Thu 1 Nov 2018

$50 million student value

The international education sector contributed $50 million to the Taranaki economy last year, and $11 million is thanks to WITT.

The figures are contained in a report released this week by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and it shows the market value has risen a whopping 237 per cent since 2015.

The formula used to reach the $50 million figure was slightly tweaked on previous years and worked in Taranaki’s favour, but the ongoing value of international students is underlined further by the fact that their presence sustains 300 jobs in Taranaki.

The Pacific International Hotel Management School in Bell Block and WITT are the province’s primary “importers” of international students.

“In the 2017-2018 year Taranaki’s schools and tertiary education providers hosted 641 students, from 50 nationalities,” Rachael Berndt, Venture Taranaki’s International Education advisor, said.

“WITT can be very pleased with its contribution.”

She said the while the bulk of the economic value comes from living and tuition costs - $47 million in the last financial year - the value of student tourism into Taranaki is now also being measured. It contributed $3 million to the region over the last year.

International students in New Zealand contribute an average of $39,290 each year.

WITT has made international student recruitment a priority in the last two years – it has sent teams offshore regularly to India and China and just last month signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese school.

WITT’s Acting CEO Lyal French-Wright said it was important for the institute to continue to increase its international student numbers, adding to the diversity of the student community.

“In fact, our growth in this area is currently bucking the national trend. We pride ourselves in offering a warm welcome and a very high standard of pastoral care for our students - like no other”.

Carol Allen, WITT’s International Manager, said the polytech’s focus was on supporting students to achieve successful academic outcomes while providing a high level of pastoral care

“It's heartening to see that our efforts are bringing investment into the region."

In Taranaki, during 2017 India provided the biggest number of international students – 255 – followed by China. Then, in number terms, came Japan, Vietnam and Germany.

Earlier this year 25 students from Nepal enrolled at WITT.

 “Success in this sector is about much more than the numbers of students and economic value,” Rachael said.

 “By welcoming international students into our communities, we’re able to build a legion of advocates for Taranaki and New Zealand, help give our students access and insight into different cultures, and build future generations of global citizens.”

 The trend shows signs of continuing -  in September Taranaki had the highest growth in first-time visas in the country - 30 per cent. The number to date this year, 224, is the highest since 2014.

WITT is one of the most popular New Zealand destinations for international students.

Results of a biennial survey released in October 2017 showed overall satisfaction amongst international students studying at WITT was 92%, compared to 89% nationally.