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SIEBA is now open for business

author:Education Gazette

A new initiative has been launched to give our schools stronger representation in the international education sector. Education Gazette talks to SIEBA’s interim executive director John van der Zwan about his hopes for the new association.

We know how good our schools are – and so do others around the world. 
A new initiative called the Schools International Education Business Association (SIEBA) has been launched to further foster the ‘New Zealand schools brand’, and to promote the benefits of our schools to the global marketplace.
SIEBA has a vision: to be a partner for New Zealand schools in advancing their international education business.
Armed with a set of core values that also reflect those of our education system, SIEBA aims to grow all aspects of the international education sector: economic value, quality, professionalism, visibility, and collaborative practice.
The organisation will also celebrate and share leading practices in all aspects of schools’ international education.
Melissa Irving is deputy principal and director of international students at Macleans College in Auckland. She says SIEBA will help schools like Macleans to improve practice and target new business opportunities.
“I am looking forward to having a body that is uniquely positioned to understand the needs of our sector and to respond accordingly with that sole focus,” she says.
John van der Zwan has been appointed as interim executive director to guide SIEBA’s development through its first six months, and is excited by the road ahead.
“It’s about more than just recruiting more students,” he says. “It’s about trying to maximise the benefits of having international students at our schools. SIEBA’s mission is to lead, connect, and grow the international student business in the most efficient way possible.”
John says the New Zealand education system is highly regarded in the international sector.
“Our schools offer a quality education experience, one where thinking skills and analysis are high priorities in teaching and learning, and other countries respect that. And as well, New Zealand has a strong reputation as a clean, green and safe place with a good climate, which also makes us an attractive choice for families looking for schools abroad.
And similarly, international students make an important contribution to our schools and communities, both socially and culturally, he says.
With over 180 members already, John encourages schools to join SIEBA whether they have had a long involvement with international education or are just enrolling their first student from overseas.
“SIEBA will be the go-to resource for best practice, professional development and advice. The elected board members are all highly experienced international education practitioners who are dedicated to fostering strong growth in our sector,” he says. 2012