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News and business analysis for Professionals in International Education
Updated: 23 hours 19 min ago

Study Hawai’i reveals plan to boost international recruitment

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 09:53

Study Hawai’i, a consortium of education providers in the state, has published an updated strategic plan to develop the Pacific islands as a study destination over the next nine years.

The publication of the new plan coincided with International Education Week in the US, and at a ceremony in Honolulu’s State Capitol, Governor David Ige signed a proclamation recognising the value and contributions of international students.

“[Using] this opportunity of International Education Week [we want to] broadcast to the world that Hawaii is an outstanding place – not just for fun in the sun, not just for ecotourism and sustainability – but it’s a perfect place to come and get a degree,” said Study Hawai’i president Joel Weaver.

The plan hopes to reverse the decline in international student enrolments, not only in the state of Hawai’i, but across the US.

The consortium of Hawaiian educators hopes to double the number of international students in just one decade. It will focus on HE and school students, as well as short-term language and exchange program students.

The goal is to attract at least 24,000 international students to the state each year by 2026. This is an increase of 10,000 students per annum, over the entire sector.

Gov. Ige pointed out Hawai’i’s diverse population is embracing of international students

Governor Ige highlighted that although the natural diverse beauty of the state is well known, and a draw that makes Hawai’i one of the most popular tourist destinations, it is not the only thing on offer.

“We welcome students from around the world to enjoy the beauty of our Islands and stay for the quality education which will transform their future,” he said.

“Whether it be astronomy, or ocean and marine sciences, marine biology, where the classroom is the natural environment here in Hawaii… we have a strategic advantage,” Ige added.

Gov. Ige also pointed out Hawai’i’s diverse population (it is the only state of the union without a majority ethnic population) is embracing of international students.

A Japanese international student performs a Hula after the Governor’s address. Photo: The PIE News

“We recognise the richness that the diverse students bring, that we are strengthened and empowered by their diversity,” Ige said.

Working in conjunction with StudentMarketing, Study Hawai’i’s new strategy sets out lessons to learn from organisations such as EduNova in Canada, and English Australia to recruit students successfully from around the globe.

A key point to the new strategy is communication and state-wide marketing.

“One of the target areas in our strategic plan is China, with a close second being India”

“Successful study destination marketing and student recruitment can no longer be an outcome of unsystematic or stand-alone individual initiatives,” the report says.

Instead, it is planned that Study Hawai’i will be able to transform from a coalition of education providers to an organised NGO or even a state-government agency. An initial investment of $430,000 is expected to be found through government funding and private capital.

Both Study Hawai’i and StudentMarketing understand that this growth and funding hopes are not easy. However, with more engagement with education agents planned, and an understanding of target markets, both parties are positive that the goal is achievable.

To do so, Study Hawai’i are clear in its target markets. As the bridge between east and west, Asia is an obvious choice. Japan is currently the largest market for Hawai’ian institutions, but other nations such as China are also being targeted.

“We do have an office in Beijing that is strictly there to help students attend Hawaii schools, including with marketing, so Chinese students know about Hawaii as a place to study,” said Dennis Ling of the Hawai’i state department of business, economic development and tourism.

“One of the target areas in our strategic plan is China, with a close second being India, because those are the largest growing areas for international education in the US as a whole,” Weaver said.

“We’re also looking at second and tertiary markets as well, like Brazil,” he added.

Answering a question on the potential impact of the Trump administration on the targets of Study Hawai’i, Dennis Ling distanced the island state from the realities of life on the mainland.

“My opinion is it’s because of a lot of the perception that the US is not a very safe place to study… Hawaii is different. We are ranked as one of the top states for being the safest in the US,” Ling said.

“And we’re a long way from Washington DC! As far as you can get,” added Weaver.

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Singapore: MoE announces school fee increase

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 08:15

The Ministry of Education in Singapore has announced it will increase school fees for permanent residents and international students at government schools.

However, one commentator has suggested that most expat students in Singapore enrol in private high schools instead of government-run schools, so the change might not affect a large number of international students.

International students at all school levels will see an average increase in fees of around 35% over three years between 2017 and 2020, whereas students from the Association of South East Asian Nations will see an average increase of around 23%.

Currently, international students pay $600 per month for primary school, $950 per month at secondary school and $1300 at pre-university schools. These fees for international students will increase by $25-$150 per month.

The biggest hike in relative prices is for permanent residents, who will see their fees at secondary school level rise by 90%, from $200 in 2017 to $380 in 2020.

“Demand for international school places in Singapore remains high, although when considered as a year-on-year performance, is lower than previous years”

“The government invests significantly in education to improve the quality of education and provide every child the opportunity to develop to his fullest potential,” a spokesperson from the MOE told The PIE News.

“MOE conducts regular review of the school fees and makes adjustments when necessary,” they added.

According to the MOE spokesperson, around 5% of students in government schools over recent years were international students and predominantly from ASEAN and Asian countries.

International students from ASEAN countries will also see school fees rise by around 20% at primary level and pre-university level and 30% at secondary school level. However, their rates rise less than the fees for permanent residents and other international students.

In 2017, international students paid on average 54% more in school fees than their ASEAN classmates. By 2020, this will increase to an average 70% more.

Sam Fraser, South East Asia research consultant for ISC Research, told The PIE News that the tuition fee increase applied only to local schools and would not affect most expatriate students who often attend international private schools.

“This won’t affect most expatriate students as they generally attend the international private schools, which typically charge much higher fees.

“Demand for international school places in Singapore remains high, although when considered as a year-on-year performance, is lower than previous years,” he said.

“This is due to the reduction in human capital within the oil and gas sector which has reduced the number of western expats in Singapore. However other markets, including artificial intelligence and fintech, are now emerging to redress this.”

The price hikes will not affect citizens from Singapore. Earlier this year, The PIE News reported a rise in school fees in Hong Kong.

The post Singapore: MoE announces school fee increase appeared first on The PIE News.

Over 40% of international students underpaid in Australia

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 02:58

International students are underpaid when working in Australia on a significant scale: according to a landmark Migrant Worker Justice Initiative report on the scope of workplace exploitation, temporary migrant workers are the victims of endemic wage theft, underpayment, bullying and overworking.

The Wage Theft in Australia report, which surveyed over 4,300 international students and working holiday makers, found 43% of all students within workplaces were paid $15 per hour or less; significantly below the minimum wage of $18.29 per hour.

“It’s clear that at some point, probably everyone in this country has enjoyed food or services that involve serious underpayment of an international student or backpacker”

A first of its kind for Australia, the report’s co-author, University of Technology Sydney law lecturer Laurie Berg, said that while the results were not altogether surprising, it was concerning to see the degree to which the problem of workplace exploitation had spread.

“I think we’ve known about a lot of media reports on exploitation of overseas workers in a couple of 7-Eleven stores or farms around the country, but we haven’t known how far it goes,” she said.

“It’s striking that we now have hard data that shows that we’ve got a large, silent underclass of invisible temporary workers in this country and they’re made up of international students and backpackers who are being paid well below minimum wage.”

Speaking with The PIE News, Berg said the report also went a long way toward dispelling several assumptions around the exploitation of migrant workers.

“It wasn’t just one industry, it wasn’t just a region and it wasn’t just a nationality. Severe underpayment was experienced by every major nationality of backpackers and international students,” she said.

Concerningly, however, the report also dispelled another common myth that international students were being taken advantage of because of their naivety, with 73% indicating they were aware of the minimum wage.

Rather than prove international students are intentionally gaming the system, however, Berg said their level of awareness revealed a more disturbing problem.

“It wasn’t just one industry, it wasn’t just a region and it wasn’t just a nationality”

“The reason why many of them are getting these low paying jobs and staying in these illegally low paying jobs is that they believe everyone else on their visa is also being paid less than the minimum wage, too,” she said.

“They don’t see much chance of getting a better paying job.”

The report also found that 13% of international students were working above 21 hours per week and therefore likely to be working above the 40 hours a fortnight allowed on their visa, but this figure jumped to almost a third for those who indicated they received below minimum wage.

IEAA chief executive Phil Honeywood said rising costs, such as accommodation in major cities, could be contributing to students compromising wages for more hours.

“Unfortunately, if they believe that they need to work for more than the legal limit of 20 hours per week they will sometimes enter into a ‘devil’s compact’ with their employer,” he said.

“This creates an imbalance in the work relationship with students being afraid that they will be reported to [DIBP].”

Adelaide University law professor Alex Reilly, who earlier this year co-authored the International Students and the Fair Work Ombudsman report with Berg, agreed with Honeywood’s observations, adding it provided additional fodder for an ongoing debate around work rights and exploitation.

“One recommendation a lot of academics have been suggesting is that [students] can work an unlimited number of hours,” he told The PIE.

“We’ve got a large, silent underclass of invisible temporary workers in this country”

“This report partly supports that but it also partly raises concerns about that… There’s a huge number of students who are being exploited when they’re working under 20 hours a week, so taking the limit on work rights away just means you’ve got more international students doing work and therefore a higher level of exploitation overall.

“That’s a really interesting policy dilemma we need to grapple with.”

Berg said she hoped the report would help empower international students and backpackers to demand better conditions from employers, as well as open a dialogue with the general public.

“It’s clear that at some point, probably everyone in this country has enjoyed food or services that involve serious underpayment of an international student or backpacker,” she said.

“We need to really take a look at the implications of ever-increasing consumer demand for cheaper and cheaper goods and services and food,” she continued, adding larger businesses needed to look at their supply chains to ensure wage theft was not occurring down the line.

Earlier this year, Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman entered an agreement with DIBP to prevent international students from automatic deportation if they had violated their visa conditions in a bid to encourage more to report employers for exploitation.

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Intn’l students don’t see value in two-year degrees

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 11:13

A new survey from QS Enrolment Solutions has revealed that international students don’t see value in two-year degrees, with 52% saying they would expect annual tuition fees for a two-year program to be lower than for an equivalent three-year degree.

European students were the least likely to recognise the value, with 61% of respondents saying that two-year degrees should cost less each year in tuition fees.

The QS research surveyed over 2,700 international students who are considering or already studying in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

QS findings suggest that there is a remarkably low level of understanding among prospective and current international students of the concept of two-year degrees, with only 26% of respondents say they would be willing to pay more each year for such a program.

“In most cases, the student receives more teaching time each year, in order to attain the exact same degree”

There are several UK universities that offer two-year fast-track degrees which provide the same level of academic content as traditional three-year degree programs.

These include Angela Ruskin University, which has been named one of the top 40 institutions in the UK. In Australia, Bond University was the first to start offering a two-year fast-track program.

The idea behind accelerated degree programs is that students save money on fees and accommodation while also getting a head start on entering employment.

But, just 21% of respondents to this survey said a fast-tracked degree program should cost the same.

When comparing by subject, creative arts and social studies had the highest percentage of students who felt a two-year degree programme should be less expensive, with 65% saying they would be less expensive.

Director of UK & Europe at QS Enrolment Solutions, Patrick Whitfield, said: “Whilst some see the value in two- year degrees and find them compelling, it is clear that there is confusion in the international student market about what two-year degrees offer.

“It could be the case that there is a lack of knowledge about the fact that – in most cases – the student receives more teaching time each year, in order to attain the exact same degree but in a shorter period of time.”

He added, “Higher education institutions need to think carefully about how to explain them with clarity and in a way that makes their value clear.”

According to QS marketing director Paul Raybould, the wording of the questionnaire was intentionally neutral as not to risk leading respondents in a particular way by ‘selling’ the value of a two-year program.

Raybould said it could be the case that many of the respondents who answered that a two-year degree should cost less than a three-year degree did not understand that both options lead to an undergraduate degree.

“There is the possibility that some respondents simply misunderstood and answered based not on the annual cost but on the total cost of studying, in which case it would be reasonable to assume that two years would be less expensive than three,” he added.

“There is much here that universities can learn from when thinking about marketing two-year degrees”

“If teaching and facilities are the same in a two-year degree as in a three-year degree then it’s fair to pay slightly more for time saved.

“In my opinion, reducing the years of studying is good but if they focus on what is needed for a student to acquire the required knowledge, I agree that is worth to charge a bit more for a shorter time.”

“As our first, relatively small piece of research on two-year degrees, it’s clear that these results should be viewed as provisional rather than conclusive, but even so there is much here that universities can learn from when thinking about marketing two-year degrees.”

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US: Survey of admissions staff shows enrolment outlook varies widely

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 10:01

Almost two-thirds of admissions officers in the US – of nearly 400 canvassed – are concerned about a decline in international student applicants becoming a nationwide trend. However, only 32% of those canvassed believe a downturn would impact their own institution.

The findings, taken from a survey of 392 admissions officers undertaken by Kaplan Test Prep, reveal a more bullish outlook held by admissions officers for their own institution that they have for the country as a whole.

To some extent, the survey also reflects the see-saw situation of new international enrolments detailed in last week’s Open Doors data release and separate IIE-led survey.

The latest Open Doors data showed an overall drop of 3% for new starts in autumn 2016. New enrolment numbers declined by nearly 10,000 students to 291,000 – a 3% decrease on the previous year.

In a separate survey that IIE conducted in September/ October, an average decrease of 6.9% was predicted by nearly 500 colleges and universities for the 2017/18 academic year.

But of the 500 or so HEIs which reported this, while just under half (45%) reported declines in new enrolments, 31% of campuses reported increases and 24% reported no change from last year.

In fact, over half of institutions reported steady or improving numbers

So in fact, over half of institutions reported steady or improving numbers: there is clearly a very different experience across various institutions of anticipated future demand.

Kaplan Test Prep also shared some of the anecdotes given by admissions officers taking part in the survey and this reveals very different attitudes.

One officer “unconcerned” about fewer international students in the future said, “Not concerned. I think there are a lot of colleges who utilise international students just for full paying tuition and not for the right reasons.”

Another noted that the safety of the US was “more important than international students coming to get an education.”

On the other hand, one “concerned” officer nodded to the political climate and said, “It’s something we worry about. We want students to come without barriers.”

Yariv Alpher, executive director of market research at Kaplan Test Prep, commented, “Notably, there is a broad range of opinions across schools nationwide, which represent the diversity of views that most colleges seek to cultivate on their own campuses.”

While no further data was immediately available to suggest why certain colleges might be more confident around their recruitment potential, Open Doors data did reveal that much of the growth reflected in overall numbers is due to foreign students on programs that allow them to take Optional Practical Training courses.

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Africa: Ghanaian entrepreneur wins WISE prize 2017

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 02:56

The founder of a private not-for-profit institution that has become one of Ghana’s premier universities has won the World Innovation Summit for Education prize 2017, worth $500,000.

The WISE Prize for education is the first distinction of its kind to recognise an individual or a team of up to six people for a world-class contribution to education.

President of Ashesi University College Patrick Awuah was presented with the award at the WISE opening plenary session in Qatar.

Awuah first opened the doors of the university in 2002 to a class of 30 students.

Today, Ashesi University College has a campus of 100 acres with almost 900 students, offering degrees in engineering, business administration, computer science and management information systems.

The degrees are based upon an interdisciplinary curriculum with a continual emphasis on leadership, ethics, and entrepreneurship. Before graduating, all students engage in community service.

Every graduate has found quality employment, and almost all have remained in Africa, where many have started much-needed businesses.

Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation Sheikha Moza bint Nasser presented the prize to Awuah before an audience of 2,000 participants from 100 countries.

Speaking at the ceremony, CEO of WISE Stavros Yiannouka said Awuah joins a distinguished group of individuals who share a passion for empowerment through education.

“The WISE Prize Laureates have recognized needs that challenged them to action. Each has blazed a path in engaging and enrolling others in a vision. Patrick Awuah’s story is unique in his awakening to the role of renewed ethical leadership in social transformation, particularly in Africa.

“He recognized that the tools for acquiring and interpreting knowledge are at least as important as the knowledge itself. In placing leadership at the core of his commitment, Patrick Awuah stands as a model for all of us who are dedicated to empowerment through education.”

Awuah is known for his dedication to supporting education in Ghana and across Africa.

He left Ghana in 1985 with $50 in his pocket and a full scholarship to Swarthmore College in the US.

After graduating, Awuah had a successful career at Microsoft before returning to Ghana to start a software company.

Once there, Awuah quickly understood that fostering ethical leadership would be key to building a generation that is able to bring positive change in Africa.

“I decided to open a university that would offer young Ghanaians and Africans the opportunity to excel and become problem solvers – the next leaders of Africa”

“I decided to create a new university in Ghana not because of a lack of universities in my country, but a lack of universities teaching 21st century skills,” Awuah said.

“There was too much emphasis on rote learning and much less on critical or independent thinking, ethics or collaboration.

“I decided to open a university that would offer young Ghanaians and Africans the opportunity to excel and become problem solvers – the next leaders of Africa.”

On receiving the WISE Prize, Patrick Awuah said: “I am honored…this is a crucial moment for Africa. One out of six people on earth live in Africa, and this is set to rise to one in four by 2050.

“We urgently need to boost the education system in Africa to ensure we can tap into this shift to strengthen the continent. Winning the WISE prize will support the work we are already doing at Ashesi University College to inspire and educate, and build a community of people who can navigate the complexities of Africa’s growth and set an example for the rest of the world.”

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Locked out: Australian study visas and the international student with disabilities

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 04:35

International students with significant health needs or disabilities could be restricted from studying in Australia because of regulations around who pays for the cost of their care, despite the fact that all temporary residents are banned from accessing public health care services anyway.

The claim, made by Estrin Saul Lawyers’ disability and health specialist Jan Gothard, refers to Public Interest Criteria 4005 of Australia’s migration regulation, requiring visa holders meet certain health requirements.

“In practice, [international students] cannot access those services. You cannot be a cost to the community”

The criteria are used to ensure Australian citizens’ interests are considered when someone enters the country – visa applicants cannot be placed on the organ donor list or suffer from severe communicable diseases, for example.

Gothard has noted a stipulation that temporary residents cannot be a “significant cost to the Australian community in the areas of health care and community services”, but this ignores the requirements and entitlements of study visas.

“In practice, [international students] cannot access those services. You cannot be a cost to the community,” explained Gothard.

“An individual must be costed regardless of whether they’re going to use the services or not, regardless of whether they’re entitled to use those services. That’s the way the regulations work.”

Australian study visa holders must cover their healthcare and education costs and the costs of their dependents, as well as maintain overseas student health cover. Failure to show sufficient ability to cover costs results in DIBP not issuing or cancelling a visa.

“It’s not logical,” Gothard told The PIE News, adding that most students were also unable to apply for a waiver like some other visa categories, leaving them with “no space” to argue against a decision to reject a visa application on grounds of likely healthcare costs.

“The next Stephen Hawkins could well be an international student who just requires that bit of encouragement from access to an internationalised curriculum”

So far, the apparent oversight seems to only affect those with significant disabilities or health issues, which Gothard first became aware of after representing a PhD student who was told his son could not remain in Australia because he had Down’s syndrome.

The son’s special education was costed above the permitted amount (currently limited to $40,000), even despite all expenses being covered by a scholarship the student had received from their home country.

The case highlighted a further “absurdity” of the requirement, Gothard said.

Costs cannot exceed $40,000 for the duration of the visa regardless of its length. If, for example, health care and services are estimated at $15,000 per year, a visa applicant on a one-year visa will be permitted into Australia, while an applicant on a three-year visa will be determined to have exceeded the allowed amount.

The appeals process to allow the son to remain in Australia dragged on long enough for the remaining period of the visa to shorten enough for the cumulative services estimate to drop below the limit, allowing him to stay in Australia.

To date, Gothard, who is also an adjunct law professor at Murdoch University, said she was only aware of cases where the dependents of visa applicants had been blocked from entering Australia, but said applicants themselves could also be blocked.

That situation appears to be relatively unusual, with education agents contacted by The PIE saying they were unaware of circumstances in which students had been blocked because of a community cost assessment or of the assessment itself.

ISANA president Mary Ann Seow said providers were unlikely to be aware as well, and therefore unable to provide adequate pre-departure services to prospective students.

“There have been several instances where visa applications are rejected and unless the potential student advises the provider, that information is not shared with the provider,” she said, calling on DIBP to provide further information on why visas were rejected.

“Educators need information on the reasons for visa rejection so that they can consider how an international student and dependents can be supported.

“International students with these circumstances should also be made aware that these special circumstances need to be shared with agents, sponsors and education providers and not at the point of a visa application.”

“Elected politicians in Australia are not likely to be motivated to proactively put supportive policies in place”

IEAA chief executive Phil Honeywood similarly expressed concerns with the requirement, telling The PIE the policy was a “stark contrast between reality winning out over rhetoric [of ‘equality of opportunity for all’]” and threatened to prevent talent before it started.

“Stephen Hawkins is a great example of a brilliant mind and contributor to mankind who has had to fight to be better understood,” he said.

“Notwithstanding his severe disability, no one can deny his contribution to the world of science. The next Stephen Hawkins could well be an international student who just requires that bit of encouragement from access to an internationalised curriculum to prove their creative worth.”

Surprisingly, the situation could be rectified fairly quickly, according to Gothard, who said a legislative instrument issued by immigration minister Peter Dutton could cease the practice of assessing services and health costs against a student’s visa applications.

“There is a precedent because there are some Commonwealth services which are not costed against temporary residents. That was done a few years ago on the basis that these temporary residents were not eligible for these services,” she said.

“That principle hasn’t been taken far enough.”

But Honeywood was pessimistic about the reality of that occurring and encouraged the industry to take the lead in helping international students with significant needs enter Australia.

“As international students do not vote and are perceived to be not paying taxes, elected politicians in Australia are not likely to be motivated to proactively put supportive policies in place. At the end of the day, any change to policy in this vexed area will need to come from the educators.”

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Spain: Malaga to host its own int’l ed week

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 03:31

This week has been a celebration of international education, largely by Anglophone destinations. However in Malaga, teachers, academics, international educators and consultants are preparing for a week of celebrations in January to boost the Spanish province’s reputation for language tourism.

Malaga Education Week, which takes place from 7-14 January, aims to focus the attention of the study abroad industry on Malaga as a first-class destination for the study of Spanish as a foreign language.

Malaga has 28 centres for teaching Spanish as a foreign language, which represents nearly half of the offer in Andalusia and 15% of the total in Spain

The goal of MEW is to highlight the importance of Spanish, the world’s second language of international communication after English, and its increasing inclusion in national education syllabuses.

It also aims to encourage teachers of Spanish in secondary education, business schools and universities to promote their immersion courses in Spain as supplementary programs to those given overseas.

Malaga has 28 centres for teaching Spanish as a foreign language, which represents nearly half of the offer in Andalusia and 15% of the total in Spain.

The week-long celebration will include ECELE, an annual meeting of Spanish teachers and the Malaga Congress, where delegates will discuss Spanish as a financial resource.

ECELE has the objective of enabling directors and academic managers of secondary and professional education from around the world to get to know the opportunities for studying Spanish in Spain.

It will feature talks about the range of courses offered in Spain and to explain the benefits of the Instituto Cervantes accreditation process.

There will also be direct sessions between schools and the invited teachers as well as cultural, touristic and gastronomic activities.

At the Malaga Congress, top-level government, university and education representatives will discuss the importance of the language to the Spanish and international economy to stimulate study abroad and showcase Malaga as a study destination.

Speaking at the MEW launch, Costa del Sol Tourism CEO, Jacobo Florido recalled that the province of Malaga is second only to Madrid in Spanish schools accredited by the Cervantes Institute, adding: “it is no coincidence that Malaga stands as a destination for a week of great development for the language tourism that awaits us in January.”

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NUS launches #StudentsoftheWorld awareness campaign

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 02:03

“Without international study, I wouldn’t be here today, nor would I be the student I’ve become”: this was part of the powerful message delivered by NUS international students’ officer, Yinbo Yu, this week at the House of Commons as part of the UK’s international education week celebrations.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Students convened the celebration event which was attended by many international students as well as embassy staff, MPs and industry stakeholders.

Yu and the National Union of Students used the event to call on HEIs to join a social media campaign aimed at empowering mobile students and highlighting the value of international education.

“I came to the UK due to its incredible reputation, for a prestigious, quality education,” Yu told the audience.

“A student who travels across the continent to access education has the hopes of so many people behind them. Many of us are thousands of miles away from home, experiencing migration and isolation, all to fulfil a dream.”

In celebration of International Students’ Day, the NUS is asking students’ unions to collect stories from international and UK students on the positive impact of student mobility and share them on social media platforms using the #StudentsOfTheWorld hashtag.

Suggestions for the campaign include quotes that demonstrate the social or economic contributions that international students make and the long-term benefits of international collaborations.

“A student who travels across the continent to access education has the hopes of so many people behind them”

Yu said the campaign is rooted in NUS’ objectives around protecting student mobility post-Brexit in a bid to show how international study produces globally-minded graduates and enriches life on university campuses.

Speaking at the APPG’s celebration event, he explained how the NUS campaign would demonstrate the real-life impact that international education and student mobility have on individual students.

He also used his platform to highlight difficulties that international students had to face in the UK:

“For too long now, international students have felt under attack, unwelcome and have had to face barriers at every step of the way… from visa restrictions to student loans and basic healthcare,” he said.

“We need to provide a platform for international students to share their powerful experiences and to create a space which is inclusive, friendly and where we are able to reach our potential,” he said.

With a looming Brexit, some of the major concerns for universities are the increased barriers to recruitment of European staff and students and the loss the networks that come out of international collaboration.

In April, NUS published a report which showed that a majority of students in the UK felt their degrees would suffer if international student numbers dropped.

It found 70% of UK students agreed that any reduction in international students would impact their cultural experience at university.

In addition to the campaign, NUS has created the Great Education Exchange, a downloadable, interactive style board-game that presents the journey of being an international student.

70% of UK students agreed that any reduction in international students would impact their cultural experience at university

Yu described UK home secretary Amber Rudd’s comments on removing international students from net migration figures as a “golden opportunity” to show international students that they are appreciated and welcome.

“We’re on verge of victory in finally acknowledging the positive contribution that international students bring to the UK; not just in terms of economic value but social and cultural value too,” he said.

“We now know that over 97% of students return back home after completing their studies.

“With Brexit negotiations already underway, and the Immigration Bill around the corner, we need to protect and safeguard the transformational experiences both international and home students gain from moving freely in Europe, and internationally.

“This campaign will empower international students across the UK by putting their voice at the centre of the debate,” Yu added.

“I want as many students as possible to have the opportunities that I have had, and I want you to join me in making that possible.”

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IEAA has new “forward-thinking” brand

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 09:44

A new website, logo and revamped special interest groups were amongst the changes announced by IEAA at last month’s AIEC in Hobart.

The rebrand, which aims to better differentiate the peak body from affiliate organisations in Australia and abroad, sees a significant shift in IEAA’s outward appearance.

A new research agenda will underpin IEAA’s advocacy and lobbying activities

Key amongst the rebranded changes, a new, predominantly light-blue logo replaces the former red, blue and black logo, with imagery to signify the organisation’s members’ core values of being “engaged, forward-thinking, internationally focused.”

“One of the key objectives of our current strategy is to position IEAA as the ‘top of mind’ organisation for Australia’s international education sector,” explained IEAA chief executive Phil Honeywood in a statement.

“Our new brand positions IEAA as a modern, progressive organisation and really strengthens our value proposition to members, stakeholders and government.”

Communications manager, Peter Muntz, who oversaw the rebrand, said the process took almost 12 months and incorporated the suggestions of over 50 member organisations.

“Our members really are at the heart of what we do and it was fantastic to engage so many of them in the process of re-defining who we are and how we position ourselves,” he said.

As well as changing the appearance of IEAA, the peak body also announced a change to its special interest groups, renamed to “Networks”, and a new research agenda, which will underpin its advocacy and lobbying activities.

A new model for professional development as well as an expansion of its Young Professionals Network, which provides networking opportunities for up-and-coming international education staff, are also expected in the new year.

During the 2017 AIEC, IEAA announced its Excellence Awards winners, with Helen Zimmerman receiving the distinguished contribution award.

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UK: Bournemouth regional festival celebrates int’l ed

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 08:31

Last month saw the first One World By The Sea festival take place in Bournemouth & Poole on the south coast of the UK, to celebrate the cultural diversity of the area.

Rather than scones and cream, international food was served at the three-day event in Dorset which was organised by the International Education Forum and supported by Bournemouth University as well as other civic organisations.

The festival also included international film screenings and music and dance performances and finished with a mini-festival in central Bournemouth.

Rachel Woodward-Carrick, director of Bournemouth University International College, organised the event and was delighted with the outcome.

“With the event we really wanted to do two things,” she told The PIE News. “The first was to showcase Bournemouth’s diverse community. I came here four years ago and was really surprised by the cultural diversity.

“The second was to send out the message that international students are very welcome here – this gives people an example to show others of what we have done here.”

“I came here four years ago and was really surprised by the cultural diversity”

Woodward-Carrick added that the event was a collaborative effort, with financial and logistic support from Bournemouth University, the Arts University of Bournemouth and the Dorset Race Equality Council, which ran a similar event in Dorchester earlier in the year.

The list of contributors included several language schools around the city, including Anglo-Continental and ETC International College.

The festival has a strong, visual brand.

“Outside of London, Bournemouth has the most language schools so it is important that we all work together to grow the pie, not only compete against each other,” said Woodward-Carrick.

She added that it was important to get local residents involved. “People are already used to international students in Bournemouth, for example, in shops people may speak slower so that they understand.”

Activities on the World Discovery Day, which the Bournemouth University International College hosted, were designed to help people learn a little more about countries international students in Bournemouth are from.

Visitors learnt to say “hello” in five languages, write their names in Arabic and took part in an interactive quiz.

Chris Davis, International Pathways manager at Bournemouth University, has high hopes for the future of the festival.

“We’re already looking forward to planning next year’s event, building on what we’ve learnt this year and making the festival even bigger and better,” he said.

“We are keen to ensure that we make the One World By The Sea Festival a permanent fixture in Bournemouth’s ever-growing calendar of events and to be a part of the town’s thriving BOMO festival programme.”

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Upbeat outlook for enrolment at UK boarding schools

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 06:09

The number of non-British pupils with parents living overseas studying at UK boarding schools this year was down by around 470, according to figures from the Independent Schools Council. However, Suzanne Rowse, director at the British Boarding Schools Network, has told The PIE News there are reasons to be optimistic for future intakes.

Global oil crises, shrinking wealth, falling birth rates in Asia, visa regulations, and students choosing foundation courses over boarding schools, all contributed to reduced enrolment from overseas pupils in 2016/17.

Nineteen key markets in British boarding schools have dropped since last year’s ISC figures, including Russia, down 20.5%; Nigeria down 30.9%; and Central & South America, down 19.7%.

This information was delivered by the British Boarding Schools Network’s market analysis at its recent workshop in London. Enrolments from mainland China remain stable, having increased in recent years.

But Rowse explained that a competitive currency is buoying demand in Europe.

“In Spain, France, Germany and Italy, the weaker pound is helping recruitment to grow. The slow [Brexit] negotiations has reduced the Brexit effect, especially for those looking for short-term placements,” she told The PIE News.

Even boarding school recruitment in Russia, which has been significantly impacted with political issues and the rouble devaluation in the past two years, is now looking promising, she related.

The unstable political situation in Turkey has resulted in growing demand for a British education from Turkish parents

“Agents are reporting more applicants this term for entry in September 2018,” she said. “One agent who recruits from Russia said that schools are reporting two or three times more applicants already this term.”

She added Turkish agents had told her that the unstable political situation in Turkey has resulted in growing demand for a British education from Turkish parents wanting to send their children abroad.

Nigeria saw enrolments fall in 2017, following difficulties transferring funds abroad that the Nigerian government deemed non-essential, and challenges remain.

But in February, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced an important revision to its fiscal policy, making the payment of overseas school fees one of the country’s priorities.

“So whilst there is now no obstacle to pay school fees, agents report that many parents simply don’t have the money due to deflated oil prices, hence recruitment is still slow from this key African market,” explained Rowse.

Independent schools abroad are also competing in many cases to attract the same potential students.

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, spoke of the added benefits of studying in the UK:

As a student, “you are going to probably find it’ll be easier to learn English, you’re going to learn about British culture, and you’re going to find it’s a lot more straightforward to enter into British universities because you’re closer to the game,” he stated.

Lenon thinks that issues surrounding visas will become less of a challenge in the future.

“We are seeing more schools offering short term stays for 6 weeks or a term taster experience”

“I think that everybody in government understands that students who come to British boarding schools and to British universities … are welcome, they are very important for some of our universities,” he said.

“All of our universities take quite large numbers from overseas and very few of those students turn out to be a problem for the visa authorities.

“There is every likelihood that, as part of the Brexit arrangements, the government will announce a liberalisation of the visa regime as far as international students are concerned.”

The PIE News reported that an increase in demand for foundation courses that prepare for university were also creating competition in 2015.

Rowse is adamant that schools need to be flexible and adaptable to meet the requirements of markets. They must be open to compromise on deposits and continue to have good partnerships with agents.

“We are also seeing more schools offering short term stays for 6 weeks or a term taster experiences with a financial incentive to return for a longer term academic programmes,” she said.

She added that Bromsgrove School in the Midlands is introducing a one year Foundation Programme from next year; a new trend in the sector.

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Pan African University to offer virtual education

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 05:04

A new virtual higher education option designed for Africans within Africa will soon be launched: the Africa Virtual and E-University which will offer studies through the Open Distance and e-Learning model.

Buoyed by the success of the now well-established Pan African University, a continental institution of excellence owned by the Africa Union (AU), the body is in the final stages of operationalising the project.

To be run as an e-learning arm of the African Union’s PAU, the E-University will offer distance education to students from across 54 countries in the continent, using English and French as languages of instruction.

The AU will convert the existing African Virtual University – an already established virtual institution of higher learning established by 19 African countries since 1997 – into an arm of the PAU, making it an Africa-wide university accessible to interested learners from across the continent.

“This choice has a number of obvious advantages over other options, including faster implementation and operationalisation, does not require major political decisions for establishment, and has in place administrative and governance structures including the council, senate and rectorate”, stated a concept document prepared by AU’s department for human resource, science and technology.

“It will encourage and optimise the use of emerging, new and adaptive technologies for pedagogy, content delivery, research and management.”

The transformed institution will also move its headquarters from Nairobi, Kenya to Yaoundé, Cameroon

“It will offer the African diaspora and the international academic community, an innovative continental framework to contribute towards the development of higher education and research in Africa”, it added.

Following the decision, the university will effectively change its name from African Virtual University to Africa Virtual and E-University, says the paper prepared under the leadership of Beatrice Njenga, head of education at the AU Commission.

The transformed institution will also move its headquarters from Nairobi, Kenya to Yaoundé, Cameroon, the seat of the PAU rectorate.

The E-University is listed as one of the flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, a blue for accelerated development on the continent.

Established in 2012, the PAU a continental institution of excellence mainly in sciences has branches in Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria and Algeria with one more planned in South Africa.

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Outbound mobility “vital tool” for Canada’s future

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 08:40

A “carefully crafted and adequately funded” strategy to more than double the number of Canadian students abroad has been proposed in a report released by the University of Ottawa’s Centre for International Policy Studies and the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

The Global Education for Canadians report, which compares the outbound mobility of students from major destinations as part of their undergraduate program, found Canada sat ahead of only the UK, with 11% of its domestic students going overseas.

“We have long been advocating for a national call to action to address Canada’s global engagement challenge, that of getting more of our students to engage in a learning abroad experience”

Without action, the report argued, the current level of students going abroad threatens to push Canada further behind other countries, with fewer citizens having international experiences and connections, leaving it unprepared for future challenges.

“If we fail to act, these nations rather than ours will produce the next generation of leaders across all sectors,” it noted, adding, “[study abroad] must be seen as a vital tool to equip young Canadians from all walks of life for success.

“Their future, and Canada’s future, depends on it.”

Among the challenges identified, the report highlighted changes to the nature of work, such as increased automation and a higher need for soft skills; a shift in the purchasing power of developing economies over established economies; and increasing levels of intolerance.

“We need [our students] to help Canada in many ways,” the report said.

“By building global networks and relationships that will strengthen Canada’s voice and influence in the world; by expanding Canada’s knowledge and reach in new, fast-growing markets; by succeeding as workers and entrepreneurs in a changing workplace and economy; and by becoming champions of diversity and inclusion at home and abroad.”

To counteract these challenges, the report recommended a national strategy with goals including more than doubling the current percentage of Canadian students abroad to a quarter of all post-secondary over 10 years, and an increase to the numbers of students studying in emerging countries.

To promote these goals, the report outlined a national initiative, Go Global Canada, to support 15,000 students to study abroad per year over five years, with an ambition to double to 30,000 within 10, as well as a reduction in institutional barriers and the establishment of a national system to collect and compare study abroad data.

“[Study abroad] must be seen as a vital tool to equip young Canadians from all walks of life for success”

Additionally, half of all Go Global Canada participants should attend study in emerging markets, the report recommended, with significant language and culture support, and tailored programs to boost participation by students within lower income and underrepresented groups.

Canadian Bureau for International Education chief executive Karen McBride said the report backed up the findings of a 2016 survey which survey as the catalyst for the #LearningAbroad campaign earlier this year.

“We have long been advocating for a national call to action to address Canada’s global engagement challenge, that of getting more of our students to engage in a learning abroad experience,” Canadian Bureau for International Education chief executive Karen McBride said in a statement.

“We welcome these new voices added to the call to make learning abroad a reality for a critical mass of young Canadians, particularly those who would not otherwise have the opportunity.”

Outward mobility has made headlines recently, with a US report finding 11 out of 15 “21st century workplace skills” were gained through an experience overseas, and UUKI launching a campaign to double domestic students’ participation abroad.

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Victoria celebrates fifth annual int’l education awards

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 05:27

A student who devoted his time helping the disadvantaged, a researcher aiming to develop coral stocks with higher climate change resistance, and an advocate encouraging more international students to study in regional centres, were amongst the winners of this year’s Victorian International Education Awards.

The awards, now in their fifth year, recognised the contributions to the wider community and research of international students across sectors throughout the state of Victoria.

Winners become Study Melbourne ambassadors and receiving a scholarship towards their studies.

“They should experience regional areas so they can become a part of the community”

“These awards acknowledge and focus on the invaluable contribution our international students make to our state, educational institutions and local communities,” minister for trade and investment Philip Dalidakis said.

“Congratulations to this year’s recipients on their accomplishments. They are a great example of the talent and diversity within our local and international student ranks.”

Vietnam’s Chi Le took out both the flagship Premier’s Award and Regional International Student of the Year for her work to promote Victoria’s regions to other international students.

“When people go abroad to study in Australia, they might want to go to a big city because they think they are a lot more opportunities for them to gain experience or find a job,” she said.

“But I would suggest they should experience regional areas so they can become a part of the community, experience the ‘Aussie’ culture and step out of their comfort zone.”

Samuel Shedrack Chukwuweonu from Nigeria received the vocational sector’s award for his work with the disadvantaged and involvement in charity organisations.

Dr Bartlomiej Kolodziejczck received the International Alumnus of the Year for his work promoting science and founding the not-for-profit, Scientists-in-Residence.

The 2017 ceremony was the first time providers weren’t recognised, with the Excellence in International Education awards moving to every second year.

International Student of the Year winners

  • English Language Training – Natalia Eugenia Palacio Vásquez, Impact English (Columbia)
  • Vocation Education and Training – Samuel Shedrack Chukwuweonu, Chisholm Institute of TAFE (Nigeria)
  • Higher Education – Su Htet Zaw, La Trobe University (Myanmar)
  • Research – Wing Yang Chan, University of Melbourne (China)
  • International Alumnus of the Year – Bartlomiej Kolodziejczyk, Monash University (Poland)
  • Internationalisation – Courtney Webster, Victoria University (Australia)
  • Premier’s Award & Regional – Chi Le, La Trobe University (Vietnam)

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John McDonough, CEO, UTP High Schools

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 05:03
In 2011, John McDonough took a chance on his gut feeling and opened up University Track Preparation, which offers specialised programs for international students in US high schools. Today UTP connects a select group of schools with top international candidates from more than 30 countries. McDonough spoke to The PIE News about how he built the business from the ground up, the challenges they face and their plans for the future.

The PIE: Why did you start UTP?

JMD: We started UTP in 2011 with the whole idea of trying to service the market because at the time, it was only placement companies that were doing [international student placement into high schools]. There were companies with a whole huge list of schools and not really focusing on service and more about transactions and getting commission.

It was kind of a hodge-podge of different people involved in trying to give the different services to students, so home-stay, recruitment, marketing – it was all crazy.

The PIE: Did you have an idea of how big the market was for high school?

JMD: I would say I had a gut feeling. At the time I wasn’t obsessing over numbers, and quite frankly it was only in the last year or so that they’ve really been starting to publish numbers; IIE is now doing numbers on high school kids, which is so refreshing.

I moved back to the States after doing my grad in London. I was involved in the whole ISC [international study centre on campus] scene when I worked in China, and I kept saying to my employer, why don’t we try to do this at a high school level.

I wanted to try something of my own and answer a need for the market I thought was there. I started with my alma mater, with my close friend: we both went to that high school so we’re both graduates.

The PIE: Where was your alma mater?

JMD: St Anthony’s High School in Long Island, New York. That was our first partner school, and it’s a big school with 2,500 students. It’s got about 300 international students.

The PIE: Do students generally stay for one year?

JMD: No, the majority of them stay for 2.5 years on average. Mostly Asian, but we have a lot of exchange students as well. So it’s not just an Asian business, we do a lot of business in Europe. Germany’s one of our top five, but we also have offices in Mexico, Vietnam, South Korea, China.

The PIE: Do you feel like the high school market is still a bit under the radar?

“They’re 14-years-old and coming from half a world away; they need help to understand what to do”

JMD: It’s coming on the radar I think. Also there’s been a lot of articles from the global mobility report and all these things that are saying that high schools are the place to recruit international students now, so don’t travel abroad but look for them here.

We’re well positioned for that; we have hundreds of high school students already in the US so I think that’s getting us on the radar from a university perspective, as they think ‘we can work with this one provider that has all of these schools’ on board.

The PIE: In the next issue of The PIE Review we’re writing about the onshore international student market, which is quite well established in Australia and increasingly so in the UK, but it’s a new thing in the US?

JMD: It’s a huge country, the US, and everyone’s got relatives somewhere, so I think we’ve done a good job with tapping into that.

We’re ahead of the game I would say, we’ve focused on [the US] because there’s less risk but there’s also a lot to figure out. It’s not as straightforward as going to an agency’s office in China or Germany and saying ‘here are our programs’.

The PIE: So tell us more about how you built the business.

JMD: The difference between UTP and other companies is we have our own team on-campus – it’s the ISC model of the high schools, that’s the best way to quickly describe it.

We started at St. Anthony’s and we had such success that. There’s another school in Long Island called St. John’s which has around 1700 students, and my nephews and nieces went there, so I thought I may as well go and talk to the principal there.

It was a harder sell but they came and saw what we did. They thought ‘we should do this too’ and we started with them.

Then we took on Fairmont, a school in California, and then we started getting out of our comfort zone with scenarios where we didn’t have contacts already so we started with New Hampshire, two in Long Island, now two in Florida, one in Arizona, and hopefully a few more in the future.

“88% of our kids get into top 100 universities, so it’s a good preparatory program”

The PIE: The age of your clients means the students need a lot more welfare. What does that look like in terms of the service you provide?

JMD: We not only do student advising and support, we kind of play a parental role to students and literally it’s much more of a heavy hand in the sense of ‘you need to turn up for this, you need to do that’. They’re 14-years-old and coming from half a world away; they need help to understand what to do.

We do a bit of university guidance in the sense of just making sure that they’ve applied, and we also do all the accommodation services for them. It’s all under the same roof, so we don’t farm it out to anyone, and we run our own accredited ESL programs so we went through the whole accreditation process with MSA which is Middle States Accreditation. Eighty-eight per cent of our kids get into top 100 universities, so it’s a good preparatory program.

The PIE: How does your typical UTP student differ from your typical ISC student? Is the motivation from the parents paying for the course always about academic progression or is it more to do with being more bi-cultural as well?

JMD: I think it also depends on which country we are talking about. So if we’re talking about China which is the biggest market, China is both of those answers.

First and foremost it’s the parents wanting them to go and study abroad because it’s seen as prestigious, there’s also a sort of lack of supply of good schools, or spaces for good schools in some countries, so that feeds it.

Thirdly, there’s also this idea of getting into a Western way of thinking, and that’s a major driver now.

“For us it’s all about sustainability, and there’s a lot of cashing out in the industry at the moment and doing things fast”

The PIE: Would your students be considered, ambitious, ‘go-getting’ students?

JMD: They are, and that’s also partly from recruitment, we filter that through our recruitment. Even from the beginning, we would sacrifice getting our student numbers versus getting kids who were going to help us with what we’re trying to do for them.

So that limits us actually sometimes with taking children from certain agents or even some parts of the world because they will only send their less academically-focused students abroad; we could have even more students but we decide not to on purpose.

For us it’s all about sustainability, and there’s a lot of cashing out in the industry at the moment and doing things fast. We can’t operate that way at a high school level, we don’t want to first of all but also secondly we have very young kids that we have to deal with and if you try to do rush it all comes down on you, so it’s a measured approach.

The PIE: What’s the biggest risk?

JMD: The biggest risk is always the student’s safety with them doing something they shouldn’t or being taken advantage of, so we do massive background checks on the families. The first filter is that they come from the school, so we have a really good family already, and the school can get them, but then we do background checks.

We also visit them very often so we go above and beyond what would technically be required of us.

The PIE: What is the cost of the program?

So we have a range and for the majority of our schools, the range is something like $37k to $47k, based on how much English they need.  We’re transparent about how we work. So the lower your English level coming in, the more English you’ll need to pay for, simple as that.

“There’s this idea of getting into a Western way of thinking – that’s a major driver now”

The PIE: Did the result of the US presidential election have any impact on your markets?

JMD: I thought our European and Latin American markets would tank –  we were preparing for it. We were making sure Asia was going to fill in the gap and get more students there. But it was the best year we’ve had in Europe and Latin America in our history.

Our numbers, particularly in Vietnam for visa refusals, went up this past year, that is the only thing we saw out of anything, so it’s just the visa interviewers being a little bit more strict; I don’t know if that’s a Trump thing or not.

We’ll see what happens, it’s not over yet, but thankfully so far we’ve been okay, and I can’t even believe I’m saying that a year later, but our numbers [have been] fine.

The PIE: How do you measure your success?

JMD: I think that once we started to have graduates we really started to feel like we’re doing our job. That was only four years ago. We’re starting to see students getting into UCLA, Boston University, and sometimes even with a scholarship.


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UK: Special investigation exposes student loans ‘fraud’

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 09:49

A BBC Panorama investigation into student loan fraud at private colleges has highlighted malpractices that could be costing the UK millions of pounds each year. Rogue agents were secretly filmed supplying fake documents to undercover students and assisting them to fraudulently gain access to student loans when they had no intent to study.

Students on approved courses at private colleges in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can be entitled to maintenance loans in the region of £11,000 and up to £6,000 in tuition fee loans, paid direct to colleges.

During the course of its 10-month investigation, Panorama filmed one London agent, Imran Saeed Sheikh, offering to get a bogus student admitted onto a two-year HND business course at Grafton College for a £200 fee.

This would enable the student to access student loan payments, of which the agent would claim an annual fee of £1,500 to cover fake attendance records and to provide all required coursework.

When the undercover student explained that they lacked the necessary qualifications to meet entry criteria for the course, for £600 Sheikh supplied them with a certificate equivalent to A-Levels.

Sheikh claimed the certificate was sourced from Grafton’s head of operations Asif Khawaja.

Panorama also filmed a freelance agent at GSM London, Charles Logan, who told an undercover student that enrolling on a three-year business management degree would not interfere with their full-time job.

About £400 million annually is received by 112 private colleges through the student loan system

Logan was secretly filmed explaining that a previous student had never been to class or completed an assignment, but had graduated with a law degree the previous year.

He said the student had used his loan money to open two restaurants.

Panorama said Logan received approximately £600 or 10% of the tuition fees paid to GSM London for every student he helped to enrol at the college.

Addressing the footage, GSM London president and CEO Amanda Blackmore said the actions of Logan’s company Future Leaders’ Academy Limited are totally unacceptable and are not reflective of GSM London standards.

“FLA has let us down and I am clear that our independent review will identify and address any gaps in our internal process.”

A spokesperson for the University of Plymouth, the accrediting body of a number of degrees taught at GSM London, told The PIE News that the university has launched a thorough investigation into all matters raised by the program.

“The university has longstanding and robust academic regulations and processes to prevent academic dishonesty and to ensure the academic quality of its degrees,” they said.

“This program has raised a number of concerning allegations relating to GSM London and we have requested that GSM London carries out a thorough investigation into all matters raised. In addition…we are launching a full and independent investigation of our own which will be externally led.”

“If Grafton College is found to have not met our expectations on standards and behaviour we can and will take further actions, including the option of terminating the partnership”

Following the broadcast, a spokesperson for Open University, which has recently begun offering degree courses in partnership with Grafton College, told The PIE News the university is suspending any future registrations from Grafton and is undertaking a thorough investigation into the matter.

“There is a small group of students currently studying for an OU validated course with Grafton College.  We have no evidence that they are implicated in any fraud, and will support them to complete their studies.

If Grafton College is found to have not met our expectations on standards and behaviour we can and will take further actions, including the option of terminating the partnership.”

This year student loan debt in the UK topped £100billion, while approximately £400 million annually is received by 112 private colleges through the student loan system.

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International students contribute $37bn to US – NAFSA

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 06:25

International students studying at US higher education institutions contributed $36.9 billion to the US economy and supported 450,000 + jobs during the 2016-2017 academic year, according to the latest NAFSA report.

This marks a 12.4% increase in job support and creation and a 12.5% increase in dollars contributed to the economy from the previous academic year.

The report also revealed 10 states broke the $1 billion mark in contributions from international students.

California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas and Pennsylvania saw the largest benefits from spending by these students on living expenses, tuition and fees.

The report also showed that three US jobs are created or supported for every seven international students enrolled in HEIs as a result of spending in higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications and health insurance.

Three US jobs are created or supported for every seven international students enrolled

This study shows the economic benefits of international students continue to increase annually.

However while the number of internationally mobile students has doubled over the past 15 years, the number of new international students enrolled at a US institution for the first time in autumn 2016 declined by nearly 10,000 students to 291,000 – a 3% decrease from the previous year.

Additionally, the growth rate of students choosing to study in the US decreased by nearly half from last year.

The economic contributions of international students are in addition to the immeasurable academic and cultural value these students bring to our campuses and local communities.

NAFSA executive director and CEO Esther Brimmer said proactive policies need to be put in place to ensure the US remains competitive in the race for prospective international students.

“Once again, the data show international students are an asset not only to their respective universities but also to communities and regions across the nation,” said Brimmer.

Last month, Brimmer described the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the US from membership of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as “shortsighted” and a “waste of opportunities for international education”.

“Given all the benefits that international students bring, we now face increasing global competition for this talent.  It is in our best interest to strengthen policies that reflect our nation’s founding ideals of inclusivity and opportunity,” she added.

 “International students are an asset not only to their respective universities but also to communities and regions across the nation”

“We must continue to build bridges—not walls—and instill in every potential international student that all are welcome and valued here.”

IIE has also released its latest Open Doors data on international student exchange. However it valued their contribution to the industry at the higher figure of $39 billion.

Spokesperson for IIE Sharon Witherell told The PIE News that the discrepancy is due to both using varying methods of calculating the value of international students to the economy.

“It depends on what exactly is counted in the equation for what [international students] spend while they are in the US,” she said. 

“The US Department of Commerce use our total number of students to calculate the figure for the whole country, while NAFSA use our Open Doors breakdowns by institution, and calculate on a state and local basis the average tuition and cost of living in that state.” 

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British Council opens English centre in China

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 05:01

The British Council has started teaching an initial cohort of learners at its first English centre in China. The school, located in Nanjing, enables further development of ties between Jiangsu province and the UK, according to directors.

“The launch of an English centre in Nanjing marks not only the beginning of a new chapter in the British Council’s long history of engagement with Jiangsu province, but also a new milestone in the bilateral relationship between the UK and China,” said Carma Elliot CMG OBE, the British Council’s country director in China.

“Our analysis of the market indicated that there is great market demand and potential particularly in Nanjing”

The British Council operates in China as the cultural and education section of the British Embassy and consulates-general in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Wuhan.

The launch of its teaching centre creates a formal base in Jiangsu province.

Lessons at the school include the British Council’s flexible myClass program and a series of social activities are available for adult learners.

The British Council has also set up to IELTS test centres in Nanjing and opened the first Aptis’ English-language competency test operation centre in the region of Jiangsu.

The Council is the co-owner of IELTS working in partnership with NEEA in mainland China.

“Our analysis of the market indicated that there is great market demand and potential, particularly in Nanjing,” Kiran Patel, Director of Strategic Communications and Corporate Relations for the British Council told The PIE News.

“Jiangsu is also regarded as a leading Chinese province in the development of education and English teaching standards nationally which is aligned very closely to our work in this space,” he added.

The British Council provides resources through its websites and mobile apps and also MOOCs, the popularity of which has been climbing as The PIE News reported last year.

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Europe is first choice for US mobile students

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 07:29

The latest Open Doors report has revealed the number of US students studying abroad in 2015/2016 increased by 4% to 325,339, with the UK, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany coming in as top host countries.

The report conducted by IIE highlights the country’s increasing focus on preparing its students for a multicultural global marketplace. Currently, 10% of US undergraduates study abroad before graduating.

Europe was found to be the top host region, attracting more than half of US students who studied abroad, followed by Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia.

Strong growth was noted in Australia, Czech Republic, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Africa.

China dropped out of the top five host countries, as the number of US students studying there decreased by 9%.

US higher education is increasingly focused on preparing students to secure jobs after graduation in order to advance their careers, and research has shown that studying abroad helps students develop the skills needed to succeed in today’s interconnected world.

In 2014, IIE launched its Generation Study Abroad initiative to mobilise resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of US students studying abroad by the end of the decade.

China dropped out of the top five host countries, as the number of US students studying there decreased by 9%.

Twenty-five per cent of all students who studied abroad were majoring in STEM fields followed by business, social sciences, foreign language and international studies, and fine and applied arts.

Study abroad by US students has more than tripled in the past two decades. However, the rate of growth has slowed following the financial crisis in 2008.

Deputy assistant secretary of state for policy in the bureau of educational and cultural affairs Alyson Grunder said there is a commitment to increasing opportunities to study abroad for US students.

“We need to develop the talent and skills necessary for 21st-century careers. It is in our national interest to build and grow the international relationships and networks that are key to addressing the global challenges and opportunities we face going forward,” she said.

“State Department exchange programs such as the Fulbright and Gilman Scholarship programs and our global network of EducationUSA advising centers in more than 170 countries are key to achieving these goals.”

The UK recently launched a similar mandate to IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, with UUK International looking to double the present 6.6% figure for outbound mobilityamong UK students.

In a separate survey that IIE conducted, an average decrease of 7% in the number of new enrolled inbound international students in US institutions was predicted for the 2017/18 academic year.

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