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New Zealand invites proposals for overseas education centres

Image: Education New Zealand

Centres will “provide flexibility in how and where international students experience a high-quality NZ education”

Education New Zealand, a government agency, has issued a call for partners to set up overseas education centres in an attempt to salvage the country’s international education industry in the wake of Covid-19.

The centres will offer curricula at various levels, including tertiary, delivered by existing New Zealand institutions either online or in person, ENZ said. Centres may provide full qualifications or help students to work towards attending New Zealand-based institutions, and they may also provide joint qualifications with providers from other countries.

“In developing New Zealand education centres we are extending our support for international students offshore, and providing flexibility in how and where they experience a high-quality New Zealand education,” ENZ chief executive Grant McPherson said in a statement.

John Laxon (pictured), ENZ’s director of global education partnerships, told Research Professional News that ENZ would provide design and marketing support and that he expected support from New Zealand’s universities.

Feasibility studies have identified centres in China, India, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand as priorities, but other countries will be considered.

Authentic experience

“The centres will deliver education programmes for students progressing on to further study with New Zealand education providers, and act as pathways for greater education, cultural and diplomatic engagement between New Zealand and partner countries,” Laxon said.

A strategic plan published by the government last year nominated NZ$10 million to develop “home country” study and a digital platform for the New Zealand education “brand”.

An ENZ spokesperson said the exact funding levels for the centres would depend on the business cases developed with successful bidders. “We are making preparations to part-fund the cost of the study centres, with the remainder to be funded by the participating sector and centre operators,” they said.

ENZ said the centres should be open for student intakes in 2022. Their design and operations will need to “provide an authentic New Zealand and Tikanga Māori experience”, the spokesperson said.