16 April 2024 at 11:30 am

From the Acting Chief Executive: A lot to be proud of

Linda Sissons

Tēnā koutou katoa 

Earlier this month a New Zealand business publication ran a column that challenged the role of international education in delivering our Government’s objective of double the export earnings. As you might expect, I could not let the challenge go unanswered. You can read the full response on the ENZ website, but I thought there was merit in highlighting a couple of the key points along with some of the excerpts as they provide a good summary of the state of international education in New Zealand today.  

The first point I made in my response confirmed that students are returning. We recently published the Ministry of Education’s enrolment data for 2023 (part-year) which firmly backed this up.  

“Students are returning to New Zealand. In the first eight months of 2023 international student enrolments topped 59,000 with all sectors experiencing growth except wānanga. Accepting that it is from a low base, comparing 2023 to 2022, Universities have bounced back strongly reporting a 15% increase from 24,040 to 27,535.“  

“In the first eight months of 2023 English Language Schools saw the greatest percentage increase in international enrolments, increasing by 347% from 1,565 to 7,001. Schools reported a 114% increase from 5,925 to 12,662. NZIST Te Pūkenga, a 32% increase from 4,955 to 6,560 and Private Training Establishments (funded and unfunded), a 13% increase from 5,000 to 5,671.”   

Of these enrolments, students from India continue to provide the second highest number of enrolments in New Zealand. In recognition of our valued partnership, I am delighted to announce that the Republic of India will headline as Country of Honour at NZIEC KI TUA 2024.  

The designation of Country of Honour at NZIEC KI TUA celebrates our international education connections with partner countries and I am pleased that we can celebrate the growing education connections between our two countries in this way. You can read more about this announcement along with a call for speakers in our E-News story here.  

The second point from my response that I would like to reiterate is that: We have a plan and the sector is working together to deliver. 

I highlighted that “The New Zealand International Education Strategy, revised in 2022, sets out a multi-year action plan to develop a high-value, resilient and innovative education sector for both international and domestic students. Further the new Government’s manifesto made clear their vision and priorities for international education. “ 

“I can also assure you that the sector is working together to achieve its goals, that all eight universities participated in a recent ENZ-led delegation to India, is just one example of the co-operation.”  

It was very timely that I then received a wonderful note of appreciation from a Dunedin City Councillor this week for the work of the many people within ENZ and the sector involved with the recent Korean agent famil. This was further evidence that we are working collaboratively as a sector and delivering benefits to the international education ecosystem and our regions.  

Councillor Christine Garey said “The input from ENZ has helped over the years to establish and maintain an international education ecosystem in the city. It’s encouraged transitions between school and tertiary education and supported a strong growth agenda with increased higher quality students staying longer.  

However, of particular benefit has been access to inbound/outbound famils and delegations. ENZ’s support in bringing agents to our city has been especially valuable and allowed us to showcase what Ōtepoti, Dunedin has to offer. There is no replacement for this in person experience and we look forward to these visits continuing to rebuild relationships globally. 

Study Dunedin and the international education ecosystem are in good heart here in Ōtepoti Dunedin, working collaboratively and effectively. We look forward to ENZ’s continuing support and especially, we warmly look forward to welcoming future famils to our city.” 

Keep up the great work, everyone. 

He manawa tītī  

Endurance is a virtue that cannot be understated. 

Dr Linda Sissons 

Acting Chief Executive 

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