New Zealand is discovering the value of foreign students. Not only has education become a booming business, 32 000 jobs were created as a snowball effect on the growing popularity of the education industry.
In fact foreign students studying in New Zealand’s universities and private training establishments (PTEs) make up the bulk of the total NZ$4 billion onshore contribution to GDP, at NZ$1.127 million (27.9 percent) and NZ$1.102 million (27.2 percent) respectively.
The survey said that international students are contributing millions of off shore dollars during their student years with the added spin-off of being responsible for creating hundreds of new jobs across the country. Educators, administrator, builders even cleaners are employed by the sector.
The report for the 2015-2016 period commissioned by Education New Zealand, covers eight regions, namely Northland, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu-Whanganui, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson Marlborough, Otago and Southland.
Otago home to, amongst others, Queenstown and Dunedin garnered the highest regional foreign exchange earnings was came in at NZ$174 million, with NZ$136 million of this generated in Dunedin. International students here spend an average NZ$33,100.
“This further reinforces our work with schools, the polytechnic and university, and others to position Dunedin as a premier international study destination through Study Dunedin,” said Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie to Otago Daily Times.
The Bay of Plenty region follows Otago with the second highest contribution at NZ$118 million, with an average spend of NZ$28,500 per student.
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller told Sun Live it was vital for the regions to share these benefits. “International education makes a hugely important contribution to regional economies.”
“Apart from their monetary contributions, foreign students also help diversify the regions.”
“They [students] also contribute to having a diverse population and making our students global citizens. They bring an awareness of global cultures and practices, and broaden our own students’ horizons to survive in a global environment,” Toi Ohomai chief executive Dr Leon Fourie said.
It’s good news for the rest of the country too
Education New Zealand’s regional report was commissioned as a follow-up to its report last November titled The Economic Impact of International Education in New Zealand 2015/16, which found international students pumped in NZ$4.28 billion to the national economy.
Based on the findings of the report the economic value of international education jumped 50 percent from 2014.
The increase in number of foreign students and rising living costs, especially due to primary school students, were said to be the forces driving this huge increase.
Commenting on the findings of the report New Zealand’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith is quoted in a press release as saying that, “These findings help give us a more complete picture and gain a deeper understanding of the economic outcomes our regions are seeing due to the growth of international education, as well as where the opportunities lie.”
He said it was also important to note international education had been creating and supporting jobs across the regions, with the sector directly linked to the creation of 504 jobs in the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty area alone.
“International education is a significant export industry for New Zealand, and it is important we know whether the benefits delivered are worth the investment made by the government and our regions,” Goldsmith said.