International education is socially and economically important to New Zealand. The Ministry of Education publication, The International Education Agenda, A Strategy for 2007-2012[1] provides 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
  • international students are well integrated into our educational institutions and communities.

The Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students Revised 2010[2] (the Code) provides regulatory guidance to schools enrolling international students.

On July 1 2010, there were 9,661 international students enrolled at 580 New Zealand schools. ERO’s evaluation of schools’ provisions for international students is based on 93 of these schools that had an ERO review between November 2009 and October 2010.

ERO evaluated four aspects of international education:

  • schools’ self review
  • pastoral care
  • quality of education
  • social integration.

ERO found that most schools were highly effective or generally effective in all four aspects, with schools’ self review being the weakest. Almost all schools were compliant with the Code at the time of their review.

Where provision for international students was limited or not effective, this often related to a lack of guiding policies and procedures, and ineffective self review.

While most schools were reviewing their provision, this remained the weakest area. Fifteen percent of schools were neither effectively reviewing their provision for international students, and the achievement and progress of these students, nor were they reporting on this to their board and the Ministry of Education.