New Zealand barometers shows satisfaction with schools and agents
International student barometers from New Zealand's university and ITP sectors have shown high levels of satisfaction with the education experience and the service received from agents.

Recently released by Education New Zealand and conducted by i-graduate, the 2017 results are the latest editions of the barometers conducted every two years, and were completed by 3,467 students from 13 institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) and 5,487 students from six universities.


In the ITP survey, more than nine out of ten students that had used an agent rated the service received as either good or very good. Helpful service with visa applications (93 per cent), knowledge of the institution application process (92) and not being pushy (91) were the highest-rated satisfaction factors.


For university students that had used an agent, 88 per cent rated the service as good or very good, with similar factors rated highly. Compared with the 2015 university barometer, there was an increase in students saying that their agent was well informed about higher education in New Zealand (89 per cent), described the university accurately (83), and that helpful pre-departure orientation services were provided (79).


There was an increase in ITP students utilising agency services, with 64 per cent of survey participants applying to the institution via an agent, compared with 55 per cent in the 2015 barometer. Agents were the most commonly cited influence on choice of institution (65 per cent), ahead of institution website (28 per cent).


Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of university sector applicants applied via an agent, although usage was considerably higher among students from India (51 per cent), Singapore (50) and Malaysia (42).


Overall 90 per cent of university students and 89 per cent of ITP students were satisfied with their institution experience.


Based on nationalities with at least 30 participants, the most satisfied source market was Fiji (98) in the university sector and the Philippines (93) in the ITP sector, while the lowest were Iran (79) and Vietnam (78) respectively.


In the university survey, 88 per cent were satisfied with their learning experience with a number of factors rated at over 90 per cent. The lowest satisfaction elements were related to employment issues, with only 67 per cent satisfied with the opportunities for work experience. In terms of living experience, satisfaction with the cost of living, accommodation and the opportunity to earn while studying was lower than the global average, the authors said.


In the ITP survey, 87 per cent of participants were satisfied with the learning experience, a slight decrease compared with the previous survey in 2015. Satisfaction with lecturers' English being understandable, help to improve English language skills and personal support from academic staff were all rated at above 90 per cent satisfaction. Similar to the university survey, satisfaction with cost-related elements of the living experience were lower than the global benchmark.


Three fifths of international students surveyed in the ITP sector indicated that they intended to stay in New Zealand after their current programme, with half intending to remain for employment.


Forty-two per cent of university students indicated an intention to stay in the country, with just under a third aiming at working in New Zealand.



By Matthew Knott

News Editor