The Global Competence Certificate has been developed by AFS and facilitated by Massey University. It has brought together students who, due to Covid-19, are unable to take part in offshore exchanges, and connected them virtually to students from around the world.
ENZ Chief Executive, Grant McPherson, said, "I would like to congratulate all the students who took part in the GCC programme.
"It is a great way for students to continue to grow as global citizens by helping them gain the knowledge, skills and capabilities they need to live, work and learn globally when it is safe to do so. It has also been a positive way to continue to build strong global connections at both a student and organisational level, during COVID-19."
Andrea Flavel, Director of Centre for Professional and Continue Education, Massey University says, "It has been a privilege for Massey University to be involved in this GCC pilot programme in partnership with ENZ, CEDA and PNCC. Massey University's significant experience teaching online and flexibly utilising the excellent programme content from AFS has been a great success. The Massey team have been delighted to be a part of helping young New Zealanders develop global skills while borders are closed, and travel is limited."
The graduation ceremony was attended by the Palmerston North City Council Mayor, Grant Smith, the Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand, H.E. Mr Ta Van Thong, Palmerston North MP and virtually by Education New Zealand's Chief Executive, Grant McPherson in New Zealand.
Palmerston North's Mayor, Grant Smith, said, "The programme has provided positive dialogue and digital connections for local students while at the same time, creating relationships that support the flow of ideas that encourage them to think and act globally.
"Palmerston North is a hub of international activity and plays a role in helping to grow international education in our region. We also value our international city relationships and embrace this renewed relationship with Ho Chi Minh City."
Along with the benefits to this initial group of students, Palmerston North City and Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training have also forged a strategic partnership. They are in the process of renewing the Memorandum of Arrangement (MOA) between the two cities, focusing on education exchanges.
"While we cannot travel or take in new international students right now, it is great that we can find innovative ways to keep connected with our counterparts overseas, showcasing the wonderful study opportunities our region has to offer," says Sara Towers, Talent and Skills Manager at CEDA.
"It is also encouraging to see the region's future leaders getting an opportunity to grow their global competencies, which will ultimately have a hugely positive impact on the social consciousness of students here and abroad."
ENZ is continuing to work with AFS and Massey University to offer the Global Competence Certificate programme to more students.
This initiative was made possible through joint sponsorship by Palmerston North City Council, the Central Economic Development Agency, CEDA, and Education New Zealand.
CEDA and Council offered scholarships for up to 27 students, while ENZ funded the same number of students in Viet Nam.
Ten shools took place in total. Five secondary schools from across Manawatū: Awatapu College, Feilding High School, Freyberg High School, Palmerston North Boys' High School, and Palmerston North Girls' High School, while the remaining five were in Viet Nam.