A visitor (right) asks about studying in New Zealand during an education exhibition in Beijing in March. A Jing / For China Daily
China continues to be New Zealand's largest source of foreign students, as its international-education industry grew 6 percent to 131,609 student enrollments last year, according to the International Education Dashboard released by the government on June 7.
The dashboard showed an overall increase of 7,245 international student enrollments from a broader range of countries and that a majority of regions in New Zealand experienced growth.
China led the growth with 4,429 more students in 2016, growing by 13 percent to a total of 38,046 students in New Zealand.
Half of international students in New Zealand came from China and India last year, the same as in 2015, the dashboard said. "The China numbers are expected to continue to grow, as some providers have reportedly shifted their recruitment focus from India to China," it said.
There were 27,640 international students studying in New Zealand universities in 2016, up 6 percent, with an increase in postgraduate enrollments. Among them, China showed steady year-on-year growth, up 9 percent to 11,846 students.
There were 2,912 students in New Zealand's primary and intermediate schools in 2016, up 16 percent on 2015. Among them, 1,292 students, including 1,055 primary school students, came from China, increasing by 71 percent and making up 44 percent of the market.
The Indian market saw a 3 percent decline in student enrollments, taking the number of Indian students to 28,154, "as it undergoes a rebalancing from volume to value".
The new figure consolidates international education's place as New Zealand's fourth-largest export sector, supporting more than 33,000 jobs across New Zealand.
"As a small nation that relies on trade, international education offers significant value to New Zealand's society and economy. It provides jobs and incomes for thousands of New Zealand households," said Tertiary Education, Skill and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith.