International education is socially and economically important to New Zealand. The Ministry of Education publication, The International Education Agenda, A Strategy for 2007-2012 1provides a framework for international education providers, including schools, and identifies priority areas for government action. Goal 2 of the strategy and its key outcomes are the most relevant for New Zealand schools in relation to their enrolment of international students:
Goal 2: international students are enriched by their education and living experiences in New Zealand:
- international students are welcomed, receive effective orientation guidance, exemplary pastoral care, and learning support;
- international students succeed academically and increasingly choose to continue their studies in New Zealand; and
- international students are well integrated into our educational institutions and communities.
On July 1, 2007 there were 10,204 international students enrolled at 656 New Zealand schools. The Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students provides a framework for the pastoral care of these students. The Education Review Office (ERO) reviews schools’ compliance with the Code, focusing on welfare, accommodation, grievance procedures, and monitoring. The reviews also include comment on schools’ provision of English language support.
This national evaluation is based on ERO reviews undertaken from July 2007 to June 2008 in 216 schools with international students. ERO found that over 80 percent of schools in this study were compliant with all areas of the Code relating to welfare, accommodation, and grievance procedures. Although some schools had areas that required improvement, overall ERO has found that international students are well cared for and receive good English language support during their period of study in New Zealand.