ISANA NZ as the International Education Association Aotearoa promotes exemplary practice in New Zealand's international education sector. Its goals closely reflect the government's 2022-2030 International Education Strategy: (1) Delivering an excellent education and student experience; (ii) Ensuring international education is sustainable and resilient; (iii) Developing global citizens. It is ISANA NZ's members who mediate the education experience for international learners. This is why the association works hard to promote investments in professional development, training and sector-specific research.
The association has had success in advocating for holistic policy and practice. In 2006 ISANA NZ co-convened the MOE supported National Safety Advisory Group to explore coordinated cross-sector strategies for enhancing international learner safety. This innovative initiative was cited by the Universities Australia 2009 paper Enhancing the student experience and student safety.
In 2011, a paper delivered at the 2011 ISANA Hobart conference entitled Filling in sinkholes down under: A strategy for vulnerable international students led to a meeting with the then Secretary of Education Peter Hughes. This added impetus to the development of the MOE's International Student Wellbeing Strategy (ISWS), a contestable fund for supporting innovative international learner wellbeing initiatives.
In 2018, ISANA NZ supported the establishment of the New Zealand International Student Association (NZISA). The formation of this body provided international learners with a national voice to represent international learner interests, perspectives and concerns. ISANA NZ regularly liaises with NZISA and its key role in supporting NZISA's formation was publicly acknowledged at an NZISA roadshow event at the University of Otago, 22 Sep 2022.
From 2018 to 2020 ISANA NZ received ISWS grants to deliver nationwide professional development workshops, desktop research, a research-to-theory symposium and online resources for international education practitioners in schools, PTEs, ITPs and universities. In 2021 ISANA NZ commenced the Capability Toolkit project with support from Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao. This ground-breaking project is developing an online repository of tools, tips, guidelines, scenarios and case studies to consolidate and promote exemplary practice across the school and tertiary sectors. Its objective is to be a 'people's resource' that develops from broad wiki-type input from frontline practitioners, researchers, programme leaders, learners and stakeholders invested in delivering an excellent education and student experience.
These partnerships with government bodies have added momentum to one of ISANA NZ's primary advocacy goals: the development of a specialist profession, sector-specific credentials and professional pathways for the international education sector. It is these fundamentals that will enable sustainable, learner-centred practice that enhances Aotearoa's reputation as an education provider and study destination.
ISANA NZ regularly represents members' interests via participation in government advisory bodies, meetings with government officials, letter writing to Ministers, engagement with media and good faith liaison with the sector's peak bodies that include Universities New Zealand, ITENZ, Te Pūkenga, English New Zealand and SIEBA.