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International students will protest unreliable PTEs

Wednesday 08/08/2018

Disgruntled international students will protest due to unreliable PTEs

Around 20-50 International students will be picketing outside the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) offices in central Auckland tomorrow (Thursday 9/8/2018) at 12.30pm.

The action has come after the students were notified on their second-to-last day of study that their results would not be released because the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has serious concerns about the assessment practices of the school they were studying with.

This is the second time many of these students have had their results withheld due to concerns over assessment practices of the Private Training Establishments (PTEs) they have been enrolled with.

The first time the students were unable to complete their respective qualifications (due to NZQA’s concerns of assessment processes) occurred with the New Zealand National College (NZNC). NZQA shut down the school and informed the students they were not allowed to receive the results of their final exams so had to forfeit the money and time they had spent with NZNC and re-enrol in a new school with the same course.

That second school was Tasman International Academies. The group checked with NZQA to ensure they were not enrolling in yet another dodgy college to which NZQA responded with:

NZQA is Confident in Tasman’s educational performance, and Confident in their self-assessment capability. Tasman are accreditation to deliver the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 6), and as a Category 2 provider, they would be suitable for you to seek enrolment with.”

Despite this reassurance, and after another full year of study, the group recently found out NZQA had concerns about the assessment practices at this school too. Yet again, their results could not be released, hence the picket.

Union Network of Migrants coordinator Mandeep Bela suspects hundreds of international students who have enrolled to study in New Zealand are getting caught-up in the flaw in the system.

“Why is this happening at the end of their study? The NZQA needs to make these checks before terms start, it needs to freeze enrolments not results!”

Mr Bela says it’s good NZQA is auditing the less than adequate institutions who’re chasing the lucrative international student market, but that it’s leaving students in the lurch when their welfare and protection should be paramount during the process.

“If NZQA has concerns about a particular education provider, the education provider should NOT be allowed to enrol more students. There needs to be a better process here that protects international students and it’s the NZQA’s prerogative, as the regulatory authority, to do so. ”

One of the affected students, Baljinder Singh [BAL-JEN-DER], says his future is uncertain.

“Being in this situation again and again is causing me depression and I am not informing my family about this because I don’t know how they will take this now. I am really worried about my future.”

Mr Bela says international students are extra vulnerable to financial difficulty as they have lawyers, visas and language exam fees on top of their normal course fees, now it seems companies are trying to cash in on the lucrative international student business, but without providing the service.

“The students have already paid twice and studied twice for the same course. Not only are they paying for a service or qualification that they are then not receiving, but they don’t receive a refund (if they have nearly completed their course) and they have to throw away years of study to start again at square one with a new education provider, it’s ridiculous!”

He adds that New Zealand’s reputation as a world class education provider is on the line.

“None of this is their fault and this doesn’t look good overseas. New Zealand prides itself on its education but education for international students in New Zealand is chaotic. Right now it appears preference is given to profits over quality education.


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