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Minister needs to pick up his game

Raymond
HUO
Spokesperson for Export Education

6 March 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT
Minister needs to pick up his game

The news that New Zealand universities have again failed to rank among the world's top 100 institutions will send another shiver done the spine of our export education sector, says Labour’s spokesperson for Export Education Raymond Huo.

“The Times Higher Education reputation rankings play an important role in attracting international fee-paying students to New Zealand, as we are competing with the USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada to attract the highest quality students to study here.

“The ‘super minister’ Steven Joyce needs to address the issues facing the export education sector, which adds $2.6 billion annually to our economy, creating jobs and establishing vital cultural and business links. We must be proactive in capitalising on the opportunities that booming Asian economies has for attracting international students to study here.

“Internally, the key issues are the un-regulated naming and profiling of some Private Training Establishments in New Zealand as well as the lack of a consistent licensing regime to protect students from being exploited.
“Licensed immigration agents tell me that the licensing regime should be extended to cover overseas-based agents to put them on equal footing with onshore licensed agents. Unscrupulous agents based offshore can recruit any students and as long as their commissions are high enough they have no interest in their suitability to study at our English-speaking education providers. Some small PTEs offer a large chunk of their tuition fees towards commissions meaning that quality providers, including universities, are at a disadvantage to recruit the right students.

“The minister should understand now that the fact that income from the sector may have managed to hold its ground while students numbers have dropped is largely due to the fruitful work of previous years, as many language or foundation students have remained in New Zealand and gone on to study at our universities and polytechnics.

“This is a typical case of a Government that has enjoyed the fruits of decades of efforts in the export education sector but cannot continue to claim the credit for the rewards without keeping up the momentum and protecting our international reputation for education.

“If we see another drop in student numbers this year the sector will feel the pinch more,” says Raymond Huo.

“For tertiary education, it appears the super minister just failed on all fronts”

ENDS

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