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According to reports, 2022 is expected to be the lowest point for international student enrolments at New Zealand schools. Torsten Blackwood/AFP

New Zealand schools could expect fewer international student enrolments in 2022. According to nzherald, schools have lost 40 million New Zealand dollars in international student revenue during the pandemic, and it’s expected to get worse.

Official Information Act documents provided to Newstalk ZB show primary, intermediate and secondary schools made just over NZ$179 million from international students in 2019, which dropped to NZ$139 million last year. The report said 11,000 international pupils attended primary, intermediate and secondary New Zealand schools in 2019, but that dropped to 9,100 last year.

According to the Ministry of Education, the full impact of COVID-19 and the global financial downturn is just beginning to be felt, and 2022 is expected to be the lowest point for international student enrolments at New Zealand schools.

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Many international students in New Zealand have been locked out of the country since last March. Source: Jens Schlueter/AFP

New Zealand schools to make cutbacks

International students who arrived in New Zealand before border closures are completing their programmes, which explains the falling numbers, spokeswoman Cathryn Ashley-Jones was quoted saying. Even once students can return, numbers will likely take considerable time to rebuild due to various factors, including the impact of the global financial crisis on students’ finances and fewer education agents and marketing opportunities.

Echoing Ashley-Jones is Secondary Principals’ Association Vice President Vaughan Couillault, who agreed it could take time to rebuild. He said, however, that New Zealand has done a good job providing international education and hopes students flood back once borders reopen.

Couillault projects that New Zealand schools will make cutbacks as more foreign pupils head home and more redundancies will be made next year because of a lack of international students.

New Zealand is currently dealing with the highly transmissible Delta variant linked to the outbreak in Australia. The country extended a strict lockdown in Auckland on Monday, requiring 1.7 million people living in the city to remain indoors for at least another week.