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Is Export Education Growth Levelling Off?

Media Release

Is Export Education Growth Levelling Off?

“The main result from our export education confidence survey is that growth expectations are low for the next six months. Importantly, providers expect no growth in the Chinese market, now New Zealand’s largest market”, said Dave Guerin, director of Education Directions.

Education Directions has just completed its first Export Education Confidence Survey, seeking feedback on enrolment predictions and the likely impact of market and policy factors on enrolments. The survey does not ask about percentage changes in enrolments, but merely the direction of change, and survey users should be careful of the distinction. The market confidence measure varies from -1 (all believe it will decline) to 1 (all believe it will grow).

The overall growth expectation is 0.2, with almost half of respondents expecting growth in their enrolments. The confidence measure for China is 0 (no change), but it goes down to -0.1 when only English language schools (53 respondents) are considered. English language schools with 100 or more students (25 respondents) have a confidence measure of -0.5 for China, with most of them believing that the market will decline. This should be of concern, since the larger providers are likely to keep a closer watch on the market.

“The change in the Chinese market, which has experienced over 50% growth pa in the last two years, is due to several factors. Competition has increased, New Zealand immigration policy has tightened (ie English language levels) and our dollar has risen. While the confidence measure is low, any drop in enrolments seems likely to be small.”

“Other markets have confidence measures ranging from 0.1 to 0.4, with Korea (0.3), Japan (0.3) and Other Asian (0.4) markets all looking positive.”

“The major market and policy concerns for providers are immigration policy, the export education levy, the exchange rate and competition, with all being seen as highly likely to restrict enrolments over the next six months. Providers are neutral on the supply of teachers, physical facilities or homestays, with slower growth reducing pressure on these areas. Providers do expect enrolments to be held back by financial resources.”

This first survey only went out to 252 private training establishments (85 responded), which make up about 30% of the export education industry by value. Future surveys, run every three months, will go out to the whole sector. The survey report has been sent out with this release.


Education Directions is a consultancy specialising in tertiary education policy and management, particularly private education and export education.

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