International capabilities: A summary report for schools

Publication Details

This a summary report for schools, drawn from research and analysis by the Ministry of Education and an explorative study completed by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research into international capabilities for students in New Zealand schools.

Author(s): International Division, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: July 2014


International capabilities are how the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) Key Competencies look when young people apply them in intercultural and international contexts. That is, international capabilities are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, dispositions, and values that make up the Key Competencies that enable people to live, work, and learn across national and cultural boundaries.

Some students will already have developed international capabilities, due to intercultural and/or international experiences growing up. Some students will have developed or will be developing international capabilities through cross-cultural interactions in schools with diverse student and/or staff populations. All students can further develop and apply their international capabilities through a range of learning opportunities at school.

Contexts in which young people may apply their international capabilities when they have finished their schooling include:

  • Engaging cross-culturally, for example, in work or study environments.
  • Being an active and engaged 'change agent' in global contexts, such as participating in global efforts to protect the environment or change social outcomes in developing (or, indeed, developed) countries.
  • Making choices about post-school learning and work in a global context.

The purpose of this report is to introduce the idea of international capabilities as a learning outcome of classroom and other learning opportunities school students may have within the framework of the NZC. The report communicates recent research findings about international capabilities completed for the Ministry of Education by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER). It defines international capabilities, asks why they are important for students, suggests learning opportunities in which students can develop and use them, and discusses approaches to measuring students' international capabilities. Measuring students' international capabilities would allow us to gauge how we are doing in providing students with international capability learning opportunities.

Where to find out more

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If you have any queries or would like further information about international education, please email the: International Mailbox