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Colombian Vice Minister of Education visits NZ

Hon Steven Joyce

Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills & Employment 

27 May 2013       Media Statement       

Colombian Vice Minister of Education visits NZ

Colombia’s Vice Minister of Education is visiting New Zealand with a delegation of senior government and business representatives for talks to build education connections between the two countries.

Vice Minister of Education, Patrizia Martinez Barrios’ visit, which began yesterday, is a significant extension of the relationship between New Zealand and Colombia, strengthened during Prime Minister John Key’s recent trip to Latin America.

“Education, along with agriculture, is one of two key strands in our bilateral relationship,” Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

“The number of fee paying Colombian students studying in New Zealand increased from 207 in 2007 to 727 in 2012, which would suggest Colombia has the potential to become a significant international education market for New Zealand.” 

During their week-long stay delegates will visit Auckland and Wellington, tour facilities such as Fonterra in Hamilton, Agricultural Services Ltd in Palmerston North and the National Trade Academy in Christchurch.

“Tours like this are a great opportunity for New Zealand to showcase to Colombian education officials its skills and expertise in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training sector, and its links with industry and the labour market,” Mr Joyce says.

A Bilateral Education Consultation meeting will be held in Wellington on 28 May involving representatives of Education New Zealand, the Ministry of Education, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and Immigration New Zealand, as well as some New Zealand education providers.  

A Statement of Intent will be signed at the meeting where both New Zealand and Colombia will agree to establishing Masters’ Degree and PhD scholarship programmes; as well as collaborative programmes with a focus on technical and vocational education and industry-based training, particularly in agriculture.

“The objective of the Bilateral Education Consultation meeting is to help our education sector build a deeper understanding of Colombia’s education requirements, and progress proposals for Colombian PhD students to study in New Zealand. 

“It will also allow Colombian education officials to develop an appreciation of New Zealand’s education system and see how New Zealand, as an excellent place in which to learn English, can support their government’s strategy to make English an official language in Colombia.”


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