When NZ looks for scapegoats in education agents “to cover their faults”; NZ loses its uniqueness.

I am often accused of being biased in favor of New Zealand and its regulations. I am and I am not hiding it. This is more so, because, over the years, this tiny country has done several things that stands it apart. Even with the changes, the immigration system in Australia is likely to be inspired from the NZ system. NZ is possibly the only country which gets into accrediting agents and now from July of this year, they will not make any bones of the fact that they will give priority processing to these accredited education agents.

However, the real character is often tested at the toughest of times. They say that when you are attacked, you need to come in defense of those who have not erred and identify and correct those who have, even when that maybe yourself. We have seen and closely observed the behavior of the Government Departments of various destination countries and the education providers in recent years to state that even before guilt can be proven to be of the education agents, education agents are often ascribed as the likely culprits for any recruitment of wrong students that take place. If a student overstays, the education agent is at fault even though the role of the agent ended years ago and the student may have been influenced by several others. If a student provides a fraudulent document, the education agent is at fault even though the agent was unaware and the fraud may be so close to the original that even the department of immigration may not have noticed.  If the student chooses to work part time at wrong hours and in wrong jobs, the education agent is at fault even though the job may have been found through the job centre of the institution.

This needs to end. Now with the London Statement, all the major countries are acknowledging that there are good agents who need to be encouraged. At the same time there are good and bad in each and every trade. Good doctors and Bad doctors. Good lawyers and Bad lawyers. Good visa officers and Bad visa officers…. Generalized comments on education agents and any implied finger pointing at agents without real evidence of their role in anything is simply not a move that encourages agents.

Now what has got me venting the above and what does this have to do with NZ which has always relied on the use of education agents…

Just yesterday, I did  a blog where I praised the effort of the Education NZ and Immigration NZ in entering an MOU by which accredited education agents get priority processing. Interestingly on the same very day, a news broke in NZ where groups of Indian students complained that they were being denied recognition of their Indian nursing degrees even after having been recruited into and then completing the conversion programs for Nurses. From the fact of the story it appears that groups of Indian students were recruited by Government owned Polytechnics in NZ for a program designed to convert nursing qualifications from overseas to NZ requirements for registration as Nurses. However on completing of the courses, these students were then told that they are no-good since the Indian qualification that they held is no-good. I agree with the students that this is simply a case of cheating them… Any student who joins such a program is clearly marketed (look up the institute website) that they will then be ready for the NZ job market. Infact the very premise of these programs appear to be that. Secondly, Immigration NZ normally donot even grant a student visa if the program is not appropriate for the student and their intention. Hence, clearly to me the problem lies in the program of study and its marketing by the institutions. Now the students are well within their rights to complain.

My concern is that from the report it appears that the institution and NZQA and the news anchor and the storyline is hinting that the agent has provided wrong counseling. I donot know the agent at all but going by the report I donot find the students saying that and also the interview of the agent by the channel which clearly is aimed at pulling out a confession of guilt, has not succeeded in doing so. I am an NZSA accredited counsellor who is now going to get priority processing but honestly, I could have been in the position of the same said education agent. If the program of the study is in the International prospectus and on the website and promotes it to the Indian nurse without any disclaimers that it doesnot apply to India then I would have certainly helped the nurse apply for that program. Where am I wrong? The institution needs to not accept Indian nurses to this program if it will lead to a dead-end post the qualification especially if the program of study is done post the Indian qualification and aimed at converting it to NZ requirements.

An investigation has been launched but I can tell you before-hand itself, the result will be that… the institutions that accepted the application into a postgrad program without checking the undergrad equivalence will not be at fault, the institutions that list the details on their website that the program will make them eligible for registration is not going to be at fault, the immigration which only grants visas for programs that have a positive outcome and a progression thereafter will not be at fault… Who will be at fault will be the education agent who will be found to have assured more than what should have been done… The agent doesnot have a voice and the agent is faraway. The institute might simply not renew the agreement with the agent and indicate to NZQA that they have taken action… A warning will be issued and the matter will be closed.

Is this fair?

Now watch the news video(till end) on the link below and decide for yourself…

News reporting on Indian Nursing Students being denied registration in NZ.

TVNZ Report

3 Comments

  1. Yes, I’m not able to understand why the agent has been blamed.
    The institutes that offers Nursing courses in New Zealand are Government owned Polytechnics (ITP’s) and one of such institutes in Roturua is quite well know for recruiting students with low IELTS score. In order to lure students the IELTS requirement has been relaxed by this institute and the result is what we see. The blame should go on the institute involved and NOT the education agents

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  2. Well Totally Agree with Nishi, Anything happens to a student the Agent is to Blame, but in this case the Polytechnic’s are at Blame as they also openly marketed their courses as a pathway to registration as a Nurse.

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  3. Just seen the clip again – looks like students have taken things for granted that they are sure to settle down in New Zealand with a secured job after they complete the course. Has the institute or their agent given this information, If YES then there is a serious lapse. Neither the institute nor its agents must guarantee any jobs, migration or settlement pathways.

    The main issue with short term “Nursing” courses is that they don’t offer registration with NZ Nursing Council as a Qualified Nurse; the Nursing Council has its own restrictions and tough norms. They require high levels of English and also great scores. Overseas Nursing qualifications especially from India don’t get equivalence easily.

    I am sure the institute recruiting students for any sort of Nursing courses must be aware of this and they must / should advise the students about it. Only a handful of the ITP’s do take Nursing students from India with low IELTS scores and this has led to the problem today. The students are mainly complaining that the qualifications they gained in New Zealand are not being treated as EQUAL by the Nursing Council. No where they have complained that the quality of the course they just completed was bad or not upto the mark

    While I also agree that Institutes and their marketing units should stop running after student numbers and instead concentrate on quality for long-term success.

    New Zealand is no doubt a fantastic place for Indian students to study, it’s cheaper, it’s multicultural, it’s safer and offers world class living conditions. Yes most students after completing the course do find employment and also get success with their general skills migration applications. The post study work (Graduate Job Search) is available to students who complete the course and this attracts many international students. New Zealand provides Indian students with opportunities.

    The other side of the coin is that students with degrees but no knowledge, lack of EL skills end up with No jobs and they must stop blaming the system
    Students must stop complaining. Moreover students should also understand that doing any course in any country, in any institute cannot get them their dream jobs and this is only a myth.
    When things don’t go our way we start to complain.

    Nishi

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