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News and business analysis for Professionals in International Education
Updated: 22 hours 26 min ago

Sixteen new British independent schools to open in China in 2020

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 10:59

Despite only four British independent schools opening in China in 2019, a new report from Beijing-based consultancy Venture Education is predicting that the next few years will be “extremely positive for UK schools and investors” in the country, with the opening of 16 new school campuses planned for 2020 alone.

Some 17 British independent schools currently run 36 schools in the country. The oldest, Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong, opened in 2003. Unlike many of the earlier schools, which were geared towards the children of expats, newer ones are aiming to tap into the lucrative Chinese market.

“It’s really just a numbers game in China”

“The amount of expats and foreigners in China is falling and companies are hiring locally so there’s just not the demand anymore,” Venture Education’s Julian Fisher told The PIE News.

There are two types of “international schools” in China, according to Fisher.

He explained that the market for those that can only take on foreign passport holders has been struggling as “a sense in the market that tightening regulations, new laws to comply with and the potential of new laws and regulations around foreign staff, pricing and admissions have slowed growth and presented new challenges”.

“China’s one-child policy means it’s not just the parents but it’s also the grandparents that are paying towards education.

“10 years ago, the people applying to these sorts of schools were high net worth individuals and very wealthy, but I think that’s shifting, especially in third and fourth-tier cities,” he added.

Graph: Venture Education

By 2022, it is expected that Harrow will have 11 schools in China, Dulwich College will have eight, Wellington College six and Hurtwood House four, with 15 more schools planning to enter the China market for the first time over the next few years.

Surprisingly, however, there are no new schools slated to open in Shanghai and Beijing in the next two years.

Instead, schools are eyeing areas like the Greater Bay Area in south China, whose Guangdong province is expected to have the highest concentration of British independent schools by 2022 with 13.

Lower-tier cities and the country’s central areas are also in the spotlight, with Sichuan province getting three new schools this year.

This attempt to break into China’s interior has been seen across many industries, as Fisher explains: “it’s really just a numbers game in China.”

While cities in these regions are considered small by Chinese standards, they can still have a population of millions.

“We will be opening five more campuses in September 2020”

“We will be opening fine more campuses in September 2020 in Haikou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Chongqing and Nanning,” said Harrow Beijing director Shelley Zhao.

According to Zhao, Harrow ILA schools plan to create Belt and Road Education Scholarships to allow students in Belt and Road countries to receive education in 
China.

“Through education, we can tell the Chinese story, achieving the Chinese government’s vision of ‘facing the whole country and marching towards the other parts of the world’,” she added.

Most British independent schools in China teach IGCSEs and A-Levels or the IB, meaning that students will effectively be unable to enter a Chinese university due to not sitting the gaokao and will most likely continue their higher education abroad.

However, the schools still need to incorporate certain elements of the Chinese curriculum – particularly in the fields of politics, history and geography – into their courses.

While this has attracted criticism over how politically sensitive content is taught and local authorities requiring the school to change its motto before it could be used in China, the controversy has done little to stem the flow of new schools.

“Our China dream is now becoming a reality especially with Reigate Grammar School Nanjing opening and our second school in Zhangjiagang on its way,” said Sean Davey, the head of international business development at Reigate Grammar School.

“Although a challenging environment, China remains exciting and vibrant,” he added.

The post Sixteen new British independent schools to open in China in 2020 appeared first on The PIE News.

Egypt: AMIDEAST buys American Center Alexandria

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 07:16

US education organisation AMIDEAST has announced it has purchased the American Center Alexandria, which will enable educational, training and language test services in Egypt’s second-largest city.

Specialising in training, and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa, AMIDEAST works in 11 territories and countries in the region offering services including workforce development and English language program.

“This is the latest step in our long-range plan to expand and update our facilities”

“This is an important moment in our continuous commitment to serving Egypt and its people since 1956 and Alexandria for over 35 years,” Shahinaz Ahmed, AMIDEAST’s country director for Egypt, said.

Purchasing the former home of the US Consulate in Alexandria which AMIDEAST had been renting since September 2016, the organisation’s permanent home in the city will “enable us to serve more people, more effectively as we strive to expand opportunities and positively impact the lives of Egyptians, especially youth”, she added.

“We are particularly excited about prospects for expanding programs in workforce development, English language acquisition, and English language assessments such as the TOEFL ITP and TOEIC.”

The facility’s test centre offers a wide range of academic and professional tests, and its expanded English language program will benefit the needs of Alexandria’s governmental, nongovernmental, and private sector clients as well as the general public.

Courses being offered include English for general communication, conversation, English for the workplace, and English for kids and teens.

“This is the latest step in our long-range plan to expand and update our facilities in the 11 countries that we directly serve across the MENA region,” AMIDEAST president and CEO Theodore Kattouf said in a statement.

“The opportunity to acquire this historic property in Alexandria underscores our longstanding commitment to providing quality educational and training programs in Egypt.”

The post Egypt: AMIDEAST buys American Center Alexandria appeared first on The PIE News.

WES supports Philadelphia initiative

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 05:00

Philadelphia employers are being urged to offer opportunities to engage immigrant talent in the region, thanks to an initiative supported by World Education Services.

The 18-month program, Engaging Immigrant Talent, is run by Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, in partnership with the City’s Office of Workforce Development, and aims to help businesses tap into a “culturally and linguistically diverse talent pool”.

“We hope the data and resources generated through this initiative can be leveraged by other cities”

WES has provided a US$242,000 grant to the initiative through its Mariam Assefa Fund, which was launched in 2019 to assist immigrants and refugees to contribute to their new communities.

“Increasing opportunities for Philadelphia’s extraordinary and diverse immigrant population is key to realising the goals outlined in our citywide workforce development and inclusive growth strategies,” Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.

“I greatly appreciate the WES Mariam Assefa Fund for funding this opportunity, and I look forward to driving positive results for our city through this partnership with Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.”

The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians has delivered development programs focusing on increased access for immigrants and refugees for 16 years.

An International Professionals Program provides training to connect residents with their career pathways, while the Immigrant Fellowship Program is a 12-week paid work-based learning opportunity with the City of Philadelphia departments and private sector employers.

The new talent initiative will evaluate and expand existing programs’ impact, as the Welcoming Center will continue to advocate for more inclusive recruiting, hiring and retention practices across the city.

“We are thrilled to support this innovative partnership among the Office of Workforce Development, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, and Philadelphia employers,” said Monica Munn, senior director of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund.

“This initiative showcases the economic and social impact that can be achieved when you bring together municipal leadership, an outstanding nonprofit service provider, talented immigrant and refugee workers, and committed employers.

“We hope the data and resources generated through this initiative can be leveraged by other cities in their immigrant workforce programs.”

The post WES supports Philadelphia initiative appeared first on The PIE News.

Andy Dowling, Chief Executive, Digitary, Ireland

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 03:58
As students, graduates and workers becoming more globally mobile, translating and verifying credentials and achievements are becoming more important than ever. Andy Dowling, chief executive of Digitary shares his thoughts on the future of digital credentialing.

 

The PIE: What does Digitary do?

Andy Dowling: Digitary was launched in Dublin, Ireland in 2005. Since then, Digitary has grown to become the leading online platform for certifying, sharing and verifying academic credentials. We’ve been learner-centric since the very beginning and have enabled millions of learners to access their verified achievements and to share them globally with whomever they choose, whenever they want.

Digitary enables instant verification of records with full learner consent, maintaining regulatory compliance and eliminating the hassle of manual verification. I am proud to say that many of the world’s most respected higher education providers use Digitary to eliminate credential fraud, improve service levels and increase efficiencies.

The PIE: Digitary has been around for 15 years and you have 20 years experience. Why did you start looking at using digital verification so early on?

AD: I wasn’t very good at football when I was a kid, but I was great at programming computers. I spent a lot of time developing security software systems in industry and I also spent time as a university lecturer in computer science.

Between the two of those threads, I saw an opportunity whereby records are being stored in digital format at universities, but they’re being printed out on paper whenever they’re handed to a learner. I thought the technology, the digital signatures and the crypto were all there, let’s apply it to this particular niche area and make a positive impact.

Turns out that took a little bit longer than planned but we were probably a bit ahead of the market.

The PIE: As a discussion point, blockchain in education has only just started to pick up. You were there long before anyone was really talking about in a meaningful way, though.

AD: Blockchain is very interesting and attracts a lot of attention at present. Some of the narrative at the moment is that blockchain has sort of created the capability to digitally certify and verify credentials. That hasn’t really been the case in my view. The technology has been there for quite some time. Blockchain is another way of doing it.

“We’ve gotten used to the cloud and having someone else take responsibility for the keeping of our data”

The way we see it is just like any other technology, blockchain is not a solution by itself. It is a technology with pros and cons. How you apply that technology and how you build it into your overall solution, it’s incredibly important.

That’s why we didn’t jump on the blockchain bandwagon just to get some PR; we were actually quite analytical and slow to embrace it. Using SSI and our relationship with Evernym for blockchain came about after about 18 months to two years of evaluating how we could implement it in a meaningful way.

The PIE: How is technology changing education?

AD: Delivery is one point where we’re actually seeing quite a change as a result of technology. If you look at learning at the moment, learning in terms of the delivery is changing from bricks and mortar to distance learning and MOOCs and so forth.

The other aspect would be granularity. We’re seeing much smaller micro-level courses being taken, particularly in the distance learning space. That’s changing the frequency and the granularity at which people are being credentialed.

Technology then would also affect the certification and the means by which achievement has been certified. There’s a move towards digital credentialing generally, not only for what you call macro credentials, which are traditional three or four-year degrees, but also micro-credentials, open badges, for example. That’s why we’re very conscious of all of these and very proactive in this space.

On the converse, the increase in the use of digital also has impacts on the prevalence of fraud. Photoshop makes it easier to create very convincing, fake degree certificates, for example.

With all of these different things that are emerging to verify credentials, it’s important that communication is taken into account because ultimately those who need to verify someone’s credentials need to know how to do that. What are the right ways to verify a credential and what are the wrong ways?

The PIE: Is there a possibility digital credentialing won’t become a major disruption in education?

AD: In my view, there are two primary elements to it. There’s getting your business case right. Why blockchain, for example, over anything else and why would we do that? Blockchain doesn’t necessarily provide you with any huge amount of functional benefit. It’s the non-functional; the privacy of an individual’s personal data and giving them more responsibility and being custodians of that data. The functionality you can implement in a number of different ways.

“Like any other technology, blockchain is not a solution by itself”

The second thing is standardisation. Standards are being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, who push internet standards out, and they’ve got the verifiable credentials standards recommendation at the moment, which is likely to be the workplace form of choice going forward.

We’re seeing a number of projects that are embracing that particular recommendation at the moment and that’s something that we’re working on at Digitary as well. By having enough players involved, that will create sufficient momentum amongst stakeholders in the digital credentialing landscape for this to take off. Overall it needs to go hand-in-hand with a compelling business case.

The PIE: What is the business case for digital credentials?

AD: My opinion is that it starts with student mobility and the protection of privacy. There are many things too of course which play a part, but the primary focus should be on the learner. The learner should have the control to export their credentials in a standard format, consolidate them into their own online digital wallet and then have a view for presenting to third parties who need to utilise the information. That mobility and portability is the key benefit of online credentials, provided they are done in a standard, compliant way.

The PIE: Where do you see the future of digital credentials?

AD: There is a lot of momentum. The whole idea of digital credentialing is changing. It’s changing in terms of how credentials are represented on the granularity. Who certifies credentials? Is it just the institutions, is it MOOC providers, is it employers certifying someone’s experience? How is it recorded under a standards-based digital format? Where is it stored? How is it shared with the learners when you think of GDPR? How is it independently verified in a decentralised way? And with the UNESCO global convention and recognition of qualifications, how are our digital credentials actually recognised across borders themselves?

“Photoshop makes it easier to create very convincing, fake degree certificates”

There are very exciting times ahead. We want to accelerate the benefits of digital credentialing to learners and the way in which we found to do that is to look at going to the learner directly.

 

The PIE: There is a lot of momentum, but equally a lot of questions that remain to be answered?

AD: Absolutely. There are definitely challenges for all of the parties in terms of issuers, learners and verifiers. One key consideration is that issuers are going to be coming to terms with the tussle between who owns the actual record of the learner.

Universities and issuers can typically think it’s their records to be presented with their brand in a particular way. That’s sort of at odds with this idea of the learner curating their own record and presenting it as they see fit.

Learners could accept the challenge and be responsible for their own records and their crypto key in the face of an identity world. As individuals, we’ve gotten used to the cloud and having someone else take responsibility for the keeping of our data. If we lose access to it, it’s just a forgotten password.

In the world of crypto, that won’t exist anymore. There’s much more of a mindset shift to support and enable the learner to have control and own the responsibility.

The challenge of verifiers is the mindset shift change of trusting what you can get from the learners because technology allows that to be independently verified without the issuer getting involved. But they need to know how to verify. Communication is key in all of this.

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UK gov’t extends funding for int’l exchange

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 09:47

The UK’s education secretary Gavin Williamson announced a one-year extension to an international school exchange program during the Education World Forum in London.

Launched last year, the £2.5 million program is geared towards secondary schools students from disadvantaged backgrounds, although it will now be expanded to include primary school children.

“While we welcome the announcement, it must be backed up with a commitment to continue participation in Erasmus+”

According to Williamson, 138 schools have organised international exchanges through the program to “countries as far-ranging as Austria to Zambia”.

“For decades now, children across the world have been making overseas trips to meet their fellow pupils, making lifelong friendships along the way and having a much deeper understanding of what that country is about than anything they could ever learn in a textbook” he added.

Earlier this month, UK members of parliament voted against a clause which would have required the government to seek to negotiate continuing full membership of the Erasmus+ program.

However, British prime minister Boris Johnson has downplayed fears, stating that “there is no threat to the Erasmus scheme” while speaking in the House of Commons last week.

In response to Williamson’s announcement, Erica Ramos, vice president of the National Union of Students said that NUS hope it indicates that the UK government will be negotiating for the UK’s continued membership of Erasmus+ as a priority.

“It makes no sense for the government to extend funding for exchange programs for school children while removing opportunities for them later in life by not committing to the continuation of Erasmus+ after we leave the European Union,” he said in a statement.

“All students should have access to programs that allow them to expand their cultural knowledge, exchange cultures and experience the world regardless of age.

“With Erasmus+ students in the UK generating £390 million for the UK economy each year, its essential that the government confirms its commitment to the UK’s continuing involvement in Erasmus as soon as possible.”

“Just over a week from now, the UK will leave the EU”

During his speech, Williamson also reiterated the government’s commitment to international collaboration and its education strategy, saying it aims to increase inbound international student numbers to 600,000 by 2030.

“The UK has always been an outward-looking and global nation, with a proud history and record when it comes to education and innovation,” he added.

“Just over a week from now, the UK will leave the EU. This is the perfect opportunity to march forward and be the global leader in educating children, young people and adults.”

The post UK gov’t extends funding for int’l exchange appeared first on The PIE News.

Course search platform launches with Trees for Degrees project

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 07:15

A new global university course search platform, Studee, has launched in the UK, with the aim of transforming the way international students find higher education courses overseas while addressing the “elephant in the room” – the industry’s carbon footprint.

The disruptive platform, set up by “Britain’s best boss” – Chris Morling, founder of comparison site money.co.uk – along with Simon Andrews of BigChoice Group, matches prospective students with multilingual advisors who provide guidance from “application to enrolment”.

“I’m addressing the elephant in the room – the fact international education has negative consequences for our environment”

Studee is the new generation company formed with BigChoice Group origins – and it is aiming to “be the world’s number one choice for students to study anything, anywhere and to maximise the education and life opportunities for students by making studying abroad simple”, according to CEO Morling.

Additionally, Studee will plant trees for every student enrolled, via its Trees for Degrees project with Plant-for-the-Planet, to contribute towards absorbing the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when students fly.

According to Studee, the process of international enrolment at universities is “outdated and not fit for purpose for today’s centennials”, who rely on technology more than previous generations.

This is also the generation that is likely to most suffer from today’s climate emergency, it stated.

“Studee is reinventing the way international students find a university by making it simple and deeply personalised whilst adding transparency in an industry which in recent years has sadly suffered some corruption and has largely ignored the climate crisis,” Morling said.

“Education is the most powerful way to positively change the world but I’m also addressing the elephant in the room – the fact international education has negative consequences for our environment,” he added.

“Our goal is to plant one million trees over the coming years and transform the way international students find their dream university abroad.

“This generation of students will bear the brunt of climate change and they need the option of studying abroad in an environmentally conscious way without doing lasting damage to our planet,” he added.

Chris Morling previously set up the money.co.uk website. Photo: Studee

The Trees for Degrees project is at the heart of the business and a top priority for the company for this reason, Morling continued.

Studee will also be working with charities to provide scholarships to students – the first organisation it will work with is Prospect Burma.

Morling, who launched money.co.uk in 2008 before selling to ZPG plc in September 2017 in a £140m deal, plans to disrupt the international education market by utilising his experience creating websites that drive high volumes of quality traffic with exceptional user experience.

Co-founder Andrews has in-depth knowledge of the education sector, which will be an additional boon for the company, a statement by Studee indicated.

Offering courses at 200 universities in 40 countries, Studee is aiming to “combine a deeply personalised online solution with real person support” assisting students.

“We’re working towards a completely new way for students to better understand which programs are best for them”

“Our international student advice centre based in Ecuador supports over 1,000 students per day, via a number of channels including phone, WhatsApp, online chat and email,” Morling told The PIE News.

Available 24 hours a day, Studee advisors help with visa advice, program application queries, country-specific entry-level requirements, what scholarships are available, which program to choose and which programs might have the biggest impact on their career, he added.

“In addition, we’re working towards a completely new way for students to better understand which programs and universities are best for them,” Morling claimed.

“The end goal is to take the leg work out of finding a university for international students. We want to make the whole process as simple as possible.”

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Canada: EC opens 30+ school on west coast

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 05:09

English language provider EC English Language Centres has expanded its offer specially catering to students aged 30+ with a new school in Vancouver – the company’s first on the west coast of Canada.

Adding to the success of EC’s 30+ schools in London, Malta, New York, Toronto and Dublin, the latest school to open in Canada is the company’s sixth 30+ school in five countries.

“The people at the helm in EC Vancouver 30+ are full of enthusiasm and drive for this school”

“The opening of EC Vancouver 30+ is a great achievement for all of us at EC, allowing us to bring our wonderful 30+ experience to this remarkable city,” EC’s CEO, Andrew Mangion, said in a statement.

“It is thanks to the dedication of our teachers, staff and partners and, of course, our students, that makes this possible.

“At EC, we believe that our people are our strength and our growth in recent years is testament to that. The people at the helm in EC Vancouver 30+ are full of enthusiasm and drive for this school so we know that the students here are in strong, capable hands,” he added.

The 30+ school offers more mature students an independent space to “learn and grow”, with its own classrooms and curriculum, and its own co-working space or student lounge.

Student benefit from a “sense of community [that] develops to create a supportive bond,” according to the provider.

The school opened January 8 and is already welcoming its first cohort of students.

“This school, like all EC 30+ schools, has been designed with the needs of the mature student at its core, offering dedicated classrooms and a student lounge that is ideal to network in, catch up on some work or top up study after class,” centre director at EC Vancouver 30+, Martha Delgadillo said.

“The curriculum is also brimming with exciting classes and activities. I speak for us all at the school when I say that 2020 has begun with an enthusiasm to carry through the year.”

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More admissions officers checking social media

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 03:26

More than a third (36%) of admissions officers said they visit applicants’ social media profiles like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to learn more about them⁠, up from 25% last year, according to a poll conducted by Kaplan.

Almost 300 participants took part in Kaplan Test Prep’s 2019 college admissions officers survey, and the latest results follow a three-year decline in the practice since the high mark of 40% in Kaplan’s 2015 survey. This comes as teens are increasingly using newer social platforms such as TikTok and Twitch.

“Admissions officers have become more ideologically comfortable with the idea of visiting applicants’ social media profiles”

However, of admissions officers who said they have checked out an applicant’s social media footprint, about one in five (19%) say they do it “often” – significantly higher than the 11% who said they checked “often” in Kaplan’s 2015 survey.

Of the respondents who said they check social media to learn more about their applicants, 38% said that what they found has had a positive impact on prospective students.

Meanwhile, 32% said that what they found had a negative impact. Both of these figures have fluctuated slightly over the past few years.

The Kaplan survey found that although less than half of admissions officers visit applicants’ social media profiles, 59% —slightly higher than last year’s 57% —consider it “fair game”, while 41% consider it “an invasion of privacy that shouldn’t be done”.

College applicants are notably more accepting of this practice than admissions officers; in a separate Kaplan survey completed last year, 70% of college applicants said they believe it’s “fair game” for college admissions officers to check social media profiles.

“In tracking the role of social media in the college admissions process over the past 11 years, what we’re seeing is that while admissions officers have become more ideologically comfortable with the idea of visiting applicants’ social media profiles as part of their decision-making process, in practice, the majority still don’t actually do it,” said Sam Pritchard, director of college prep programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

“They often tell us that while it shouldn’t be off-limits, they are much more focused on evaluating prospective students on the traditional admissions factors like an applicant’s GPA, SAT and ACT scores, letters of recommendation, admissions essay, and extracurriculars.”

Pritchard said that Kaplan continues to believe that applicants’ social media content remains a wildcard in the admissions process, with what they post possibly being the tipping point of whether or not they’re admitted to the college of their choice.

“Our consistent advice to teens is to remain careful and strategic about what they decide to share. In 25 years, you’ll definitely remember where you graduated college from, but you’ll unlikely remember how many people liked that photo of what you did over winter break,” he added.

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Accommodation platform UniAcco raises $1m

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 08:59

Accommodation platform UniAcco has raised US$1 million in seed funding as it aims to become a leading platform for students to find housing in popular study destinations.

Out of India, the company offers students “premium personalised housing facilities” via established providers.

Founder Amit Singh and co-founder Sayantan Biswas said they are aiming to create the “one-stop solution” by providing concierge services including visa consultation, help for students to set up bank accounts, airport transfer and a pre-activated overseas mobile SIM.

“We want the students to have a hassle-free journey and just focus on their education”

It also provides a guarantor service to help “smoothen” the journey for students.

Investment and wealth management platform Adventum Offshore led the funding, which will help UniAcco to expand in the purpose-built student accommodation market over the next couple of years – beginning with the UK.

“The reason for our focus on the PBSA in the UK is that it’s one of the most organised PBSA [markets] and it fits well with our experience and partnerships in the UK,” UniAcco’s VP marketing & demand sourcing Abhishek Sharma told The PIE News.

“We have already managed to signup with most of the leading PBSA operators in the region,” he said, adding that the two-year post-study work visa announcement will add a “significant jump” in the number of international students enrolling in the UK primarily from India, China, and the Middle East.

Those markets are the company’s primary sourcing markets, Sharma explained, where UniAcco helps students to compare, consult and choose accommodation from several established property providers.

“India will be our largest market due to presence in India helps in forming strong affiliates tie up and establishing credibility with students and parents,” he noted.

The organisation is going to expand into Australia in 2020, and add the US, Europe and Canada in 2021.

“Migrating to a new country for students in itself is a daunting task, adding picking a college then applying to it and then the visa procedures, the financing aspects of this decision, an accommodation once you get there, a bank account is sure to drive students and their families scared out of their minds,” Sharma said.

“We at UniAcco try to smoothen this transition by helping the students in any which way we can.

“We want the students to have a hassle-free journey and just focus on their education. To facilitate this migration in a smooth fashion we have tied up with leading visa counsellors, the largest institutional lender in India for student loans and a leading UK Bank for opening their bank accounts in the UK,” he added.

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Greece aims to become south-east Europe “hub”

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 06:50

Universities in Greece should hedge their bets on English-language classical literature, philosophy and ancient history courses to help make Greece more of an international education hub, the country’s education minister Niki Kerameus has indicated.

By 2024, Kerameus hopes that between 40,000-50,000 international students will be taking part in such courses.

“In the past, Greek universities have been inward-looking institutions. We want to internationalise them and render them a hub for [tertiary] education in south-east Europe,” Kerameus told The Financial Times.

“Greek universities have been inward-looking institutions. We want to internationalise them”

“We are working with academic institutions, with governments and through personal contacts at universities abroad.”

She also indicated that universities would be offered additional state funding if they were to participate in the country’s internationalisation aims.

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) announced a course specialising in Archaeology, History, and Literature of Ancient Greece in 2019.

The BA program, set to begin in September 2020, is the country’s first English-language undergraduate course at a public university and is tailored exclusively to non-EU students.

According to Maria Vardaki at NKUA’s department of European and International Relations, the program is designed to have a maximum of 100 international students per academic year.

“We expect – for the new BA program – non-EU students from all continents,” she noted.

“We’ve invested in assistance also from our Embassies in non-EU countries, we have registered on platforms like Studyportals, made it known through agents, consider participation in forthcoming university fairs and many other activities.”

NKUA also provide special programs for Chinese students for ancient history and classical literature.

In 2019-2020, 27 students from Chinese Universities Beijing Foreign Studies University, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies and Shanghai International Studies University attended for one year of classical studies.

“These students study under specific international agreements,” Vardaki said.

Tuition for the new BA program is €6,000 annually, but a number of scholarships will be provided for the course, she added.

“This program, pioneer as it is, is fully supported by the Hellenic Government and especially by the minister of education.”

Attracting international students is one focus for the current Greek government, and Kerameus added that more institutions should be encouraged to earn income from summer schools that charge students from overseas.

In a recent interview with Ekathimerini, president of the American College of Greece David Horner said his institution had been “pleased to offer [an] alternative to the Greek market”.

“Many of the current government’s initiatives in Greek public higher education – such as instruction in English, attracting international students to Greece, academic programs to better prepare students for market needs, developing students’ soft skills, partnerships with US universities – reflect practices and patterns that have been part of ACG for many years,” he noted.

“We would be pleased to share what we have learned from our experience with Greek public universities as they develop in the future to make Greece more of an international education hub.”

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S.Korea: Chinese students pay tuition via WeChat

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 04:41

Chinese students at 11 universities and higher education institutes in South Korea can now use online platform Top School Tuition to pay their school fees via the popular Chinese social media app WeChat, it was announced on January 8th.

WeChat, along with competitor AliPay, is ubiquitous in China when it comes to paying for anything. With cash becoming rarer and rarer, the services are used for everything from paying utilities and international flights to cinema tickets and groceries.

“WeChat Pay is the most familiar and convenient mobile payment method for Chinese students”

“WeChat Pay is the most familiar and convenient mobile payment method for Chinese students. It eliminates the time-consuming and tedious process of payment for international students,” said WeChat’s owner, Tencent, in a statement on its official WeChat account.

“Today, WeChat cross-border payment services are used in 60 countries and can support transactions in 16 currencies. Following the footsteps of Chinese students, WeChat payment’s intelligence capabilities have moved abroad to various industries such as education, catering and retail abroad.”

Chinese students in South Korea usually pay fees through international remittances or in cash.

In recent years, more universities – including in the UK, Thailand and Australia – have begun accepting payments through platforms accessible to Chinese students such as Alipay and UnionPay.

The 11 institutions include several in Seoul but so far no plans to extend the services to others have been announced.

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Aus bushfires: stakeholders speak out to reassure students, agents

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 02:58

The international education community across Australia has spoken out to reassure agents and international students regarding the bushfire crisis – reiterating that most study destinations remain safe, unaffected and continue to offer the “incredible study experience” the country is known for.

With education being Australia’s third-largest export industry, the continued international focus on the bushfires has raised concerns that the country’s reputation as a top study destination might be damaged due to the associated health and safety implications of the bushfires and smoke haze.

“One of the best ways you can help affected communities is by continuing to visit, study and do business with Australia”

In a post on the Study In Australia website, the government stressed that the industry is working together to ensure the safety and support of all current and incoming international students.

“One of the best ways you can help affected communities is by continuing to visit, study and do business with Australia,” the post read.

It stressed the importance of seeking the most up-to-date information prior to arrival: “due to the rapidly changing conditions, your university or institution is best placed to advise you on how fires may impact your studies and their operations.”

According to reports, the universities of Sydney and Wollongong were both forced to close some of their satellite campuses due to fire danger and Australian National University closed its main campus in early January because of the smoke.

The government’s message was reiterated by ELT association English Australia. CEO Brett Blacker noted that while fires have brought devastation, “they have also shown us the incredible resolve and strength of Australians, especially those working in our emergency services”.

“We are working closely with key government agencies to ensure that students and agents receive the right messages during this time,” he said.

“In our key markets, we will convey the message that most study destinations remain safe and unaffected by bushfires, emphasising that Australia is still a great place to learn English.”

Speaking to The PIE News, Blacker said the association was in close talks with government to ensure students are supported and safe.

“I fly to Melbourne next Tuesday to meet with Australia’s Education minister, the Hon Dan Tehan, and participate in a sector roundtable to discuss the current bushfire emergency from an international education perspective,” he said.

Blacker added that Australia’s international students have been involved in some incredible acts of kindness during the fires.

“We have seen Sikh volunteers donating meals and support in Gippsland and an international student who is a volunteer firefighter: Mark Yeong, a 22-year-old Singaporean studying at the University of Sydney,” he told The PIE.

The overwhelming majority of institutions are unaffected by the fires”

“‘To any students who are asking, “How can we help?” we say: continue with your plans. The overwhelming majority of institutions are unaffected by the fires and will continue to offer you the incredible study experience that our country is known for.”

In a social media post, Study Sydney reiterated: “The metropolitan areas of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong are not currently threatened by fires but have experienced smoke haze on some days.

At this stage, we are expecting commencing and current international students to enrol with their education institution as planned at the start of the academic calendar.”

The devastating impact the fires are having on Australian wildlife has also prompted support from the sector, with Study Gold Coast announcing that each team member would be “sponsoring a koala.”

The @CWHFAU is one of the busiest in the world. With the current bushfire crisis stretching their resources like never before they desperately need our help. That’s why our team members are each sponsoring a koala. https://t.co/ZubEW3OqW8 #AustralianBushfires

— Study Gold Coast (@StudyGoldCoast) January 14, 2020

Blacker added that English Australia would “encourage all students to visit www.Australia.com for up-to-date advice on destinations in Australia and an interactive map of the fires.”

To support emergency service agencies or charities across Australia visit: 

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Aus: Victoria celebrates top int’l students

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 08:29

A human rights activist and cancer researcher, an entrepreneur helping connect international students with reliable service providers, and a diversity researcher, were among the winners of the 2019 Victorian International Education Awards.

Recognising international students who have excelled in their studies and in contributing to the broader community, the seventh awards saw winners from the Philippines, Colombia, India, China and Singapore.

“This year’s award winners have made a tremendous contribution to the community”

“Victoria’s international education sector is flourishing its more than 227,000 students from 170 countries choosing to study here,” said minister for jobs, innovation and trade Martin Pakula.

“This year’s award winners have made a tremendous contribution to the community beyond their own study and research efforts, and it’s great that they are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Malaysian Belle Lim, currently undertaking a PhD in breast cancer research at Monash University, received both the research award and overall premier’s award for her work at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and activism for human rights.

Lim was also the inaugural Women’s Office for the Council of International Students Australia and founder of ChangemakHER, which conducts research on genetic predispositions for breast cancer.

“Moving to Australia for my higher education is the most life-changing decision I have ever made,” she said.

“I feel extremely fortunate to spend my most transformative years here in Victoria. While adjusting to a new environment, and experiencing cultural transition are challenging at times, they brought me fresh perspectives that resulted in some tremendous self-growth.”

Other winners included alumnus winner Singaporean Heng Hao Teo also from Monash, who was recognised for his online platform, iDibs, to help international students connect with reliable services such as migration, cleaning and removalists.

University of Melbourne PhD student Ravini Abeywickrama, who grew up in both Sri Lanka and Australia, received the internationalisation award for her research into people from diverse backgrounds and extensive volunteering.

“Victoria is a hub for multiculturalism – there is no other diverse city like Melbourne,” she said.

International education is Victoria’s largest services expert, generating $11.8 billion.

2019 winners:

  • Premier’s Award – Belle Lim, Malaysia
  • English Language Training – Ana Llorente, Colombia
  • Vocational Education and Training – Christian Laban, Philippines
  • Higher Education – Susan Saldana, India
  • Research – Belle Lim, Malaysia
  • Regional – Luocheng (Rod) Zhang, China
  • Internationalisation – Ravini Abeywickrama, Australia
  • Alumnus – Heng Hao Teo, Singapore

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UK: growth in int’l student numbers, jump in new enrolments from India

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 04:09

There is good news for the UK sector with HESA’s first release of data for the 2018/19 academic year: international student numbers are up by 5.9% on the previous period – with a notable 42% hike in new student enrolments from India.

According to HESA statistics, a total of 485,645 international students were studying in at higher education institutions in the UK in 2018/19, up from 458,490 in 2017/18.

“We will continue to work with key partners..so that our HE sector can benefit from 600,000 international students by 2030″

And while China sent more students to the UK than any other country, it was Indian students which made the most significant change to the statistics concerning new starts.

This is for the entry year during which the UK government announced that it would be offering post-study work rights – widely anticipated by education agencies in southeast Asia to herald a further regional shift to the UK for higher education.

Non-EU first-year student numbers grew by 18,475 to reach a total of 342,620, with the majority of the increase occurring at postgraduate taught level.

And despite concerns over the impact of Brexit, the number of first-year students from other EU countries also increased on 2017/18 figures, up from 139,150 to 143,025 in the most recent cycle.

More than a third (35%) of all non-EU students came from China in 2018/19, with numbers having increased from 89,540 to 120,385 in the five years since 2014.

India was the second top sending country, with numbers up from 18,325 in 2014/15 to 26,685 in 2018/19. This included 17,760 new student enrolments, marking an impressive jump of 42% on 2017/18 figures for new starts.

The US (20,120), Hong Kong (16,135) and Malaysia (13,835) rounded out the top five sending countries to the UK in 2018/19.

Nigeria, in ninth position, was the only other non-EU sending country to have made the top 10 with 10,645 students – but overall this marked a 41% decline in numbers over the five year period.

In terms of EU numbers, Italy, Germany and France each had more than 13,000 students studying in the UK in 2018/19, with Greece rounding out the top 10 sending countries with just shy of 10,000 (9,920) students.

We will continue to work with other key partners such as @UUKIntl and @BritishCouncil to deliver our International Education Strategy so that our HE sector can benefit from 600,000 international students by 2030

— Chris Skidmore (@CSkidmoreUK) January 16, 2020


Posting on social media, UK Universities minister Chris Skidmore said he welcomed the figures, describing it as a sign that the country competing well in the global race for international students as the UK targets 600,000 by the end of the decade.

“We will continue to work with other key partners… to deliver our International Education Strategy so that our HE sector can benefit from 600,000 international students by 2030.”

Director of Universities UK International, Vivienne Stern was also pleased to see that international student numbers are continuing to grow in the UK.

She pointed to a recent UUKi study that showed how international students are highly satisfied with their experiences at UK universities, as well as enjoying significant career benefits after graduating.

“The growth in the number of international students studying in the UK is testament to this world-class offer,” Stern continued, adding, “the 42% growth in the number of new Indian student enrolments in 2018/19 is particularly notable.

“Visa application numbers indicate that this growth will continue”

“Visa application numbers indicate that this growth will continue, suggesting that Indian student numbers are set to reach numbers not seen since 2011 in the coming years.”

The number of Indian students studying in the UK has been increasing rapidly since 2017 after a period of decline in 2012 following the closure of the post-study work visa.

However, in 2019, the UK government announced plans to reintroduce the two-year post-study work visa, heralded as a catalyst for the increase in UK Tier 4 sponsored study visas granted last year.

“We know that students in India, and around the world, will be encouraged by the announcement of the new two-year graduate visa route and we are working with the government to ensure that this is implemented as quickly and smoothly as possible,” Stern concluded.

Top 10 sending countries to the UK in 2018/19:
  1. China 120,385 (+13% since 17/18)
  2. India 26,685 (+35%)
  3. United States 20,120 (+7%)
  4. Hong Kong 16,135 (-1%)
  5. Malaysia  13,835 (-8%)
  6. Italy 13,965 (level with 17/18)
  7. France 13,675 (level with 17/18)
  8. Germany 13,475 (-1%)
  9. Nigeria 10,645 (+1%)
  10. Greece 9,920 (-2%)

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LSBF re-imagines distance learning through VR

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 03:00

London School of Business and Finance has announced it is offering all of its online postgraduate students a new way to gain public speaking skills via virtual reality headsets. So far, hundreds of headsets have been sent to students all around the world, including Germany, Nigeria, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Education is expected to become the fourth biggest sector for VR investments, predicted to be worth US$700 million by 2025.

But while the technology is frequently used in the classroom environment to make teaching more engaging and interactive, its utilisation in distance learning is yet to be widely applied.

“Combining VR with distance learning will help students use the technology to its full potential”

Postgraduate students who enrolled on LSBF’s online programs in October 2019 received the zero-cost VR equipment this month.

The headset was offered to students enrolling on the Global MBA online, master in Finance and Investments online, dual master & MSc in Finance and Investments online, and the dual master & MSc in Strategic Marketing online.

The headset is part of the public speaking module, an optional assessment for students to refine their skills when it comes to delivering presentations or speeches through a fully immersive VR experience, as demonstrated in an introductory video.

LSBF said it is confident this offering will enhance the learning outcomes for students and will be extending the initiative to all future intakes for its online programs.

Academic lead at LSBF Christopher Jasko said that with this initiative, LSBF is giving its students the opportunity to be part of the technological revolution.

“Combining VR with distance learning will help students use the technology to its full potential, whilst encouraging self-learning in an even more flexible and independent environment,” he added.

The VR module re-creates high-pressured scenarios and then measures speaking speed, intonation, volume, and audience engagement, providing feedback on how to perfect the overall performance.

By successfully completing the optional module, students will receive an LSBF Certificate in Public Speaking and Presentation Skills.

“This is only the beginning for VR in e-learning for LSBF,” Jakso continued.

“A small, yet very significant step towards bringing the full potential of VR and augmented reality into the distance-learning classroom, and we will be announcing further initiatives in the very near future.”

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Come Together: Australia’s regional study consortia

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 12:37

Australia is a vast country – geographically speaking, at least. Whereas in the United Kingdom, a person could feasibly drive from tip to tail within a day or so, travelling the same distance in Australia would often see them remain in the same state.

Given the immense space, it’s little wonder study consortia have taken hold. Each of the eight states and territories has a cluster working to promote their region under one banner, and increasingly, smaller cities are joining larger metropolises in forming their own as well.

“You really have to work together to get your message out”

What could have resulted in hostile competition between regions has instead become a collegial approach under a burgeoning national brand. Clusters are aware of each other’s activities but are more focused on working together to grow the size of Australia’s international education pie, over increasing their slice.

Meanwhile, at a political level, as national policy focuses change, the role of each consortium is changing with it, and their role for providers, the local community, international students and Australia’s national interests is growing.

Let’s form a consortium

“It’s such a huge industry now and such a huge field in international education, that you really have to work together to get your message out,” explains director of Study Canberra Oliver Harrap on why consortia are so prominent in Australia.

“Otherwise, it’s quite easy to get lost in all the noise. That’s the way that we’re all leveraging these consortiums to get the best impact.”

There is a long history of study clusters in Australia, dating back at least two decades.

By region, the involvement of local and state government varies, with some, such as Study New South Wales and Study Tasmania, contained within state government. Others, like StudyPerth, which looks after Western Australia, receive state government funding as well as member contributions.

Regardless of how they came into being, a consortium’s goals generally fall under brand management, attracting international students, building the student experience, employability and connecting with industry.

“One of our biggest challenges here in Adelaide is awareness”

Where the differences between consortiums become apparent, however, is in addressing the challenges of a particular region.

“One of our biggest challenges here in Adelaide is awareness. We don’t enjoy the same natural awareness of other cities in Australia that have a bigger profile,” says StudyAdelaide chief executive Karryn Kent.

“But then, we don’t have some of the other challenges that perhaps some of the larger cities have. For example, the cost of living in the larger cities in Australia often gets referenced.”

Study NSW

Meanwhile, in New South Wales, where capital Sydney has such a high level of student awareness that it’s often confused for Australia’s capital, activities are more focused on the student experience.

“We know a lot of people want to come here, but it’s about trying to match the experience with the brochure,” says Peter Mackey, director of trade, international education and small business operations at the NSW Department of Industry.

“There’s no point getting people to come to a place if they’re leaving dissatisfied or they’re feeling that they’ve been ripped off and no one’s doing anything about it.”

As well as being a big country, Australia is by no means homogenous, and a one-size-fits-all approach would be next to impossible to implement.

“We can tailor our strategies aligned to [our] opportunities and challenges,” Kent concludes.

Hands on the wheel

A consortium’s involvement in creating strategies to meet a region’s opportunities and challenges is dependent on whether it’s embedded within government.

Study Queensland, for example, played a substantial role in the development and ongoing implementation of the state’s 2016-2026 international education strategy. StudyPerth, meanwhile, uses Western Australia’s 2018-2025 strategy as the launching point for its action plan.

Regardless of their position relative to government, however, each consortium plays some role in guiding the policy focus of their region.

Matagarup Bridge, Perth

“We make our views very clear about policy settings which we think are damaging the prospects of Western Australia, and we do see it as our role to advise government and other stakeholders,” says StudyPerth executive director Phil Payne.

As an entity outside of government, however, Payne adds he does feel there is a difference in the weight of his organisation’s voice in state policy compared with those in other states which are part of government.

At a national level, Australia’s consortia are also playing a role, looking to address common problems as well as providing and receiving guidance from the federal government.

“We participate in a number of federal working groups,” Study Canberra’s Harrap says.

“We participate in the Department of Education and Training’s Commonwealth, States and Territories International Education Forum and Austrade also has an international education marketing forum.”

“We know a lot of people want to come here, but it’s about trying to match the experience with the brochure”

But it’s not only government that consortia seek to guide. Study Tasmania global education marketing officer Harpreet Gill says relationship building and market intelligence are key elements.

“We work as a conduit between the education providers and industry,” she says.

“Not only just to attract international students, but make sure when they’re here they’re supported, and then once they graduate, we facilitate programs to make sure they’re more employable.”

Furthermore, Gill adds that research and market intelligence are powerful tools for providers to ensure they’re offering programs that meet international students’ demands as well as the needs of a region.

“It is an ongoing consultation process where we feed [institutions] with data that we have, and they then look at how they can develop that into their courses,” she says.

Go West (and a bit further south)

Australia’s study consortia are beginning to shift and expand outside of their specific region, playing a larger role in the implementation of national strategies, too. The most prominent example of this is the Australian government’s refocus towards encouraging overseas students to choose a regional location instead of popular study metropolises.

Citing congestion in eastern mainland Sydney, Melbourne and south-east Queensland – which includes its capital, Brisbane, and tourism hotspot, the Gold Coast – prime minister Scott Morrison signalled in September 2018 a need to better spread out Australia’s international student cohort.

After a rocky start, the federal government opted for regional incentives over deterrents in March 2019’s Planning for Australia’s Future Population document.

Taking a broad view of population growth, the document includes a new set of scholarships for regional study and an additional year of post-study work rights for those who study and remain in regional areas.

“We don’t have some of the other challenges that perhaps some of the larger cities have”

“We are classified as regional for migration purposes, and the federal government is pushing regional study destinations,” explains Gill.

“All of the policies indicate a regional push, so we are more beneficial that way.”

The resulting strategy, released in late 2019, upped the incentives for remote areas to two additional years of post-study work rights, with one additional year for regional.

But it was the work of both StudyPerth and Study Gold Coast, that shone through after their campaigning helped reclassify both cities as regional after previously been mooted as metropolitan.

“It’s a game-changer; its news we’ve been waiting [to hear] for two years,” says Perth’s Payne.

“It puts us on a level playing field with other cities within Australia and creates another reason for international students to use Western Australia to live, study and further their careers.”

Stepping into tomorrow

In the long-term, it seems Australia’s study consortia are here to stay. While all acknowledge that their role will evolve due to market forces, their importance in acting as a representative between government, providers, international students, businesses and the local community is deeply embedded.

To achieve their goals, however, that friendly competition needs to remain in place, says StudyPerth’s Payne.

“The opportunities for Australian international education are still fairly significant”

“I think the opportunities for all of us to grow the pie and to actually work as Team Australia dwarf the opportunities that may present themselves as individuals to compete with each other,” he notes.

“The opportunities for Australian international education are still fairly significant. Notwithstanding the record-breaking growth we’ve had, I still think we could be better and bigger; probably in that order.”

This is an abridged version of an article that originally appeared in The PIE Review, our quarterly print publication.

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Wales: Celtic English Academy marks 15th year

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 10:49

Celtic English Academy in Cardiff, Wales, celebrated its 15th anniversary in December, as its CEO highlighted the importance of international education to the local economy.

Since opening in 2004, more than 10,000 students from over 50 countries have learned English with the organisation. Along with its second centre in North Wales, Celtic English Academy employs over 50 staff.

“There is huge potential to welcome international educational tourists”

“If we are able to increase the number of students that come to Wales to study, it would hugely benefit our local and national economy,” Celtic English Academy CEO Shoko Doherty said at the event on December 9.

The ELT sector supports 1,300 jobs in Wales alone. In 2017 the region benefited from an added gross value of £12 million from students’ expenditure on courses.

Another £40m was spent on suppliers, including homestay providers, ELT employees and leisure and tourism of students and visitors during their stay in the UK, according to a 2017 Capital Economics report.

“For Wales in this pre and post-Brexit period, we need to continue striving to maintain relationships with our European partners as well as partners from around the world, stressing that Wales is welcoming and a safe, friendly and exciting destination for educational tourists of all ages to discover,” Doherty continued.

There is huge potential to welcome international educational tourists, Doherty added, due to the fact that 90% of visitors to Wales are from the UK domestic market.

Lord Mayor of Cardiff, councillor Dan De’Ath, who also attended the event also noted the importance of the school’s work to the city.

“We have a strong sense of community in Wales and we hope that [the students] have felt at home in our community of Cardiff during your short or long-term stay here with us,” he told attendees.

“We are proud to hear that there is a network of over 100 families in Cardiff that open their homes to host students from Celtic English Academy.”

Other guests included Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Wales – Ruth Thomas-Lehhman, Honorary Consul of Japan in Wales – Keith Dunn OBE and Ifona Deeley, head of International Relations at the Welsh government.

Celtic English Academy was recently awarded a million-pound contract from the Swiss government to help its nationals improve their English for work.

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Danish gov’t funds projects to address int’l graduate retention

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 08:48

Following a 2018 study that revealed 42% of international students in Denmark leave within two years of graduating, the Danish government has announced it is supporting five new projects to boost graduate retention.

Denmark has emerged as an attractive country to pursue higher-level education in recent times, and retaining international students is considered important as their studies are funded by taxpayers, with about half receiving additional grants.

“Employers have also not always… done enough to reach out to international students”

“Not enough [students] are using their education in the Danish labour market afterwards, and therefore represent a large cost to Danish society, as they are educated for the benefit of labour markets in other countries,” said the government at the time of the study.

Providing funding grants of between DKK 500,000 (£57,000) and DKK 1 million (£114,000), each of the newly announced projects will run for several years, with participants being required to share their findings with institutions across the country.

According to reports, the five selected projects were selected from 16 applications and will include instruction of the Danish language, use of mentor models, focusing on the relationship to the workforce and on practice while studying and in jobs alongside studies.

One of the successful bids, ‘biotech job preparations’ from University College Absalon, will prepare international students to live and work in Denmark through job-oriented activities such as mentorships and collaborations with local companies.

“In the first year, the students are offered a course ‘Danish with job hunting’ and access to a student job portal where Absalon can distribute student job listings from the local community,” project manager, Lene Beck Mikkelsen, told The PIE News.

“In the second and third year, a mentoring program will be established with mentors from the business environment in Kalundborg and the surrounding area.”

Retaining graduates in engineering and related fields – which are popular with international students – is particularly desirable.

At the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), for example, 40% of all MSc students are international.

“There’s a significant lack of engineering graduates in Denmark, and we are trying to bridge that gap,” Morten Overgaard, head of international education at DTU, told The PIE.

While Overgaard maintains that people “cannot expect all international graduates to remain in the country”, he added that “a majority of DTU’s international students wish to stay upon graduation”.

“So far we have not prepared them in an optimal way, and the employers have also not always been aware of the opportunity or done enough to reach out to international students,” he said.

“We think that as a university we should do more than just educate excellent graduates. We must facilitate their transition into employment, especially international students who need special preparation.”

A lack of Danish language skills, difficulty integrating into society and few local connections also play a role in the number of graduates leaving.

“Coming to a small language area like Danish, most students hesitate with [learning] the language until they know if they want to stay,” Helene Fast Seefeldt, a business consultant at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), told The PIE.

“Most students hesitate with [learning] the language until they know if they want to stay”

While jobs are available for those that don’t speak Danish, Fast Seefeldt believes it is important to emphasise learning the language as it is “key to the social part of being in Denmark”.

“It is during the lunch break and the small talk you establish relations, share informal knowledge and become aware of opportunities,” she explained.

Better integration can also help international students consider Denmark a place to stay long-term, whether this is done by joining associations and clubs, doing volunteer work or finding a Danish boyfriend or girlfriend, which Fast Seefeldt suggested is “by far the most efficient way of retaining people”.

“As one international student said about Danish society, [we] are like pineapples – stiff and rough on the outside, but once inside it is sweet,” she said.

Full project list:

  1. Biotech work preparation (University College Absalon)
  2. Career management course for international full degree students (Copenhagen University)
  3. Career management skills for international students (University of Southern Denmark)
  4. Communication, student life and internationalisation: The road towards employment through early career encouragement of international students (VIA University College)
  5. From international students to value generation in Danish businesses (Technical University of Denmark)

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Nigeria’s HEI deficit discussed at UK conference

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 06:09

The issue of Nigerian students not having enough spaces at universities in their own country, as well as how UK boarding schools can establish, nurture and maintain relationships with families and schools in Nigeria was discussed at the “New Year…New Partnerships in Nigeria” conference held in London recently.

Delegates heard that as many as 900,000 students were unable to get places in Nigeria’s 300 combined public and private institutions of higher education-resulting in young people leaving the country in order to study.

“Something to remember is that youth unemployment is at 37%”

In his opening remarks, event organiser Mark Brooks explained how Nigeria is one of the African continent’s top growth markets. 

“UNESCO estimates that 90,000 Nigerians study abroad today,” he said.  “Nigeria has a population of more than 200 million and 20% of the population are aged between 15 and 24.

“Something to remember is that youth unemployment is at 37% and one of the motivations of getting a fantastic education at British boarding schools or British run education in Nigeria is to provide students with opportunities and avoid problems with unemployment,” he added. 

The sheer size of Nigeria’s population has interesting consequences for the country’s education market, delegates heard. 

“The average family has four to five children and we expect the population to grow to around 400 million [by 2050],” explained Lami Adekola, deputy country director,  for the UK’s Department for International Trade, Nigeria.

“That shows massive potential in terms of the share numbers of students that we generate every year.”

Adekola also spoke about Nigeria’s infrastructure and education assets. 

“We have 300 combined public and private institutions of higher education, which is grossly below what is required for the population we have. 

“About 900,000 students could not get an education in Nigeria in 2018 and it shows the volume and numbers we are talking about,” Adekola continued.

“Most of these students sought alternative destinations to basically get into schools. And a lot of parents are even beginning to look for measures before university level; they send their children out of the country to schools at the secondary level, so it is easier for them to transition to universities.” 

Adekola identified the UK as one of the top destinations for Nigerian students because of the cultural ties between the two countries.

But according to Yemisi Akindele, founder of High Achiever’s Academy, cultural sensitivities still have the potential to cause issues for Nigerian students coming to the UK.

She spoke about the Nigerian approach to parenting and how some parents may be more nervous about letting their children visit other households during boarding school exeats.

She also told delegates that British schools had to make sure the dietary requirements in relation to the religious views of students are respected.

Top destinations for Nigerian students include the US with around 16,000 students as of March 2019; Malaysia, with roughly 13,000 in 2019; Canada, with 11,290 in 2018 according to IRCC data and the UK with 10,540 in 2017/18.

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US overtakes UK as “best in world” for education

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 04:07

The US is perceived as the top country in the world for education, having overtaken last year’s top spot holder the UK, according to a survey by U.S. News & World Report.

The 2020 ‘Best Countries’ rankings, which surveyed 20,000 people from across the globe, also rated the United Arab Emirates as the best country for study abroad.

“North American and European countries are seen to provide the best education in the world’s future leaders”

The “Best Country for Education” list is based on three factors – whether the countries provide top-quality education, having a well-developed public education system and if people would consider attending university there.

With the UK, Canada, Germany and France taking second to fifth places respectively, the report contends that “North American and European countries are seen to provide the best education in the world’s future leaders”.

The remaining top 10 countries perceived as best for education are all in Europe apart from Australia, which is ranked in the seventh position.

Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark ranked sixth, eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.

The US, along with China, dominated the US News & World Report 2020 Best Global Universities Rankings, which was released in October last year.

The ranking also list the best countries to study abroad, with the United Arab Emirates taking the top position in 2020, with last year’s top country Malaysia sliding down to number 11.

The UAE is followed by South Korea, China, India and Turkey in 2020.

The best countries to study abroad section was based on answers from more than 8,500 adults under age 35.

They were asked to score countries based on their cultural accessibility, fun, number of cultural attractions, whether they would consider attending university there and whether it was a country that provides top-quality education.

“Despite historical trends that show the US and the UK to be the countries that attract the most international students each year, young adults’ perceptions ranked countries primarily in Asia with less established –but promising – economies as the best countries to study abroad,” the report concluded.

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