New Zealand has released the latest International Student Barometers for the private training establishment (PTE) and English language sectors, showing levels of satisfaction with schools and agents, and high rates of agent influence in the booking process.
The results of the biennial ISBs, conducted by i-graduate on behalf of Education New Zealand, were based on 3,597 responses from English language students at 49 institutions, and 3,075 replies from students at 41 PTE providers and conducted towards the end of last year.
The key influencers in choice of institution in the survey of international students at New Zealand PTEs
In the English language barometer, 64 per cent of respondents said an agent was the key influencer in the choice of institution, slightly above the global average of 63 and higher than the previous survey in 2014, while 62 per cent of PTE students cited their agent as the key influencer – comfortably the highest influence factor.
Ninety-one per cent of students in the English survey rated the agency service as good or very good, compared with 89 per cent in the PTE survey.
More than two-thirds of respondents (70 per cent) in the English survey confirmed that they have been contacted by their agent after arriving at the institution.
In the PTE survey, the highest individual elements of satisfaction were ‘the agent provided helpful services to my visa application’ (92 per cent); ‘the agent was knowledgeable about the institution’s application processes’ (92); and ‘the agent was not pushy or forceful with me during the application/enrolment process’ (90).
The English language survey found 87 per cent of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied overall with their course, a slight decrease compared with the previous 2014 barometer, although that survey was based on a smaller sample (2,103). Satisfaction ranged from 100 per cent for Argentinian students to 80 per cent for Saudi students.
In the PTE survey, 91 per cent were either satisfied or very satisfied overall, ranging from rates of 96 per cent for students from Tonga to 66 per cent for Japanese students. Students on design and multimedia courses were the most likely to be satisfied (96 per cent), while commerce/accounting programme students had the lowest average satisfaction (80 per cent).
New Zealand was the first choice of destination for 72 per cent of respondents to the English language survey, who cited teaching quality (96 per cent), personal safety (94) and cost of study (89) as the top decision-making factors. Sixty per cent of PTE respondents said the country was their first choice, with quality of teaching (97), personal safety (95) and reputation of the institution (95) the highest-ranking elements.
New Zealand has recently launched an International Student Wellbeing Strategy, designed to protect and enhance New Zealand’s reputation as a safe study destination.
At ELT providers, 87 per cent of students were satisfied with the overall learning experience, with friendly staff, teachers’ English and learning support the highest-ranking factors.
Almost nine-tenths of students were satisfied with the living experience in both surveys, but living cost (61.5 per cent in ELT) and accommodation cost (63.2 in PTE) were among the lowest satisfaction factors.
Just under one quarter of English language students were planning further study in New Zealand. In the PTE survey, 19 per cent planned long-term employment in New Zealand, and 13 per cent were planning permanent migration.
The barometers were conducted prior to the announcement of new migration settings announced this year, which will increase the salary threshold at which foreign workers can apply for permanent settlement. Education New Zealand Chief Executive, Grant McPherson, commented that the changes were more likely to affect students and providers at below degree level.
The full surveys are available on the Education New Zealand website.