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Finances stretched as internatnl student stay away

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Schools’ finances stretched as international students stay away

Schools are feeling the pinch financially as international student numbers drop, which further highlights the inadequacy of school operations grant funding, says the New Zealand School Trustees Association.

NZSTA president Chris Haines is telling delegates at the association’s annual conference, which started today (Thursday July 6) that school finances are falling under increasing pressure as this key stream of revenue dries up.

“Many schools have been dependent on international students to help fill the gap created by inadequate operations grant funding. Now international student numbers are dropping away, schools are really feeling the pinch,” he says.

Ministry of Education figures show that between 2003 and 2005 the proportion of full time foreign fee paying students at primary schools dropped by 30%, while secondary schools saw a fall of 21%.

Chris Haines says while the drop in international student numbers seems to have been steady over the past few years, many schools are now feeling the effects of this ongoing decline.

“Those losses are being keenly felt by many schools. Increasingly boards are being forced to look at fundraising and support from local organisations to cover the short fall in funding.”

Chris Haines also points to independent research by the New Zealand Council of Education Research that shows schools’ ability to raise funding from non-governmental sources may well be peaking.

“This adds to the financial pressures schools are facing. Not only is Government funding falling short and revenue from international students drying up, but schools’ ability to fundraise seems to be peaking out for many schools.”

The NZSTA is involved in a review of operations grant funding currently being led by the Ministry of Education. Results from the review are due out later this year.

The NZSTA’s annual conference is being held at the Christchurch Convention Centre from July 6 – 8. Other issues to be discussed at the conference include the role of drug testing in schools, and safety and security concerns around new technology.


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