International students returning to Chch

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 05:00 27/08/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Christchurch's earthquake-hit international education sector is slowly regaining trust and pupils.

Last week, Cobham Intermediate School hosted 10 Japanese pupils from Tokyo.

Principal Scott Thelning hopes a reciprocal exchange programme can get off the ground in the next few years.

Thelning was one of a large delegation, led by Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), to visit Japan in May, in an attempt to drum up international pupil numbers.

Tokyo-based Ryugaku Journal, an after-school education programme, proposed the trip to pupils and "got 10 replies very easily", he said.

The pupils were accommodated in homestays with Cobham pupils and teachers.

CDC international education section leader Emily Branthwaite said Japanese students accounted for around 17 per cent of international students in the city before the February 2011 earthquake.

In 2010, the city hosted 2540 Japanese students, but this dropped to 1200 last year.

Thelning said the Cobham pupils had genuinely enjoyed the time spent with their Japanese counterparts.

However, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology said 34 international students had enrolled as a direct result of the May trip to Japan.

The group, from Asia University in Japan, is the largest intake since the February 2011 earthquake.

The intake co-incides with an Immigration New Zealand policy change that allows Canterbury-based international students to work 20 hours a week.

CPIT international director Beth Knowles said the new policy helped the institute attract more English language students.

Of the 34 new students, 20 will study English for four weeks while the rest will move into longer term programmes.

CPIT now has 100 English language students enrolled.

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- The Press

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