New Zealand snapshot shows varying fortunes

November 28, 2013

The number of international students in New Zealand has declined by three per cent, but several sectors have seen an increase and the Canterbury region has shown signs of recovery, according to a snapshot released by Education New Zealand (ENZ).

Caption: Number of international students studying in NZ by level, 2010-2013, Jan-Aug — Education New Zealand

The International Education Snapshot: January – August 2013 reveals a decline of 2,400 international students in the country overall compared with the same period in 2012.

However, the declines were restricted to the private training establishment (PTE) sector where a 10 per cent fall (3,500 students) wiped out the increases in the other education export sectors. Within the PTE sector there was a 17 per cent decrease for English language schools and a seven per cent drop in other PTEs.

More positive trends were recorded in other fields of international education, with international students increasing by: two per cent at secondary schools; four per cent at both institutes of technology and universities; 17 per cent at Master’s level; and seven per cent at PhD level.

A loss of 1,440 students from Korea, accounting for 60 per cent of the decline, was cited as the largest factor in overall losses. In the report, ENZ said changes in the Korean market included demographic trends, a drive by the Korean government to improve education domestically and a sluggish economy. The report said the government was working with Korean authorities to extend formal recognition of New Zealand qualifications, which would increase the attractiveness of New Zealand as a destination for Korean students.

Meanwhile, the Canterbury region recorded overall growth of six per cent, with the PTE sector bucking the national trend and increasing by 14 per cent. Steven Joyce, New Zealand’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, said, “The strong signs of recovery in Canterbury, and increasing demand for high-quality and postgraduate courses, are an excellent platform for continued growth in New Zealand’s international education industry.”

In a recent interview with Study Travel Magazine, English New Zealand Chief Executive, Darren Conway, said there was growing optimism within the English language sector that the declines had bottomed out, and that the recent extension of work rights in the sector would benefit providers.

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