International education recovering in Canterbury

Friday, September 2, 2016

International education is New Zealand’s fifth largest export industry and supports more than 30,000 jobs. Figures released by Statistics New Zealand show the industry is worth $3.1 billion.

Before the earthquakes, Canterbury had a strong share of the international students coming to New Zealand. However many educational facilities suffered damaged from the earthquakes and international publicity of the disaster understandably deterred parents from sending their teenagers here to study.

Fortunately the figures show that this trend is reversing and international students are starting to come back into our region to study. There were more than 1,000 extra international student enrolments in Canterbury last year, representing a 13 per cent increase for the region, according to a recent International Education Snapshot Report.

Canterbury’s total international student enrolments reached 10,547, compared with the previous year’s 9,367. This represented 8 per cent of enrolments nationwide, second only to Auckland which had the greatest number of international student enrolments.

The report shows a significant increase in the number of international students choosing to study across New Zealand. Tuition fee income from international education in New Zealand was $1.029 billion for 2015, a rise of 17 per cent on 2014.

Many families in Selwyn have taken in international students and our region also benefits in terms of student spending on local goods and services.

Not only do international students boost regional economies, they become life-long ambassadors for New Zealand and increase our cultural awareness. It is therefore great to see our region play such an important role in increasing our global connectedness.

Growth in the sector in Canterbury was led by the Private Training Establishment sector (including English language schools) which enrolled an additional 745 international students in 2015, a rise of 19 per cent on the previous year.

International enrolments in Canterbury’s institutes of technology and polytechnics increased by 17 per cent, or 202 student enrolments.  There was also a 9 per cent growth in international enrolments at Canterbury’s universities (238 student enrolments). Canterbury accounted for 11 per cent of international student enrolments in universities nationwide.

The Canterbury International Education Destination 2025 strategy was launched in July last year. This included the development of an offshore to onshore partnership channel for the Chinese market, the development of a job-ready programme and joint off-shore missions to China, India and Thailand.

Education New Zealand, the lead government agency for the promotion of international education, is working to grow the economic value of this industry to $5 billion dollars nationwide by 2025.