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EU-NZ education pilot programme launched

4 November 2004

EU-NZ education pilot programme launched

New Zealand students have the opportunity to study high-level interaction design in Europe through a new European Union/New Zealand pilot education exchange programme, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

“Leonardo: A multi-national exploration in Interaction Design education and research” is the successful consortium in the EU/NZ Cooperation in Higher Education Pilot Project. The Universities of Canterbury and Waikato and the Wanganui School of Design are working together with the Universities of Lancaster and Nottingham in the UK, the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences (Hagenberg, Austria) on the three year exchange programme.

A minimum of 24 local students will take part, with New Zealand universities hosting a similar number of EU students also studying interaction design at the post-graduate level. The programme also allows for an exchange of faculty members. Steve Maharey says the programme will enable New Zealand students to bring home valuable international knowledge.

“If New Zealand is to be a birthplace of world-changing people and ideas, we need to provide more opportunities for our emerging knowledge leaders to interact with other leading thinkers from around the world.” Maurice Maxwell, Head of the European Commission Delegation in Wellington, said: “This pilot programme will further strengthen the ties between the European Union and New Zealand and potentially serve as a model for future cooperation in higher education”. Interaction design generally deals with improving the interfaces between machinery and people and the future focus is on how humans access digital technology.

The Leonardo project was jointly selected by the Tertiary Education Commission and the European Commission in a competitive process that attracted high quality applications. Modelled on existing EU-Australia and EU-United States projects, it was developed from discussions between Education Minister Trevor Mallard and European Commission officials last year.

The government is providing $200,000 annually for three years to fund New Zealand’s share of the pilot, which requires the students involved to study in at least two of the four EU institutions. The European Commission will provide similar funding. EU students will be required to study at one of the New Zealand institutions and another EU university. For the New Zealand students it means spending between an academic term and a year studying in Europe, as well as time studying at home in New Zealand.

Students are expected to pay their normal tuition and other fees to their home institution, and be hosted when they study at one of the others. New Zealand students will also be entitled to an average allowance of $NZ1,400 per month and an average $NZ2,000 towards travel costs.

ENDS

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