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Mariam Sheikh honoured at IIWA 2020

Jue, 02/20/2020 - 07:55

The former vice-president of Amity University Dubai, Mariam Sheikh, has received a lifetime achievement award for her work with foreign universities in the UAE. 

The prize was given at the International Inspirational Women Awards 2020, an event organised by Indian not-for-profit organisation the GISR Foundation.

“I strongly believe in the development of society through education”

Sheikh has spent the last 35 years helping to set up international universities in Dubai, where she specialised in student recruitment. She was amongst 81 other women who were awarded for their contributions towards society. 

“Our visionary leadership that supports women 100%, believes that for a society to be productive, it has to utilise the talents and capabilities of women who represent around half of the UAE population,” she told The PIE News

“I strongly believe in the development of society through education – its value system – to leave a profound legacy for the future generation.  

“I am of the opinion that international exposure and amalgamation of various cultures will help to create a tolerant and peaceful global society that will be progressive and will establish a future,” she added.

Sheikh started her career in education in the early 1980s, when she ran a Nursery school.  She then went on to head a number of schools before moving into higher education in UAE.

She sponsored a foreign campus for Canada’s University of New Brunswick at Knowledge Village – a move that prompted other foreign universities to set up campuses in Dubai. 

Sheikh then worked with institutes including The Canadian University of Dubai, Heriot Watt University from Scotland and Amity University of India in Dubai, where she contributed to the development of their foreign campuses.

She told The PIE  that she was “so proud and grateful to see that my work has been noted and that I am being commended publicly for it.”

IIWA was set up to celebrate the commitment, courage and confidence of exceptional women across dimensions and geographical boundaries.

A number of women were honoured at the awards in categories including Woman CEO of the Year, Woman Change-maker of the Year and Best Woman Performer in Woman Rights.

Balvinder Shukla, who is the current vice-chancellor at Amity University, spoke at the event, telling the audience that women are change-makers who would bring about “change in the society, country and the world”.

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Coronavirus epidemic to hit short-term summer programs hardest – BOSSA

Jue, 02/20/2020 - 04:49

As Chinese banks sterilise cash to try and prevent the further spread of coronavirus and bars deliver happy hour drinks to customers in lockdown, many agents are preparing for “a decline in students going abroad this year”, according to a survey from the Beijing Overseas Study Service Association.

BOSSA is China’s largest international education association and together with the China Overseas Study Service Alliance, it counts more than 300 agencies, education providers and organisations among its members.

The majority of Chinese students use an education agent, and BOSSA- COSSA agent members account for two-thirds of all Chinese students sent abroad, according to the association.

According to the survey, BOSSA members report that staff are continuing to work remotely and communicate with clients online or by telephone, with agencies taking a “wait and see approach” to developments and closely following official reports and news from partner institutions.

“Reports of attacks on Chinese international students are most disconcerting to BOSSA”

“The epidemic has invariably caused 40%-60% of students to be directly affected in college applications, visa applications, and in-country exit and entry,” stated the survey report.

The main application issues reported by agents include incomplete materials due to the cancellation of standardised tests (35%), delayed school starts (28%), blocked travel (39%), blocked entry or exit (39%), blocked visa applications (38%) and blocked admission (8%).

Countries such as Australia have stopped processing visas for Chinese students, meaning some may have to defer their studies, while those heading to countries still issuing visas may experience delays due to the evacuation of embassy and consulate staff from China.

“BOSSA’s staff and members are closely monitoring visa centre closings, cancelled flights, banning of Chinese travellers, and associated national and global matters of the novel coronavirus affecting the health and safety of Chinese students abroad,” BOSSA spokesperson Jon Santangelo told The PIE News.

He explained that reports of verbal and physicals attacks on Chinese international students are most disconcerting to BOSSA and its agents.

“Hosting schools and universities need to communicate an awareness of challenges which may arise and offer sequential supportive actions to their students. These educators should also convey this information to their partnered recruitment agents,” Santangelo said, adding that BOSSA’s own Agent Expo has been postponed from March 19 to May 29.

The report also revealed that agencies believe almost 36% of students will change their plans with regards studying abroad due to the epidemic, while 66% say the total number of students studying abroad this year will decline.

In addition, more than 80% said they believe summertime short-term programs will be the most affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

“The main concern at this stage, having spoken to university partners, is the IELTS and pre-sessional English courses,” Billy Xu of Sower International Education Group told The PIE.

“A large number of Chinese students who join master’s programs will need to take pre-sessional English courses, and these vary from 10 to 30 weeks or even longer.”

“Hosting schools and universities need to communicate an awareness of challenges”

Xu said that in order to get a visa for the pre-sessional courses, students need to take the IELTS with UKVI exams, but now that IELTS tests are closed until April “there will be a foreseeable drop for this Autumn intake”.

For international students currently in China that cannot get abroad to their classes, some universities are trying to offer online options.

Some reports have suggested internet restrictions have been eased to help students access courses although others within China say there has been an increased crackdown on access to the non-Chinese websites and VPN usage.

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ILAC acquires CTC and Sterling College

Jue, 02/20/2020 - 03:32

Renowned English language provider, International Language Academy of Canada has announced the acquisition of Canadian Tourism College and Sterling College in British Columbia.

The acquisition comes as part of the expansion of ILAC’s new higher education division, adding programs in tourism, hospitality, business and nursing to its offering.

“ILAC continues to focus on providing best-in-class English language learning”

The organisation currently offers a range of programs to young adults aged 16 to 18, adults 19+ and gap year programs across 10 campuses in both Toronto and Vancouver.

“The formation of ILAC Higher Education allows us to work with our public partner institutions to deliver qualifications that currently have high job demands in Canada,” said Feroz Ali, ILAC’s new president and chief development officer of the HE division.

“This will allow ILAC students to either pathway into our amazing public institutions or continue to allow their students within our higher education division,” he added.

“ILAC continues to focus on providing best-in-class English language learning and we believe this partnership complements our existing pathway partnerships, offering a wider selection of services to our students,” the organisation’s CEO Jonathan Kolber said.

The provider stated that the merger “existing post-secondary operations with CTC and Sterling College will increase ILAC’s ability to deliver program excellence while continuing to foster diversity on its campuses in Toronto and Vancouver”.

In 2019, private equity platform ONCAP announced an agreement with ILAC to continue the business’s growth, “both organically and through acquisitions”.

Ali further said that he was “delighted to join the governance and management team at ILAC to help realise its growth potential”.

“This is an incredible opportunity to be part of the changing landscape in international education in Canada,” he said.

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UK announces points-based visa system

Mié, 02/19/2020 - 09:58

The UK government has launched its long-awaited points-based immigration system which it claims will “open up the UK to the brightest and the best from around the world”.

EU students will also be subject to the points-based system for study visas, as the single global system promises to “treat EU and non-EU citizens equally”.

“We’re ending free movement, taking back control of our borders and delivering on the people’s priorities”

Due to come into effect from January 2021, the proposed changes require those seeking to work in the UK earn at least £25,600 a year, as well as having specific skills and qualifications, including the ability to speak English.

Student visa routes will also be points-based, the government said.

“We’re ending free movement, taking back control of our borders and delivering on the people’s priorities by introducing a new UK points-based immigration system, which will bring overall migration numbers down,” said UK home secretary Priti Patel.

“We will attract the brightest and the best from around the globe, boosting the economy and our communities, and unleash this country’s full potential.”

Students seeking to study in the UK will need to demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, that they can support themselves financially and that they speak English, the government explained.

Earlier in 2020, a report from the Migration Advisory Committee recommended a previously proposed salary threshold of £30,000 for migrants to be reduced to “about £25,600”.

Director of Universities UK International, Vivienne Stern, said she welcomed the fact that academics and researchers are being recognised for their “high skill level and their contribution to the UK economy and society”.

“We know that the British public agrees that the UK immigration system should be designed so that scientists, academics and their support staff can work in the UK and we have recommended that holding a job offer should give university staff priority status,” Stern noted.

A UUK poll had previously shown the British public overwhelmingly believe that immigrants should be welcomed into the country on the strength of their skills.

“While we welcome the recognition that the salary threshold of £30K was too high, we still need to ensure that all university staff will be able to work in the UK… [staff] who are vital to supporting the success of our universities,” Stern added.

However, NUS president Zamzam Ibrahim said it was “clear” the government had failed to listen to concerns of students in establishing this new points-based immigration system.

“While the reinstatement of two-year post study work visas was a positive step, by introducing financial thresholds for EU students it will close off access to the UK’s higher education system to all but the richest international students,” Ibrahim said.

“All EU students must continue to have access to student finance if we are to meet the government’s own target of attracting 600,000 students to the UK by 2030.”

Ibrahim added that the salary threshold will prevent institutions from recruiting the staff they need and deny future students the opportunity to learn from those with international backgrounds.

“These plans will create further perverse outcomes for students and educational staff”

It is estimated 70% of the existing EU workforce would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker route, which “will help to bring overall numbers down in future”, according to the UK Home Office.

“This new system will also prohibit the best international students from graduating into the entrepreneurial, charitable and creative industries, and any public sector not deemed valuable by our government,” Ibrahim added.

“Already our student visas and other visa application systems are not fit for purpose; these plans will create further perverse outcomes for students and educational staff migrating to the UK alike.”

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Mauricio Espinosa Moncada, President, AMTE, Mexico

Mié, 02/19/2020 - 07:50
In his own words, president of the Mexican Association of Educational Tourism (AMTE) Mauricio Espinosa Moncada is on a mission to “open something very disruptive”. In this PIE Chat, Moncada spoke about his role, the market in Mexico and the need for educators and professionals in the sector to continuously adapt.


The PIE: How did you get into the industry?

Mauricio Espinosa Moncada: I started more than 12 years ago with a small organisation in Mexico that was sending students to the University of Salamanca in Spain. Then I completely changed my career for a time, before returning to work in the industry with EF. I started as a country project manager, then they offered me the role of country director of Peru. After three years, Kaplan asked me to come back to Mexico and open the whole operation for Kaplan in Mexico.

Due to problems with Venezuela, China and Russia, Kaplan cut investment in some countries, and Mexico was one of them. So I opened Kaplan and I closed Kaplan. As we were giving really good numbers, they decided to give us an exclusivity contract for Mexico.

So I opened a company – I founded a company together with a partner. And then sadly after two years, the exchange rate completely changed in Mexico and I decided to leave the company. At that time, I used to be the vice president of AMTE, but I decided to quit the education industry and try something new.

“We are growing a lot – in one month we had five new members, and others are interested”

The PIE: So where are you working now? 

MEM: I’m working for Mundo Joven Travel Shop. Burlington English, a group from Israel with English schools worldwide, approached me and said, ‘We want to open Mexico. We have been trying to approach the Mexican market for several years’. So I invested.

The headquarters and the first school opened in January. It’s a local school and we compete with companies like Berlitz. The plan is to create two very best schools in the next four years in Mexico, and aiming to have a hundred in the next 10 years. So it’s a big plan.

We are going to open something very disruptive. Students can go whatever days they want – it’s included in the price – and because students are not going to go five days per week, we can put more students in the school than our competitors.

So we can actually start with a price that is killer – less than a 1000 pesos – around US$50 per month. Other major schools in Mexico are around $150-400 per month. So we can have English courses for a very large population in Mexico that can’t afford an expensive English course.

The PIE: Can you tell me more about AMTE and its membership? 

MEM: AMTE is an association for agencies, but we’re open to providers, embassies and schools. We are running more events and ICEF is going to join AMTE. We are growing a lot – in one month we had five new members, and others are interested. And just one year ago we used to be around 20, so we’re aiming to double.

We figured out that we were perceived as very commercial, so we are working with partners to try to become more academic in a certain way. We also decided to put money in the digital media promoting AMTE to students. So we’re telling the student, ‘if you want to travel abroad, you must be sure that you’re travelling with a secure AMTE agency, school or provider’.

We want to be very inclusive, to share best practices and show examples of innovation in the industry because I really believe that the industry hasn’t changed that much in the last 20 years. It’s very important for us to really change fast right away because I’m sure that groups like or Expedia at some point are going to watch our industry and say, ‘you know what? There is a market there’.

“We can have English courses for a large population in Mexico that can’t afford an expensive English course”

For major markets, Mexico included, the market is pure language. A very simple product. The students now are trying to research more about the school on the internet. So we believe that there is a market in Mexico that is really ready to buy through e-commerce.

We have to prepare, really invest in technology, innovation, platforms. In our market, 40% is languages at least – that can be purchased through e-commerce. When I was working with EF, they were really experts with this. And that’s one of their advantages; they really know the market.

The PIE: What are a couple of examples of innovative work in the industry? 

MEM: Booking platform for agents and education providers Book & Learn is run by young professionals and they think in a disruptive way. I’d say that Book & Learn and Edvisor own probably 80% of the agencies in the world together just because they invented an easy way for the sales process and software that can make life easier.

Agencies tend to approach young people in a very formal way. We need to approach them in a different language. And this language probably is technology. We sell experiences. When you talk with a student, they talk about the experience – not the brand, not the English course, not how good at academics we are. We need to rethink how we approach students. We need to talk to them like young people.

“Agencies tend to approach young people in a very formal way”

If you just jump to YouTube and watch most of the videos of schools, you would see that those videos are very boring. But then there are also very good examples of people who are approaching it in the right way. EF, for example, did an amazing video. I believe that we really need to rethink our marketing both online as well as offline to attract more people.

The PIE: Should that approach depend on which market you work in? Say if you’re working in Turkey and you’re trying to reach Turkish students, is that going to be different than if you’re in Mexico trying to reach Mexican students? 

MEM: Of course, the cultural factor is very important. But at the end of the day, the basics are the same. We must focus on the basis of this market, the young people and try to approach with a cultural touch.

What really concerns me is that the world is changing fast, and we are not noticing many of these changes. We could lose [students] if we don’t adapt as fast as possible. Now that you talk around the world. We talk with many associations around the world – with associations in Germany, Ireland, Colombia.

I really believe that we have to act like a block. We have to prepare many things – just a few countries have good statistics about education.

The PIE: Coming back to Mexico. What are the trends for Mexican students? 

MEM: Junior camps are growing a lot in Mexico. Of course, it was a very challenging year because of the economy. I would say that will continue because of likely recessions in the next year in many countries. However, the numbers are still growing.

The PIE: What is the new Mexican president’s approach to Mexicans going abroad?

MEM: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is really focused on making the inside economy stronger. And I really believe that he’s not going to give scholarships in the next coming years.

“We could lose [students] if we don’t adapt as fast as possible”

We’re trying to change the Ministry of Education’s mind because we believe that government support is super important in order to keep the market growing. There are many poor people in Mexico. They are not even going to be close to having these kinds of experiences travelling abroad. But as well, there are many people that can do it, but still, need a scholarship, and they deserve a scholarship. They have brilliant minds.

So actually, we’re trying to support them through the private industry as the government is not supporting them. But as well we’re trying to approach the government and try to change this idea.

One of my life missions is to try to make an impact in terms of experiences and internationalisation – everything that means travelling abroad and coming back to your country with an open mind. That’s why I’m so happy to be in AMTE.

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UP Education acquires NZ Tertiary College

Mié, 02/19/2020 - 05:03

New Zealand’s independent tertiary education group UP Education has acquired the country’s largest provider of early childhood education, New Zealand Tertiary College.

Educating more than 3,000 students annually, NZTC trains future early childhood education professionals at bachelor degrees and graduate diplomas levels, as well as healthcare professionals.

“NZTC is a clear leader in ECE teacher education with an excellent reputation”

“NZTC is a clear leader in ECE teacher education with an excellent reputation, a strong culture and a long history of delivering outstanding student outcomes,” UP Education group chief executive officer, Mark Rushworth, said in a statement.

“Bringing NZTC into the UP Education group builds on our strategy to be a leading education provider in industry sectors with strong employment opportunities for students,” he explained.

UP Education looks forward to continuing to deliver for the early childhood education and health and wellbeing sectors, Rushworth added – NZTC is also currently educating 500 in its Health Assistant study programs ranging from Level 2 to Level 4.

NZTC offers online, college-based and blended learning and provides courses to international students in both New Zealand in globally, via its NZTC Global arm.

“For almost 40 years, NZTC has been committed to high-quality teacher education for the Early Childhood Education sector,” Selena Fox, chief executive of NZTC noted.

“With the sector facing significant teacher shortages, NZTC is committed to continuing to play a critical role in meeting the needs of the sector and supporting the government’s focus increasing the number of qualified early childhood teachers.

“Additionally, we are meeting the needs of increasing demand in the healthcare sector for skilled healthcare assistants. Enrolments for NZTC Health and Wellbeing programmes have risen 60% in the past 12 months, and we have strong relationships with key industry employers to transition these students into the workforce.”

NZTC will retain its leadership and teaching and support staff, as well as its name and brand.

UP Education rebranded in 2019, and the acquisition of NZTC brings its annual enrolment to around 13,500 students across its campuses.

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Canada: new study permits issued up 13% on 2018 figures

Mié, 02/19/2020 - 04:29

Canada welcomed more than 400,000 new international students at all study levels in 2019, with Indian student enrolments accounting for the majority of the increase in new study permits issued.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada statistics show that 404,165 individuals were issued study permits in 2019, an increase of almost 50,000 on the previous year. In 2018, 355,100 new study permits were issued.

Although total figures for the 2019 student population are yet to be released, this new data indicates that the entire international student population in Canada now exceeds 600,000, according to one analyst.

“Diversification of source countries is absolutely a priority”

The statistics reveal that 139,740 Indian students were issued study permits in 2019 – up from 107,175 in 2018 – and Indian citizens represent 35% of all 2019 new study permits.

The second biggest cohort came from China with 84,710 permits, marking a decrease on 2018 figures where 85,165 Chinese students were given study permits.

Iran (+39% to 9,795), Nigeria (+16% to 7,585), France (+9% to 14,670) all showed increases of study permits becoming effective in 2019, compared with 2018.

Other countries represented in the top 10 such as South Korea, Brazil, the US and Japan have remained stable, while Vietnam decreased slightly on 2018 figures.

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Rounding off the top 15, the Philippines, Mexico, Bangladesh, Colombia and Taiwan all saw increases, with new study permits for the Philippines notably increasing by 56% to a total of 6,365 in 2019.

In 2018, just 40% of active study permits in Canada were for university study – the rest for students at colleges, Quebec’s CEGEPs or at K-12 schools, Universities Canada highlighted.

Although the 2019 breakdown is not yet available, the organisation expects a similar division.

“With the caveat that these new numbers reflect the system as a whole, rather than just university enrolments, Canadian universities are pleased to see continued growth in the number of students choosing Canada as their study destination,” explained assistant director of International Relations at Universities Canada, Cindy McIntyre.

“Canada’s universities are always happy to see growth in enrolment of international students, but diversification of source countries is absolutely a priority in their internationalisation efforts.

“It’s also a priority for the Canadian government, who have introduced more funding to help diversify the source countries for international students in their recent International Education Strategy.”

Released in August 2019, one of the strategy’s objectives is to diversify source countries of inbound students.

According to CBIE, a number of initiatives have been created or enhanced to support the diversification of the international student population.

These include the Study Direct Stream which “allows students from certain countries to fast track the process for getting a study permit”, according to CBIE director of Knowledge Mobilisation Jacquelyn Hoult.

“Successful achievement of the diversification objectives for international education in Canada necessarily will and need to involve key sectors and institutions working collectively, including government at local, provincial and national levels, post-secondary institutions, and the business and not-for-profit sectors,” Hoult noted.

The latest statistics also indicate that provinces with major cities are continuing to be attractive to international students.

Ontario, including Toronto and Ottawa, remains the most popular province for students gaining new study permits with a total of 198,570 in 2019.

“Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have long been the highest receivers of international students, so this data is not surprising,” McIntyre explained.

“There are always concerns when one source market dominates the marketplace”

“Other provinces are increasing their marketing efforts and the new IES is placing a major focus on attracting more international students to regions where not as many have traditionally gone. But it will certainly take time before the impact of these measures is felt.”

Vice president of Partnerships at Camosun College in Victoria British Columbia, Geoff Wilmshurst, noted that the province has “seen steady international student growth” mainly due to coordinated efforts led by the British Columbia Centre for International Education.

“[A] factor that makes BC a strong destination of choice is our completely integrated credit transfer system which allows students to transfer from one institution to another almost seamlessly,” Wilmshurst told The PIE News.

“It is unique in the world and means that colleges, in particular, can promote degree programs in which they may only offer the first two years.”

Regarding diversifying the international student population, Camosun has seen strong results from countries such as Vietnam and Mexico, Wilmshurst identified.

“We are also making efforts to recruit students from countries that have not been traditional for Canada including the Philippines, which has been a strong immigration source country but not one that we have traditionally had many students,” he added.

“There are always concerns when one source market dominates the marketplace.”

A great deal of capacity exists in Canada’s higher education system, Wilmshurst continued, but “that capacity exists outside of the major population centres and in more rural settings”.

According to CBIE, the retention of international students and prospective residents is of “growing importance” for smaller urban centres – Atlantic Canada’s ‘Study and Stay’ program is one example of the efforts directed toward increasing retention rates of international students where they are most needed, Hoult highlighted.

“The challenge for Canada, in the long run, will be attracting students to these locations. Given that the quality of our education system is quite even across Canada international students would benefit from looking at these options,” Wilmshurst added.

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Globeducate & WWF announce collaboration

Mié, 02/19/2020 - 02:37

K-12 international schools’ group Globeducate and conservation organisation WWF have announced a partnership that will seem them collaborate in nine countries to prepare students to become global citizens.

Globeducate has 55 schools located across France, Spain, UK Italy, Portugal, Canada, Andorra, Qatar and India, and it is expected the partnership will impact on the education of more than 25,000 young people.

“It allows us to engage a global educational community at this pivotal time for our planet”

Launched in January in schools in Canada, Europe and Asia, the Global Agenda for change program will see all schools host screenings of the Netflix ‘Our Planet’ series and educational activities associated with it for the school community.

Students will also take part in the charity´s Wear it Wild event in June, raising money to protect endangered species.

Other activities will include students attending a summit at the WWF-UK Living Planet Centre, guest speaker events at individual schools, and attendance for students in the UK at the David Attenborough Premiere screening at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

With the WWF having played a key role in identifying the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, chief education officer of Globeducate, Daniel Jones, said it was a natural partnership for the group.

“WWF will support our schools in sourcing inspirational speakers and our teachers will have access to online training,” he explained.

Daniel Jones and Matt Larsen-Daw

“We are delighted to be the first international schools’ group to work this closely with WWF.”

Our Planet Education manager at WWF-UK, Matt Larsen-Daw, added that the challenges that lie ahead for society as a result of climate change and biodiversity loss are global ones.

“Connecting students, teachers and educational programs across borders is, therefore, a powerful tool in preparing the next generations to tackle these challenges and play a key role in defining a sustainable future,” he said.

“WWF’s partnership with Globeducate schools is crucial, allowing us to inspire and engage a global educational community at this pivotal time for our planet.”

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Hungarian gov’t to spend an estimated €180m on language courses abroad

Mar, 02/18/2020 - 09:17

An estimated €180 million in funding will be provided by the Hungarian government to support some 90,000 of the country’s students when they travel to the UK, Ireland, Malta, Germany, Austria, France and China this summer to take part in two-week language courses.

Each student will be awarded €2,000, meaning the government will provide around €180m in funding. However, the total funding could exceed that figure significantly as exact numbers are still unknown and as many as 140,000 students are eligible for the scheme.

“We very much hope… when they return home their language learning appetite will increase”

The  ‘Foreign Language Learning Scholarship Programme for Hungarian Secondary School Students in Grade 9 and 11′ initiative is being run by non-profit organisation the Tempus Public Foundation on behalf of the government.

Launched in 2019, the 2020 program will see students travel abroad as part of the program. 

The only prerequisite for funding is that the students are in years 9 or 11 and that they are studying the relevant language at secondary school. They are able to travel individually or in organised groups and will arrive between June 13, and August 31 of this year.

Tímea Tiboldi, head of Unit at the Tempus Public Foundation’s Language Learning Unit told The PIE News that the initiative has been set up to help motivate students who are studying languages. 

“Once [the students] have the experience of studying the specific language in an authentic environment it will hopefully stimulate their motivation to learn that language,” she said. 

“They will be able to make friendships which last for a life-time. We very much hope that they will socialise with their peers… [and] when they return home their language learning appetite will increase so that they will be more efficient in learning foreign languages.”

An online survey by TPF between September and October 2019 revealed a notable appetite among students for the initiative. 

Data showed that 89,924 students indicated their intention to participate in the program based on the responses of 531 out of 738 Hungarian public education institutions that responded to the survey.

It revealed that 90% of those students would travel in groups and that 80% of all language learners indicated their intention to travel to English speaking countries. 

Graph: Tempus Public Foundation

Institutions and students were advised not to have strong preferences towards specific target countries before the course offerings of the language schools are made public. This is because demand will have to be adjusted to the capacity of the language schools. 

As a result, 37,485 students did not specify where they wanted to travel to.

Out of the students that did specify 21,770 hoped to travel to the UK, 5,086 specified Ireland, 8308 specified Malta and 1547 specified France. 5,771 students wanted to go to Germany and 1,261 chose Austria. 


Graph: Tempus Public Foundation

ELT schools have also expressed their enthusiasm for the program, with the UK set to gain the most from this influx of international students.

Short Courses director at CATS Colleges, Carl Roberton, oversees short courses for Stafford House London which is set to accept Hungarian students this year.

He explained that at first, he didn’t realise the scale of the initiative. 

“The numbers that have been bandied about, who knows if they are correct or not, are potentially 50,000 students coming to the UK this summer. That is massive,” he told The PIE.

“It’s probably more students than the whole English language business in the UK can manage and maintain a good nationality mix”

However, Roberton also highlighted one of the challenges of such a large number of students from one nationality.

“It’s probably more students than the whole English language business in the UK can manage and maintain a good nationality mix for those students,” he suggested.

“I think Stafford House has had three Hungarian students in the last three years, and suddenly it seems we’re going to have over six or seven hundred this year.”

The exact number of students arriving at language schools will soon become clearer, as applications to ELT schools are due by March and April. 

Groups of students have a 30-day window to apply between February and March, while individuals can apply between February and April. 

Jodie Gray, interim chief executive of English UK said the association and its member centres are feeling “very optimistic” about the program.

“This has the potential to be the largest European scholarship program for many years,” Gray explained.

“It presents an opportunity for British Council accredited teaching centres to welcome tens of thousands of Hungarian young people, helping them to develop their English language skills and experience what the UK has to offer and be inspired,”  she added.

“This has the potential to be the largest European scholarship program for many years”

Gray explained that the program will have a hugely positive impact on the UK’s ELT sector and its international community of students.

“We’re supporting the Tempus Public Foundation, who are managing the program, in order to ensure that every Hungarian student has the best possible time in the UK.”

Tempus Public Foundation has worked with the British Council to find ELT schools partners in the UK. Roy Cross, principal consultant at the British Council, told The PIE that the British Council welcomes the “ambitious” Hungarian government program.

“[It] has the potential to transform how the next generation of young Hungarians relates to and engages with the United Kingdom,” Cross added.

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UnionBank & SMU ink student talent program

Mar, 02/18/2020 - 04:25

Union Bank of the Philippines and the Singapore Management University have inked an agreement to further develop the potential of SMU’s brightest and most entrepreneurial students by learning from UnionBankers.

Under the partnership, up to 10 pre-screened SMU students with mixed expertise will be exposed to various projects of UnionBank for 12 weeks to co-create the development of emerging technologies.

“We look forward to the various innovative collaborations our SMU students will generate through this program”

The students are participants of Singapore Management University’s Global Innovation Immersion program – a talent development program seeking to imbue and enhance the entrepreneurial and global mindset of its most outstanding students.

Students can avail of internships in startups, venture funds, corporates and non-government organisations in selected key markets.

“We are always on the lookout to collaborate with the best knowledge partners that can equip our students with new skills and information and expose them in various learning environments,” said HAU Koh Foo, director of the SMU Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

“With UnionBank’s expertise in the banking and finance space coupled with their experience in fintech, we look forward to the various innovative collaborations our SMU students will generate through this program.”

The program is supported by the Singapore government under the Global Innovation Alliance, a network of Singapore and overseas partners in major innovation hubs and key demand markets, with focus on technology and innovation.

UnionBank executive vice president, Michelle Rubio, said the partnership is in line with the bank’s “Student Mentoring Program” which offers the opportunity to work in the bank’s most innovative projects.

Rubio added that they are looking at strengthening linkages with more schools and universities in the ASEAN region.

In 2018, UnionBank launched its first-of-its-kind Blockchain Institute, Data Science Institute and Blockchain Xcellerator programs to help build a pool of tech talents in the Philippines.

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Aus: SIA website launches resource hub

Mar, 02/18/2020 - 02:53

The Study in Australia website has launched a new resource hub to provide the international education sector with a central location to access reliable, relevant and timely information regarding major events such as the novel coronavirus.

The resource hub includes a suite of assets — in a range of effective formats — which can be adapted and shared with international students and members of the sector.

“Study in Australia is proactively listening to key audiences within the international education sector”

Specifically for novel coronavirus, the resource hub draws upon the latest news and information from key Commonwealth departments, state and territory destination agencies, and education peak bodies, providers and partners.

The platform was introduced at the recent Global Reputation Taskforce meeting, with members of the Council for International Education invited to contribute updated assets and materials.

State and territory bodies have received a collection of creative resources, which can be used across their digital channels to ensure a coordinated response to international students.

“Study in Australia is proactively listening to key audiences within the international education sector, gathering insights and sentiment from media content, social media and on-the-ground conversations with international students and education agents,” a statement on the website explained.

“These insights are being shared on a regular basis with members of the Global Reputation Taskforce, to help inform their respective communications efforts.”

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FutureLearn launches seven microcredentials

Mar, 02/18/2020 - 02:33

Social learning platform FutureLearn has launched seven new microcredentials with six global partners designed to “help learners build specialised skills relevant to their career”. Key areas include cyber security, fintech, teaching mental health and data science.

The microcredentials allow students to participate in job-focused courses to stay up-to-date with the constantly changing work environments and skillsets, according to FutureLearn.

“Microcredentials make it possible to provide staff with the opportunity to upskill rapidly”

“We can all see that the workplace is changing, learners want, and need, to be able to learn more skills, and universities are brilliantly placed to help them do that,” Simon Nelson, chief executive of FutureLearn said.

The six launching partners include Ireland’s Dublin City University, The Open University in the UK, the USA’s University of California and Irvine Division of Continuing Education, and Deakin University, Monash University and Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

“Credit-bearing courses that enhance career-relevant skills are especially in demand, as almost two fifths of employers believe it will be difficult to find people with the right skills and qualification to fulfil business needs in the future,” Niamh O’Grady, head of communications at FutureLearn told The PIE News.

FutureLearn highlighted a 2019 Pearson survey that indicated that more than 50% agreed that ‘the world is shifting to a model where people participate in education over a lifetime’.

“We expect the demand for microcredentials to grow rapidly, not only from individual learners but also from organisations,” deputy vice-chancellor and vice-president (education) at Monash University, Sue Elliot AM said.

“Microcredentials make it possible to provide staff with the opportunity to upskill rapidly in key business areas,” she continued.

Chief corporate engagement and partnerships officer at DCE Brian Breen also said that the launch of its Predictive Analytics course – launched February 11 – will “help bridge the gap between classroom learning and job-relevant skills verification”.

The demand from graduates and professionals for “shorter, more relevant education” people will be able to put the relevant skills into practice sooner, he added.

The courses are being rolled out over February and March 2020.

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Sri Lankan student deaths in Azerbaijan puts agents under scrutiny

Lun, 02/17/2020 - 09:22

The death of three Sri Lankan nationals in Azerbaijan – two of which were international students – last month has prompted the Sri Lankan Ministry of Education to look into shoring up regulations around education agents and studying abroad. This, in turn, has prompted confusion from agents in the country who see little linking the tragedy and their work.

The students who had been attending Western Caspian University in Baku were named as Malsha Sandeepani and Tharuki Amaya, while the third victim, Amodya Maduhansi, had attended the university some years ago and was working in the country.

One agent said “didn’t make sense” to regulate agents as a result of what happened

The three rented an apartment together in the country’s capital, where an electric stove was left on overnight on top of a plastic suitcase. The three women suffocated in the resulting smoke.

Sri Lankan officials told local media last month that the MoE was planning to create a “regulatory framework” for agents in response to the incident.

Further details are yet to be released, but one agent told The PIE News it “didn’t make sense” to regulate agents as a result of what happened.

As a destination for Sri Lankan students, Azerbaijan is a newcomer to the market and conflicting statistics make it difficult to ascertain just how many students study there.

With no Sri Lankan embassy in the country, UNESCO data suggests six Sri Lankans are currently studying in the country, the Azerbaijan government lists just one in the previous academic year.

However, Western Caspian University told The PIE it has 68 Sri Lankan students.

Overall, fewer than 5,000 international students study in the country annually but, according to agents, Azerbaijan is a study destination with affordable tuition and the possibility of finding work upon graduating.

A quick search on social media reveals several companies offering packages for Sri Lankan students to study in the country advertising “departure within three days”, “no IELTs”, “no visa interview”, “no bank balance” and “no refusal”.

But agents also offer another unique selling point: studying in Azerbaijan, they say, is a route towards obtaining a Schengen visa or transferring to a university in Europe.

One agency advertises a “transfer degree program to European countries”. For a little over £2,000, another offers the chance to “study in Baku, Azerbaijan and move to Schengen countries” and to “build your future career, your gateway to Europe, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland”.

“Azerbaijan is a secular country, that’s why it’s easier to get a Schengen visa for Sri Lanka citizens, but to get it they must stay in our country legally, and the best option for legally staying in Azerbaijan is a study visa,” one such agent told The PIE.

“We can send students to Germany with the possibility of a scholarship if they pass their B1 exams in German. They will be provided with a job and scholarship in Germany. It’s a good option for Sri Lanka students.”

But getting to Europe through Azerbaijan may not be as easy as some agents are making out.

While the denial rate for Schengen visas applied for in Sri Lanka was almost double that of Azerbaijan in 2018, the Swiss Embassy in Baku told The PIE that three Sri Lankans had applied for visas through it last year, and all were subsequently rejected.

Western Caspian University said that most of their Sri Lankan students ultimately stay on in the country after completing their education.

“It’s difficult to talk about the intention and behaviour of Sri Lankan students since they are new to our country,” the spokesperson said.

“It’s quite difficult to use Azerbaijan as a transit country”

“As a matter of fact, it’s quite difficult to use Azerbaijan as a transit country. Nevertheless, to secure a job in the local job market isn’t difficult.”

Sri Lanka has previously expressed a desire to establish itself as a regional education hub but studying abroad remains popular among those who can afford it.

According to the Sri Lankan MoE, around 20,000 students leave the island to pursue educational opportunities abroad each year.

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UK HEIs can “shape a new national identity”

Lun, 02/17/2020 - 08:50

UK higher education institutions have an opportunity to shape national identity by focusing on sustainability research and furthering partnerships with Asia, according to HE experts speaking at a recent Higher Education Policy Institute seminar in London.

With Brexit, the UK has “new ordered itself”, professor of Higher Education at the University of Oxford Simon Marginson said at the event, while he proposed UK institutions look to Latin America and central Asia for future collaboration.

“The possibilities are genuinely open to the HE sector”

For a nation whose universities “normally manage our futures with all the due diligence we can muster”,  not being within Europe will be a shock for some and universities will not view global strategic partnerships as a “substitute for embeddedness in Europe”, he indicated.

“It’s alarming, it’s also exciting. When that dependency falls away there is a unique moment of freedom before new patterns become set. The possibilities are genuinely open to the HE sector.”

Despite exceptions such as Nottingham Ningbo and Liverpool Xi’an, UK-China research collaboration intensity is “well below” the level of US-China and Australia-China cooperation, Marginson maintained.

“There is not the same interest or knowledge in the UK,” he explained.

The US strategy of accord with the Asian powerhouse since 1978, assuming China’s politics and economy would become more western as the country became more open, has been “notably unsuccessful”, while China has benefited from global integration, Marginson said.

The US-China breakdown may create openings for UK institutions, he added, “but we need to understand what we are in for”.

“I have no doubt that forging fulsome relationships in East Asia is the most pressing strategic need for British universities,” Marginson continued, while the UK can also maintain solidarity in Europe by exercising leadership on sustainability.

“British science sustains a stronger domestic authority than does American science. Higher education agrees with the government about the value of science. Here the sector can advance both its global role and its domestic position,” he said.

“What happens when the lacuna in the national strategy persists for a time after Brexit?” he asked.

“I think this provides the sector with the opportunity to make its own rules. Take initiatives, define the framework, build the alliances, build a global position of its own, and in doing so help shape a new national identity.”

Speakers also explained that UK institutions can look to an example in Australia, a country that had 162,000 Chinese enrolments in 2019.

The foreign interference guidelines, released in Australia in November 2019, was a way for the Group of Eight to ensure members were not left out of the conversation, according to Group of Eight chief executive, Vicki Thomson.

“We were very concerned that our government would impose guidelines upon us and they wouldn’t be guidelines, they’d be regulation or legislation if we didn’t actually come to the table,” she said.

“forging fulsome relationships in East Asia is the most pressing strategic need for British universities”

“Just as you are working your way through Brexit and what it means to your many relationships and testing how they can evolve, there’s the analogy of Australia where we’re working our way as a nation through how to deal with a much stronger China and having national security as a focus,” Thomson said.

Positive dialogue with Australian security agencies means that “now there is an appreciation and understanding amongst our security agencies of our value to our economy through our research and our education”.

UK institutions need to “get to know China, draw lines in the sand when we must, and watch this space”, Marginson added.

“It’s tricky to engage but I think abstention would be the larger error, given the stakes for us.

“We should not sit on our hands as we had to do during the long Brexit debate. The window will not stay open for very long,” Marginson concluded.

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Cohort Go partners with North Loop

Lun, 02/17/2020 - 05:30

Australia-based edtech company Cohort Go has announced a partnership with North Loop, a new bank for international students headed to the US.

Through the partnership, North Loop customers can now send funds from over 100 countries to the US with access to competitive exchange rates and no fees.

“We’re delighted that this partnership…will make the financial side easier for students travelling to the US”

North Loop was created as a no-fee bank account for students with online applications; saving students time by not having to travel to a physical bank to open an account while ensuring their money is secure.

The partnership further propels the successful startup Cohort Go, which has seen significant growth over the past 12 months.

Mark Fletcher, co-founder and CEO of Cohort Go said the partnership will save students money and provide peace of mind knowing their finances are secure as they embark on their international education journey.

“Studying overseas can be expensive and complex, so we’re delighted that this partnership with North Loop will make the financial side easier for students travelling to the US from particular source countries,” said Fletcher.

“Students can also expect to save on their study expenses with low foreign exchange rates and no-fee transfers, along with their no-fee bank account.

“We are proud to partner with North Loop, a company that is aligned to our vision of reducing barriers for the international education community,” he added.

Tahem Veer Verma, founder and CEO of North Loop said Cohort Go was the most affordable option for students to send money overseas, so it was the ideal partnership.

“The Cohort Go team are fantastic and align with North Loop’s mission really well. With this partnership, North Loop continues to eliminate the borders that divide us,” he added.

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AMBA holds Excellence Awards in London

Lun, 02/17/2020 - 05:21

Imperial College Business School was among the award winners at the Association of MBAs and its sister brand the Business Graduates Association’s annual Excellence Awards for being the “first university to deliver a live lecture via holographic telepresence technology”.

“We are proud to celebrate the achievements and innovation so clearly evident in AMBA and BGA’s network”

“On behalf of the AMBA and BGA team, I would like to congratulate the finalists and winners of this year’s Excellence Awards,” said Andrew Main Wilson, chief executive of AMBA and BGA.

“The quality of award entries was once again very high this year and we are proud to celebrate the achievements and innovation so clearly evident in AMBA and BGA’s network of schools and their students.”

The MBA Entrepreneurial Venture (Third Sector) award went to César Coasaca of CENTRUM PUCP Business School in Peru for Inventum, which has developed an invention that turns air into water.

A former national rugby player with degrees in molecular biology and immunology, Udochuku Richson of IE Business school in Spain, won the MBA Student of the Year Award.

Richson has spent four years building a charity focused on the integration of refugees and is now turning his attention to transforming the healthcare system.

Held on February 7 at the Sheraton in London, UK, over 200 business schools leaders from across the global postgraduate business education sector representing 46 schools attended along with category finalists, judges and media.

Finalists were shortlisted by the associations and then reviewed by a judging panel made up of AMBA board members, business experts, deans and management leaders.

Full list of winners:

Business school career strategy award – Hult International Business School, US

Business School Impact on Community and Society Award – Mannheim Business School, University of Mannheim, Germany

Business School Innovation Award – Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London, UK

MBA Entrepreneurial Venture (Private Sector) – Sharon Cunningham, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, University College Dublin, Ireland, for Shorla Pharma

MBA Entrepreneurial Venture (Third Sector) – César Coasaca, CENTRUM PUCP Business School, Peru, for Inventum

MBA Student of the Year Award – Udochuku Richson, IE Business School, Spain

Photos from the event are available here.

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The view from Karan Khemka

Lun, 02/17/2020 - 05:00
Karan Khemka is a CEO strategic advisor, director and investor in education companies globally

A couple of years ago John Palfrey, Andover’s Head of School, addressed alumni including myself in Singapore – “It’s hard to manage parent’s expectations on university admission. Vanderbilt today is as selective as Columbia University was when you were at school 20 years ago”.

John was highlighting one of the great choke points in the world economy. 20 years ago the daily production of Mercedes Benz was 2,000 units, one-fourth of the 8,000 units they produced each day in 2019. Luxury cars, handbags, watches are all made in higher volumes today than ever before.

The number of “great education brands” is stagnant while demand has increased many times over and with increasing affluence in emerging markets, there is no sign of this stopping.

If you are an “international student” it gets worse – the head of admissions at an Ivy League university told me “If we force ranked all our applicants 75% of top applicants would be from outside the United States. In fact, our cohort can be on 20% international which means it is three to four times as hard for a non-US applicant to get admitted.”

This choke point is what drives parents to bribe their children into top universities and it is placing an incredible amount of pressure on students. For mid-tier universities, this creates an opportunity to re-position themselves as elite brands addressing the supply side of the equation.

If only they knew how. For example, I don’t think Vanderbilt has the standing today that Columbia had 20 years ago despite their quality and current levels of selectivity.

And for students – they have a choice. Try to get to the front of the line or jump the line. I am in favour of the latter as it encourages students to relax and be themselves. There was a kid at Andover who wanted to get into Brown University and he clearly did not have the grades. For his application essay, he wrote something, printed it out, burnt it, put the ashes in a zip-lock plastic bag with a label that read “This is my essay. I hated it.”

He got in.

• Karan Khemka was partner and head of the international education practice at Parthenon-EY for 16 years and now serves on boards at global education companies.

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Aus: innovation fund needed to support edtech

Lun, 02/17/2020 - 02:30

Australia’s strong position within the edtech space is under threat of being surpassed by emerging and established global players if more is not done to support and nurture it, according to a new report from edtech accelerator EduGrowth.

The Enabling the growth of the Australian Edtech ecosystem report, which overviewed the current position of the country’s sector, recommended the establishment of an innovation fund, testbed activation, and increased collaboration between the industry, education providers and government.

“[There] are pockets where there needs to be more support”

“It’s really healthy, and the ecosystem’s doing really well and it’s growing,” said David Linke, managing director of Education.

“[But there] are pockets where there needs to be more support and there are players in that innovation ecosystem that need a pathway and a framework into it.”

Speaking with The PIE News, managing director of EduGrowth David Linke said while Australia’s edtech sector was healthy and growing, there were segments that needed more support and pathways for it to continue to succeed.

Linke added further cross-sector collaboration between developers, education providers, and government was required to continue to take advantage of Australia’s comparatively safe investment environment, and financial and regulatory markets.

“All of those things are in our favour, but if we think that it’s going to happen without having a combined multi-stakeholder approach to it then we may potentially miss that opportunity,” he said.

“Other countries are going to actively go and say, ‘well how do we pick up part of that business and how do we operate in different models’.”

Linke suggested the creation of an innovation fund, which would draw contributions from education providers and government, to minimise risk.

“If we want to incentivise education providers to be part of innovation and we want to incentivise them to be part of things that may not work… there are models that you can borrow from around the world,” pointing the UK’s EdTech Innovation Fund.

In 2017, Navitas Ventures, which invested in EduGrowth, said Australia was well placed to become a global leader in edtech.

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Aus: RMIT continues Future Skills expansion

Vie, 02/14/2020 - 07:16

Australia’s RMIT University has continued growing its online Future Skills program offerings, announcing a new course designed to meet the exponential growth in demand for DevOps professionals.

Developed in partnership with software consultancy Thoughtworks and DevOps Agile Skills Association, RMIT’s DevOps course aims to upskill those in technology and management professionals to understand the benefits of the practices.

“In an increasingly digitised world, we can’t underestimate the importance of connected teams,” said chief executive of RMIT Online, Helen Souness.

“Our clients are finding it difficult to find people who have experience with DevOps”

“The short online nature of the program enables working professionals to upskill and grow in their career, as well as positively impact the organisations they work for.”

Souness added demand for DevOps Engineers, which is a set of practices combining software development and information technology operations to shorten systems development life cycles and continuously deliver high-quality software, was expected to grow 21%.

“Our focus at RMIT Online is to provide learning opportunities that address skills shortages and in-demand skills gaps in the job market,” she said.

ThoughtWorks Australia head of engineering Evan Botcher said further collaboration between education providers and industry was needed to address future skills shortages and maintain Australia’s competitive advantage globally.

“Our clients are finding it difficult to find people who have experience with DevOps and there is clearly a lack of accessible formal training in the area,” Botcher said.

“We’re proud to be partnering with RMIT Online to design a course that addresses the needs of Australia’s future workforce.”

The new course is the latest from RMIT Online, which has been steadily building up its Future Skills portfolio after launching Developing Blockchain Strategy in 2018 and Cyber Security Risk and Strategy in 2019.

Souness told The PIE News further courses were planned in the future.

“Because of the ever-changing and fast-paced nature of Industry 4.0, we are always looking at industry demands and areas in which both employers and employees alike are hoping to upskill,” she said.

“We will be focussed on fields of studies that address the progressive and emerging sectors in work.”

The DevOps course will commence in March and run for six weeks.

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LCI boosts number of creative design courses

Vie, 02/14/2020 - 03:14

Global education provider LCI Education is aiming to become a “one-stop shop” for boutique higher education, as it increases its number of specialised creative industries and design courses.

LCI Education has backed its hubs in Vancouver, Montréal, Melbourne and Barcelona for future growth, adding courses ranging from a Bachelor’s of Fashion Design Degree to a Master’s in Management of Creative Industries, and other higher education diploma programs.

“[Partnerships] help prepare students adequately for the real needs of the labour market”

The education provider’s Spanish centre LCI Barcelona has launched an English-language master’s course, which combines project and team-based learning with residential learning experiences.

The course is designed to ensure students are prepared for work in an industry that employs more than 29 million people worldwide.

Additionally, it has created a strategic alliance with digital design school Seeway, as LCI strives to become Spain’s “leading design school”.

“These courses and alliances make LCI Education a ‘one-stop shop’ for boutique higher education,” said Joëlle Cloutier-Gravel, chef de marque at LCI Education.

“They are indeed high demand destinations.”

In Canada, LaSalle College Vancouver has expanded its fashion design program via a new Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design, while LaSalle College Montréal has partnered with retail company ALDO on a Footwear and Accessory Design specialisation course.

“[Partnerships] help prepare students adequately for the real needs of the labour market,” Cloutier-Gravel added.

According to LCI, there is a “glaring shortage of skilled labour” in shoe and accessory design, which is an important function in the Québec fashion industry.

“A specialised training program for designers, preparing them to integrate into the footwear industry, has never existed to this day,” Cloutier-Gravel noted.

The ALDO Group is currently hiring 90 positions at LCI’s Montréal campus.

At another of its hubs in Australia’s ‘cultural capital’, LCI Melbourne has recently announced four HE diploma programs, which can be used as a direct pathway into its Bachelor of Design Arts degree program.

Beginning June 2020, the programs have been developed in consultation with industry experts, and promise students a combination of developmental, creative and professional skills.

Sponsored content: in partnership with LCI Education

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