With budgets increasingly squeezed, many schools are turning to international students to help balance the books, only to discover that there are other advantages to having richly multicultural classrooms. Sadie Beckman meets some staff and students

Education: Foreign exchange

Mayoral International Student Welcome at Te Papa

Mayoral International Student Welcome at Te Papa

Mayoral International Student Welcome at Te Papa

These days, edu­ca­tion and busi­ness are inex­tric­ably tied up togeth­er, mean­ing both gains and com­prom­ises are made, with pros and cons hotly debated.

One thing that seems pos­it­ive from most angles though, is the busi­ness of inter­na­tion­al edu­ca­tion. Boost­ing the indi­vidu­al stu­dent, the school, the loc­al com­munity, the wider region and the coun­try as a whole, the pro­grammes oper­at­ing in New Zea­l­and today undoubtedly open cul­tur­al door­ways and add value to the loc­al and nation­al economy.

In Wel­ling­ton alone, inter­na­tion­al edu­ca­tion con­trib­uted approx­im­ately $193 mil­lion to the eco­nomy last year, with more than 5,500 inter­na­tion­al stu­dents study­ing, and around 100 dif­fer­ent coun­tries represented.

A study com­mis­sioned by Edu­ca­tion New Zea­l­and into the eco­nom­ic value of inter­na­tion­al edu­ca­tion to New Zea­l­and dur­ing 2012 found that the total eco­nom­ic ‘value-add’ from enrol­ments of inter­na­tion­al fee-pay­ing stu­dents in our schools was around $361 mil­lion, $310 mil­lion for sec­ond­ary schools and $51 mil­lion for primary schools. This was a not insig­ni­fic­ant 14 per­cent of the $2.6 bil­lion total value for that year. In the first half of 2014, the num­ber of inter­na­tion­al stu­dents in Wel­ling­ton increased by a per­cent, align­ing with an upward swing across the coun­try as a whole.

Grow Wel­ling­ton is the eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment agency work­ing to accel­er­ate growth in the region, with the mis­sion of mak­ing us more inter­na­tion­ally com­pet­it­ive. Focus­ing on exports, they are heav­ily involved with inter­na­tion­al edu­ca­tion pro­gramme pro­mo­tion, term­ing it “export education”.


To be continued in the FishHead May issue

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