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Thursday, April 28, 2011

New body to attract foreign students

New body to attract foreign students

Last updated 05:00 28/04/2011
A new Government organisation to attract international students is being set up as the industry rushes to deal with a drop in post-quake enrolment figures in Christchurch.

Three bodies previously set up to attract foreign students to New Zealand will be merged into one from September.

It will take the name of one of its predecessors, Education New Zealand, and will have a new board appointed to lead marketing and representation work overseas.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said the new body would lead "an ongoing communications job" to keep foreign students flowing into the country after the February earthquake in Christchurch.

The number of foreign students coming to the city had fallen significantly, Mr Joyce said. However, overall international student figures for 2010 issued this week show a continued improvement in the $700 million industry, with 99,880 enrolments last year – up 3 per cent on 2009.

But the February quake, which caused dozens of foreign student fatalities in the CTV building collapse, appeared to have hit Christchurch student numbers hard.

A survey by Education New Zealand last month found more than 50 per cent of the international agents reported students headed for Christchurch had diverted to another region, and 25 per cent reported cancellations.

It appeared many agents were waiting for a clearer signal that Christchurch was back on its feet before they recruited students, Mr Joyce said.

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