Off­shore ed­u­ca­tion mooted as next step

The Dominion Post - - News - JES­SICA LONG

More in­ter­na­tional stu­dents will be able to stay in their home coun­tries to study here if Ed­u­ca­tion New Zealand has its way.

In a brief­ing doc­u­ment to Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Chris Hip­kins, it rec­om­mended in­creas­ing its global reach and of­fer­ing stud­ies to po­ten­tial stu­dents who could not af­ford to ‘‘phys­i­cally study and live’’ in New Zealand.

Hip­kins was also told to re­fo­cus the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tional pro­mo­tions away from China and In­dia, and pri­mar­ily tar­get po­ten­tial stu­dents from Saudi Ara­bia, Malaysia and Chile.

Less than 5 per cent of New Zealand’s in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion was avail­able off­shore, and it was worth $242 mil­lion in a $4.5 bil­lion in­dus­try, the doc­u­ment said.

Aus­tralia had al­ready cap­tured 30 per cent of for­eign stu­dents by of­fer­ing off­shore stud­ies, while the United King­dom held 50 per cent of the mar­ket.

‘‘Grow­ing our off­shore ed­u­ca­tion prod­ucts and ser­vices of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to grow the in­dus­try,’’ the doc­u­ment said.

Ed­u­ca­tion New Zealand said plans to grow our off­shore ed­u­ca­tion was ‘‘ad-hoc and frag­mented’’ and this coun­try was not a topthree pre­ferred ed­u­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion for 87 per cent of peo­ple.

In­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion is the fourth-largest ex­port and sec­ond­largest ser­vice ex­port in New Zealand. But off­shore study would keep the av­er­age in­ter­na­tional stu­dent’s yearly ex­pen­di­ture of $33,460 over­seas as well.

Last year, 131,609 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents from 170 coun­tries were en­rolled in New Zealand cour­ses that ranged from two weeks to sev­eral years. Of those stu­dents, 3217 stud­ied off­shore.

The brief­ing doc­u­ment said there was a need to ex­pand the in­ter­na­tional stu­dent ‘‘fix­a­tion’’ with Auck­land out into the re­gions.

It also said New Zealand was over-re­liant on for­eign stu­dents from China and In­dia.

Ed­u­ca­tion New Zealand wanted to di­ver­sify its in­ter­na­tional stu­dents by pro­mot­ing study here to 10 coun­tries from In­done­sia to Europe. But it would con­tinue its re­la­tion­ships with China and In­dia, which dom­i­nate over half the in­ter­na­tional stu­dent mar­ket in New Zealand.

The moves aim to boost the ed­u­ca­tion in­dus­try to a $5b en­ter­prise by 2025.

A Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion brief­ing to Hip­kins also said the sec­tor’s $452m debt was ex­pect ed to rise to $697m by 2018.

‘‘The sec­tor’s re­sponse over the last decade has been weak in this crit­i­cal is­sue’’.

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