International education growing well

  • Steven Joyce
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

The number of international students enrolled to study in New Zealand grew 13 per cent last year, the highest level since 2004, says Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce.

Full year enrolment figures for 2014 shows 110,198 international students studied in New Zealand, 13,091 more than in 2013.

“This is a great result for education providers nationwide. More students lead to a greater economic contribution to education providers and to their communities,” Mr Joyce says.

“There are now more international students developing a deeper understanding of New Zealand and making connections with New Zealanders. Not only that, studying alongside students from Shanghai to São Paulo helps prepare Kiwi students for work in an increasingly globalised world.”

There was a record high level of growth in postgraduate level enrolments, up 18 per cent at publicly funded tertiary providers. Masters level enrolments increased by 23 per cent and doctoral level enrolments increased by seven percent.

The Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Southland regions all experienced double-digit growth in enrolments. Canterbury also had growth, 2014 saw enrolments in the region return close to 2011 levels, up 18% on 2013.

Tuition fee income from full fee-paying international students increased by $129 million to $884 million, up 17 per cent.

Internationally, New Zealand’s growth was on par with Australia, which grew enrolments 12.3 per cent in 2014 and ahead of the United States, up 8 per cent.

“New Zealand is not unique in recognising the importance of international education to economic prosperity and international connectedness,” Mr Joyce says.

“To continue growing the value of this important industry New Zealand will need to stay focused on communicating its distinctiveness, delivering on the student experience and accelerating the export of our education services expertise and education products.

“We also need to make sure the growth is sustainable. Government agencies are working together to ensure provider standards remain at appropriately high levels,” Mr Joyce says.

“The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has just strengthened the English language requirements for international students. These changes will mean that international students from countries with a student visa approval rate of less than 80 per cent will have to sit an internationally recognised English language test to demonstrate clearly that they have the level of English required to study successfully in New Zealand.”

International education is New Zealand’s fifth largest export industry, contributing $2.85 billion to the economy annually and supporting more than 30,000 jobs.

The International Education Snapshot 2014 full-year report is available here.