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Last week the Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith has released the draft New Zealand International Education Strategy for consultation. The final date for the consultations to close is 31 August 2017, and a final strategy is expected to be published later this year. The Government through this consultation process is now hoping to get a series of feedbacks from various stake holders about how the proposed strategy aligns with its priorities.

The draft strategy per se sets out the government’s proposed vision, goals and immediate priorities for international education through to 2025.It also quite clearly endeavours to squarely bring the focus on ensuring that New Zealand continues to genuinely benefit from international education within the regulated boundaries that ensure quality education and student wellbeing.

The main inputs for this draft have been provided by the sector itself, including an online survey and a series of workshops in 2016. The draft strategy sits within the Government’s broader strategic direction for education and the economy and aligns and reflects the Trade Agenda 2030, the Business Growth Agenda, the Tertiary Education Strategy and the New Zealand Curriculum’s focus on international capabilities. An effort has also been made to seek alignment with the other related strategies including the Tourism Strategy and Education System Digital Strategy.

A quick analysis of the draft strategy indicates that the relentless efforts of various associations like NZAMI have ultimately paid off, and the Government has not only recognised the need to clarify the support given by various agencies but also taken steps to ensure that regulatory levers are aligned. However, what remains to be seen is how effective the implementation be in context of the lessons learnt in the last few years around previous such strategies and policies.

It is quite apparent that the immediate priorities, which are laid out in the draft strategy are likely spin offs from what has gone wrong in the last few years, and the fact remains that the recognition of these priorities has been there in the environment for some time now. Therefore, one can only hope that the timing of this strategy is right and the Government will be able to achieve the goal it has set for itself.

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