A proposed $60 million international school for Dunedin
would have positive spin-offs for the city's tertiary and
secondary providers, Otago Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker
''I think this is a project [we need] to get across the line
and it's one for the whole city to get in behind,'' Mr Ker
Mr Ker's comments come after details about the project, which
is backed by Chinese investors, were revealed in yesterday's
Otago Daily Times.
The project, if it proceeded, could attract hundreds of
pupils to the city each year, as well as creating hundreds of
jobs and pumping ''tens of millions'' of dollars into the
city's economy each year.
It is understood it would cater for wealthy families wanting
their children to receive an international education,
allowing pupils at a secondary school level to live in the
facility while studying an international syllabus.
Mr Ker said the project was ''very exciting'' for the city
and especially the polytechnic and University of Otago.
''I have got no doubts in my mind that if we have got a
significant new facility here to bring international students
in, that a proportion of those students will pipeline into
Rather than taking away international pupils from secondary
schools, Mr Ker felt it would lead to the creation of a
''critical mass'' of international education providers in the
''I think it's a bit like creating a restaurant district. The
old story of, if you have one restaurant you have X
customers, if you have two restaurants and you have twice X
customers,'' he said.
The polytechnic had not been involved in the project, but Mr
Ker was confident both it and the university would meet
investors next time they were in town.
''We will all be around the table next time around.''
The school would also feed into the city's economic
development strategy, part of which was about developing
University international pro-vice chancellor Prof Helen
Nicholson said the university welcomed initiatives that
facilitated closer links with China and provided an
opportunity to attract more Chinese students to Otago.
However, it had not been directly involved in discussions and
had no financial interest in the project.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said
the tertiary sector and other Dunedin institutions would be
involved in the next ''phase'' of discussions, which would
hopefully take place around April.