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Mallard Speech Int. Education Budget 04

International Education: rolling out the 2004 Budget initiatives

Speech to the Education New Zealand Conference, Auckland

Thank you for the invitation to be here.

International education is a key component of the social and economic development of this country. New Zealanders gain exposure to global connections and experience. Students from other countries gain New Zealand qualifications and an impression of New Zealand, and our education system, that they will carry with them all around the world.

And the people to people connections established increase international understanding, and make future education relationships easier and potentially more fruitful.

Last year I spoke to this conference about the need for a long-term strategic outlook for New Zealand international education. I said that a “big picture approach” was needed to both protect the industry and to take New Zealanders and foreign students with it as it grows.

The government wants to work in partnership with the industry to make that big picture approach a reality.

Earlier this year I announced new funding for international education as part of the 2004 Budget. I also outlined the strategic framework behind the international education Budget package.

Last night David Caygill, and Rob Stevens launched the Pan Industry Strategy.

An enormous amount of time and effort from government agencies and from industry representatives has gone into producing these strategies. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for the excellent work that has been achieved over the last year.

We now have a good strategic base for both government and industry to launch into 2005 and beyond.

Our next step is to further develop that strategic approach by identifying where we want to be in ten years time and carefully plan how best to reach those long-term goals.

The government’s strategic focus on international education has been given some immediate traction through the Budget package.

Today I am happy to announce some of the implementation details.

You will recall that the Budget 2004 international education package had five components:

Education diplomacy funding for up to four off-shore education counsellors and increased on-shore support here in New Zealand. The first counsellor, as you know, is now firmly established in Beijing An innovation fund for international education Funding for generic promotion and marketing of international education Building quality funding for scholarships at both postgraduate and undergraduate level to attract top international students to New Zealand. We will also be improving quality assurance processes for international education across the board Funding for developing worldwide study links, including study abroad programmes for New Zealanders to study overseas

I'd now like to take this opportunity to run through these components of the package in a little more detail.

There are three broad objectives for the education counsellors off-shore:

Strengthening the reputation of New Zealand education. This will involve the development of stronger and deeper linkages with those parts of the world recognised globally as centres of education excellence Underpinning support for the international education industry for New Zealand. Diversification objectives in building new markets, and helping support existing key markets are the focus here Supporting other government bilateral and multilateral external linkages. This includes tourism, trade agreements, migration, and people-to-people linkages

There have been some difficult trade-offs involved in deciding where to locate these off-shore counsellors.

The focus for the position in Beijing is on supporting our most established education market and helping develop New Zealand’s external linkages in a key partner country.

I am pleased to announce today that the second off-shore education counsellor will be located in Washington DC in the United States, from 1 July next year.

I believe it is critical to the long-term success of New Zealand’s international education reputation that we have strong links with the USA, where so much of the world’s education and research excellence is based.

Current thinking is towards a third off-shore counsellor in Europe, beginning in mid 2006, and a fourth in a “new economy” starting the following year. There is, however, some strategic thinking to be done before these decisions will be confirmed.

The innovation funding will be administered by Education New Zealand. An inter-agency Management Committee of senior officials will provide oversight. Ministry of Education, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and the Chief Executive Officer of Education New Zealand will be on that Committee. This is similar to the model already used for promotion and marketing work.

Most of the funding will support new product and service development, and relationship and partnership development.

Funding will also support research, and help to co-ordinate and support the network of institutions and providers involved in offshore education.

Work is already under way on developing a business and implementation plan for the fund. Expressions of interest or tenders for projects will be invited before the end of this year, with funding decisions made early in 2005.

Education New Zealand is well placed to continue taking the lead role in promoting international education and will also manage the generic promotion funding from the Budget 2004 package.

As some of you may know, a draft budget for 2004/05 international education marketing activity has been prepared by the Marketing Management Committee, pending final decisions on this Budget package funding.

I am happy to confirm that the government is comfortable with that proposed budget and the proposed activity for 2004/05. You will hear more about this tomorrow morning in the session on Five Steps Forward.

I'd like to talk now about the scholarships component of the Budget package.

The Budget provided funding for up to 200 scholarships to attract top international students to New Zealand, up to 100 each at postgraduate and undergraduate level. It also provided funding for up to 100 tertiary study abroad programmes for New Zealanders to study overseas.

In developing the scholarships and study abroad awards, I have taken the views of the sector into account. However, I am also conscious of the government’s focus on advancing the growth and innovation framework, and on building strong external relationships particularly in Asia and Latin America.
We have four key objectives for the scholarships programmes: Attracting top international students to study in New Zealand Enhancing the reputation and profile of the New Zealand tertiary education sector Adding to the research capacity, skills and output of New Zealand tertiary providers Advancing education diplomacy objectives through partnerships with key regions/countries.

The scholarships programmes may also help advance international education goals in other ways. They may increase the range of countries from which international students are drawn to New Zealand. Students here on scholarships will help contribute to research in areas of importance to the government’s economic, social and GIF objectives.

It also seems likely that matching funding may come from other governments to assist their top scholars to come to New Zealand, or to attract top New Zealand students to study in their countries.

There are risks, however, in trying to do too much too soon.

It is important that high quality promotional material and a well-organised promotional strategy and campaign be implemented for the scholarships. A solid, high quality image must be firmly established, particularly for the postgraduate programme.

As this will take time, I have decided that we should phase in the three programmes along slightly different timelines.

The first priority is to ensure that the postgraduate scholarship programme is implemented as soon as possible in the 2005 year.

The focus for this first year will be Asia, concentrating on China, Korea and ASEAN countries.

We will also be seeking to attract top post-graduate students from key Latin American countries where there are good prospects for growth in postgraduate student numbers following my Latin America mission in May. Chile, Mexico and Brazil will be the focus in 2005.

The tertiary study abroad awards will be offered in 2005 to a similarly limited number of countries, focussing on North Asia and ASEAN countries and Latin America.

The undergraduate scholarships will be introduced next year for students to begin study in 2006. Further detailed consultation with the sector is needed to ensure good value is obtained from this programme. This will begin shortly through the Ministry of Education.

Coverage for the three programmes will expand for the 2006 year into the rest of Asia, and into North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Full roll out across the world will be complete for the 2007 year.

Education New Zealand will be invited to administer the postgraduate and undergraduate scholarships. This will be largely front-end work - promotion, marketing, receipt of applications, and preparation of a short list.

Final selections will be made by a panel of representatives from the universities, and other provider groups as required.

Applications will be open to students in all fields of study with academic merit as the primary criterion for selection.

Preference for scholarships may be given to candidates whose programme of research will best contribute to the government’s Growth and Innovation Framework (GIF) objectives and areas of priority.

The Ministry of Education will maintain oversight of this process.

The announcements I have made today are the first steps in rolling out the government’s new strategic approach to international education, in partnership with the education sector.

I look forward to the industry initiatives that will flow from the pan-industry strategy launched last night. I expect increasing co-operative efforts between government and industry on the back of these two strategies.

Both the government and industry strategies emphasise increasing diversity – of markets, of programmes, of teaching, research and student exchanges, and of modes of delivery.

Over the next few years we will need to expand the current base of international education into new markets and new ways of delivering education. Increasingly, New Zealand providers will be looking at joint ventures and other forms of educational partnerships with overseas institutions to meet the demands of international students and their home governments.

At the same time as we are looking for new markets, and new modes of teaching, we need to be consolidating what we do well.

China will remain a key country for our international education industry. A lot of good hard work, by both government and industry has gone into re-establishing our good reputation in China.

The government has invited submissions on the negotiation of a Free Trade agreement between New Zealand and China, and established a China FTA task force. It is important that the views of the international education industry are heard in this context, so that we can maximise the benefits of the FTA with China. Submissions close at the beginning of September. I understand a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be here tomorrow in one of the afternoon sessions to provide you with more detail on this.

We need to ensure that we work together with an effective NZ Inc approach to international education.

Collaboration between providers is important to build effective pathways to education success. International students should be encouraged stay in this country when they graduate successfully from secondary school, or from an English language school.

Pathways into New Zealand education, using off-shore introductory or foundation programmes will, I am sure be established, using good practice experience gathered and developed through the new Innovation Fund programme.

And we should be looking to attract the successful tertiary undergraduates into our post-graduate programmes wherever possible.

In implementing these new initiatives, and tackling the new challenges that lie ahead, we must continue to focus firmly on quality.

Both the government and industry strategies recognise the over-riding importance of achieving and sustaining world-class quality – the reputation of New Zealand’s education sector depends on it. Preserving and building the reputation that New Zealand education has around the world is the responsibility of all of us, both government and industry.

We have a very strong and internationally recognised qualifications framework. The sound foundation that this provides for New Zealand provision needs to be emphasised wherever possible. We have established credibility in this area on which we can build.

I spoke earlier, when announcing that the second education counsellor will be in the USA, of the importance of building the New Zealand presence and image in the recognised global centres of education excellence. The development of stronger/ deeper linkages with those parts of the world will underpin efforts to promote New Zealand’s export education sector and, more broadly, the internationalisation of our domestic education system, by lifting our reputation for quality.

Our ability to attract top quality students depends on the international reputations of our teachers and researchers. Our reputation will determine who is willing to join up in partnership with NZ institutions and researchers.

I’m sure you are all aware of this. I look forward to the establishment of the processes and quality systems that will make this vision reality across the board.

Thank you for your support of international education and for the hard work you have put in. I look forward with growing confidence to the coming year and a very prosperous future for the industry.

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