New Zealand’s Fourth-Largest Export Sector is Education

According to reports from Education New Zealand (ENZ), it shows that export incomes for the country’s international education sector sustained to grow strongly through 2017. ENZ reports total sector exports of NZ$5.1 billion (US$3.5 billion) for the calendar year, NZ$4.8 billion of which was credited to spending by onshore students visiting New Zealand with another NZ$.3 billion tied to education goods and services delivered abroad.

This signifies a very remarkable increase in the total value of the country’s international education sector between 2014 and 2017. This also means that education is now New Zealand’s fourth-largest export sector, and supports just under 50,000 jobs nationwide.

By education sector, universities continue to account for the largest share of total exports (27.6% or NZ$1.41 billion in 2017). This is almost exactly the same proportion of export revenues booked by the sector in 2015-2016 (27.2%). Private Training Establishments (PTEs), meanwhile, saw their share of transfers fall off over the last year, from 27.2% in 2015/16 to 21.4% in 2017 – a change that largely endorsed to the declining Indian enrolments reported by PTE providers over the two years. All other sectors – English language training (15% of exports in 2017), institutes of technology (13.1%), and schools (16.9%) – are holding stable within one or two percentage points in terms of their share of export revenue last year as compared to 2015-2016.

The incline in Private Training Establishments (PTE) acceptances last year led to a complete decrease in foreign student numbers for 2017, but as additional commentary from Education New Zealand (ENZ) points out, this decline has not blunted the sector’s economic impact. “The strong economic results are underpinned by a careful shift in focus at Government level from ‘volume to value’, that is growing the value to New Zealand from fewer students studying in New Zealand and increasing the value of the international education sector in all regions of the country and proposing an outstanding student experience.”

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