New Zealand has become the most attractive country in the world to international students, thanks to how to have handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a recent survey done by Navitas Insights, students in 63 countries voted for the best country to study internationally in, with New Zealand coming first.
Government handling of Coronavirus situation related to Education
“This is a huge opportunity for New Zealand universities, PTEs and schools,” says Chris Whelan, Universities New Zealand’s Chief Executive.
“But only if we are able to bring students safely into the country in time to take advantage of this positive perception.”
The author of the report, Jonathan Chew, says that although all destinations are facing similar challenges, countries have responded differently to the COVID-19 pandemic and to the plight of international students.
However, this isn’t the only survey done on COVID-19 and student prospects. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which offers research and analytics on global higher education, did a similar survey as well.
According to QS, New Zealand was chosen as the first country that handled the pandemic the best, with 28% of students saying New Zealand has handled it the best and is now the most attractive country to study in. This number comes in first, doubling those who selected China, the second highest country chosen.
When asked why they had chosen New Zealand, one student commented: “They carried out proper awareness. They prioritized health over economy, they actually listened to science. They ensured proper awareness and complete lock-down. They acted fast. They maintained transparency.”
Many students also say they would be willing and prepared to start an online education, however, only if it turns into face-to-face learning after a while. 64% of prospective students said that they would apply for the study if online studies changed to real-life studies within 6 months. However, 75% of students said they would apply if online learning only lasted three months.
“Having certainty about a starting date for the face-to-face study will encourage international students to enrol in New Zealand universities, even if their initial experience is online,” says Chris Whelan. “Certainty about timing is what we’re after.”
QS recommends that Tertiary institutions should be open and communicate properly with prospective international students—creating and communicating plans, going into detail about how their online studies will be delivered, and how they will move to face-to-face learning.
With so much uncertainty, universities should detail their planning to ensure they are prepared for shifts in lockdown levels and reassure their students that they will act effectively.
Another advantage tertiary schools can give themselves is by offering discount fees for online learning as this can draw in more international students. The study shows that students expect their fees to be discounted if their studies begin online.
However, this is a difficult task as many universities need to make up for their cutbacks and income loss. But by being able to explain how much is going into developing online platforms, it may help with discounted fee expectations.