9 August 2022

KITE students vent anger on social media, want end to exploitation

KITE students want end to ‘rip off’

Gurbir Singh

By: Gurbir Singh, gurbir@newsviews.co.nz

The ripple effect of closure of Kiwi Institute of Training and Education (KITE) on 16 Aug is being felt widely across the international student community, and they are seeking an end to ‘rip off’.

This has reportedly affected nearly a hundred students who were enrolled in the Business and Healthcare Management diplomas at its campuses in Auckland, Hamilton & Christchurch. NewsViews is, however, awaiting the confirmation of actual number of students from the NZQA.

KITE students

KITE had asked the NZQA to cancel its registration as it was put into liquidation.

Read our earlier story: https://www.newsviews.co.nz/uncertain-future-for-dozens-of-overseas-students-as-another-pte-folds-up/

Some of the former KITE students have taken recourse to the social media to vent their frustration and anger at the New Zealand’s education industry, and to keep up the pressure on authorities.

Former students of KITE
KITE students appealing for support (Pic source: Screengrab)

In a video message shared on social media, a group of Auckland students have voiced their concern about having to pay fresh fees (“$300”) for visa and for continuing their studies with another provider. They appealed to all the local communities to support their cause and “help find a proper solution to this problem.”

They also want the country to put an end to this earning of “billions and billions of dollars from international students”, as can be seen from the mushrooming number of institutes, for example, on Auckland’s Queen Street, they said.

They wanted their “voices to be heard” by NZQA, Immigration and other agencies. “They are milking the students,” and “enough is enough,” was their comment,  

“KITE is not the only institute to shut, and may not be the last.” Some students have been affected twice as they were moved to KITE after closure of their previous provider.

Calling it an ‘awareness video’, they wanted prospective students to know what is happening in the education sector of New Zealand as authorities may close down other providers also.

One immigration lawyer who has been approached for help by some of these students, has gone to the extent of reportedly calling the $5.1 billion international education industry a “rip off”.

“It’s ripping people off by selling qualifications that are of low quality and really have no value whatsoever. It’s just a money-making exercise for the Government. But these are the victims, these are the people who have been left on the street out of pocket,” NewsHub reported him saying.

The main fear of those affected was their money and the time spent would all go waste if they fail to receive any qualifications.

With regard to student’s fears of losing their fees, NewsViews has received a confirmation that NZQA is working to ensure the refund of fees.

In a statement to NewsViews today (28 Aug), NZQA says:

“NZQA is working with all the relevant parties, including Public Trust, to ensure students get their full refund, as soon as possible.

“Public Trust will email students with the relevant forms and information about where to send the forms. Students should ensure they complete the forms clearly and that their personal details and bank account details are correct.

“We cannot place an exact time-frame on when refunds will be issued because this is an ongoing and complex situation that is being actively managed with the help of other agencies, including Immigration New Zealand and the Public Trust.

“However, we appreciate this is a difficult time for the affected students and our most important consideration is to support them as much as possible. Everyone concerned is working towards a swift resolution.”

The students’ achievement at KITE also may not go completely waste, and according to NZQA, “there is nothing to prevent a (new) provider from agreeing to conduct a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment to determine whether a student has valid and authentic evidence of meeting particular learning outcomes.”

There have been several earlier cases where either NZQA has withdrawn the accreditation of private training providers or where providers themselves have requested cancellation due to their inability to keep up to the required standards.

NZQA had earlier taken a stand that “where providers are not meeting the standards we expect of them, NZQA will take action to ensure the integrity of New Zealand’s tertiary education system.”

In the case of KITE, due to concerns in assessment practices in the level 5, 6 and 7 Business Diplomas, NZQA had placed certain conditions that required KITE to have student results verified by an external moderation partner prior to being released to students.

The value of international education to New Zealand is $5.1 billion, the fourth largest export industry.

According to the Economic Valuation of International Education report for 2017, $4.8 billion is attributed to international students visiting New Zealand, and an average economic value per student is $39,290 (reflecting things such as type of study, and student spending as busy tourists and active consumers).

Comments are welcome