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International students to get greater protection

· International students to get greater protection
·
· International students will get greater protection from July 1 under a new requirement which means that courses running less than three months must be approved, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.
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· “This is good news for international students who haven’t previously been able to get the kind of short course protection available to them now,” Trevor Mallard said.
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· “The change will also help protect New Zealand’s international reputation for export education, which is a billion-dollar industry here.
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· “This new requirement will also benefit existing registered New Zealand education providers, whose reputation overseas in the past has often felt to be jeopardised by the unregistered status of many providers offering short courses to international students. This is no longer the case.
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· “I do not envisage an increase in compliance costs to our tourist industry because exemption criteria are included which are designed to exclude genuine tourist and adventure experiences,” Trevor Mallard said.
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· The changes result from amendments made to the Education Act last year. As also required by that Act, the exemption criteria were approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) after consultation with the sector.
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· NZQA also now requires providers who enrol international students in courses of less than three months to make provision for early withdrawals and refunds.
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· They must also be registered with NZQA, which means being subject to a regular quality audit.
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· Under the changes to the Education Act, from July 1 providers who want to deliver courses of less than three months duration to international students must also be signatories to the Ministry of Education’s Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.
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· Questions and answers, including details of the exemption criteria are attached below.
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· Contact: Astrid Smeele (press secretary) 04 4719080 or 0274 664438. Email:astrid.smeele@parliament.govt.nz
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· Questions and Answers
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· Where can providers get more information? Providers who think they should be registered should contact the NZQA helpline – 0800 QA HELP (0800 72 4357).
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· What is the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students? The Code of Practice establishes a framework for minimum standards and good practice procedures, and a complaints procedure for providers enrolling international students. It came into force on 31 March 2002.
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· Previously, only courses longer than three months duration had to meet all these requirements.
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· A draft revised code is currently out for consultation and is available on www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/international
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· How many providers are likely to be affected? Approximately 50 providers have been identified so far by NZQA as needing to be registered with them following July 1. Providers must be registered if the course does not fit into one of the categories outlined in the exemption criteria below.
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· EXEMPTION CRITERIA
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· The exemption criteria state that a course may be exempt from the provisions of section 232(1) of the Education Act 1989 if the course is recreational in nature. A course is deemed to be recreational in nature if its intent meets one of the following definitions: Hobby: an activity undertaken regularly for pleasure The participant is in pursuit of a field of interest rather than an educational outcome (eg learning to play mah-jong, learning to knit) Leisure activity: an action taken in pursuit of a recreational pursuit The participant aims to gain skills in the field of a leisure activity. The participant would not expect to achieve an educational outcome in relation to further or higher study, or entry into employment (eg learning to scuba dive with a tourist operator, learning to ski, a wine-tasting tour) Experiential: involving or based on experience or observation The participant would be seeking through experience or observation to gain skills associated with a field of personal interest and would not expect to gain an educational outcome associated with further study or entry into employment, (eg a farm-stay experience for tourists).
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· In determining whether a course meets these criteria, the Qualifications Authority will take into account: the primary business of the provider of the course – eg is it tourism or education? the nature of marketing material provided by the provider to prospective learners; the target audience and means by which the course is marketed (eg in education publications or travel publications?); recognition of any certification offered as a result of participation (eg by employers); whether the course outcome, as a result of successful completion, will lead to either further study or employment.

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