Dearth of overseas pupils hits schools in the pocket

Linda Miller
Linda Miller. PHOTO: FILE
Dunedin principals are calculating the cost of plummeting rolls in their international pupil programmes.

Data from the Ministry of Education shows 13 Dunedin schools had 331 international fee-paying pupils enrolled in March this year.

Otago Secondary Principals' Association president Linda Miller, of Dunedin, said the income a school made from international pupils helped pay for other costs, such as staff wages.

Decisions on staffing levels for next year had begun and job losses are possible, Ms Miller said.

All schools would appreciate a signal from the Government on when international pupils would be allowed in the country, Ms Miller said.

"It would be great if it could be next year."

The 13 Dunedin schools with programmes were asked by The Star if they would continue the programmes next year.

Taieri College principal David Hunter said his school was dropping its programme next year.

The school did not rely on the money made from its programme.

"It’s not income we bank on."

Ms Miller, the Otago Girls’ High School principal, said she expected about 26 international pupils to be in its programme next year.

Kavanagh College principal Kate Nicholson said her school would continue its programme next year but expected about half its usual number of pupils.

Otago Boys’ High School rector Richard Hall said his school’s programme would continue next year and have about 15 pupils.

Queen’s High School principal Barbara Agnew said some international pupils had planned to travel to New Zealand to start its programme next year, but were now reconsidering to come at later in the year or defer to 2022.

Columba College principal Pauline Duthie said the school had more than 25 pupils enrolled in its international programme next year.

Amana Christian School principal Roslyn King said one pupil would continue in its programme next year.

John McGlashan College principal Neil Garry said he expected 27 pupils to be enrolled the school’s programme next year.

King’s High School international students director Teresa Robertson said the school would "continue to honour the enrolment responsibilities" to the pupils in its programme next year.

Kaikorai Valley College principal Rick Geerlofs said the school’s programme would continue next year.

"I can assure you we are mothballing nothing. Our programmes continue to be offered in 2021 — business as usual."

Bayfield High School principal Mark Jones said his school would continue its programme next year and might have up to 17 pupils.

"However, the current world situation is very fluid so it could be lower."

The other three Dunedin schools with international programmes — Logan Park High School, and St Hilda’s Collegiate — did not respond before deadline.


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