Lincoln Tan of the New Zealand Herald reports http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10872104:
A Ministry of Education report to be released this week is expected to show a 6 per cent drop in overall fee-paying student enrolment. The annual Migration Trends and Outlook, released last Friday, reported a 7 per cent drop in international student approvals to 68,980 – the lowest since 2008.
Of course it does not look good because the Government has been hands-off. It just let the sector grow when time is right or deteriorate when it is not, like the situations we are in now. No coordinated marketing, no leadership, no policy to give quality providers a boost and bad apples a boo.
The Labour list MP has a private member’s bill in the ballot that is seeking to tighten rules about small private schools having international or national titles in their business names.
The Bill has already generated some attention. For those who have not seen much of the Bill, here is the Q&A, which is self-explanatory.
Education (Naming of Private Training Establishments) Amendment Bill Q & A
1. Q: What is the purpose of this Bill?
A: This Bill will stop misleading naming of PTEs and provide a boost to the image of the Export Education industry by ensuring that private training establishments (PTEs) are profiled correctly and accurately. The Bill will be one of the measures that are designed to promote NZ education providers collectively in the international market.
Currently there is minimal (and patched-up) regulation for the naming rights of PTEs which is causing great harm to our Export Education market in Asia and around the world. Many countries (particularly in Asia) have strict guidelines which reserve international, national or regional titles to reputable education providers whose names match their international, national or regional status. Therefore PTEs which boast regional or national titles in their names are attractive to Asian students and their families. However, a number of PTEs (although it is a relatively small number) in NZ have abused their naming rights and have created a credibility issue for the NZ Export Education system with the term ‘ghetto education’ being used in China and other countries to describe the state of the educational facilities in NZ, which is detrimental and unfair to the majority of the education providers in NZ.
This Bill will ensure that PTEs are profiled accurately and correctly and that New Zealand remains a top quality international education provider.
2. Q: Who is likely to benefit from this Bill?
A: The majority of New Zealand’s PTEs. This Bill is designed to protect them.
3. Q: Who is likely to be offended by this Bill?
A: A very small number of poor providers in the export education sector who are providing poor outcomes for students, flaunting the rules and damaging NZ’s overall reputation. The “ghetto education” – as so termed in overseas media – referred specifically to them.
4. Q: Will the Bill impose more regulation?
A: No. This Bill seeks to help manage performance rather than impose more regulation.
5. Q: Why this is a scaled-down version?
A: The original Bill was drafted over a year ago and we have since undertaken consultation with the export education sector. We listened to them and have taken their advice. Generally speaking, under the current economic environment, the New Zealand export education sector needs help to compete with the UK, US, Canada and Australia who are seen as top quality international education providers.
The Bill in the current form deals with only one issue, which is the naming rights of PTEs.
The accurate and correct profiling of PTE’s will help promote the image and profile of NZ export education as a whole.
6. Q: Why does the Bill not cover border control in respect of the exemption for offshore education advisers providing advice on student visas and permits?
A: Two reasons: the loophole can easily be closed by removing the exemption by an Order in Council – this is the Government’s call and we urge the Government to seriously consider this.
Secondly, evidence shows that these issues were caused by a small number of poor providers. One of the reasons why these poor providers existed in the first place is that under the current legal regime they were allowed to profile themselves in an inaccurate (or passing off) manner and attract more international students to them than other providers who pay more attention to quality and sustainability of their establishment. Many of these poor providers are also aided by a “larger than usual” amount of commission paid to agents.
7. Q: Will this Bill impose any fiscal burden to the government?
A: No. This Bill will not cost a lot, if at all, to implement. With reliably profiled PTEs, we will attract more top-quality students to study in New Zealand. The flow-on effect will be felt throughout the country. So this Bill is good for NZ’s economy.
8. Q: Will this bill help prevent New Zealand from attracting the ‘bad’ students who tend to fall into trouble in NZ?
A: Yes. This bill will improve the level of export education in New Zealand which will have an instant flow on effect and lift the quality of international students attracted to study in New Zealand.
9. Q: What motivates you to write this Bill?
A: As Labour’s spokesperson for Export Education, my dream is to see New Zealand become a world leader in top-quality export education. As many international students do stay and become our residents after graduation it also goes deeper than just export education.
Because some of these students are our future New Zealanders – we must get it right from scratch and attract the best quality students to New Zealand.
10. Q: Isn’t it the case that no matter how good the Bill is it may not be drawn from the ballot and even if it does, it will likely be voted down?
A: True, but the Government will be forced to address the issue with more urgency.