KiaOra India | VOL 3 ISSUE 3 | October 2021

Page 12

Column: Education by AUT

A Post COVID world: Value beyond the dollar in International Education Online education, no matter how good, does not replace in-person experience. Auckland University of Technology’s Professor Guy Littlefair elucidates on the value of education beyond the dollar.


igher education as an industry is changing in the second year, which can only be described as the decade of the new normal. More and more, the need for a-synchronous, online distance learning to ensure a pipeline of international students is becoming apparent. How we, as a sector do this without impacting the unique value of international education is a big question. The value of international students attending Universities in person is far greater than the revenue which universities derive directly. International students support: • Significant depth to our research endeavours, our tourism industry and local businesses. • The economy through taxation when they are working. • Expanding the diversity of our cities which builds a tolerant and respectful society. • Furthering the reach and impact of the country they have studied in when they return home. It is difficult to see how this indirect value could be replicated by shifting to mass online education. Complications to the effectiveness of this mass model are illustrated through the right to work in the country of study that students receive after completing their courses in many foreign nations. For example, in New Zealand, international online study is not sufficient for obtaining post-study work rights. Were this to change, it would likely increase demand, and we would respond and invest more in tailored offerings to meet that demand.

However, what is possible is the development of strategic alliances with universities and industry partners in other countries. Through partnership, universities can develop joint programmes for learning and joint research initiatives. India, for example, has recently announced it will allow foreign universities to “set up shop,” and again, this is the strategic alliance direction and it is

Many international students seek a real in-country experience as part of their personal development. Online education, no matter how good it is, does not replace in-person experience. likely that this will continue to be based on the traditional “bricks and mortar” models. Universities need to prioritise high quality digitally delivered programmes of study, which will be locally augmented by face to face or small group peer learning. It is important to remember that many international students seek a real in-country experience as part of their personal development. Online education, no matter how good it is, does not replace in-person experience. Auckland has just been named the world’s most liveable city. As a country, New Zealand has been featured positively in the international press. At the Auckland University of Technology, we are focused on delivering the highest quality education to international students. We strive for quality over quantity. This goal is vital to New

Zealand to uphold the brand and reputation in the global market that we have worked hard to achieve. We need to ensure this is not damaged. Once we see an opening of our border, we will be the destination of choice for more students than pre-COVID. If we look to pre-COVID to further illustrate the value of international education in 2019, 16 per cent of New Zealand’s new to country international student cohort were from India; that is more than 17,000 who chose to take a leap of faith, move their lives, leave their families, undertaking study in Aotearoa New Zealand, across the education sector. More than 3,000 of those students started study at one of New Zealand’s eight universities. AUT was the university of choice for 30 per cent of these students. AUT, as New Zealand’s leading University of Technology, is uniquely attractive for international students, ranking in the top percentile of universities worldwide, first in New Zealand universities for international outlook, and positioned in the heart of Auckland City, which has been named the most liveable city in the world in 2021 ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit. However, and perhaps most importantly, AUT is popular with so many international students as it understands the true value of International Education. The monetary value of international education to Aotearoa New Zealand was $5.23 billion in 2019, securing it as the fifth largest export industry. With such a significant monetary impact, it is easy to get caught in

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