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Budget 2004: Lifting Education & Living Standards

11 May 2004 Media Statement

Budget 2004
Moving to lift education and living standards

The government is backing the international education industry with a $40 million package of initiatives designed to lift our overseas profile, and strengthen the education sector through international exchanges of top students and staff, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

"This Budget 2004 initiative includes the establishment of 400 international education scholarships and study awards, funding to boost quality, for promotion and marketing, and for innovation in the sector," Trevor Mallard said.

"This investment represents a five-fold increase in government spending on international education and recognises the importance of international education to New Zealand - both socially and economically. We are committed to working closely with the sector to build New Zealand¡¦s reputation as a quality education destination, ensuring its long term sustainability and growth.

"It is critically important to have a strong international dimension to our education system. The exposure that our education sector gets to overseas thinking raises education standards here, and the people-to-people connections are also important as our young people learn to operate in what is now a global marketplace.

"Additionally, the international education sector contributes more than $2 billion annually to the New Zealand economy, making it one of our most successful industries - earning more than wool and wine combined. Obviously this has important spin-offs for jobs, and for the tourism, hospitality, retail and accommodation sectors around the country.

"This new package is part of the government's growth and innovation strategy and will boost New Zealand¡¦s education linkages with key countries, and provide additional levers to promote innovation and diversification."

The new initiatives include:

„h Education diplomacy - up to four offshore education counsellor positions will be established to work in key markets overseas. The first will be in Beijing, China, by 1 August 2004. Decisions about the locations of the other counsellors or other appropriate arrangements will be made later in the year;

„h Strengthening quality - in conjunction with the sector, the focus will go on identifying the best ways to improve achievement of international students. This will include the development of good practice examples and quality assurance indicators; and extending the scope of New Zealand quality assurance systems to cover off-shore programmes by New Zealand providers. It will be linked to our domestic focus on strategies for effectively teaching students from diverse backgrounds;

„h Scholarships - to attract top international post-graduate and undergraduate students to study and carry out research in New Zealand. From next year about 33 scholarships will be available annually for international students at post-graduate level and there will be 33 scholarships at the undergraduate level. By 2007 there will be 200 of these scholarships available;

„h Study Abroad awards - to increase opportunities for talented New Zealand students, teachers and researchers to undertake overseas study. By 2007 there will be at least 100 awards each year at secondary and 100 at tertiary level. The first 33 tertiary awards will be available next year, while the secondary awards will be introduced progressively from the beginning of 2006;

„h Innovation - funding will help New Zealand providers research risk factors, build capability, access seed funding for new products and partnerships, and undertake feasibility studies on options like satellite campuses, e-learning, and off shore courses; and

„h Generic promotion and marketing - to support the promotion of New Zealand education internationally, with improved co-ordination of marketing efforts and promotion of an effective national brand in a wider range of markets.

"With this package, the government will support the excellent work being done by providers and sector groups to improve quality and build the international dimension of their education programmes," Trevor Mallard said.

"Government, Education New Zealand and New Zealand education providers will work together to implement these initiatives over the next three years, with further details to be announced later in the year.

"Later this year government will provide details of selection criteria for the scholarships and study awards."

More information on international education can be found at www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/international


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