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News and business analysis for Professionals in International Education
Updated: 1 year 2 weeks ago

Canada: SFU & Navitas extend p’ship to 2030

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 03:55

Canada’s Simon Fraser University in British Columbia has extended its partnership with Navitas until 2030 to continue to increase the quantity and diversity of the institution’s international cohort.

SFU began working with the Australian-based company in 2006 when it launched the on-campus pathway program, Fraser International College.

“Fraser International College continues to produce engaged and ambitious learners”

FIC has consistently achieved outstanding student outcomes and produced award-winning alumni, the partners said.

The pathway has also been recognised by the British Columbia Council for International Education and the Canadian Bureau for International Education for “excellence in programming, marketing and student leadership”.

SFU provost​ Jon Driver, Navitas UPNA CEO Brian Stevenson, SFU president Andrew Petter and Navitas Group CEP Scott Jones. Photo: Navitas

 

In a statement, SFU vice-president, academic and provost Jonathan Driver said the partnership with the global education provider is a “testament to our shared vision, commitment to collaboration and dedication to fostering the success of international students”.

“Fraser International College continues to produce engaged and ambitious learners who, as global citizens, contribute greatly to our campus community and enhance SFU’s ability to provide all of our students with diverse and transformative learning opportunities,” Driver added.

President and CEO of Navitas North America Brian J.R. Stevenson said the company looks forward to the “shared success of Fraser International College for many years to come”.

“It’s a privilege for Navitas to partner with Simon Fraser University, a forward-thinking institution with a long-standing commitment to internationalisation,” said Stevenson concluded.

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France restricts school trips abroad

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 02:59

France has become the latest European country to introduce travel restrictions and has banned school trips abroad and to areas of France with a high number of coronavirus cases.

As of February 29, France had seen more than 200 cases of COVID-19, which have been particularly concentrated in the regions of Oise in Hauts-de-France, Morbihan in Brittany and Haute-Savoie in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

“People started 2020 thinking it would be a bumper year”

The move is the latest blow the English language training sector in countries like the UK, Ireland and Malta, which have already seen numerous cancellations, particularly from China and Italy.

“People started 2020 thinking it would be a bumper year,” explained David O’Grady, CEO of Marketing English in Ireland, which is Ireland’s leading industry association and represents around 90% of its ELT schools.

We’d had a good few years, with a good amount of bookings in January and February, and good feedback from agents.

“Schools have resigned to taking a bit of a hit in March and April, but the worry is that it will continue into the summer and that some will fold,” O’Grady added.

He told The PIE that March is the second busiest time of the year and that a continuation in restrictions could have a huge knock-on effect if they last into the summer.

When Italy’s travel restrictions for student groups were announced earlier, O’Grady said one group of students had been en route to the airport before having to turn around.

For schools in both Ireland and the UK, dips in student numbers mean cash-strapped institutions may struggle to rent buildings and hire staff in the summer. It’s also had an effect on companies supporting schools.

“We’ve got families that are cautious about accommodating students, students who can’t travel even if they want to, and agents who depend on bookings for their livelihood,” Harsha Shivdasani, operations manager at accommodation provider Hosts International.

“We’ve had 30 to 40 [Italian] young learner groups cancel.”

While Shivdasani explained that the French school groups they have tend to be adults, who aren’t as affected, the number of available host families is decreasing.

Nous travaillons, académie par académie, à la continuité pédagogique avec le @cned au service des élèves obligés de rester chez eux.#coronavirus

Ces dispositifs d’enseignement à distance ont été préparés pour faire face à ce type de situation: https://t.co/lx2zT09eli

— Jean-Michel Blanquer (@jmblanquer) March 2, 2020

But while those who The PIE spoke to agreed that the coronavirus is having a huge impact on the industry, groups remain divided about how justified precautionary measures are, with accusations of the situation being hyped up and over-exaggerated on one side, and not been prepared for well enough on the other.

“Coronavirus is a major and evolving issue for our members and for agents. We are supporting them with a dedicated webpage where we are posting advice and updates from the government, TIER [the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group], agent associations and more,” said a spokesperson for English UK.

We are also taking calls from members, attending group meetings about the issue, and giving access to a business support helpline.

“At present the situation is fast-moving and we believe agents and members are looking at flexible solutions for now. We have had many positive conversations with members and fruitful discussions with agent groups,” the spokesperson added.

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Languages Canada’s new roadmap as data shows slowdown for long-term enrolments

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 11:04

Languages Canada, the association for English and French language teaching institutions in the country, has unveiled a new five-year strategic plan which focuses on diversification, adaptability and sustained profitability at its member centres.

Its new direction came as the immigration division of the Canadian government confirmed in a presentation that despite significant growth overall for Canada’s international education system, there was a decline in the volume of study permits issued for language study of 5% for 2019 on 2018.

“Languages Canada will continue to advocate for the right for language students to be able to work and experience the labour market”

Study permits are required for durations of six months or more, with many nationalities able to enrol while on a tourist visa for shorter durations of language learning.

Overall, Languages Canada revealed a 2% growth in market performance across its members in 2019, but this was after a 2018 report which saw all of the growth that year concentrated among its public sector membership.

Canada’s well-known appeal is in part because of post-study work rights, which are available for graduates of public sector institutions.

Gonzalo Peralta, executive director of the association, impressed upon members that Languages Canada will continue to advocate for the right for language students to be able to work and experience the labour market, as an important part of a language learning immersion experience.

Canada’s language teaching sector was heavily impacted in 2014 when regulations were changed to forbid work as part of a language program.

Many language teaching companies with the scale to do so since pivoted to also offer career college programs which can include a work placement.

The association’s annual conference in Vancouver saw the launch of the new strategic plan, which, Peralta explained, took a lot of work to scan the industry horizon and focus on what is needed for members to succeed in the future.

“The executive committee reviewed the history of the association, asked hard questions, and challenged one another,” he said.

One of its plans is to oversee a Teaching Assistant program, similar to the UK’s British Council program which sees 2,500 language assistants placed in 14 countries annually.

The global ELT market is a mature sector, the new strategic plan details.

 

The strategy details a plan to work with Canadian and international partners to develop and roll-out a government-funded Canadian Language Teaching Assistant mobility program; create and offer a language teaching assistant certificate and TA toolkit; and leverage outbound learners as Canadian brand ambassadors.

This fits into the broader national international education strategy to foster far greater outbound engagement in studying abroad as well as diversifying source countries of inbound international students.

Other goals include establishment of a multi-year “pathway” visa

Other goals – as well as working with IRCC to establish a language-and-work program – include the establishment of a multi-year “pathway” visa established: one permit that will allow students to learn English/French and then continue onto post-secondary studies.

The association has identified five clear goals and action plans for each:

  • Showcase Canada and LC member programs as top choice English and French language education providers and partners.
  • Influence legislation, regulations, and policies that support members, protect students, and enable innovation and growth within the language education sector.
  • Drive quality across all aspects of Canada’s language education sector.
  • Support and accelerate the ability of the association and our members to innovate.
  • Create a stable, sustainable, vibrant organizational foundation for LC.

 

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UK: gov’t should secure sufficient R&D funding

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 10:45

The UK should seek full association to the Horizon Europe research program and commit a minimum £1 billion per year to “stimulate global research and innovation collaboration and attract the world’s best researchers” following Brexit, the Russell Group has urged.

In its submission to the 2020 budget, the association that represents 24 UK universities said the government should “make a commitment to ring-fence sufficient funding” for the country’s continued participation in the world’s largest program for multi-country collaborative R&D and research excellence.

If full Horizon Europe participation is not deemed acceptable by the UK government, it should create a back-up plan that can be developed and delivered at pace, the Russell Group explained.

“The UK should be ambitious, not cut corners”

At a minimum, it said the UK should participate in the program as a ‘third country’ on a “pay as you go basis”.

“As we look ahead, the UK will need to make tough choices about its future relationship with the EU, but one of the most important choices it should make is to negotiate an association agreement for full access to the new Horizon Europe,” the Russell Group stated in its submission.

The Horizon Europe program, starting in 2021, will bring together researchers from Europe, but also countries such as Australia, Canada and Japan.

UK Research and Innovation announced on March 3 that UK participants could continue to receive EU grant funding for the lifetime of individual Horizon 2020 projects – including projects finishing after 31 December 2020 when the transition period ends.

Universities should also be “actively involved” in future trade deal negotiations with the EU and globally, the Russell Group added.

It pointed out that along with the nearly £5 billion international students at Russell Group universities contribute to the UK economy each year, member institutions also have “extensive links” with international businesses that could be the source of even more valuable foreign direct investment.

The government should also strive to make the UK the best place for postgraduate research training, the Russell Group contended, as it would “strengthen the UK’s position as a research power”, and lay foundations for future R&D-led growth.

“The UK will need a significant new pool of research talent in business, universities, the public and third sectors and the UK should be ambitious, not cut corners.

“The full economic costs of this training should be met from public funds,” the association continued.

By ensuring visa and associated fees for highly skilled migrants are “internationally competitive”,  the government will further enhance the country as a place for innovation and enterprise.

“The UK is in a good position to make the most of future opportunities”

Additionally, the group pointed out that the newly proposed points-based system must allow the UK to “attract the best and most exciting talent from around the world and at all career stages”.

“We hope the government shares our ambition for this system to provide a warm welcome to potential international students, to researchers… and transform our economy for the future,” the submission read.

The Russell Group also called on the government to continue to work with universities to design and implement elements of the UK’s new visa system.

These include the proposed new post-study work offer and Global Talent visa.

“The UK is in a good position to make the most of future opportunities by drawing on the networks and connections our universities have made internationally,” the submission concluded.

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Students deeply concerned about climate crisis

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 09:54

Young people around the world are deeply concerned about global issues such as climate change and want to learn more about them in school, a study by Cambridge International has revealed. However, almost a third (31%) aren’t getting the opportunity to do so.

More than 11,000 students aged 13 to 19 took part in the exam board’s first-ever ‘Global Perspectives’ survey.  They were asked to share their views on global issues, how they learn about them, and how their awareness of these issues might impact their future career choices.

“It is important that students…develop the skills to research, discuss and evaluate the facts”

Environmental issues took centre stage, with students in the US, Spain, India, the UAE, South Africa, China, India, Indonesia, and the UK all expressing concerns about climate change and pollution. 

Globally, a quarter (26%) of all the students who responded to the survey said they felt climate change was the biggest issue facing the world today.

Christine Özden, chief executive at Cambridge International said that there are “huge” global challenges ahead in our constantly evolving world.  

“We feel that it is even more important that students not only engage with key global issues but develop the skills to research, discuss and evaluate the facts, and work with others to understand different perspectives around the world,” she said. 

Concern about the climate crisis was widespread; 46% of Spanish students chose climate change as their biggest issue of concern, which was the most out of any other country.

In the UK, climate change was also named as the biggest issue by 45% of respondents.

In the US, 39% said that climate change was the biggest global issue, with pollution – including plastic waste – viewed as the second biggest issue by this cohort.

A quarter (24%)of students in the UAE voted climate change as the single biggest issue, followed by pollution (16%).

In India and Malaysia, 26% of students named climate change as the world’s biggest issue.

“The results of the survey… show that young people are increasingly concerned about world problems such as climate change, and pollution and plastic waste,” said Nick Mazur, senior manager Europe for Cambridge International.

“It is vital that schools equip students with the skills to help understand the breadth of information available on these topics.”

However, while almost all students who took part in the survey (96%) believe it is important to learn about global issues in school, almost a third (31%) say they do not currently get the opportunity to do so.

As a result, the survey found many students are turning to other sources for their information.

A quarter of students surveyed said their most trusted source of information is produced by charities and organisations which are dedicated to particular global issues, one in five turn to the internet and 17% to social media.

“With the impacts of climate change and poverty dominating headlines, global issues have never felt more local,” said Peter Monteath, regional director Europe at Cambridge International.

Monteath said schools should offer an opportunity to learn about such issues, by helping to “direct keen minds to become engaged global citizens who want to find the innovative solutions to the complex problems we face”.

“Students are aware of the impact these [issues] could have on their futures… so it makes sense that they want to learn about this issue in the classroom, as well as the chance to debate with other students,” he added.

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US publisher Wiley signs deal with 138 UK unis

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 06:09

A four year “read and publish” deal has been struck between 138 UK universities and US-based publisher Wiley

Seen as an alternative to a traditional subscription model between universities and publishers, “read and publish” deals involve both subscriptions and funding for ‘open access’, where researchers publish articles that are freely available to read, download, cite, share and build upon.

“This new agreement is a step-change in the transition to open access to UK research”

As part of the deal, the universities will gain access to Wiley’s subscription content. They will also be able to publish openly in Wiley’s journals without paying the article processing charges that are normally required.

Instead, the 138 institutions will convert some of their Wiley subscription expenditure into an Open Access fund, which will be used to support a financially sustainable route to open access.

The deal was brokered by Jisc, a research and education not-for-profit that negotiates licences and digital content agreements on behalf of UK universities. 

Under the new deal, the proportion of open access articles published by UK researchers is set to increase from 27% to an estimated 85% in year one, with the potential to reach 100% by 2022. 

Jisc told The PIE News that it is the second-largest journal agreement by spend in the UK and is the result of a two-year consultation with the participating institutions. 

“This new agreement is a step-change in the transition to open access to UK research,” said Liam Earney, executive director for digital resources at Jisc.  

“[It] offers all universities within the consortium, regardless of how much or little they publish, an opportunity to rapidly transition toward full and immediate open access in a financially sustainable way.”

Earney explained that it also recognises the importance of access to research materials for students and researchers generally, enabling all universities to access more Wiley content than before. 

Judy Verses, executive vice president at Wiley Research added:“By reaching this agreement, Wiley will further accelerate open access in the UK, reinforcing our commitment to keeping our customers at the centre of what we do.”

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Real estate investors eye student housing

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 03:23

The Class of 2020 kicked off its schedule of events for this year at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London with a conference that looked at how companies can continue to invest in profitable assets such as student housing amidst the current housing crisis in Europe.

According to The Class, community leading investors plan to spend €25 billion globally over the next 3-5 years in niche residential ‘blended living’ asset classes.

“Designing efficient, liveable, and high-quality homes has to be prioritised”

Speaking at the Pan European Summit on February 24, Yolande Barnes from UCL’s Bartlett Real Estate Institute opened the session with a talk on how “alternatives are the new core”.

She called for real estate investors to take a longer-term approach to assess value, opportunity and risk in real estate while a panel discussed how affordability, convenience and flexibility, mental health and wellbeing and increased mobility are changing the way investors should view housing.

“Building large homes is expensive and living in them is unaffordable for an increasing portion of the population,” noted Adina David, director of flexible housing at Greystar.

“Designing efficient, liveable, and high-quality homes has to be prioritised by our industry.”

While markets like Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands remain attractive due to their liquidity, the afternoon panel also emphasised the importance of looking at cities as individual areas rather than looking at countries as a whole given the vast difference between different regions.

The most ‘youthful’ cities by 2030 are expected to be Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Toulouse, Oslo and Dublin, while the most ‘aged’ will be Genova, Dresden, Bilbao, Leipzig and Valletta.

Student housing was also praised for its adaptability in that it can easily be turned into other residential buildings or offices, ensuring that an investment can remain profitable even as markets change.

Outside the sector, the student housing rush is not without its critics, however, with one Financial Times article last year referring to it as a ‘bubble’ that in the UK has stoked concern about poor quality and further exacerbating the shortage of affordable housing.

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UK: Small policy changes “key” for FE sector

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 10:25

Simple policy changes and support could be the key to unlocking the export potential of the UK’s further education colleges, a new survey by the Association of Colleges has revealed.

Designed to provide a stocktake of international work at colleges across England, among its findings, the AoC’s 2019 international survey revealed that international activity in colleges is “static” despite the fact that the global demand for skills training is rising.

“Some colleges are deterred from starting international work due to concerns over risk, cost and lack of experience,” the survey suggested.

Of the 61 colleges in total that responded to the survey, 80% are “actively involved” in international work, according to the AoC.

“It’s the right time to look at how this potential can be met as the UK leaves the EU”

However when asked whether colleges felt they had the right capacity and capability to deliver international work – regardless of whether they were already working internationally – just 46% of respondents said they had.

Some 41% of survey respondents agreed that if they had the right capacity and support, “they could deliver more and offer better training, programs and expertise sharing”.

“There is rising global demand for technical training as world economies develop their workforce, yet UK FE represents only 1.4% of British education exports,” the survey explained, adding that this compares to more than 15% from comparable sectors in Canada and Australia.

“As the UK leaves the EU it is more important than ever that colleges are empowered to be outward-facing and that the government prioritises technical and vocational education.”

The survey explained that policy and operational barriers exist for colleges currently trying to grow their global vocational training offer and recruit international students who contribute financially, academically and culturally to college communities.

AoC noted that very little centralised data exists on international activity in colleges and no formal mechanism exists to capture this information.

It explained that the survey aims to fill the gap by showing that colleges are undertaking a whole host of activities, in a broad range of countries.

Highlighting the breadth of the sector’s future export potential, the survey revealed that colleges are involved in over 15 different types of international activity.

Student recruitment took the top activity spot; 76% of respondents said they recruit Tier 4 students, with European student recruitment (70%) and short-term study recruitment (68%) following closely behind.

Some 64% of colleges said they were involved in the Erasmus+ program, while the number of colleges engaging in vocational training overseas is also taking “a step in the right direction”, according to the AoC.

The survey also showed that colleges provide clear pathways to higher-level study:  61% of respondents said over 75% of their international students progress into higher education.

To ensure that colleges are ready to deliver on the government’s international education strategy and meet the demand for skills training, the AoC said it is keen to work with the UK government to review and implement recommendations from the 2018/19 report.

These include lifting certain Tier 4 visa restrictions to allow FE international student numbers to grow and developing mechanisms to capture quantitative and qualitative data on international work in colleges.

“It is more important than ever that colleges are empowered to be outward-facing”

“Despite over 10 years of a difficult visa and financial environment, UK colleges have continued to provide great opportunities overseas and excellent learning experiences on campus for international students. Although, as this survey shows, there is potential to do so much more,” said AoC International director, Emma Meredith.

“It’s the right time to look seriously at how this potential can be met as the UK leaves the EU and the new points-based immigration system brings significant change to how the economy and businesses tackle skills gaps.

“AoC seeks to work with the government to take up our recommendations, enabling colleges to meet the growing need for vocational training overseas, to offer enriching cultural and learning programs like Erasmus and to boost the UK’s skills sector,” Meredith added.

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APAIE 2020 postponed due to global impact of COVID-19 outbreak

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 08:12

The international education sector has rallied behind organisers of the 2020 Asia Pacific Association for International Education conference, after the announcement that the event will be postponed due to the coronavirus.

Due to be held in Vancouver on March 22-26, the APAIE conference will now be held in the same venue in the Canadian city in March 2021.

In an email to attendees, Sarah Todd vice president (Global) at Griffith University and APAIE event organiser said because of World Health Organisation advisories and an increasing number of travel restrictions meant there “was little choice” but to postpone the 2020 event.

“The health and well-being of the APAIE community… [is] the priority”

“We have taken the very difficult decision to postpone APAIE 2020 in light of the global impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the conference will now be held in March 2021, in Vancouver,” she explained.

“The health and well-being of the APAIE community, as well as that of our local host community, are the priority.

“The travel restrictions in place are changing daily and it is important that the many friends and colleagues wanting to attend what is now the flagship event for international education in the Asia Pacific are able to,” she added.

APAIE 2020 was set to host more than 2,500 attendees, and preparations had been underway for two years, Todd noted. It was also to be the first APAIE conference to be held in the Americas.

“These are indeed challenging times for the international education sector and, on a personal note, I would like to extend my thanks for your understanding and support of this decision to postpone APAIE 2020,” Todd continued.

“We are all disappointed and your messages have meant a lot to me at a difficult time.”

The postponement means that APAIE 2021 due to take place in Bangkok, Thailand has been rescheduled to 2022.

APAIE 2021 was set to be held in Auckland, New Zealand, before a fire disrupted construction plans at the conference centre, resulting in organisers relocating it.

Elsewhere, the Association of Language Travel Organisations has also postponed its conference until next year. The event was due to be held in Rome from March 20-22.

Organisers of ALTO 2020 in Rome said they had “tried not to give in to the panic driven by the media”, but decided to postpone the event due to flight cancellations, and governments requesting travellers from Italy to self-quarantine for 14 days. A result of that had been more than 15 people cancelling their trip to the event.

“It is clear that coronavirus is going to have a significant impact on members’ businesses,” event organisers said. “It is at times of crisis such as this that we need to work together as an association to ensure the survival of industry in general and our own businesses in particular.”

ALTO will facilitate a Webex conference call about the implications of coronavirus on businesses, they added.

Head of International Relations at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland’s School of Business Robert Buttery said it was a “difficult but timely decision”, but APAIE had “the full solidarity and support of #intled community”.

#APAIE2020 Difficult but timely decision. You have the full #solidarity and support of #intled community. Thanks for your monumental efforts and leadership @STodd_Griffith @SFU @BCCIE https://t.co/wSprfJXJPh

— rob (@robertbuttery) March 1, 2020

Simon Fraser University was due to host the event in March 2021.

SFU vice-president Research & International, Joy Johnson, said despite no longer hosting APAIE 2020, the institution looks forward to welcoming higher education colleagues to Vancouver in 2021.

“Our thoughts are with our colleagues around the world impacted by COVID-19,” Johnson said on social media.

Executive director of BCCIE Randall Martin told The PIE News it was with “great regret” that the event was postponed, but the event had been “appearing less likely by the day”.

The organisation had been working with SFU as the local organising committee.

“We were not surprised by the decision, but it was not one taken easily or lightly; all involved are very sad but believe it is the right thing to do, and at the right time, in order to allow people at least a few weeks to get their travel affairs in order,” he said.

“We are working with hotels, providers, the professional conference organiser, any number of parties, to see how we can minimise loss and disruption this year and see how see can transition as much of the work as we can, the investments and deposits and the planning and the goodwill towards 2021,” Martin added.

“We are hoping many of the presenters are able to stay committed, and we are working with our keynote and featured speakers to see if they might still be able to join us. How will [2021] be different? Bigger and better we hope.”

CBIE president and CEO Larissa Bezo added, “[our] thoughts are with our APAIE, SFU and partner BC institutions, and BCCIE colleagues as they operationalise this difficult decision”, and that CBIE looks forward to engaging at APAIE 2021 Vancouver in a “mere 12 months”.

Not an easy decision to make, we’re thinking of you and the team who have worked hard to deliver #APAIE2020 .

— AIEC (@AIEC) March 1, 2020

Director of Germany’s University of Bayreuth’s international office Arnim Heinemann noted he was grateful the APAIE team was ready to prepare for the important event again.

“Our thoughts are with our colleagues around the world impacted by COVID-19”

“As much as I regret that this sensible decision had to be taken, we are in this together and I would be happy to help in any way needed,” he wrote online.

Regional Educational Advising Coordinator for Northeast Asia and the Pacific at EducationUSA Vincent Flores thanked Todd for “putting safety first”, adding, “Perhaps this is a time for us all to consider some ways to connect virtually”.

“International education may take a hit this year but we can work together for a comeback!” Flores concluded.

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Prodigy Finance expands STEM offering

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 04:04

Graduate student loan provider Prodigy Finance has added more than 1,000 new postgraduate courses to its loan offer as it responds to an increase in demand for STEM programs.

Of the courses added to Prodigy, 800 will be in STEM subjects – half of that total in science courses.

“The main focus of this expansion is really embracing the overall growth of STEM,” Joel Frisch head of Business Development at Prodigy Finance said.

“It’s a really substantial move because of the breadth of courses and schools”

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates STEM jobs will grow 8.8% by 2028, compared to 5% for non-STEM jobs, the company noted.

According to Prodigy, the new courses complement the company’s “historic strength in business and engineering programs”.

“The continued expansion [is] moving the business to where the interests are in the economy and the jobs, but also for the schools and their programs,” Frisch added.

“And [we] continue to do that in a smart way, so that the students are funding their programs in a smart way where they can responsibly repay them and put them on the path to success.

“It’s a really substantial move because of the breadth of courses and schools,” he said.

Demand for STEM program from international postgraduates is overtaking business programs, according to Prodigy.

More than 100 new university partners have also been added to Prodigy Finance’s offering, primarily in the US and Canada.

“We are also considering some of these programs in Western Europe, and they’ll be included in part of the expansion but the majority of the new programs will be in the US and Canada,” Frisch told The PIE News.

Prodigy Finance has funded more than $900 million in graduate education loans to almost 19,000 students since it was established. Funding for the new courses is tied to 2018 investment from the likes of Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, in addition to “arrangements that are in the works”, according to Frisch.

“It’s all tied into the longer-term strategy that we have been working on for a while,” he said.

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Erasmus+ funding proposals down €24 billion

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 03:06

The president of the European Council has suggested providing the Erasmus+ program with €21 billion in funding, marking around a €24 billion cut from previous funding proposals. The move has been described by the Erasmus Student Network as “going against the promise of a more inclusive and accessible Erasmus”.

The EU is currently discussing it’s long term budget, known as the multiannual financial framework, which will run from 2021 until 2027.

“We believe that with this proposal of €21 billion, it will threaten the program”

President of the European Council, Charles Michel, unveiled his draft European Council conclusions for the MFF in February, which includes detail about funding for Erasmus+.

The program currently receives €14.7bn in funding. But in May 2018, the European Commission had proposed that it receive €30 billion.

This figure was increased in further proposals in March 2019, when the European Parliament said that funds for the Erasmus+ should not just be doubled, but tripled to around €45 billion.

However, the draft European Council conclusions for the multiannual budget of the EU for 2021-2027 suggest that the program should receive €21 billion in funding  – 30% less than the original Commission proposal of two-fold increase and more than 50% cut from the Parliament’s.

Kostis Giannidis, president of the Erasmus Student Network, explained that the latest proposals of €24 billion came as a surprise.

“We have been advocating for so long for the new Erasmus+ program. All of the signs that we were receiving from institutions, from governments, from member states, was that yes, everybody believes that the program is very impactful and so we need to invest more,” he told The PIE News. 

“We feel that all these promises were empty. Most of all we believe that with this proposal of €21 billion, it will threaten the program because we know that we need more inclusiveness.”

Giannidis said that ESN has witnessed students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups participating in the program less frequently because the funding is not there.

“Everyone was saying how we should have a more inclusive program and we’ll pay more money. So as an organisation, we feel that all these promises, in the end, were a bluff from the member states,” he added.

In the Gothenburg Summit of December 2017, the European Council called upon member states and other European institutions to work towards stepping u­­­­p mobility and exchanges, including through a substantially strengthened, inclusive and extended Erasmus+ program.

However, Giannidis argued that €21 billion will simply not be enough money to achieve the ambitions of the new program.

The financial position the EU finds itself in after Brexit may go some way to explaining the latest Erasmus+ funding proposals.

“We feel that all these promises, in the end, were a bluff from the member states”

Discussions around Erasmus+ came as EU heads of state or government met in Brussels to discuss the MFF.

Those negotiations ultimately proved to be unsuccessful, and an agreement was made that said more time is needed.

“The last weeks and the last days, we have worked very hard in order to try to reach an agreement regarding the next European budget,” said the president of the European Council.

“Unfortunately, today we have observed that it was not possible to reach an agreement. We have observed that we need more time.

“We know that this European budget is a very difficult topic, it’s a very difficult negotiation, especially after Brexit and the gap between €60 billion and €75 billion,” Michel added.

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Italian language schools “open for business”

Fri, 02/28/2020 - 09:28

Italian language schools in Italy are open and “regularly working” despite cases of coronavirus in some areas of the country, according to the president of the Association of Schools of Italian as a Second Language.

Speaking with The PIE News, the association’s president, Wolfango Poggi, explained that although associated schools had seen cancellations from both school groups and individuals, language providers are doing their utmost to support students.

“All our school centres are open for business and are working”

“All our school centres are open for business and are working regularly,” he explained, adding that the country remains safe.

The global media’s portrayal of Italy during the coronavirus has caused issues for schools seeking to teach Italian to visiting students from around the world, Poggi added.

“Our country is absolutely safe and…because of the mass media’s terrible way of communication, our market will be affected for several weeks, maybe including summertime and longer,” he said.

The whole of the Italian language industry has been affected, he noted, with some schools suspending education program between February 24-29.

“Some students have cancelled or postponed their trips especially in our schools in Northern Italy,” Poggi told The PIE.

US universities have started repatriating students from some areas of Italy, he noted. Other programs beyond Italy have also been suspended.

“Until now there are no official restrictions imposed by our government. Borders are open, flights, trains and buses are operating as usual except direct flights from and to China,” he continued.

Like other education providers, Italian language schools are running or planning to introduce online classes to “give students the opportunity not to miss classes”.

One school – Istituto Dante Alighieri Milano – said students were “gladly accepting” Skype lessons it has proposed.

Support from institutions is now needed “more than ever”, Poggi stressed, adding that the loss of bookings and cancellations are “a huge issue”.

“Our industry needs support from our institutions, now more than ever. We represent a relevant part not only of the economic income but, above all, of the cultural exchanges of the country,” he said.

“Italy is always a destination that students long to visit. We want to reassure everyone that, also under these circumstances, Italy remains an absolutely safe place, as is our schools.”

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China: Edtech surge during COVID-19 crisis

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 05:34

Global media reports are sending conflicting messages as to whether tech companies are set to either suffer losses from factory shutdowns in China as the coronavirus epidemic continues or enjoy a surge in purchases as parents scramble to buy devices so their children can study online.

Much of the edtech community is cautiously optimistic that the uptake of online education products in China will reach a “tipping point” that sees products retain wider market access when the virus subsides.

Classes are continuing online for the country’s 180 million students through apps and online platforms. In addition to private providers, the state has itself launched a massive “National Online Cloud Classroom”.

“The coronavirus epidemic is a crisis to our society, but also a good chance to promote and develop technology and solutions”

“The government contracted tech companies like Baidu, Huawei, and Alibaba, along with telecom providers China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile, to work together to provide the cloud capacity and bandwidth,” explained the Ministry.

“The platform is now operating with 90 terabytes of bandwidth and uses over 7,000 servers. It has been built for simultaneous use by 50 million students.”

While the government’s ability to create such a platform in a short space of time is impressive, it has also had to broadcast lessons on state television to service the 40% of the country without internet and the 400 million people still using 2G or 3G networks.

“The coronavirus epidemic is a crisis to our society, but also a good chance to promote and develop technology and solutions for online learning and teaching, which is the future direction of education,” said Feng Xudong, head of Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University’s Management Information Technology and System Office.

“It will accelerate the pace of XJTLU’s massive online education as well.”

Many universities, XJTLU and Duke Kunshan among them, are now operating all of their classes online.

“These are courses that in some cases haven’t been taught before,” added Matthew Rascoff, who leads Duke University’s digital education efforts.

“Technology is often seen as cold, but in this case, we’re using it to recreate the student community, give people support and help engage them.”

People’s experiences using online education in China during the coronavirus shutdown is likely to offer a wealth of information and feedback, providing companies with invaluable data as to how to achieve wider popularity.

In 2018, the market size of China’s online education industry was valued at 230 billion yuan (£25 billion) with a market penetration rate of 10%.

Data from the last few years shows that the majority of students are now likely working from phones and tablets as opposed to desktop computers and laptops.

There have been complaints about weak signal for live video conferencing, as well as parents worrying about the effect of spending so many hours staring at a screen could have on their children’s eyesight.

Apps such as DingTalk and Cloud Class, used by schools to deliver classes remotely, have also suffered unintended consequences as a result of their sudden popularity: through online stores, students have been downvoting the apps en masse for “stealing their extended holiday”.

DingTalk itself responded by commissioning a song about the benefits of the app in which it asks everyone to rate it five stars. It currently has 2.7 on the Huawei app store and reviews have been disabled.

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Aileen Kane, COO, Boarding Schools’ Association, UK

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 03:36
Aileen Kane is the COO for the Boarding Schools’ Association and director of the Safeguarding and Child Protection Association. With a background in international marketing, she moved into the boarding school sector after becoming passionate about independent education. Her work also focuses on safeguarding, where she says there is much to be done around the mandatory reporting of abuse. Kane spoke to The PIE about the challenges, trends and successes of the UK’s revered boarding school sector.

 

The PIE: What is your background? Were you always in education? 

Aileen Kane: My background was in international marketing and then I worked for a couple of independent schools both of which had boarding. Six years ago I joined the BSA and quite quickly I got involved with a lot of policy and safeguarding.

“Quite often there’s the misconception that boarding schools are only for the rich”

BSA has been driving a lot of the safeguarding work for the sector, and two years ago we employed our first head of safeguarding, Dale Wilkins. It is a very interesting sector to work in. 

The PIE: Tell me why you decided to move to BSA.

AK: I joined BSA as the head of communications in March 2015. My role in the organisation has changed since, but what is really interesting for me, from a personal point of view, is that I was state educated in Scotland. So this world wasn’t necessarily a natural pathway for me. But having worked in two independent boarding schools, I saw the real opportunity that boarding gave to all students.

Quite often there’s the misconception that boarding schools are only for the rich. But I have done a lot of work with children on the edge of care, I’ve worked with refugee partnerships and as a sector, we’re trying to broaden the horizon of people who are in boarding schools.

Being able to see firsthand the opportunities for children, it gave me a real passion for the boarding sector. So when the role came up at BSA, it felt like a good natural progression to then go forward and represent the whole sector, and not just one or two schools.

“Our boarding schools are trying to prepare students for a world of work that probably doesn’t exist to you and me now”

The PIE: What does BSA do? 

AK: We are the largest association for boarding schools in the world. We currently have just over 600 boarding schools. Approximately 500 of those are here in the UK, the other hundred are international. Then in England, there are also 40 state boarding schools.

BSA works with the government on everything from representing the sector including on immigration and policy such as the National Minimum Standards for boarding. We also provide training for boarding staff. The pastoral staff will come through our training program called the BSA Academy.

We run regular webinars, one day events and residential conference. In addition, we also run accredited training courses. That ranges from your entry into the boarding world with the two year accredited course, right the way up to a master’s in residential education [that is] run in conjunction with Buckingham University. The whole idea is that there is continual learning and that the people who are looking after children in boarding houses, are well trained and able to support the pupils in their care.

The PIE: How important are international students to British boarding schools?

AK: Oh they’re hugely important. Our boarding schools are trying to prepare students for a world of work that probably doesn’t exist to you and me now. Having that global outlook and having a global network that they can look to, and being able to be accepting and understanding that there are different cultures and different ways of working in the world, I believe this is really valuable for any young person.

Also, they get the opportunity to spend time and have friendships with people from across the globe. I think, equally, that’s the case for international students coming to the UK. They gain access to our world-class education system, but also to network with children from across the globe. It’s a fantastic opportunity.

The PIE: What are the biggest challenges being faced by boarding schools at the moment? 

AK: I think the immediate challenge is the coronavirus. We have a very broad international community who could potentially be at risk because of the coronavirus and because our children come from all over the world, but also because our parents travel extensively. So while it is a huge benefit to our community that there are children from every single country in the world in our schools, it’s equally a risk at this time.

“We have a very broad international community who could potentially be at risk because of the coronavirus”

However, It’s been great to see schools, parents and pupils all working together to try and make sure that the children and their families are safe and, depending on which way the virus goes, that everybody has got somewhere to go where they are safe and supported. Not just in terms of their health but also their well-being as well. We are likely to have some students in our schools who have family in affected regions and it’s good that our boarding community is able to support those children who are going to be clearly worried at this time.

The PIE: What are the biggest trends for boarding schools? 

AK: One thing I have seen over the last 10 years of boarding, is that our schools are far more receptive to changing family dynamics. There are a lot more first time buyers in the market now then there was in the past and the emerging trend seems to be that pupils in the younger years will start by flexi-boarding or boarding on an occasional basis, to suit family demand.

I live in London and I quite often see children crossing London to go to music lessons, sporting lessons, etc. which is tiring for them. So the advantage of flexi-boarding is that you can do those extracurricular activities and then it means the next time you go home, it’s just quality family time.

When family demands are so busy today, I think that’s a real advantage. As the children move through the school and move towards GCSEs and then sixth form, we see that the trend moves more towards weekly and then full boarding in preparation for university. So I think our schools are definitely looking at those demands from parents and helping to support the family network.

The PIE: Tell me about your role as director of SACPA.

AK: BSA have done a lot of work on supporting the mandatory reporting of abuse. In the past there has been abuse in boarding schools and what we wanted to do is look at what’s happened in the past, and try and learn some lessons. We as a sector support the mandatory reporting of abuse, which currently is only the law in Northern Ireland and not the rest of the UK.

“At BSA we were starting to get calls from organisations who weren’t boarding schools…asking for our help when it came to safeguarding”

We’ve worked with survivors of abuse, we’re working with the independent enquiry into sexual abuse as well. As part of our work, we’re running training, we’re providing advice and support. But at BSA we were starting to get calls from organisations who weren’t boarding schools, such as sporting and voluntary organisations and charities asking for our help when it came to safeguarding. It struck us that there was nowhere for people to go and gain advice, share best practice and network. As a solution, at the end of January, we launched a sister association called SACPA, which stands for the Safeguarding and Child Protection Association.

It is for anybody who’s involved in safeguarding and child protection. That can be anyone from a childminder, right the way up to say university or a children’s or an old people’s home. It doesn’t really matter.

The idea is that it’s a hub, to share knowledge, share policies and to provide training and guidance for people who require that support.

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EHL Group unveils new Singapore campus

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 02:55

Renowned Swiss hospitality school Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne has announced the opening of its first international campus in Singapore. With 100 UK students currently enrolled at EHL’s Lausanne campus in Switzerland, the new Singapore campus is set to attract a growing number of British students seeking opportunities in the region.

Set in what was once a boarding school for the children of British soldiers, the new Singapore campus in the former Kinloss House has been completely restored and will receive its first cohort in the fall of 2021.

“This is a valuable opportunity for a new generation of industry leaders to train with and learn from the best”

In the meantime, the EHL group plans to deliver short courses on-site as early as July 2020.

The Hotel School of Lausanne is home to an illustrious list of alumni, making up some of the UK’s most renowned figures in the hospitality world.

EHL alumnus Philipp Mosimann, who is also managing director of Mosimann’s – appointed caterers to HRH The Prince of Wales –  said the new Singapore campus is the “perfect complement to EHL’s renowned Swiss hospitality offering”.

“South-East Asia and in particular Singapore is home to some of the world’s best and most technologically-advanced luxury hotels and as the Asian hospitality market continues to grow, this is a valuable opportunity for a new generation of industry leaders to train with and learn from the best,” he added.

EHL Campus (Singapore) is set to deliver the same internationally recognised “Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management degree as EHL Campus Lausanne, adding first-hand local market knowledge and experience to the curriculum.

This new campus aims to expand the opportunities for future hospitality leaders to thrive in an international landscape.

“We very much look forward to expanding our connection to the local community and participate in this thriving environment. It is with enthusiasm and conviction that we embark on this new adventure… as we hope to strengthen our existing ties to the Singaporean hospitality industry,” said EHL Group CEO, Michel Rochat.

Candidates can apply to start their preparatory year at the EHL Campus Lausanne in September of this year and then begin their bachelor course as the first cohort at EHL Campus (Singapore) in the fall of 2021.

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QE launches ‘e-Missions’ to reduce emissions

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 14:43

Independent English language school collective Quality English has launched e-Missions, an eco-friendly service for educators to meet agent partners through an online platform.

QE piloted the system earlier in February with five schools and five agents and plans to roll out the ‘e-Missions’ over the coming months to create an “online networking system” for its schools from nine countries and agents around the globe.

“All of the agents and schools were delighted with the new system”

Following the launch of the QE Green Charter indicating how schools can be more eco-friendly, QE has been looking at ways to make our operations more environmentally-friendly, QE chief executive, Jonathan Swindell explained.

“All of the agents and schools were delighted with the new system and we can’t wait to launch a series of e-Missions which will start very soon,” he said.

“We envisage that these events will complement our regular face-to-face Missions, rather than replace them, and allow our schools and agents to become acquainted from the comfort of their homes or offices.”

QE’s Green Charter

The idea to develop online workshops was generated at QE’s Annual Conference in Malaga, and the organisation “wasted no time in starting to look at suitable platforms”, Swindell added.

“We brought together five of our schools with five agents from around Europe to replicate the scenario of a typical QE Mission, in what we believe is an industry-first for a school association.”

QE will soon be launching an online forum for licensees – “QE Connect” – aiming to “further develop the sense of community among the schools and allow them to discuss industry issues and share best practice”, the organisation said.

Earlier this year, QE presented scholarships to 14 public school teachers from across Brazil to experience “life-changing” opportunities overseas.

In partnership with Brazilian agency association, BELTA, the 14 winners were selected following a six-month essay-writing competition. Entrants were asked to describe how an overseas English learning opportunity would enhance their lives and careers.

The 14 winning teachers will study at QE schools.

The competition aimed to offer life-changing opportunities to teachers across Brazil who “might not have otherwise had the opportunity to experience overseas study”, QE chief executive Jonathan Swindell noted.

“The response was huge and we had a hard task choosing the winners,” he said.

“We hope that they will have a fantastic time at their QE school and return to work full of new ideas and skills. Thank you to the whole team at BELTA for being so professional and committed to this fantastic project.”

BELTA president Maura Leao added that the QE schools coming on board with the project will benefit teachers and their students in Brazil.

“We have a great reason to keep doing what we do: promote intercultural education across borders”

“The emotion we all felt seeing the shine in all teacher’s eyes when receiving their scholarships is hard to describe,” she said.

“The English teachers from public schools… teach mostly underprivileged students. Our minds and souls were deeply touched. We have a great reason to keep doing what we do: promote intercultural education across borders.”

The scholarships were presented at a special ceremony during QE’s recent agent workshop in Sao Paolo. See photos from the event here.

QE will be hosting face-to-face missions to China, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Taiwan and Thailand later in 2020.

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Int’l students honoured at UK Parliament

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 08:34

UK parliamentarians with met international students for an afternoon tea party in the House of Commons this week, to honour the contribution they make to the country. 

The event was put on by the APPG for International Students, which seeks to recognise the internationalisation and global prominence of UK education. 

“Your presence studying in the UK sends a really powerful message about how the world can work better together”

More than 40 international students studying at UK colleges and universities attended, each selected for their contributions to their local institution or community. 

Co-chair of the APPG for International Students, Paul Blomfield MP spoke at the event, saying he was “delighted” to be joined by the students.  

“We [the APPG] came together to celebrate the contribution that international students make to the life of the UK,” he told attendees. 

“You are a very select bunch of people because you are representing something like half a million international students across every part of the UK.

“Your presence studying in the UK sends a really powerful message about how the world can work better together- the way in which we can learn from each other and how much we have to gain by studying common problems alongside each other,” he added.

It was the fourth time that the APPG for International Students had put such an event for students since it was founded in 2016. This year, Kaplan International Pathways sponsored the event. 

“International students bring so much to this country, socially, in terms of soft power and the economy,” Sue Edwards, director of compliance and accreditation UK and Ireland at Kaplan, told The PIE. 

“We have come such a long way, but there is such a long journey to go. I think we can see today the way these students are sharing experiences with each other… we have to make sure that we have the same visa system to get more international students here. 

“So today is a reminder, I think, of all the work that has gone on, but it is also a celebration to show the achievement of these students,” Edwards added.

Krum Tashev, an international student from the EU, spoke about the difficulties faced by some international students in the UK. 

“On days like today, at events like this, we need to shout out to the great contributions and successes of international students. But we also need to discuss the challenges that we are facing right now,” he said.

“For me, having to go back to Bulgaria because of Brexit, it wasn’t easy. Seeing students racially abused and harassed simply because they are wearing face masks on a daily basis, it wasn’t easy.”

The fact that international students still face barriers in the UK was echoed by Dominik Frej, president of federation of Polish student societies at Queen Mary University of London. 

“I hope that my friends from Poland, my friends from the EU and finally my friends from outside of Europe, will get the chance to study in the UK, without any financial burden and financial problems. This is the goal,” he said. 

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Ireland: UL inks €20m deal with Algerian MoE

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 04:01

A groundbreaking English language deal worth an estimated €20 million to help transform higher education in Algeria has been signed by the University of Limerick in Ireland.

The Algerian government plan to move from French to English as the official language of teaching and learning at third-level is to be supported through a specially designed PhD program offered to visiting students at UL.

UL will facilitate the conversion to English as a teaching medium with the Algerian Ministry of National Education as the country moves to increase the visibility of research in HE institutions.

“We have much to learn from the cooperation with Algeria”

According to a statement on the UL website, the first phase of the project has seen 117 PhD students, the majority of whom are female, join the international PhD program in UL.

Overall the program will see 400 Algerian PhD students study at UL during the four years of the project in a contract estimated to be worth up to €20m.

A Memorandum of Understanding between UL and the Algerian MoE has been signed agreeing to the relationship and the fee structure over the first four years of the project, as well as a contract guaranteeing €5.5m for UL on the initial intake.

The PhD was designed after a think tank of specialists and administration officials came together to find ways to open up the international environment for Algerian universities.

Executive dean and chair in Applied Languages, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at UL, Helen Kelly-Holmes, said the initiative is a “game-changer” in terms of the university’s international presence and impact.

“We have much to learn from the cooperation with Algeria and it is a fantastic opportunity to help shape the future development of higher education in that country,” she added.

Director of Cooperation and Interuniversity exchanges at the Algerian MoE, Arezki Saidani, said the ministry looks forward to “long-term engagement and fruitful collaboration” with the Irish university.

Mairead Moriarty, assistant dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at UL, explained that UL’s first engagement with the proposal came through professor Tewfik Soulimane, an Algerian national who is the head of chemical sciences at UL’s Bernal Institute.

“The Algerian government is moving from teaching everything through the medium of French to the medium of English so they need to upskill staff in higher education, trainee teachers and current students, and they have put aside a significant amount of funding to do this,” she explained.

A UL delegation travelled to Algeria to pitch for the project, where it was explained that Algerian universities were having difficulty accessing funding and attracting international collaborators outside of the French-speaking world.

“We had consultations and presentations to document all of the aspects of our bid to host the candidates, including how the program would look, the types of supports available for international students and how competitive UL was against other Irish and UK universities,” continued Moriarty.

“We were told that they needed to start the switch and publish in English and to ensure that their education system is moved over to English quickly.

“If you really want to be an international player, you can’t just focus on what is happening in your own front yard”

“Our job now is to bring students, who have competed nationally in Algeria for these scholarships, over to us so that they can be trained on how to teach through the medium of English while also doing a PhD at the same time,” she added.

As part of the initiative, a full support network, including on-campus accommodation, has been put in place to help the international students while they are at UL.

Moriarty added that on completion of the international PhD, each of the Algerian students will be well placed to access a lecturing post when they return home.

“We also have a moral responsibility to the developing world and to [help] developing countries to reach their goals. I think the fact that UL is a University of Sanctuary and the fact that we have a huge amount of projects with Irish Aid and a history of doing research that is community-led is important,” she said.

“That type of work can’t just be in our own local community because if you really want to be an international player, you can’t just focus on what is happening in your own front yard.”

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HK int’l schools closure may have “dramatic” impact

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 03:04

With schools suspended in Hong Kong until at least April 20, the French and British Chambers have written an open letter to the Hong Kong government describing “dramatic consequences” for international schools and their financial position as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

“If the specific needs of international schools cannot be rapidly addressed, this will very likely trigger decisions of families (not just expatriates) to leave Hong Kong in the coming weeks,” wrote the chairmen of the two chambers, Rebeca Silli (France) and Peter Burnett (British).

“This will very likely trigger decisions of families… to leave Hong Kong”

Around 9.5% of Hong Kong’s population, numbering around 690,000 people, are foreign or non-Hong Kong Chinese, according to a 2016 census.

The population of the city declined by 0.1% in the last half of 2019 following months of protests, the first time it has seen a decline in two decades. About half of Hong Kong’s foreign population work in a domestic capacity, but the city retains a large financial and business sector to whose children international schools cater.

While the government has announced subsidies for schools, along with a host of other businesses – bus companies, for example, have been feeling the knock-on effect of school closures – it has earmarked just HKD $20,000 (£1,985) for each international school.

The South China Morning Post reported that some private kindergartens were struggling after parents failed to pay tuition fees. This may also come to affect international schools if tuition fees for this semester are withheld.

Whether schools will allow cross-boundary students living in Guangdong province to return to classes at the same time as other students is still uncertain, though there is likely to be pushback against this from Hong Kong parents if the virus continues to spread.

“When we decide whether we will resume classes we will have to make sure that it’s safe for all students to do so, as well [assess] as the impact of having the cross-boundary students coming over to Hong Kong to attend classes,” said the government in a statement.

“It will also depend on the situation at that time of the epidemic both in Hong Kong and Shenzhen… We are still considering different options and have not made any final decision yet.”

Many upcoming exams have been cancelled by the government. However, the written university entrance exams will go ahead on March 27.

Meanwhile in Malaysia, parents are reportedly unhappy after Nord Anglia sent a number of students unable to return to their schools on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong to the British International School in Kuala Lumpur.

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Stressors in US HE sector amplify challenges to international ed – AIEA

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 02:34

Where international education in the US is heading in an increasingly uncertain political and global landscape was top of mind for many at the 2020 AIEA Annual Conference, held recently in Washington, D.C.

Convening senior international officers from across the globe, the AIEA conference provides an annual opportunity for attendees to discuss the strategic direction of international education at their home institutions, within the US, and globally.

“It’s not only what’s happening in internationalisation that’s shifting, higher education is changing too”

This year’s theme was ‘Rethinking Comprehensive Internationalization for a Global Generation’, reflecting a growing sense in the field that the internationalisation of the US education has reached an inflection point.

The internationalisation of the US HE sector occurred rapidly, buoyed in large by the tremendous growth in student mobility from the early 2000s to today.

Within the US, international student enrolments have surpassed one million for the past two years. Along with the growth in international enrolments came an increased focus on internationalising the teaching, research and service components of the university.

Yet the tides may be turning. The rapid growth in international students in the US began to taper off in 2015, political rhetoric around globalisation and immigration shifted, and fewer institutions have been establishing outposts or branch campuses abroad.

Higher education must undergo a radical shift. The university must become the kind of institution that focuses less on the individual achievement, and more on the community & community engagement – argues @kfitz at today’s #AIEA2020 opening plenary. pic.twitter.com/nZeWvPqSb6

— ThePIEReview (@ThePIEReview) February 17, 2020

These changes on the international education front are taking place within a broader set of challenges that the US higher education sector faces, such as consolidation and closures of institutions across the nation, changing students demographics, and questions about the future direction of education.

As Cheryl Matherly, immediate past president of AIEA and vice president and vice provost for International Affairs at Lehigh University told The PIE News: “It’s not only what’s happening in internationalisation that’s shifting, higher education is changing too. That is the big picture.

“I think all of us are aware that we are in this period of shift… and we’re all now trying to understand those forces that are going to be the drivers of change within the field, and which ones will have the longest term impact,” Matherly added.

The field may now be experiencing a partial “retrenchment” of the SIO position in particular, Matherly continued, as some institutions reorganise and restructure their departments, offices, and senior leadership.

Anecdotal reports about the retrenchment of SIO positions stands in contrast with the findings from the most recent American Council on Education ‘Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses’ survey, published in 2017. The ACE Mapping survey is published every five years and has been tracking the internationalisation of academia since 2000.

Institutions were increasingly choosing to rely on a single office and SIO leadership to manage the international teaching, research and service activities, the 2017 ACE report found.

In the most recent report, nearly three out of four institutions said that they were accelerating internationalisation on their campus, and 53% said that they had an SIO to coordinate multiple international education activities or programs.

“Are we going to see institutions pulling back from their commitment to internationalisation?

Yet the data published then may no longer reflect the reality on the ground, due to how quickly the context is changing.

“When we see the next round of data, we’re curious to see if those trends we saw three years ago will hold steady,” Matherly told The PIE.

“Are we going to see institutions pulling back from their commitment to internationalisation?” she asked.

“Are we going to see more institutions saying that they’ve eliminated these SIO positions, or have consolidated them with other areas of administration?”

In other words, the 2017 report may prove to be a snapshot of the high watermark of internationalisation in the US.

Past AIEA president and dean for International Education and vice provost for Global Strategy at University at Albany-SUNY, Harvey Charles, told The PIE that internationalisation is “being buffeted” by a number of forces.

“I would ground this characterisation in the fact that internationalisation as a field of endeavour is relatively new,” he explained.

“As a field, we trace the origins of internationalisation to the end of the Second World War, but in terms of it being a mainstream element within the academy, we’re looking at only the past 35 or 40 years.”

Chief among these forces buffeting internationalisation, Charles said, is limited access to resources and funding for internationalisation, despite the fact that it can be a revenue-generator for institutions.

In the 2018/19 academic year alone, international students contributed $41 billion to the U.S. economy, according to NAFSA.

Any decline in enrolments at a particular institution can result in financial pressures, leading at least one school to take proactive measures to insure itself against a potential drop in Chinese student enrolments.

The steep decline in intensive English program enrolments, a trend that began in 2017, was a blow to higher education, Charles said.

IEPs serve as an entry point for many prospective international students to then go on for an undergraduate or graduate degree. They also were – and are – an important source of revenue.

Some prominent thinkers in attendance at the 2020 AIEA conference go a step beyond pointing out international education’s current troubles, arguing that internationalisation’s ‘golden age’ is over – or may have yet to occur.

Or, as Hans de Wit, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, put it in a previous PIE Chat, internationalisation is “dead”.

Asked at the 2020 conference if he still stands by that characterisation, de Wit agreed.

“We talk about internationalisation a lot, but it’s becoming a sort of general term without any meaning”

“Yes – in the sense that we talk about internationalisation a lot, but it’s becoming a sort of general term without any meaning,” said de Wit.

He said he sees a distinction between the international education activities being undertaken by colleges and universities and a more value-driven approach to internationalisation as a social enterprise.

“In terms of a really comprehensive internationalisation strategy [on the part] of institutions, of governments, I don’t think it’s happening, partly because there is still a revenue-based approach that’s driving the agenda,” de Wit added.

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