Code for pastoral care of international students

  • Trevor Mallard

Education Minister Trevor Mallard has approved a code of practice for the pastoral care of international students.

The code, a requirement introduced through the recently passed Education Standards Act, covers both state and private providers.

Trevor Mallard said the protection is not before time – with new figures showing a dramatic increase in international fee paying students taking part in formal study in New Zealand.

“Between 2000 and 2001, the number of international students in New Zealand schools and tertiary institutions rose by 55 percent to 26,494,” Trevor Mallard said.

“In July this year, there were 10555 international fee paying students in our secondary schools (7191 in 2000); 12650 in public tertiary institutions (7961 in 2000) and 3289 in private training establishments (1989 in 2000). Thousands more students studied at New Zealand-based English language schools for short periods of time.

“Their contribution to GDP is estimated to be more than $700 million.

“The Government wants to enhance international confidence in our country as a safe study destination for foreign students to ensure that they keep coming here.”

From next year, all schools and tertiary institutions enrolling international students on student permits will be required to sign up to a legal code of practice for their pastoral care. The code takes effect from March 31, with a six-month transitional period for educational providers to sign up.

“After that only providers that have signed up to the code will be able to enrol international students,” Trevor Mallard said.

“Our aim is to advance minimum standards and to introduce a benchmark for good industry practice in relation to their pastoral care. From now on, we will have clearly stated quality standards for non-academic matters that will be enforced across the whole sector.

“The benefits of export education are more than just financial. In our increasingly global world, knowledge of other cultures, cross-cultural communication skills, and international linkages are essential. We need to ensure that the support and education that we provide to international students is of a consistently high quality.”

Trevor Mallard said providers would be given support in complying with the code through a dedicated unit in the Ministry of Education, by provision of selection guidelines and best practice information, and through coverage in professional development initiatives. Providers are being encouraged to sign up to the code early to avoid any disruption to their international student enrolments.“

A copy of the new Code of Practice can be accessed on the Ministry of Education’s website at