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Export education industry addresses challenges

Export education industry addresses challenges

The export education industry is addressing challenges presented by the rapid growth in the numbers of international students, according to a paper (attached) just published by Asia 2000. The paper suggests that there is scope for New Zealand to reap wider benefits.

Challenges have included capacity issues, quality of education and students, pastoral care, market risks, professional development, and further internationalisation of the education system. The paper suggests that New Zealand has yet to fully seize the opportunity of international education. The focus of public discussion on export education has been predominantly on its potential as a revenue earning industry, with less attention devoted to international students as a human resource. For New Zealand to reap full potential benefits, Asia 2000 believes there must be continued efforts to ensure a quality experience for international students, not only educationally but also in terms of social interaction.

The paper outlines the importance, scale and economic impact of the export education industry in New Zealand, examines the challenges that the industry faces, and explores government and community responses.

In 2002 over 80,000 students from other countries travelled to New Zealand for educational purposes. The main source countries for New Zealand were China, South Korea and Japan.

In the year to July 2002, the economic impact of international students on New Zealand was estimated to be approximately $1.7 billion. By some estimates, this figure could rise to $4-5 billion within the next 10 years.

The total economic benefits to New Zealand position the industry in fourth place in terms of export earnings, somewhere between the total values of the timber and fishing industries. The industry is estimated to have created up to 20,000 jobs.

"The importance of the international education industry to New Zealand cannot be overestimated," said Asia 2000 Executive Director, Christopher Butler. "The industry is creating linkages that help to orient New Zealand towards its Asia-Pacific neighbours, and it speaks volumes about where New Zealand's future lies.

"Asia 2000 believes that the export education industry is a beacon to New Zealand's future. The development of the industry holds enormous potential for New Zealand but realising it fully will require careful management and attention to detail.

"The presence of international students in educational institutions provides an opportunity for good-will to be developed between students and the wider host community. Students benefit from exposure to other cultures and perspectives, and develop cross-cultural skills. But specific initiatives are required to realise these benefits.

"Both the New Zealand economy and the wider community stand to gain substantially from the managed growth of the export education sector. It could help build the international relationships, skills and knowledge that are vital to New Zealand's future in a global economy."

The full paper can also be read at

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