By Matthew Knott, News Editor of Study Travel Magazine

There has been a focus on New Zealand in our coverage this week, with a pleasing story that the government is prepared to fund agency recruitment drives as part of its latest round of the International Education Growth Fund.

One particular project will fund a cross-sector consortium of educators from Auckland’s North Shore to travel to the Asean countries of Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia in order to build relationships with agents.

Other projects funded include the development of executive education models for the Japanese market, the development of programmes for Chinese students at a secondary school and funding for a group of secondary schools to boost student recruitment in the Andean region of South America.

It may be that New Zealand’s relative geographical distance from its key markets, compared to its English-speaking competitor nations, compels the country to work harder to market itself as a study destination, but Education New Zealand announces a steady stream of initiatives and agent-focussed events.

And agency usage among educators is consistently high in this destination. In Study Travel Magazine’s survey of New Zealand English language schools last year, 76 per cent of students were recruited via agents, and a forthcoming feature in the April issue of STM focussing on the secondary sector is showing similar results. It is refreshing that the government is openly prepared to support this.

Elsewhere this week, we have our report from the Languages Canada conference. There was no doubting the main topic of conversation in the halls: the recent changes to the International Student Program (ISP), and more specifically the removal of work co-op programmes from the language sector.

The association has unanimously voted to continue to lobby the federal government over this amendment, which could damage the sector to the tune of 10,000-to-15,000 students Gonzalo Peralta, Languages Canada Executive Director, warned.

We wish them luck in their efforts, but in the meantime agents with enquiries for these programmes are urged to submit applications before June 1, as they will be treated under the present arrangements.

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