This project builds on two intial feasibility projects undertaken by PINZ Consultants over the past two years.
Formed earlier this year to bid for the Omani contract, the shareholders in NZTEC are PINZ, the Academic Colleges Group, Auckland University of Technology, University of Otago, Waikato University and Victoria University of Wellington.
NZTEC will provide course content, quality assurance and some staff training for four degree programmes to five new Colleges of Applied Sciences being established in Oman. NZTEC is supplying content for degrees in International Business Administration, Information Technology, Design and Communication Studies as well as content for English language courses and academic foundation courses. PINZ is supplying administrative support and project management.
NZTEC Chair, and Victoria University of Wellington Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley says the Omani contract is the single biggest offshore education project ever undertaken by New Zealand institutions. “New Zealand education institutions have been individually transferring curriculum and providing quality assurance offshore for some time but this significant contract brings that expertise together for the first time. It makes sense for New Zealand education providers to work together because international opportunities like this one are simply too big and too risky for any of them to take on alone.”
Winning the contract is the culmination of many months of work by the members of the Consortium backed by the Education Sector team from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and following on from the intial feasibility work undertaken by PINZ in 2004 and 2005.
The expertise of NZTE was particularly important in negotiating preferred supplier status for NZTEC with the Oman Ministry of Higher Education, bringing the members of NZTEC together to bid collaboratively for the contract, and establishing NZTEC as a limited company.
The contract is further evidence of the strength of the relationship between New Zealand and Oman. New Zealand is awarded more fully paid scholarships than its nearest competitor Australia with a total of 86 scholarship students from Oman studying in New Zealand this year. Following the signing of this contract it is likely that NZTEC will enter into further agreements to provide services to the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman.
The first students will begin studying the courses provided by NZTEC in Oman in September this year.