The New Zealand government announced on Monday that it will spend NZ$51 million ($34 million) on the country’s embattled overseas education sector, as schools, universities and tertiary institutes continue to reel from the loss of foreign students in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NZ$5 billion foreign student industry has been essentially ground to a halt after the government closed the borders in March due to the health crisis, reports The New Zealand Herald newspaper.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins, who announced the package with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, said that education providers should not expect to bring in students from overseas this year.
He added that much of the sector’s recovery in the future comes down to when the borders will be reopened.
Hipkins promised that no universities are going to go broke in the short term, as a result of the border closure.
There have been 31,000 New Zealanders who have returned since the borders closed.
He said international students, if they do come to New Zealand, will be responsible for the costs of their isolation.
The Minister further said that the government was “acutely aware of the challenges” the education sector is currently facing.
“We are sensitive to the impact the unexpected loss of revenue will have had on international education providers and the investment announced today will help cushion the blow,” he was quoted as saying by The The New Zealand Herald newspaper.