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Export education collapse cuts teacher shortage

Export education collapse cuts teacher shortage

National’s Education spokesman Bill English says the collapse of the international student market is the reason for the decline in teacher vacancies.

His comments follow a Government announcement that schools have fewer teacher vacancies this year than in recent years. There are 350 vacancies.

“Labour’s inept handling of the billion-dollar export education industry has meant short-term benefits for schools at a long-term cost.”

In the 2001/2002 year, 25,866 student visas were approved for Chinese students to enter New Zealand schools and tertiary institutions. That figure dropped to 20,275 in 2002/2003 and to 7,954 in 2003/2004.

In the past six months, English language schools have laid off hundreds of teachers as the number of international students, particularly from China, has dropped sharply.

Many secondary schools have also laid-off teachers as numbers of foreign fee-paying students have fallen.

Mr English says this means hundreds more teachers are now available to fill vacancies.

“The collapse of the international student market has meant millions of dollars of lost funding for schools.

“In 2003, international students generated close to $113 million in extra revenue for schools, giving them the flexibility and the ability to provide education opportunities that aren’t available through the Government’s limited operations grants.

“Instead of rabbiting on about the windfall of spare teachers, the Government should read the writing on the wall for schools and do something to revamp its export education policy,” says Mr English.

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