Study in New Zealand
New Zealand: Educating for the future
John Laxon, Regional Director – South, South East Asia & the Middle East, Education New Zealand, talks about the country’s highly-ranked education system.
New Zealand’s education system has gained the top global ranking for delivering a future-focused education in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 Worldwide Educating for the Future Index.
The Future Index measures how countries provide young people with the skills they need to flourish in the future. These include interdisciplinary, creative and analytical skills, and entrepreneurial and leadership skills.
Specifically, it highlights the importance of an inquiry-based approach to learning, industry collaboration and the need for technology-rich curricula. New Zealand performs well on all of these, in particular its curriculum framework, high quality teacher education and the country’s cultural diversity and tolerance.
They are among the reasons why 130,000 international students from more than 180 countries were attracted to study in New Zealand last year. Ankur Mishra, from Anand, Gujarat, is one such student. Ankur is an engineering PhD candidate at the University of Auckland. Fie is researching how rooftop solar energy technologies can help better manage the energy consumption of houses.
His research shows real potential for practical application, and has been supported financially by the university and the government. He notes that government and utility companies in New Zealand are funding projects at several universities in his area of interest. In New Zealand, more than $500 million or about 15 percent of university income is generated annually through commercialising university research, according to Universities New Zealand.
This highlights New Zealand systematic, government-led approach toward preparing students for a global future. We’re open to others and new ideas, believe that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, and that education is a gateway to the world.
The Future Index report makes clear that “content knowledge is becoming a commodity”. What’s important is the ability to apply information. It is this applied learning approach and exposure to real-world scenarios that help New Zealand stucents to quahfy as ‘work-ready’, Students fully-rounded academic, practical and social skillset is in demand by employers, making students more mobile internationally.
We have a high-performing tertiary sector. All eight New Zealand universities are ranked among the top 2.5 per cent of universities in the QS World University Rankings 2018. Our institutes of technology and polytechnics also offer a wide range of highly practical, vocational programmes, with strong links to industry.
New Zealand education particularly excels in areas that combine technology and creativity – such as the sciences, building and architecture, engineering, filmmaking and design. New Zealand ranks third for global creativity (out of 139 countries) according to the 2015 Global Creativity Index.
This is why the New Zealand education brand is ‘Think New’ – we’re a new country with a new way of looking at the world. Our students are encouraged to take a fresh perspective to problem-solving, and our classrooms, labs and lecture halls instil students with a willingness to question, and to deliver new and creative solutions.
New Zealand’s education approach means we produce smart, clever and capable graduates, indeed, New Zealand produces some of the highest performing graduates in the world. This was confirmed by the OECD’s 2017 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), which put our graduates’ capabilities ahead of graduates from many of the most elite universities in the US and the UK.
The New Zealand government’s investments in digital infrastructure have also ensured that the next generation of graduates are not just digitally savvy but digital natives. The Future Index report notes that 98 percent of New Zealand education institutions are connected to fast and uncapped broadband connections, making technology an enabler of education.
To prepare students for an increasingly connected world, education systems must welcome global perspectives. New Zealand has championed this cause. Many schools, for instance, get involved in international learning opportunities and competitions, and send students on field trips to Asia, Europe and the US. All of our universities have formal study abroad arrangements with other countries so students can complete a semester (or two or three) at a foreign campus for minimal extra cost.
How are these learnings relevant to India?
New Zealand demonstrates that any education system can successfully prepare students when there is a co-ordinated and sustained effort by education leaders, teachers, parents, students, and government to raise education standards.
What we teach has impact beyond the qualification. Studying in New Zealand is a life-changing experience that prepares students for a better life and future, and teaches skills that last a lifetime.
Today, more than 28,000 Indian students are in New Zealand pursuing a high quality education. They are following in the footsteps of mountaineer sisters Tashi and Nungshi Malik, physiotherapist Ritika Bhargava and game marketer Sam Kamani.
Tashi and Nungshi Malik are the world’s first twins to climb Mt Everest and to scale seven summits across the world. The sisters studied a Graduate Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) in Invercargill on New Zealand-lndia Sports Scholarships funded by Education New Zealand.
Former Auckland University of Technology student, Ritika Bhargava, has opened a chain of physiotherapy clinics, won a Best Young Entrepreneur award and represented New Zealand in power lifting.
Sam Kamani, a University of Waikato graduate in Marketing and international Management, is a Growth Manager at Uproar, a Kiwi gaming start-up that delivers a win-win for gamers, game developers and brands to promote their games.
New Zealand’s education system is increasingly attracting talented Indian students for postgraduate study and research. We have an attractive package – international PhD students pay domestic fees, they and their partners can work, and their children can attend public schools for free.
We value the high calibre of research and innovation that Indian researchers bring to New Zealand, and we are excited to support them in developing their expertise and preparing them for successful global careers.
Opening up education for all
Rod Carr, Vice Chancellor, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, on the education scenario in the country and how Brexit and US travel ban may affect international student inflow to NZ.
We are a diverse, welcoming country and are open to having international students on our campuses. At our university, we have students from over 80 countries across the world. Our largest, single source of international students is from Mainland China and our second largest sources are the American, study abroad students. The number of Indian students at universities here is considerably very small. We, hence, have the opportunity to grow that number and are open to inviting international students at our campuses, especially from India.
Immigration New Zealand recently stated that they approve over 95% applications for university canterbury, places that come from international students. We also have full employment economy that grows at 3.5% per annum. Hence, international students who not only wish to study, but also gain work experience in the country have a good chance to do so in New Zealand.
The NZ education community values people who bring in different perspectives. We have three tiers of education providers in the country – we have eight registered universities, the ITPs or the polytechnic institutes and the PTAs, the private training enterprises. A lot of the PTA damage was done by students coming in mainly for a job, and not education as the sole purpose.
Now that led to a sea of relatively under-Now that led to a sea of relatively under-skilled and under-qualified students who were seeking employment in low-pay jobs on student visas. We have stopped that and immigration New Zealand is changing those rules. However, none of that has affected students who wish to study at the eight registered universities in the country. The purpose of students going overseas must be to gain education that may lead to a job, and not simply seeking a low-pay job.
Our college of education, health and human development, which does initial teacher education for NZ is ranked in the top 100 in the world. So, at least in terms of global standards, we are well trained. However, yes, we can do better and develop our teacher training modules. NZ is an open society, similar to India where people feel empowered to raise their concerns about where we stand and the areas we need to improve in. We do have special education facilities in NZ and some of the special education providers are some of the best available globally. There are always a wide range of views on this report and we continuously try our best to better to serve these students.