6 October 2021

New Zealand Global Competence Certificate programme proves a hit

People & Culture

While learners might be missing the company of international students in their classrooms, students both here and offshore are embracing the opportunity to connect online and learn from each other through New Zealand’s Global Competence Certificate programme.

What is New Zealand’s Global Competence Certificate programme?

The customised cultural exchange programme, which started as a pilot partnership last year between New Zealand’s international education agency, Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao and AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc. has proved so successful it is now being extended and taken up by schools and tertiary institutions around the country, connecting them with students in Asia and Latin America.

The “Kiwi way” has much to offer the world, and international education has much to offer New Zealanders at a time the world needs people with cross-cultural competencies. The New Zealand Global Competence Certificate, delivered through Massey University, develops cultural self-awareness, emotional resilience, and build bridges across cultures. It also piques the interest of students offshore in coming to New Zealand in better times.

The programme delivers animated videos, quizzes, assignments, and weekly live facilitated dialogue sessions for learners to talk with each other online in real time and learn about life from perspectives other than their own.

What have students been saying about the NZGCC programme?

“Not only have I learned to become a better communicator, empathiser, and global citizen, but also how a group of like-minded individuals can come together to form something bigger,” says Jack Hittle, of Northland’s Springbank School.

“I found the programme life-changing,” says Vaagisha Kanwar, a Year 11 student at Indus International School in Bangalore, India, who connected with the Northland students. “We learned about conflict, empathy, inequality, different communication styles, how different people adapt to new situations, and about suspending judgement. I know that I’ll use the skills we’ve learned for the rest of my life, not just when I travel abroad but also in daily life.”

What have educators been saying about the NZGCC programme?

Whanganui Girls College Principal Sharon Steer is delighted with the NZGCC programme, which she says will help students build their understanding of global cultures, and other critical “soft” skills which will prepare them for life as they enter the workforce.

“An important part of our curriculum is developing strong communication skills and setting our students up for success in the workplace. The NZGCC programme will add another dimension to our lessons by teaching our students how to develop meaningful relationships with one another despite language and cultural differences.”

Educators say that with the borders closed, the programme now forms an important part of the reshaped international education experience.

“It is so important that our students don’t miss out on the enriching life skills that are gained when we interact and connect with people from around the globe,” says Whangarei Girls High School International Director Amelia Morrison, who has students working with peers in India.

"Global competence is mission-critical for our world," says AFS Intercultural Programs President and CEO Daniel Obst. “Educating more young people to become global citizens is crucial if we want to create a more just and peaceful world.”

The expansion of the GCC programme reflects the diversification of education in new virtual forms fit for a globally connected world, says Education New Zealand Chief Executive Grant McPherson.

“As well as helping to develop the global citizens of tomorrow, this programme demonstrates the reciprocal benefits of international education, giving our rangatahi a chance to learn with high school students from around the world, and giving their offshore peers a chance to learn ‘with’ New Zealand and our unique way of thinking.”

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