Region needs plan for international education, says Chamber

Date Added: 17th June 2015 from

The Wellington region must have a planned and coordinated approach to international education if it is to take advantage of the current growth in the sector, says the Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce.

Chief Executive John Milford says figures released today show Wellington continues to barely keep up with the rest of New Zealand.

While the number of international students in New Zealand was up 13 per cent, Wellington's share grew by just 2 per cent, and our total share remained 6 per cent. University enrolments were down 2 per cent (nationally up 3 per cent), enrolments at institutes of technology and polytechnics were up 6 per cent (nationally up 15 per cent), and enrolments at private training establishments were up 4 per cent (nationally up 22 per cent).

"Wellington region is performing poorly where we should be doing much, much better," says Mr Milford.

"While most other regions with good education infrastructure are building on what they have and attracting increasing numbers of students, we are not.

"We have probably one of the best and most diverse education offering in New Zealand but we are standing still.

"We have two top universities, three polytechnics, and a range of private specialist schools and secondary schools that are among the best anywhere. It's first-class education infrastructure offering the quality subjects that international students want, but we're really struggling to keep pace, and that's the real frustration.

"The bright spot is our secondary schools, whose enrolments of international students are up 10 per cent, compared with 5 per cent nationally. They're doing something right that the others aren't and must be congratulated. If it wasn't for their strong growth we'd be going backwards.

"It's clear that we need real leadership to grab the opportunities that are being offered up by the Government's international marketing. But it must be leadership that's prepared to pull this together, bang on the table and get things moving, because the current formula isn't working.

"There needs to be a serious commitment by the city, education institutions, business and other stakeholders if we are to achieve that.

"This should be one of the highest priorities on the city's work plan. It's got to be lead from the top."

For more information contact Brent Webling 021 821 383