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State Schools Suffer Int. Students Look Elsewhere

State schools suffer as international students look elsewhere

State schools are having to tighten their belts as international students numbers continue to fall, says National MP Pansy Wong.

"The Labour Government has allowed the export education industry to prop up the state sector and now that foreign student numbers are falling back, it's kiwi kids that will suffer. "The high profile closure of a number of international education institutions has exposed the lack of robust monitoring and follow-up systems in the sector and foreign student numbers have fallen dramatically as they look to study elsewhere.

"Rosehill College in Papakura has seen foreign student numbers fall considerably this year meaning less money for computers, books and other equipment.

The College is also faced with the prospect of having to lay off four teachers whose salaries are paid out of international students fees." The West Auckland Secondary School Principals Association estimates a 40% drop in international students, amounting to $2 million in lost revenue.

Mrs Wong is calling for an inquiry into the export education sector, New Zealand's fifth largest export earner, contributing $1.7 billion in 2003.

"New Zealand's export education sector has suffered at the hands of Government inaction and a failure to enforce the sector's Code of Pastoral Care.

"If the Government is serious about protecting an industry that generates 12,800 jobs in Auckland alone, they must launch an urgent inquiry to identify the lapses from NZQA and the Ministry of Education, and the interaction between these two bodies and other groups and individuals involved in the industry.

"It is imperative that we move quickly to show potential international students that we can compete with Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom in terms of quality of education, qualification and experience," says Mrs Wong.

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