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Education Exports Crack $2 Billion

Education New Zealand Media Release – 22 March 2004
Education Exports Crack $2 Billion

The value of export education to the New Zealand economy during 2003 reached $2.277 billion dollars, according to the latest economic impact data released today by Education New Zealand. The overall number of students coming to New Zealand surged past 100,000 to peak at 118,684 – a new record for international student activity.

‘We are delighted at this information, and it confirms that in 2003 education was one of New Zealand’s biggest export earners’ says Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand.

‘As always, care should be taken in interpreting this data’ says Robert Stevens. ‘In particular, the data set for the English language sector is taken from the end of March 2003, and market conditions have been tougher since then. However, what is incontrovertible is that student numbers grew strongly during late 2002 and early 2003, and in many sectors, such as tertiary, that growth is continuing’.

The industry statistics are a combination of the official July 2003 Ministry of Education returns from institutions, and the annual March census of independent language schools undertaken by the Department of Statistics. The economic impact is calculated according to an independent impact analysis commissioned in 2000 by Education New Zealand and the Asia 2000 Foundation, and undertaken by leading researchers Infometrics Consulting Ltd. This data set has been used over successive years by Education New Zealand for comparative purposes, and is thus a consistent set for annual industry evaluation.

Robert Stevens, however, cautions against an expectation of continued increases in the numbers of students. ‘In many sectors, the education system is approaching capacity. In addition, many institutions are seeking to improve the educational impact of international students by broadening the diversity of source markets. A combination of these factors is checking the growth we have seen over the last few years, quite apart from the combination of market and economic factors, such as the high dollar, that all exporters face. On the upside, however, international demand looks set to continue and new modes of supply are attracting increasing attention – and valuable additional revenue’.

‘New Zealand can be very proud of what it has achieved in international education’ says Robert Stevens. ‘The industry has not generated these results by sitting on its hands. The numbers are a tribute to the quality and value that our educators in all sectors provide their students. It is a major and vigorous contributor to the economic, educational and cultural fabric of New Zealand, and it has a great future’.


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