Bumper 2016 for English New Zealand schools

Language school association English New Zealand has revealed to StudyTravel Magazine that its member schools welcomed 21 per cent more students in 2016, compared with the previous year.

The association, which comprises of 27 private and state tertiary providers, said analysis of its 18 specialist English language school members showed "a very positive trend from 2014 to 2016."


Ewen Mackenzie-Bowie, Chair of English New Zealand, said that student numbers, student weeks and revenue for the segment all increased by between 19 and 22 per cent in 2016, building on an approximate 12 per cent rise in the previous year.


The total number of international students for member schools increased to 16,078 last year, the association advised, while student weeks jumped to 149,288.


Top source country Japan was a significant driver in the 2016 growth with a 27 per cent increase in student numbers, while Thailand - also a top ten market - rose by an even higher margin (32.4 per cent).


After Japan, the top-five source markets for English New Zealand schools in 2016 were: Brazil, China, Korea, and Switzerland.


The figures echo StudyTravel Magazine's most recent market analysis feature on New Zealand's ELT sector, where Japan commanded 20 per cent market share, followed by Brazil on 13.1 per cent.


Examining the results, Ewen said, "The most significant factor in the rise of student numbers over the last three years has been the introduction of part-time work rights for English language students, and in particular its impact on the Latin American market. We recognise the courage of Immigration New Zealand in their contribution to this fine result.


"But we are greatly encouraged by the substantial growth of very traditional markets like Japan - our largest source for several years - and Thailand. All out top markets are low-risk immigration sources, and this gives us security for future growth."


Kim Renner, Executive Director of the association, advised StudyTravel Magazine that members actually had varied results from Japan, "with some growth in numbers due to additional study tour groups and also some recovery in numbers heading to Christchurch". She added, "The strategy by Japan to encourage study abroad, particularly ahead of the Rugby World Cup and Tokyo Olympics, could be a contributor."


The association's members welcomed 90 student nationalities in 2016, and said focussed market development initiatives, supported by Education New Zealand, in Latin America, Europe and Vietnam had all shown excellent results.


"Diversity of nationality is a key selling point for English New Zealand schools, along with the additional quality assurance standards that members need to meet over and above New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) requirements," the association said.


Highlighting the contribution that agents make to the promotion of New Zealand's ELT sector, Ewen added, "Twenty per cent growth is by any standards a stellar performance and we congratulate our retailer partners worldwide and supporting government agencies. The English language industry in New Zealand is on fire!"


In StudyTravel Magazine's New Zealand Market Analysis, agents accounted for 80 per cent of international students recruited.


New Zealand's pilot pathway visa, which was recently extended, was also cited by some schools in that article as contributing to the sector's growth.



By Matthew Knott

News Editor