How will academics be affected by the recent UK/US electronics ban?

“Remember that if needed you can rent or borrow equipment when you reach your destination”

Rowan Burnett, Supplier Relationship Executive at Diversity Travel, a travel management company that specialises in travel in the not-for-profit and academic sector, provides advice for travellers following travel restrictions announced this week.

This week, both the UK and US governments announced a cabin ban on certain electronic devices on inbound flights from countries across the Middle East and North Africa, with immediate effect.

The ability of academics to travel internationally is crucial for academic institutions around the world. A fantastic opportunity from a commercial perspective, as a means of expansion, collaboration, and partnering with a global network of peers, travel allows academics to develop a truly global mindset, improving the breadth and quality of their course material, and bringing huge benefits to students.

But now, in response to suspected terror threats, there have been changes to travel legislation on both sides of the Atlantic, which have, in some cases, left travellers confused as to what they need to do to reach their destination safely and in compliance with the new guidelines.

So, how will this latest development affect academic travel? Here are my top tips on what academics need to think about before they embark on their journeys:

Check whether your route is affected:
• Remember that there are different restrictions in place in the UK and the US – currently nine airlines are affected for the US, but 14 for the UK
• Reports have suggested that other European countries are considering similar restrictions, so make sure you keep on top of announcements in the media

Check the current state of play:
• Check the current status of the changes – this can be found by:
o Checking the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website if you are in the UK
o Checking government websites for the country you intend to travel to
o Checking with your travel partner, who can also prove to be a source of information throughout the booking process and your journey

Only take what you need:
• It sounds like common sense, but remember that if needed you can rent or borrow equipment when you reach your destination – it is worth looking at what options are available to you before you travel
• If there is equipment you have to take with you and has to be checked in, find out whether you are eligible for any additional discounts or allowances through academic fares – many airlines have good relationships with travel management companies who can offer this as a solution

Talk to your airline:
• If there is anything you are unsure about, check with the airline you booked with
• If you booked through a price comparison website, the booking will most likely have been processed via a travel agent or booker – be prepared for the airline to redirect you to them in the first instance
• Airline websites will usually communicate major changes through a corporate statement or on social media if there are any sudden changes you need to know about
• If you use a TMC, take advantage of the close, long-standing relationships they have with airlines, as they are ideally positioned to field and answer most common questions and concerns

Remember to keep your employer informed of your whereabouts:
• Whether or not you agree with the restrictions, the primary reason for their introduction is to ensure the safety of passengers
• Duty of care is something that is important to all employers when staff travel for business: make sure your employer knows you have landed safely, particularly if you have booked your tickets independently

When we reassure students that the UK and US are safe and welcoming, we cannot be vague or elusive

“If you were to ask most colleagues across the HE sector whether or not they believe that the UK is tolerant and inclusive, then the likelihood is that they would say ‘yes’. There may be a pause before they respond”

As the turbulent political landscapes in the UK and US have some international students questioning how welcoming they really are, Martyn Edwards, head of marketing and business development for IDP, considers what educators can do to reassure students.

If you were to ask most colleagues across the HE sector whether or not they still truly believe that the UK is secular, tolerant and inclusive, then the likelihood is that they would say “yes”. There may be a pause before they respond, due largely to the events that have followed 2016’s EU referendum, but the answer would be affirmative.
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You cannot be what you cannot see: we need more female role models in international education

“The most senior positions, especially in the big chain outfits, are filled by men. Older, white, middle class men”

Ella Tyler, managing director of Mountlands Language School in the UK and co-founder of Lead5050, writes about how she was inspired to take action after realising women in leadership aren’t visible enough in the industry.

First of all, let me just say that I absolutely love working in this industry. I mean, come on, where else do you get to travel the world, meet really interesting, funny people and contribute to the future of the globe through education?

But, as in most industries, it does seem to be that the most senior positions, especially in the big chain outfits, are filled by men. Older, white, middle class men.
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International Women’s Day: the inspiring women of #intled

“At that time I didn’t think it was a big deal, I didn’t know I was making history. But I am happy I proved that women can lead”

Every week over on The PIE News, we publish a PIE Chat with someone interesting, innovative or inspiring in international education. In honour of International Women’s Day, The PIE’s staff share which of the women we’ve interviewed have inspired us the most.
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Quality labels are not an end in themselves

“In the past, higher education institutions have been slow to turn to quality labelling tools, sometimes perceived as too directly related to the business world”

This month, Qualité FLE, the French government’s accreditation mark celebrates its tenth anniversary. Bruno Marty from the International Centre for Pedagogical Studies (CIEP) – which was established by the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research to enhance education cooperation, promote the French language and foster international mobility – reflects on how attitudes in higher education have changed towards the label.

Over the last decade, the Qualité FLE label has made it possible to recognise and promote education centres whose language programmes and related services present quality guarantees. This quality assurance process helps the public, diplomatic posts and other prescribers to identify a reliable supply of French classes, depending on the application needs of the public and on students’ profiles.
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Off the beaten pathway: why UK universities should open up to more partnerships

“It may be that the rapid adoption of embedded pathways by UK universities is a case of hungry institutions in an international restaurant ordering the only menu item they understand, as opposed to the best dish”

University pathway programmes for international students have been the subject of much debate in recent years. The UK pathway market is flourishing, but universities should consider they’re limiting their options with a single partner, argue Prateek Aneja and Ryan Craig, vice president and managing director at University Ventures.

One of the most remarkable developments in UK higher education over the past decade has been the rapid adoption of embedded pathway programmes by universities. Embedded pathways serve international students through Foundation Year programmes – including EFL training and development of general academic preparedness – that are located on or adjacent to campus, are operated by commercial providers, and guarantee progression to students who achieve at the requisite levels.
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How Trump’s immigration ban may lead to uniting America and the world

“The United States’ image was compromised by the executive order, but there’s another side to this story: fortunately, the public outcry was immediate and widespread”

Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration was damaging and divisive. But the US is refusing to be divided, argues Jill Welch, deputy executive director, public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

When President Donald Trump signed his executive order on immigration in his first week of office, US and international citizens alike were alarmed to see a country that has prided itself on being a nation of immigrants, suddenly turn its back on those fleeing violence and shut its doors on those seeking opportunity with the mere stroke of a pen. This does not represent the America that we aspire to be.
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What do we mean when we say international experiences develop graduates’ employability?

‘Employability’ is one of the most frequently used buzzwords in international education sector, and underpins a great proportion of the work educators do. But what does it actually mean, and how do we measure it? Stella Williams, a lecturer in psychology and researcher at Newman University Birmingham, has developed a framework to bring some clarity to an often hazily-defined concept.

The term ‘employability’ is often used as a throwaway line: jargon which is chucked into the mix to show the importance or relevance of something, frequently used without clarification of what we mean by it. So it is unsurprising that we can relate it to international experience. But what exactly do we mean when we say international opportunities develop a graduate’s employability?
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We need a genuine global marketplace to share innovations in education

“Great innovations are happening all over the world and the best ones, once validated, could spread fast if we are open to them”

Innovations in education are taking root all over the world – but they don’t always spread, because the education sector remains stubbornly local, argues Saku Tuominen, Creative Director of HundrED, a project to share innovative projects and best practises in K-12 education with the world for free.

The world is global. The world of education is not.

If we agree that the purpose of school is to help kids flourish in life, no matter what happens – or don’t totally disagree with it – we can easily see that there are massive challenges facing our current education system. Possibly the biggest of them all is the increasing amount of uncertainty.
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Comparing the US and UK: contrasting trends in international education

“The biggest challenge for British universities is that its top two source countries — China and India — are not driving enrollment growth”

International student enrolments in the UK have flatlined, with Indian students continuing their downward slide, according to the latest statistics published by the Higher Education Statistics Authority last week. But how does the picture compare in the US?  Dr. Rahul Choudaha, co-founder of research and consulting firm DrEducation, shares his analysis.

The following table shows the shape of international student trends in the UK and US in recent years, based on data from HESA and IIE’s Open Doors report:

US IIE and UK HESA data on international student statistics - Dr Education
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