The number of overseas students studying in Otago has
dropped 4% to 3285, according to Ministry of Education figures.
The figures, which included overseas fee-paying students in
primary, secondary and tertiary education in the January to
April 30 period this year, also showed New Zealand numbers,
at 56,238, dropped 6% compared with the corresponding time
Education Dunedin chairman Stephen Higgs said it was a little
pleasing numbers had declined at a slower rate in Otago, but
noted the high New Zealand dollar had made it ''tougher'' for
institutions across the country.
International students remained important for both the
Dunedin and Otago economies, Mr Higgs said.
''It's hugely important. There has been some work done
previously that would indicate the overall economic impact of
those students is $200 million for the Dunedin economy.''
The ministry figures also showed Otago was the fifth most
popular destination for international students after Auckland
(34,222), Canterbury (4472), Waikato (3676) and Wellington
In the past decade, overseas numbers peaked in 2004, both
nationally and in Otago, with 72,013 and 3586 overseas
The most drastic change could be seen in Canterbury, which
had a 65% drop in overseas students since 2004 when there
were 12,638 in the province. The drop was most evident after
the Christchurch earthquakes.
The ministry data was used as part of Education New Zealand's
International Education Snapshot report for January 1
to April 30, released last week.
The figures included were slightly different from the
ministry figures, in part due to PhD students being included.
It showed a 3% decline in international student numbers in
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce put a positive spin
on the decline, saying the sector was performing well.
''While overall enrolment numbers are down slightly, our
international education sector is continuing to perform well,
with the [Tertiary Education Commission] reporting a further
$25 million increase in international fees at tertiary
institutions to $404 million in the year to June,'' Mr Joyce