Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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What price do you put on quality?

New Zealand’s ‘team of five million’ is doing a great job fighting Covid-19, and Kim Renner asks what that means for the English language industry

Covid-19 has hit the English language industry with full force, and English New Zealand schools are facing temporary or permanent closure due to New Zealand’s border restrictions.

We support the public health measures and take pride in how other countries view the efforts of our ‘team of five million’. This global recognition will serve us well if we don’t miss the opportunity to capitalise on the kudos. The big challenge though, for our sector, is how to survive the impact without new incoming students in the short term, and without mid- and longer-term certainty on when border restrictions will be eased.

Our small group of high-quality providers contributes over $500 million to New Zealand’s GDP annually. We commonly use dollars to determine value, but it’s not just about the money when it comes to English language. It’s what students gain from an in-country immersion experience, what they give back, and the jobs created.

Students travel to New Zealand to learn, but we also learn from them. How many homestay families, retailers and members of the public will ever travel to the far-flung corners of the globe our students come from?

Our government recently announced a targeted support package for Private Training Establishments (PTEs), including English language schools. This $10 million is to, ‘fund PTES key to sector recovery targeted to providers of strategic importance to preserve the foundations of the sector.’

It’s a big sector, of which English language is a small part, and a small pot in the scheme of things. Our members have invested significantly – over decades – in highly-qualified teachers and fit-for-purpose teaching environments so they can provide a student experience New Zealand can be proud of.

"This global recognition will serve us well if we don’t miss the opportunity
to capitalise on the kudos"

Like our global counterparts, we now wait. While highly qualified, experienced, and talented teachers are being given their redundancy notices, we’re asking how much urgency will be given to managed and safe easing of the border restrictions, and just how much value will be placed on preserving the quality that laid the foundations for New Zealand’s export education sector.

Contact: https://www.englishnewzealand.co.nz

Image courtesy of Library
Kim Renner
Kim Renner
Kim Renner is Executive Director of English New Zealand, and has held various roles that include management, advocacy, sales and marketing during her 28 years’ experience within the English language sector.

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