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Government To Back Export Education

Funding for a new export education strategy will be included in the budget, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton announced today.

Mr Maharey and Mr Sutton said foreign fee-paying students injected $415 million in foreign exchange into the New Zealand economy last year, making export education a bigger earner than our wine industry.

They said the Government was making available new funding in the budget to help grow the industry and to develop a long-term strategy to secure New Zealand's place in the increasingly competitive global market for education services.

"The Government is backing export education because we see it as a key sunrise industry. The rapid growth of international education during the past decade means we must treat it as an export sector in its own right if New Zealand education providers are to realise the potential of this market.

"Export education is already bigger than our successful wine industry and, with effective development, the sector could double its earnings to over $1 billion annually within four years.

"Along with the economic benefits international students bring with them a number of benefits including high-quality job opportunities throughout New Zealand, a higher international profile for our education sector and the social benefits of increasing New Zealanders' contact with other cultures.

"The strategy we are announcing today will assist New Zealand education providers to develop and grow overseas markets by harnessing the assistance of Trade New Zealand and the Ministry of Education.

"Funding over five years will be provided to Trade New Zealand to: commission market research in target markets to identify the underlying factors that drive the offshore study decision-making process; build a unified brand for New Zealand education; develop a multi-lingual website for the industry; and undertake a range of market development activities including media campaigns, media and agent visits to New Zealand and Minister-led market missions.

"A project team is also to be established in the Ministry of Education to undertake further scoping work and to identify what steps need to be taken to better equip institutions for this industry. As the majority of our export education business is conducted in publicly-owned institutions, the Government needs to play an active facilitation and investment role so the potential of export education is to be fully realised.

"Funding will be provided for this unit in 2000/01 and it will be asked, as part of its work, to prepare a substantive proposal for the long term development of the industry for consideration during the 20001 budget deliberations," Mr Maharey and Mr Sutton said.

Mr Maharey confirmed that the Government had allocated $300,000 of new money in next month's Budget to increase the Ministry of Education's capability for education exports by setting up a project team.

Mr Sutton confirmed the Government had allocated $3.868 million in the Budget for Trade NZ to carry out its work to promote education exports.

"The Government is excited about the possibilities of our export education industry and the strategy we are announcing today will provide the coherence and consistency education providers need to succeed", they said.

ends

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