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Trevor Mallard meets Chinese Minister of Education

Trevor Mallard meets Chinese Minister of Education

The importance of education to the long term New Zealand/Chinese relationship was highlighted in my talks with Chinese Education Minister Mr Zhou Ji, said the Minister of Education Trevor Mallard.

"We had a very positive and constructive discussion," Trevor Mallard said.

"Having strong and high quality education systems are objectives we both share. Each of us is committed to continuing to work to ensure that all students in our systems succeed."
The overall strength and quality of the New Zealand system was acknowledged as could be seen in the performance of New Zealand students in international comparisons.

"We did discuss the issues associated with the recent collapse of Modern Age and some of the concerns experienced by Chinese students in New Zealand," Trevor Mallard said.

"I explained a number of the steps that the New Zealand government had been taking to strengthen both the pastoral care of students and the quality of education they received. I indicated that we took both of these very seriously and they would continue to be given priority attention.

"I also reiterated the point I made during my last visit to Beijing that we are committed to managing growth in ways that do not compromise quality. We do not have an unlimited capacity to take international students into our institutions. I told the Minister that our emphasis has to be on raising quality not on increasing numbers.

"Mr Zhou and I agreed on three broad principles that should guide our future work," Trevor Mallard said.

These are: The importance of active co-operation between the two countries and governments; The need to regulate and manage the development of our international education relationships in ways that build stability, certainty and quality; and, The need to build from both our positive and negative experiences as a basis for future reforms, management and innovation.

Trevor Mallard said the Chinese Minister viewed very positively the working relationships that had developed at both a political and official level which were allowing current issues to be discussed in a very open and frank way.

Trevor Mallard said that the discussions confirmed a huge long-term potential for the role education could play in underpinning a strong and friendly relationship with China.

However he also said there was a clear message to New Zealand educators.

"This message was that we would stand or fall by our quality. The long-term benefits to the relationship would only accrue if New Zealand providers were totally committed to ensuring that international students succeeded in our system and could live in a safe and secure environment while they lived in New Zealand, Trevor Mallard said.

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