Overseas students reject dodgy New Zealand education providers

Published:  19 Mar at 6 PM
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The sharp drop in the number of fee-paying overseas students applying for study visas in New Zealand is being blamed on the perceived poor quality of the country’s education providers.

Spokesman for the NZ Labour Party Raymond Huo has caused consternation in the sector by putting the decline in application squarely on the shoulders of immigration, the education providers themselves and unscrupulous student agents. New Zealand, he stated, is now seen as a ‘ghetto education’ destination.

Huo is the originator of a private members bill aimed at forcing the tightening of rules that allow small private education facilities to use the words ‘international’ and ‘national’ in their business names. Student visa applications have fallen since 2009 by 25 per cent, with last year’s number totalling the lowest since 2008 at 68,980.

Minister for Tertiary Education Steven Joyce holds different views, saying that the drop in numbers is more than compensated for by the two per cent increase in fees collected. The decline, he adds, is mostly in the English language sector, adding that more overseas students are now enrolling in higher-value courses.

Joyce believes the way forward is to concentrate on new student markets such as the ASEAN countries and South America as well as reinventing the country’s position as an education hub for Japanese and South Korean students. Huo believes the sector has been tainted by NZ Immigration’s mistakes in approving hundreds of fraudulent applications and failing to shut down overseas agents selling student visas to migrants with no intention of studying.
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