UCOL launched new English Language programmes, and an English Language test, this week in Palmerston North.
To connect more newcomers to New Zealand with study and work options, UCOL launched the New Zealand Certificate in English Language and the TOEFL iBT test (Test of English as a Foreign Language) on Wednesday.
The internationally recognised TOEFL iBT test, administered via the internet, is an English-language test formally accepted by New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). The test measures individuals' ability to use and understand English at the tertiary level.
UCOL Executive Dean Humanities and Business, Dean Rankin, says the English Language programmes and test at UCOL will present more options for migrants, refugees and international students.
"Many ethnic communities have made or are making Palmerston North their home, and our English Language programmes as well as the TOEFL test will provide the opportunity to study English, and then pathway into further study or employment opportunities. Cultural diversity is an important part of UCOL, and the region as a whole."
The Certificate in English Language Levels 1-4 programmes have been running at UCOL since the start of this year, with students from China, Indonesia, Korea and Afghanistan. The programmes help students to improve their English for daily life, work and/or study. They also allow New Zealand community, employers and educational institutions to recognise the level at which graduates can use English for general, workplace, or academic purposes.
UCOL English Language Lecturer, Shelley Zhang, says she has already seen improvements in her students' use of English for daily life, work and study this year.
"The programme is not just about teaching the English language, it's also about life skills. Passing a test is one thing but learning the culture and academic culture content is another thing."
Shelley takes a personalised approach in her classes and believes her own experience of moving to New Zealand is valuable to her students' journey through the programme.
"I know what culture shock is like because I've experienced it myself. This element of my teaching is proving worthwhile to my students."
The first internet based TOEFL will be offered at UCOL in July and will be conducted monthly, 11 staff have been certified to act as Test Centre Administrators.
UCOL Chief Executive Leeza Boyce opened the launch event on Wednesday, with current students from the first cohort of the New Zealand Certificate in English Language talking about their experience of education in New Zealand and at UCOL.
Members of the local international education community and key UCOL stakeholders were invited to attend the launch, which ran from 4-5pm in the Palmerston North UCOL Atrium.