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International Education exceeds $2 billion

‘International Education exceeds $2 billion second year running – the challenge is keeping it there’

International Education was worth $2,187,822,000 in foreign exchange earnings to New Zealand during the 2003/04 year, according to figures just released by Education New Zealand .

“The foreign exchange earnings for 2004 were just under the $2.211 billion record set the year before, and confirm the importance of international education as an important contributor of foreign exchange to the New Zealand economy” says Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand.

“This summary is prepared by Education New Zealand from strictly comparable data every twelve months” says Robert Stevens. “As such, it is an important comparison with past years. In the eight years that the analysis has been undertaken, the value of international education to New Zealand has gone up nearly 500%. It has tripled since the new millennium. By any standards, it is a fantastic success story.”

“However, ongoing information on new student approvals is certainly giving everyone in the industry considerable food for thought” says Robert Stevens. “The growth of offshore student approvals peaked in September 2002, and has been dropping since then. For some time Education New Zealand has been very concerned about this trend in offshore new student approvals. However, onshore approvals have still been high, although growth has flattened since late last year. This ratio indicates that students have been staying longer and this is confirmed by the changing contribution from various sectors.”

“Institutions, Education New Zealand and Government have been working hard for the last three years to mitigate the downturn in numbers and build a stable market. Current initiatives include:

working with the Department of Labour for the last six months on reviewing and amending student immigration policy. The outcome of the policy review will go before Cabinet shortly, and we are hopeful of a positive outcome for the industry;

a new major generic promotional campaign in offshore markets to promote New Zealand as a study destination;

an expanded and more comprehensive national marketing programme;

enhanced Government to Government bilateral educational relationships, including Education Ministerial offshore missions and regular bilateral meetings of Ministry of Education officials;

new full time educational counsellors in China, Malaysia, Europe and the USA with more to come;

a comprehensive integrated programme of scholarships for international students;

a contestable funding pool for seed funding offshore innovation projects in an effort to diversify modes of supply; and

implementation of a Pan Industry Strategy. For the first time, we have agreement by all significant players in the industry on a common direction: vision, goals, objectives and an action plan. The action plan is determining expenditure of the Industry Development Fund that is managed by Education New Zealand. All key Government Ministers have pledged their support for the strategy and instructed their Departments to support its implementation.”

“In addition to this brief summary of some of the initiatives that have been underway for some time, institutions themselves have been working to diversify their markets and develop educational offerings appropriate to the market conditions of today”, says Stevens.

“The economic impact figures released today show that international education is a serious business with serious prospects for serious providers. Success relates to customer responsiveness, quality of product and investment in market development, and in this regard, institutions throughout New Zealand continue to impress the marketplace with their offerings”.

“In today’s ‘buyer’s market’, institutions are carefully assessing where their competitive advantages lie so that they can continue to invest and grow. Other institutions are downsizing or leaving the market/industry. Of course, there will be ebbs and flows – that is the nature of any dynamic global activity. But cyclical trends should not distract us from continuing to develop international education as a key element of the economic, educational and social fabric of this country. This industry has been, is now, and will continue to be of enormous benefit to both students and to New Zealand as a whole.” concluded Robert Stevens.


Key facts from the latest economic report:

Overall value of foreign exchange earned = $2,187,822,000 (down $23,830,000 from 2003)

FFP Student numbers = 102,136 (down18,006 from 2003)

Value of University sector = $865,666,000 (up $114,275,000 from 2003)

Value of English language sector = $389,605,000 (down $56,680,000 from 2003)

Attached are two reports:

The Numbers and Foreign Exchange earnings of international student 1997 – 2004 *

The Full Fee Paying International Student Visa/Permit approvals by month 2000 – 2005

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