By Matthew Knott, News Editor of StudyTravel Magazine

Two more sets of full-year 2014 data have been released this week, both positive but prompting rather different reactions from their respective industries. 

Languages Canada has issued its 2014 statistics, based on a survey completed by all 225 member schools at the beginning of this year.

On the face of it, a six per cent increase to 137,416 students represents a decent return in a year when some competitor countries, especially those in Europe, struggled for growth.

But there was little triumphalism from the association, which has used the data as a prop to lobby government about the impact of regulations. While the 2014 figure is an increase over the previous year, it is still below the 2012 total. Moreover, the association pointed out that what growth there appears to be is mainly attributable to an increase in membership, suggesting that per school this was a same-level performance.

Indeed, Gonzalo Peralta, Languages Canada Executive Director, said the association’s schools would have been welcoming around 160,000 students last year, but for regulatory amendments. While federal changes introduced in 2014 were broadly welcomed by most in the industry – and some form of control in the issuance of student visa was overdue – elements of the new policy more stringently impacted on the language sector than others, not least the removal of work rights and co-op programmes.  

And the delegation of deciding which institutions should be eligible for the student visa programme to provincial level has in some cases created a policy vacuum and in another example, a burdensome regulation compliance cost.

Over in New Zealand, the overall international education data for 2014 was far more celebrated, given that it was the industry’s best enrolment performance for a decade and saw the country burst well past the six-figure students mark (110,198 to be precise) and past the pre-earthquake levels that had become something of a totemic signpost.

There was growth across all international education sectors and good increases from a number of key markets, including more distant ones in Latin America.

However, a good proportion of the growth came from one country. If UK educators are wondering where their Indian students have gone, they could look in this direction for a fair number of them; an additional 8,000 arrived on New Zealand’s shores in 2014.

Sensing an opportunity, Education New Zealand has been very active in the Indian market. It has engaged with and worked alongside local agencies, utilised the more generous work rights it introduced in 2013 to good effect, and even harnessed the marketing potential of former cricket star Stephen Fleming, popular in India due to his successful time coaching in the country’s Premier League tournament.

The data confirms what Dr. Paul Chellakumar, Patron of Indian agency association AAAOE told us back in March. “There has been no major [business] change as of late, but the choice of destination has changed. The UK has lost more than 80 per cent of its share of the Indian market, while Australia, New Zealand and Canada have increased their shares.”




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