In August 2019, first-time student visas from India to New Zealand universities showed an increase of 63%. Since 2017, the number of student visas from India went up from 800 to 1600. In addition to this, India is among the top four countries along with China, Japan, Korea, from where most foreign students go to study in New Zealand.
Grant McPherson, chief executive, Education New Zealand (ENZ), says, “Last year, we launched a new proposition that aims at adopting newer ways to enhance the New Zealand education system.
With this new perspective, our agenda is to improve the cultural diversity in classrooms, groom students to be future-ready, and equip them with industry skills such as problem-solving, creative, teamwork and leadership. This can be achieved from the influx of foreign aspirants so that students can exchange varied ideas as well as participate in peer learning.”
Boon of Excellence Awards
New Zealand houses eight universities/institutes that offer around 40 programmes. When it comes to Indian students, courses of Management, Finance and Engineering are the most sought-after.
However, says John Laxon, regional director – Asia, ENZ, multidisciplinary programmes in areas such as Robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), Environmental Sciences, Humanities and Cultural Society, have begun to gain prominence as well.
ENZ recently opened the registrations for a new round of the New Zealand Excellence Awards, which will offer 32 scholarships to Indian aspirants for pursuing various bachelor’s and master’s courses. As many as 30 PG scholarships worth NZ$5,000 each and two UG ones worth NZ$10,000 each will be awarded to eligible candidates. These scholarships are worth a total of Rs 8.2 million.
These awards, adds Laxon, are a medium to promote enrollments of Indian candidates in areas other than STEM, Management and Finance.
Since starting in 2016, 100 Indian students have benefitted from the Excellence Awards to pursue master’s courses in New Zealand. This encouraged ENZ to declare the scheme for bachelor’s courses as well, and in April 2019, 18 UG scholarships were offered to Indian students.
Need for post-study work opportunity
In July 2018, the New Zealand government announced that foreign students can stay in the country for up to three years to find work post their studies.
McPherson says that New Zealand varsities highly value the level of improvement and variety that international students bring to the former’s curriculum. “Hence, our aim is to help them contribute to the research ecosystem and industry culture of both New Zealand and their home country. While most foreign students especially the ones from China return to find a job in their homeland, several others stay back for better future prospects. We are focussed on providing these students with an opportunity to excel and also drive sustainable academic growth to New Zealand.”
Studying in New Zealand as an Indian
Joanna Kempkers, New Zealand high commissioner to India, says, “Education is the fourth most driver of the economy in New Zealand and 4% of the country’s population consists of Indians. Besides, Hindi is the fourth most commonly spoken languages in the country. Therefore, Indian students will get a piece of home even in New Zealand.”
In May 2019, ENZ launched NauMai NZ – an online platform for international students comprising information on the healthcare and wellbeing services, accommodation, culture and lifestyle, etc. in New Zealand. This is aimed at helping foreign students familiarise with a new place.
“Our education system is student-centric; hence we aim to develop a safe environment for international aspirants and render them a high-quality experience of studying in New Zealand,” adds McPherson.