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English New Zealand, with the support of Education New Zealand, hosted its second biennial conference on the 22nd and 23rd of November at the Auckland Institute of Studies (AIS) in Auckland.

The conference, themed “Quality and Sustainability in ELT”, attracted over 170 delegates which was a 15% increase on 2017. It was excellent to have 30 non-member school academic staff attending which was a 200% increase on 2017.

A members’ only closed session was attended by the Minister of Education Hon. Chris Hipkins. Topical issues for the sector such as quality assurance and the export education levy (EEL) were discussed openly.  The Minister was accompanied by senior officials from Education New Zealand, the Ministry of Education and NZQA.

A concurrent session was held for Academic Managers of member schools. This is the first dedicated DoS/Academic Managers’ session hosted by English New Zealand and was received well by attendees. It was evident that there is a need to provide a forum for information sharing and networking, and the aim is to make this a regular part of the English New Zealand calendar.

Although sustainability is most frequently associated with environmental issues currently, the focus for the conference was on sustainability of the sector and looking after those studying and working within it. As Wayne Dyer, Chairman of English New Zealand states “It has become cliché to say we live in a time of rapid change but it is nevertheless the case and the way we respond to that impacts not only the quality of our offerings but also our own quality of life. Are we resilient enough? Are we burning out? How do we feel good and function well?”

The varied programme included sessions on teaching practice, quality standards, assessment, marketing, management, wellbeing and pastoral care. Key government agencies such as Education New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand and NZQA presented as did two experts on wellbeing and resilience.

A range of examination and industry service providers exhibited with sponsorship from IDP IELTS, ETS TOEFL, Bookery, Cambridge Assessment English, OET, ETS TOEIC, ICEF, Pearson PTE Academic, OKNZ & Vodafone, Apex Digital and Uni-Care.

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