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Auckland City leads the way in student industry

MEDIA RELEASE
1 December 2003

Auckland City leads the way in
supporting international student industry

A report on the state of international education in Auckland city has prompted Auckland City Council to consider bringing together key industry stakeholders to discuss ways to address the issues raised.

The Infometrics Consulting report ‘International students – their impact on Auckland City’ was commissioned by Auckland City. It provides information on how the international education industry has developed and some insight into what is needed to achieve sustainable growth and better manage its impact on the city.

Councillor Mark Donnelly, chairperson of the council’s Strategy and Governance Committee, says:

“The Infometrics report mentions many things that the industry is doing well, however it also highlights areas for improvement. To ensure we address the areas of concern on Wednesday, the committee will consider inviting key industry players to a forum to discuss the report. The aim will be to drive the industry forward in the best way for Auckland’s economy, international students, education providers, residents and businesses.”

Mr Donnelly hopes the meeting will include representatives from central and local government agencies, education and pastoral care providers, and those who can assist with infrastructure requirements.

“The report confirms the international student industry brings $930 million a year into the city making it a significant economic contributor. The flow-on economic impact of each student on the wider community is immense. In order for this vital industry to develop, we must work in partnership with the industry to ensure the needs of both students and the wider community are met,” Mr Donnelly adds.

Some of the issues raised in the report for discussion at the meeting include:
- whether central government should continue its relatively light-handed regulatory approach towards the industry
- the New Zealand Immigration Service’s consistency in application decisions
- quality standards for the voluntary homestay association
- strategies for education providers to reduce risks through diversifying markets, providing new services and addressing quality issues.

Some of the recommendations made in the report are already being addressed by Auckland City. These include:
- considerations for student safety and security
- better management of the use of commercial buildings and public spaces to allow greater social exchange between students
- continuing work with industry organisations such as Study Auckland to ensure that the education industry is providing a quality service.

“We need to look closely at industries that are making a significant economic contribution to New Zealand. Last week’s Seriously Asia forum highlighted the importance of international students on the broader economic future of New Zealand and confirmed to me the importance of supporting this sector of our economy,” says Mr Donnelly.

A further recommendation from the report was that a nationwide survey of foreign student expenditure be undertaken. Auckland City supports this and will incorporate this survey into wider research they have already commissioned on students’ experiences and levels of satisfaction.

“By working in partnership with the industry and other stakeholders, Auckland City plans to better manage the impact and needs of this exciting industry and provide our international students with a quality experience,” Mr Donnelly adds.

Ends

Note to Editors

International education has the same economic benefit for Auckland as holding an America’s Cup each year.

Infometrics Consulting

Infometrics Consulting is a privately owned and operated company that offers a range of economic consulting and forecasting services.

Study Auckland

Study Auckland represents all schools, tertiary institutions and private education providers who enrol international students in the Auckland region. It is part funded by Auckland City and Manukau City, and associated with Tourism Auckland.

As suggested in the report, Study Auckland will take the role of assessing the viability of voluntary homestay associations and will continue to support strategies for education providers to reduce risks through addressing quality issues.

Student safety initiatives

Auckland City provides international student safety programmes free of charge to all Auckland city education institutions. The Pedestrian Safety video is already being used by providers and the Road Safety video is currently in production.

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