|NEW ZEALAND'S EDUCATION
India is already the second-largest source of international students to New Zealand. In order to attract even more Indian students, Education New Zealand, the New Zealand government agency for international education, plans to launch a number of road shows and fairs in India, Grant McPherson, chief executive officer of Education New Zealand, tells M Saraswathy. Excerpts:
How many Indian students are there in New Zealand? Why do they choose the country for higher studies?
There are about 12,000 Indian students in New Zealand enrolled in various universities pursuing various educational programmes. Indian students constitute about 12 per cent of the total foreign student population in our country. Since 2004, there has been a 700 per cent increase in Indian students coming to New Zealand.
We have students from a number of countries. International students come not just for higher education, but also to study in our primary and secondary schools as well. New Zealand’s style of teaching, looking into critical thinking and problem-solving techniques are a hit among students. Besides, from a parent’s perspective, New Zealand is a safe destination for international students.
We have a world-class tertiary education system; all the eight universities in New Zealand were ranked among the world's top 500 universities in the 2013 QS World University rankings.
Is the opportunity to work while still studying one of the reasons that attracts Indian students?
The power to work is very important. Last year, work rights were extended to more international students in New Zealand. Now, more students are now able to work to support their studies, which is important to students wanting to study abroad. Students enrolled in research-based masters and doctorate courses are now allowed to work full time.
What are the initiatives that Education New Zealand is planning for India?
There is low awareness among Indians about New Zealand as an education destination. Hence, we are undertaking road shows, fairs and campaigns to help people understand the education system in our country.
For instance, Education New Zealand has partnered with Stephen Fleming (former cricketer) in India to raise awareness of New Zealand as a study destination. Taking advantage of his popularity in India, we have organised several events fronted by Stephen Fleming to encourage Indian students to come to New Zealand.
Also, since New Zealand is co-hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, we would be looking at this opportunity to get higher visibility about the country and its education system.
Skill gap is one of the critical challenges in India. Will Education New Zealand be taking any steps to help India overcome this problem?
We have been engaging with the chambers of commerce in India to look at the skills shortage in various segments and at various professional levels. Once we identify the skill gaps in those areas, we would look at education providers from New Zealand to help deliver appropriate programmes to plug those gaps.
Some foreign institutions have expanded their presence in India by offering short-term courses here. Are institutes from New Zealand looking at similar opportunities?
Internationalisation of education is a strategic priority for us. We are looking at various options such as forming joint ventures, partnerships, or a group of New Zealand universities offering some courses in India. It is still early days, but India is an important market for us.
Scholarships are an important aspect of choosing any foreign destination for education. What are the scholarship opportunities that New Zealand offers to international students?
There are a number of scholarships on offer. Also, universities run their own scholarship programmes for deserving students every year.