And away they go
The annual results of our globally comparative Status survey are made available in this issue, allowing direct comparison of trends such as nationality breakdown, student recruitment and price across countries (page 50). The results are engaging; New Zealand made the most use of agents for its student recruitment in 2004, for example, while Spain appeared to have the cheapest prices for tuition overall.
New Zealand will be glad of some good agent partners given that the most recent 2005 figures, released by the Ministry of Education, indicate further declines in student numbers for this country (page 6). A government minister has promised to lend his attention to the issue of the collapse in Chinese student numbers at least.
As agents will testify, it is not price alone that puts students on seats, and New Zealand is pretty much the median when it comes to price, according to our Status surveys. Other factors such as distance, visa issues, and increasingly, long-term prospects in a country also influence a student's study abroad decision.
In other countries, governments seem to be stepping up efforts to attract international students, mindful of this fact. For example, in the UK, revised working rights for some graduates are being introduced, which will enhance the appeal of studying long-term in the country (page 53). Frankly, the UK needs to promote such advantages it had the highest tuition rates in 2004 according our Status survey (page 50).
Canada has implemented work-rights for full-time students in many provinces, following successful pilot programmes (page 53), and it has also improved its long-term migration appeal by announcing that it will be easier for graduating students to gain resident status in the country (page 7). With extra funding being channelled into a website advising students of their options in Canada, it seems as if the country is posturing to rise up the league table of preferred destinations.
The USA, famously recalcitrant in recent years in terms of actively recruiting internationals, is also intending to tour education fairs this year to promote its message, although immigration reform is not on the cards as yet (page 53). And the Irish government has provided funding to teach young Japanese and Korean students about the joys of Ireland, through a classroom kit for teachers (page 7). International student recruitment is certainly on the radar of governments worldwide as they rev up for a dynamic 2006.