NZ international education sector worth NZ$5.1 billion

New research shows that the annual economic value of international education to New Zealand is NZ$5.1 billion, making it the country’s fourth largest export.

“NZ$4.8 billion is attributed to international students visiting New Zealand and NZ$0.3 billion to education and training goods and services delivered offshore,” explained Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

The research reveals that Overseas students are spreading their wings regarding where they are studying, with Auckland actually seeing a fall in student numbers. Not that this is impacting too adversely on how much money the sector is making in the city.

“Auckland has seen a drop in the total number of visiting students over the last year, however, the economic value of the sector remained strong, totalling NZ$2.76 billion,” said Hipkins. “New Zealand regions such as Southland (NZ$60 million), Waikato (NZ$280 million) and Northland (NZ$50 million) also saw significant economic benefit from local activity.”

The report, based on 2017 data, also highlights that 49,631 jobs are supported by the international education sector. This is made up of 47,490 jobs connected to visiting students, and a further 2,141 jobs (973 in New Zealand and 1,168 offshore) from offshore activity in 2017.

“These strong economic results are underpinned by other positive changes in the sector,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Recent developments include the release of an International Education Strategy for New Zealand in August, which sets out a new path for the future of New Zealand’s international education sector.

“Its three goals include ‘delivering an excellent international education and student experience’, ‘achieving sustainable growth’ and ‘developing global citizens’.

“The focus has shifted away from volume and growing the number of students in New Zealand, toward offering an exemplary student experience and building a sector that provides benefits for all New Zealanders.

“For example, international education gives the next generation the opportunity to learn alongside people from all over the world, which encourages our young people to look outward and helps them develop global skills valuable for tomorrow’s workforce.”

For the first time, the tourism spend of visiting friends and family was identified as part of the 2017 research but is additional to the total NZ$5.1b value of the international education sector. This was calculated to be NZ$460 million* across New Zealand.

Article published 30th October 2018