of these short courses to be accredited and registered as private training establishments.

Strengthening of welfare and accommodation provisions to protect international students, including those aged 18 and over.

“Submissions supported the notion that all providers have a duty of care to ensure that all international students are in a safe physical and emotional environment during their stay in New Zealand, regardless of their age or length of stay,” Steve Maharey said.

Changes include tightening the definition of types of accommodation, and strengthening requirements for checking on the well-being and suitability of accommodation of students. The code will now better ensure that a “boarding establishment” cannot be misclassified as a “homestay”, and a person unknown to the family of a student will not be able to be appointed as a designated caregiver. Requirements that signatories meet with students and visit their accommodation have also been strengthened.

Other proposed amendments range from wording clarifications to amending the ability of the code administrator to refer matters to the International Education Appeal Authority.

“These proposals represent important developments in the industry and I urge all education providers enrolling international students who, by law, must be signatories to and comply with the code, to take note of the proposed changes.

“A large number of submissions commented on proposed amendments to address the rapid increase in the number of very young international students aged under 13 years, and the Ministry of Education will be undertaking further work around these very young international students," Steve Maharey said.

“Even with the changes already proposed, I continue to have concerns about the well-being of very young international students studying in New Zealand without adequate parental guidance or supervision.

“However, I have taken note of the suggestions in some submissions, and of the need to conclude a number of additional pieces of work (including an evaluation of international student programmes in schools being undertaken by the Education Review Office), before final decisions and implementation of changes in this area for the 2004 academic year,” Steve Maharey said.

The Government has also decided to undertake work to develop guidelines to address the special circumstances of students involved in offshore education provision by New Zealand providers. In the meantime these programmes will be exempt from the code.

Submissions on the draft revised code close on Wednesday, 25 June 2003. The Ministry will consider any final comments on the draft before the code is re-published.

Copies of the draft together with the analysis of submissions are available on-line at www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/international or by e-mailing international.unit@minedu.govt.nz.

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