NZ South Island educators look for assistance
June 20, 2012
Educators across New Zealand’s South Island are calling for access to some of the NZ$5 million (US$3.9 million) fund set aside to reverse declining international student enrolments in Christchurch in the aftermath of last year’s earthquake.
The dedicated fund was announced earlier this year by Steven Joyce, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, following the release of data that showed the Canterbury region suffered a 37 per cent decline in international student enrolments across all sectors during 2011.
However, Otago University, based in Dunedin, has called for educators outside Christchurch to also be supported. At the end of April this year, Otago University had recorded a 4.6 per cent decline in the number of international fee-paying full-time students compared with the same period last year.
International Pro-Vice Chancellor of Otago University, Professor Sarah Todd, has expressed initial interest with Education New Zealand about Dunedin providers being able to access the funds. Meanwhile, according to the Otago Daily Times, Mike Waddell, Communications Manager at Otago Polytechnic, said that although Christchurch should be the number one priority, the NZ$5 million should be used to help providers throughout the South Island. He said there was a mistaken perception that the whole of the island had been affected, and that this had deterred a number of international students.
When the assistance fund was announced, Joyce said, “The Government is working to assist international student levels in Canterbury recover to pre-quake levels. This extra NZ$5 million will be additional to Education New Zealand’s nationwide marketing budget. It will go a long way to sending the message globally that Canterbury providers are back in business and students are welcome.”
As previously reported, despite the declines in Christchurch the country as a whole only suffered a 0.5 per cent decline in international students, with the drop largely covered by increases elsewhere in New Zealand.