Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Importance of International Markets to New Zealand in 21st Century

In this digital age that brings countries closer together in a globally connected world attracting International students is an important aspect for our economy. Tapping into International markets for students has been a strategic direction for the government as it benefits the New Zealand economy but is also seen as a way of developing relationships with other countries. Many of our institutions spend energy and resources targeting countries that show an interest in education opportunities in New Zealand. Not only do international students provide a revenue source they add to the cultural diversity of our educational establishments.
During the Global Recession New Zealand was able to take advantage of the fact tuition and living costs here compared very favourably with other English speaking countries. We do, however, want to be seen as a country that offers a quality education in a country that offers students from overseas an environment well worth visiting. Often students are looking for short term study that enhances skills they may already have. These may be targeted at specific career directions. India as a source of International Students has been a focus for the New Zealand Government in recent years.

New Zealand International Education Markets

This week I was at a meeting with some knowledgeable people in the International Education sector. There was a lot of discussion around the changes we are seeing in regard to the countries our International students are coming from. South Korea was one of the main countries that we attracted students from. However at present their government has invested large sums of money in establishing their own International schools and promoting the teaching of English often basing their ideas on places such as New Zealand.
Recently Education New Zealand published information which analysed the latest international education enrolment data which shows a 15% fall in South Korean students but a 20% increase in Chinese students. Many see the importance of establishing healthy relationships with China. Wellington Institute of Technology for example have just signed an agreement to bring more students from China to study here. Statistics show the increase of Chinese students is right across the different education sectors.
It will be interesting to see whether this growth continues and what impact it may have for education institutions.

Why are Boys Not Achieving?

One of the main areas where boys are not achieving is literacy. International Research has highlighted writing as an area where an increasing number of boys are failing. In the past decade research throughout the world has attempted to highlight reasons for this. “The Puzzle of Boys’ Educational Decline” Jennifer Buckingham (1999) discusses four factors that are considered to affect boys achievement:

• biological differences between girls and boys affecting capacities and interests
• gender biases which define certain activities or skills as not masculine
• teaching, curriculum and assessment
• socio-economic factors

Whatever the underlying causes we need to motivate all students in their own learning and give them access to a curriculum that suits both genders. Good quality teaching engages all inclusively providing opportunities and challenges for thinking with diverse meaningful tasks to encourage ownership by the learner. However, we are not getting it right for boys in the area of writing. Some of the approaches as discussed in the “Boys’ Education: Good Practice in Secondary Schools” offer a variety of techniques that could be applied both at school and home.

• the use of goals and targets;
• practical, hands-on activities;
• giving boys responsibility for their learning and allowing them to make choices;
• providing high levels of structure and teacher-led activities;
• positive reinforcement;
• using competition in the classroom;
• incorporating physical activity into learning;
• mentoring and peer support programmes;
• the use of outdoor education programmes;
• developing relevant learning activities and contexts;
• importing popular culture texts into classroom reading;
• daily silent reading times
• using computers and other electronic media to support writing
• developing critical literacy approaches, including those that help boys understand how masculinity is created through texts; and
• making school fun for boys and avoiding repetitive learning.

There are some interesting points here well worth revisiting.