Greater Christchurch has had a thriving international education sector, second only to Auckland in scale, bringing more than $300 million a year to the local economy.
In 2010 just over 15,000 international students were studying here, 15% of all international students in New Zealand that year.
The earthquakes have had a major impact on numbers. At the time of the February 2010 earthquake, some 6,000 international students were studying in Christchurch. Following the quake, approximately 1,500 left – either transferring to other providers or leaving the country.
The earthquakes have also put a big dent in the confidence of potential international students in Christchurch as an education destination.
Numerous private tertiary providers, who cater for international students, are currently operating out of makeshift facilities. A number have not resumed.
Until Christchurch regains the confidence of the international market, there will be fewer students and fewer private providers.
Looking to the future of international education
Stabilising and strengthening the education network in greater Christchurch is an essential first step in restoring international education.
It will take time, but Christchurch will rebuild its reputation as a great place for international students to study – a reputation based on the quality and range of educational opportunities and the quality of life.
The turnaround is only likely to come, however, once the aftershocks have subsided and the rebuilding of the city’s infrastructure is under way in earnest.
Much can be done in the meantime in the way of working out what differentiates greater Christchurch, then working collaboratively to gain advantage from those differences and incorporate them into a coherent marketing strategy for the region.
The following action will help address the challenges for international education in greater Christchurch:
- To develop an international education strategy.
You can learn more about this action around international education [PDF; 881kb] in the Education Renewal Recovery Programme which has informed the development of a plan for renewal that will improve the delivery of education, extend the options available for learners, and lift student achievement.
We encourage you to work your way through all four sections.