NZ education gets tick from Thais
Manawatu secondary schools top of the listLUCY TOWNEND
New Zealand seems to be an education destination for Thai parents, with Manawatu secondary schools on the top of the list.
Leaders from five Thai schools got the inside scoop on four New Zealand schools this week, touring grounds and taking a look in classrooms.
As part of an Education New Zealand initiative, schools from around Asia are being matched with Kiwi counterparts keen to offer an international study experience.
On a fleeting one-week visit, representatives from schools in Bangkok, Chachoengsao, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chonburi and Kanchanaburi, in Thailand, called in on Palmerston North Boys' High School, Awatapu College, St Peter's College and Nga Tawa Diocesan School.
Awatapu College's dean of international students Mary Mathews said it was the first time a collaboration of this size had taken place in the wider district and early indications looked promising.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by 22 schools in the central and eastern region of Thailand last month and this week the four Manawatu schools made a formal commitment too.
Yesterday it was Nga Tawa's turn to sign on the dotted line - a move welcomed by the school's director of international learning, Lesley Carter. "We believe it's important that our students learn about other cultures and this is a strategy to help."
She said lasting friendships were formed.
Thailand's Hearts and Minds Education co-ordinator Siritorn Duangkhot, who is working on the project on behalf of both countries, said New Zealand was appealing for Thai parents.
"New Zealand has got a world-class education system and they have a really good impression already of New Zealand as a beautiful country for children, and especially [secondary] school students, to come and study here."
Nga Tawa already hosts a handful of Thai pupils.
Among them is Amy Bulbon, 16 who said the shift from a bustling Bangkok to a more relaxed atmosphere in rural Manawatu was certainly different, but a worthwhile experience.
The first group of Thai students are expected to arrive in March for a 10-week study experience.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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