International education booming in NZ

International education in New Zealand remains one of the country’s largest export industries, new figures show.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce revealed that the economic value of New Zealand’s international education industry rose to NZ$4.28 billion last year. This is a 50 per cent increase from the NZ$2.85 billion the sector was last formally measured at in 2014. International education (onshore and offshore delivery) is now New Zealand’s fourth largest export industry.

“This is a strong result that demonstrates the growing importance of international education to New Zealand,” said Mr Joyce. “While economic value is obviously important, international education brings much wider benefits to our institutions, our communities and our country. International students add a rich diversity to our learning institutions, and help to connect New Zealand to the world.”

“The Infometrics-NRB report shows that the increase in economic value was driven by growth in the number of students, and those students spending more on tuition fees and living costs. The top four source countries – China, India, Korea and Japan – accounted for two thirds of the value-increase.

“The growing demand for New Zealand’s world-class education shows that our small country is seen as a big player in the education industry. We must continue to develop and sustain our international education sector and add to our reputation as an innovative, prosperous and welcoming nation,” says Mr Joyce.

The Government is currently consulting with industry representatives on a revised International Education Strategy for New Zealand. The new strategy will seek to underpin the quality of the student experience and to realise the full social, cultural and economic value for New Zealand.

Total student numbers (including full fee-paying students, exchange students, PhD students and foreign research postgraduate students) increased 25 per cent from the 2012 enrolments with all sectors showing an increase.

Primary schools increased the most in economic value (up 169 per cent) between 2012 and 2015, followed by private training establishments (94 per cent) and secondary schools (82 per cent).

The international education sector grew in all regions between 2012 and 2015. The largest value by region was Auckland, which experienced a 55 per cent increase between 2012 and 2015. Canterbury grew 71 per cent in the same period, Waikato grew 45 per cent, and the category ‘other South Island’ (which excludes Canterbury and Otago) grew 152 per cent.

“The significant increase in value in recent years shows that we are well on our way to achieving the Government’s key growth goals for international education,” says Mr Joyce.

The Government announced a target in 2010 to lift the economic value of international education to NZ$5 billion by 2025.

Article published 8th November 2016