Chinese scholars return to NZ
By TOM HUNT - The Dominion Post
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2010

Chinese student numbers in New Zealand are growing again, bringing with them millions of dollars.

Education New Zealand chief executive Robert Stevens said the export education industry was worth almost $2.5 billion to the New Zealand economy last year, and was expected to climb by more than $250 million this year alone.

The average international student studying in New Zealand was worth about $22,000 a year, he said.

Education NZ was aiming for an "ambitious" 10 per cent growth in the money generated by overseas students this year. The figure was closely tied to incoming student numbers and would be the highest growth since the early nineties.

Mr Stevens said New Zealand had been aggressively marketing itself in China. A $2m government funding boost for Education NZ in last year's Budget had almost doubled the agency's marketing spend.

New Zealand's other export education markets had been growing for years, but Chinese student numbers plummeted after the 2002-03 financial year.

Numbers had been slowly increasing for the past three years, but the speed of the increase was hopefully on the rise, he said.

China remained New Zealand's dominant export education market. There were 20,579 Chinese students in New Zealand in 2008, with 17,189 from South Korea and 10,676 from Japan.

More than 60,000 overseas students studied in New Zealand during 2008.

The number of Chinese students dropped by almost two-thirds about eight years ago. Numbers fell because of bad publicity in China after the closure of some private schools and a high-profile extortion case involving an Asian student. At the same time, other countries started marketing in the lucrative Chinese market, Mr Stevens said.

Chinese student Selina Li, who is studying for a postgraduate diploma in applied finance at Victoria University, said she chose to study in New Zealand because of the scenery, environment, the variety of cultures and "the education here is quite good".

She studied as an undergraduate at Otago University, paying fees of about $11,300 a year. Living expenses were close to $200 a week.

Victoria International programme co-ordinator Shenwei Teo, who is looking after Japanese students in Wellington for a month, said each paid about $4600 a month for English language tuition, field trips, accommodation and food.

Victoria University International Pro Vice-Chancellor Roberto Rabel said there had been an increase in applications and offers to new international students for this year, but final numbers could not be confirmed until next month.

From here.