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International students treated well in New Zealand

10 July 2003 Media Statement

International students treated well in New Zealand

The Education Review Office (ERO) has released a report today that finds that New Zealand schools are treating their foreign fee-paying students well overall.

Minister responsible for the Education Review Office Trevor Mallard said the ERO report also found that international students were not having a negative impact on the provision of education to domestic students.

“There are currently more than 15,000 foreign fee-paying students studying in 761 New Zealand primary or secondary schools.

“This is a $1.7 billion dollar industry for New Zealand, so it’s good to hear that international students are receiving quality education and care,” Trevor Mallard said.

“It’s also welcome news that the education of domestic students is not being adversely affected by the presence of international students.

“ERO said that local students found that the most positive benefit of having international students was the chance to build friendships and contacts across cultural and national boundaries,” Trevor Mallard said.

The ERO study looked at how well foreign fee-paying students are being educated and cared for in New Zealand, what impact they may be having on the education of New Zealand students, and how well schools are managing this aspect of their responsibilities.

Findings from the report include:
- Most schools are providing a satisfactory quality of educational experience to their foreign fee-paying students;
- All schools sampled had structures and processes in place for monitoring the accommodation arrangements of their foreign fee-paying students;
- Foreign fee-paying students were not found to have a negative impact on the provision of education to domestic students; and
- Most schools had policies on the enrolment of foreign fee-paying students designed to manage the capability of the school to provide education effectively to both domestic students and foreign fee paying students.

ERO found the following key areas for improvement:

- Schools should ensure that foreign fee-paying students, teachers, domestic students, school boards, and the wider school community are adequately prepared to support the effective participation of foreign fee-paying students in their chosen programme of study;
- Schools need appropriate processes to ensure that enrolments do not surpass school capacity, and that fluctuations in the enrolments of foreign fee-paying students do not compromise long-term financial commitments;
- The Ministry of Education could increase awareness amongst schools about the resources and guidelines available for good practice regarding foreign fee-paying students.

Trevor Mallard said the Ministry of Education was working with the sector to continue its programme of delivering resources to schools and holding workshops on planning and managing international student programmes.

Under this year’s budget initiatives, a senior advisor from the ministry is also to work with schools to help with the planning and implementation of programmes for international students.

The budget also included a provision to strengthen advice to schools on how to deal with the English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) needs of their international students. Professional development in this area is also to be strengthened.

Advice on financial issues has also gone out to schools, and the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students is being revised and strengthened. The new code will be released soon.

The ERO report “Foreign Fee-Paying Students in New Zealand Schools” is available on

Copies of the report will be sent to all schools over the next couple of months.

Background information is attached.

Background information on Foreign Fee-Paying Students in New Zealand

On 1 July 2002 there were 15,259 foreign fee-paying students in New Zealand schools – 22 per cent of these were enrolled in primary school and 78 per cent in secondary and composite schools.

Foreign fee-paying students come to study in New Zealand schools for two main reasons: to learn English and to obtain entry qualifications to universities or other tertiary institutions in New Zealand or other English-speaking countries.

At secondary school level:
- 46 per cent of foreign fee-paying students in New Zealand secondary schools in 2002 came from China;
- Other students came from South Korea (18.5 per cent), Japan (11.9 per cent), Thailand (6.3 per cent), Taiwan (2.8 per cent), and fewer than two percent each came from Vietnam, Brazil, Germany and Malaysia;
- 51 per cent of all foreign fee-paying students studying in New Zealand schools are enrolled at Years 12 or 13;
- 54 per cent of foreign fee-paying students in secondary schools were enrolled in schools in the Auckland region and 14 per cent were in Canterbury schools in 2002; and
- 51 per cent of secondary schools had more than 20 foreign fee-paying students.

At primary school level:
- The reason for studying in New Zealand is predominantly to learn English;
- 85 per cent of foreign fee-paying primary school students are from South Korea;
- Other students came from Thailand (2.4 per cent), China (1.9 per cent), Japan (1.9 per cent) and Taiwan (1.4 per cent);
- Primary students tend to stay in New Zealand for less than a year, and it is common for a parent to come to New Zealand and stay with the child;
- 62 per cent of foreign fee-paying students in primary schools were enrolled in schools in the Auckland region and 19 per cent were in Canterbury schools in 2002; and
- 58 per cent of primary schools enrolled five or fewer foreign fee-paying students.

A Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students has been developed by the Ministry of Education to regulate pastoral care for foreign fee-paying students. The code is currently being revised and strengthened and a new code is expected out soon. The current code, along with a wide range of information, resources and statistics on international education is available on .

All education providers who wish to enrol foreign fee-paying students must be signatories to the code. The International Education Appeal Authority (IEAA) was set up at the same time to adjudicate on complaints received from international students in New Zealand.


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