Crackdown on dodgy education providers leads to fewer international students

A crackdown on dodgy education providers has led to fewer international students coming to New Zealand.

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Those who do come are increasingly studying at universities. Source: 1 NEWS

However, those who do are increasingly studying at universities, bringing more money with them.

"Overall the number of international students is down slightly but the actual overall economic value to New Zealand is greater than it was before,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

While just over 117,000 international students studied here last year, a six per cent drop from the previous year, the tuition revenue has increased to $1.16 billion.

"I'm not surprised by that because the export education industry has been hit by a lot of PTE (Private Training Establishment) closures,” the International Students' Association’s Vaelyn Luo said.

A crackdown on "low value courses" and concern some providers and students were ripping off the system has seen 16 private training institutions shut in the last three years.

1 NEWS can reveal there are another 28 investigations into 24 other private PTEs for a range of issues, including poor quality, monitoring or assessment.

The issue has led to concern the providers have damaged New Zealand's reputation.

"I can't hand on heart say there aren't still issues, there are but we're dealing with them,” Mr Hipkins said.

Of those students coming to New Zealand, more are now heading to universities.

Victoria University vice chancellor Julia Innocente-Jones says there's a variety of reasons for the increase.

"All eight universities in New Zealand are ranked in the top three per cent of the world, so when you group all that together alongside the fact that New Zealand is a great place to live and to work.

“Kiwis are so welcoming.”

However, there are now calls to ensure that students who come are well taken care of.

"There is a lack of culturally competent staff members in the universities,” Ms Luo said.

“International students are treated as such a monolythic group but there's so many of us and we come from such different backgrounds.”

For many years, the majority of international students came from China and India, but now the demographic is changing.

"We are diversifying. We're looking at India and South America for example. We're looking at other Asian countries like Vietnam, like Thailand, like Indonesia,” Mr Hipkins said.