Joyce to The World
The University of Otago is under pressure from Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce to increase international student numbers.
With international student enrolments at Otago falling by 18.8% between 2007 and 2011, Mr. Joyce called for the University to look “very closely” at its efforts to attract more international students, and believes there are many further measures it could take.
Joyce cited the University’s 12% cap on international students as one element he would like to see changed, despite International Pro-Vice Chancellor Sarah Todd claiming that an international student has never been turned away because of the cap. Despite this, a recommendation has been made to the governing council calling for the cap to be increased to 15%. This would only partially placate Joyce, however, who would like the cap to be as high as 20% if the economic value of education in New Zealand is to hit the targeted $5 billion by 2025.
Joyce told the ODT, “I met the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor some weeks ago and they told me that they were working on it, so I am looking forward to seeing the progress there.” The Minister did, however, concede that Otago was not the only university to have such problems.
David Thomas, the University’s director of planning and funding, has said that attracting international students is proving difficult at the moment, a claim which the International Pro-Vice Chancellor backs up. She blames the lack of international enthusiasm on the Christchurch earthquake, with potential imports proving difficult to convince that Dunedin is not an earthquake risk. But with numbers falling since 2007, Critic speculates that the rest of the world must have some kick-ass earthquake warning systems in place and wonders why they are never used for anything slightly more useful, such as saving lives.