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Part One: Delivery of Government Priorities

This section reviews the agency’s ability to deliver on its strategic priorities agreed with the Government. While the questions guide the Lead Reviewers to retrospective and current performance, the final judgements and ratings are necessarily informed by scope and scale of the performance challenge.

Government priority 1: Support the achievement of the Leadership Statement for International Education and its contribution to the Business Growth Agenda
Performance Rating: Needing development need development - big.

The Leadership Statement for International Education sets a target to grow the nominal annual economic value of international education services to $5 billion by 2025. This is an important contributor to helping achieve the Government’s BGA Export Markets goal to increase the ratio of exports to GDP to 40% by 2025. The $5 billion target is said to be comprised of a target of $4.5 billion for the onshore delivery of education services (Goal 1 of the Leadership Statement) and $0.5 billion for the offshore delivery of education services (Goal 2 of the Leadership Statement).

The annual economic value of international education was $3 billion in 2015, up from $2.7 billion in 2011. This value is helped by an increase in student numbers (recovering from a downturn after the Canterbury earthquakes) and an increase in average value per student. The Leadership Statement and its targets linked to the BGA are a key focus for Education NZ and are prominent in its business planning and performance reporting. The targets have driven Education NZ’s focus on Goal 1 and the attraction of students to New Zealand which represents 90% of the $5 billion target. As noted under Core Business 1 below, Education NZ has performed well in this area.

Education NZ is well aware of the need to diversify risk, develop new products, segment markets, target value, understand capacity constraints and support more joined up approaches if the target of $4.5 billion is to be met. Increasingly New Zealand education providers will start to experience real and perceived barriers to continued growth of their onshore education delivery. A number of the larger providers interviewed indicated that they were approaching 75% or more of their desired maximum international student enrolments which indicates that Education NZ may have a number of placement challenges unless it is able to influence provider behaviours and expectations. Education NZ will need to work with government agencies and education providers to remove any such barriers if New Zealand is to achieve the Leadership Statement targets.

Education NZ also needs to increase the focus on Goals 2 and 3. Recent figures published by the Australian Government show that Australia’s higher education providers had 85,800 international students in study offshore and 25,500 international students studying online in 2014. New Zealand tertiary education institutions had 3,200 students in study offshore in 2013. The opportunity for New Zealand in this area is dramatic and in many ways less constrained than opportunities onshore. Education NZ needs to determine its value proposition in relation to this area with urgency to stimulate activity.

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