The Role of a PR practitioner in the field of Education

“We live in a ‘post-truth’ era where our school’s image can easily swan around myths that ought to be debunked”

Not too long ago, I was at an international educational conference presenting on successful PR strategies that could be implemented in an academic setting.  Before I dived into my five effective and promising strategies, I found myself at odds with the reaction of my attendees. I know I wasn’t saying anything out of the ordinary and surely my presentation was based on my PhD research in PR and the field of international education.  

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Studying in the UK as an LGBT student

“Common barriers, ranging from insulting comments to even physical attacks, are a widespread feature of this harsh present reality in our universities”

Studying abroad is both challenging and exciting. For LGBT students, unfortunately, is much less of excitement, but of a tough challenge.

Common barriers, ranging from insulting comments to even physical attacks, are a widespread feature of this harsh present reality in our universities. However, seeing beyond this deep-rooted belief in our societies, the conditions are changing for the better and the quality of life for these students is evolving in many countries.

UK universities are a perfect example to illustrate this progress. It’s a well-known fact that UK universities are global leaders and their firm commitment toward equality principles in higher education accounts for this reputation, and we see their efforts having effect each day.
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Mobility of Indian Students: Preparing for Future Growth

“The majority of Indian students are highly-price-sensitive, value-maximisers who are trying to search for options that lower cost and increase career opportunities”

 

In this blog, executive vice president of global engagement and research at Studyportals,  Rahul Choudaha, explores the issue of whether the number of Indian students studying abroad will continue to grow in the current political and economic environment.

More than 5 million international students were studying outside their home country in 2016. With over 3,00,000 Indian students studying overseas, India is the second largest source of international students after China. However, in the recent times, the political turmoil triggered by the results of the UK’s referendum to leave European Union or Brexit and the American Presidential elections has also created an environment of restrictive immigration and visa policies in two leading destinations.  Will the number of Indian students studying abroad continue to grow in this environment?
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Feedback matters: how can universities truly capture the student voice?

“For too long student evaluation data has been underutilised”

Policy changes mean that universities around the world are having to take a more robust and strategic approach to course and module evaluation. 

I have been helping universities to improve teaching and learning through the way they capture, analyse and respond to student feedback for the past 10 years. At Explorance we find that what UK universities really value is an insight into how other countries are approaching the issues, challenges and opportunities around capturing student feedback. Working in Australia, Canada, China, Spain, Mexico, UAE and USA give us a compelling insight into what ‘good’ student engagement looks like.

But the UK is also an interesting case study for international universities. Here, the National Student Survey (NSS) poses questions on how students have the opportunity to give feedback and how their feedback is acted on – and the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), which provides a resource for students to judge teaching quality in universities, draws on data from the NSS. All this points to student engagement rising higher up UK universities’ priority list than ever before.

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The threat a no-deal presents to student mobility under Erasmus+

“While the UK continues to have a future role in Erasmus+, its participation could boil down to individual agreements between institutions”

In 1987 the European Community approved an extensive mobility program for students in higher education. Under the auspices of the Commission, this went on to become Erasmus+, offering university students, educators, and other learners the possibility of study or internship abroad for up to 12 months per cycle of studies, usually after successful completion of the first year of university.

Erasmus+ has grown significantly; between 2007 and 2016 the programme funded mobility for more than 4.3 million learners, with British students reaping significant benefits from the UK’s full participation in the scheme.
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Australian education agencies: your performance is going public soon, are you ready?

“Since 2013, the number of enrolments involving education agents recorded by the Department of Education has increased by 8.5%”

On 10 October last year at the Australian International Education Conference 2018, Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, committed to publishing performance data on education agents in Australia’s international education system.

The Department of Education and Training of the Australian government released the strategy the government is aiming at displaying agent performance publicly.

“Providing greater transparency of agent performance and allowing comparisons between agents will support providers and students to make more informed choices about which agents they work with […]“ the Department of Education and Training post says.

Publication of education agent performance data

The policy strategy released states that agents were responsible for 73.6% of all international education enrolments in Australia in 2018.

“The vast majority of agents achieve good outcomes by recruiting high-quality, genuine students who complete their courses and abide by their visa conditions,” the government says.

Since 2013, the number of enrolments involving education agents recorded by the Department of Education has increased by 8.5%.

The government notes “[…] in 2017, of Australia’s top 10 source countries for international students, agents were most involved in enrolments from Brazil (89%), Thailand (85.8%) and the Republic of South Korea (84.6%).”

Improving transparency of agent performance

The ESOS Act allows the Government to give information about education agents’ performance to providers, and publish information about education agents’ performance. The Australian government goal is “[…] to support providers to meet their legislative obligations with regard to agents […]”

The report sent to ed. providers has the student and enrolment information, such as if the student:

  1. successfully complete their enrolment;
  2. transfer to another provider;
  3. notify early cessation of their studies;
  4. have their studies terminated for non-payment of fees or disciplinary reasons;
  5. be reported for unsatisfactory course progress or course attendance;
  6. defer or suspend their studies;
  7. not complete for any other reason.

And it also includes visa outcomes:

  1. a student visa application was granted;
  2. a student visa application was refused;
  3. a student visa application was withdrawn;
  4. a student visa application was invalid;
  5. a student visa was cancelled.

What the government will publish publicly and what is the impact?

While we don’t know exactly how detailed, easy to find, easy to use and comprehensive the report will be, we can expect that the key metrics that define if agents are sending genuine students will be published.

For providers: they will gain even more and improved understanding of the agents they have engaged and other agents working in the international education industry, through the availability of a more detailed range of data that allows comparisons.

For agents: they will have a better understanding of your and other agents performance. You will be able to compare yourself to others, and of course, they will do the same.

For students: they will be given access to information on the performance of individual agents for the first time. “This will enable them to make a more informed choice from amongst the large range of agents available to them.”

When will it happen?

Mid-2019.

But is this new to the industry?

The short answer is no. The Australian government is heavily inclined to follow the same standards, communication channels and framework to manage agents of New Zealand.

As an example, the Australian government plan includes a website where students will be able to search for agents; the Study New Zealand website allows you to search for agents already.

Perhaps, the most different aspect of both strategies is that the Australian government will release more data than New Zealand.

About the author: Raphael Arias is the founder and CEO of EducationLink (a platform for agencies and colleges to manage students) and has helped thousands of agents to grow their business since he founded EducationLink as an international student in Sydney in 2016.

How can universities stop first years from dropping out? Help them become more independent learners

“Equipping university students for the digitally-focused workplace of the future needs to be a key priority”

  First years are struggling with independent learning. In fact, nearly 40% of students in their first year identify this as an area of concern – according to the results of a survey Student Voices we conducted in collaboration with research consultancy Shift Learning – which looked at students’ aspirations, needs and experiences.

This is perhaps not surprising considering most new students come directly from college into HE where there is generally more guided support.

However, with the drop-out rate of university students who give up their studies within 12 months on the rise for the third consecutive year – addressing factors that may help keep students in uni are key and could include:

  1. looking at the main areas for which they seek help
  2. what they need to achieve their goals and
  3. how they like to study

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Germany Meets the Limits of Apprenticeship

“With a population about 25% the size of the United States, Germany has nearly 3x as many apprentices”

 

Question: How many Germans does it take to change a lightbulb at one of our apprenticeship programs? Answer: None. We leave it to the visiting American politicians.

I’ve begun telling this joke to my friends in German’s tech community. American senators, governors, even mayors (most recently the Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama) are a near-constant presence at Germany’s famous apprenticeship programs, visiting, touring – and yes, enjoying our wonderful food and wine – in search of a pathway to good jobs that don’t require a traditional university education.

We Germans are rightly proud of our apprenticeship system, which provides training on not only the technical skills workers need to succeed, but also on “how work works” i.e., training workers on the basics, like how meetings work, and showing up on time. The system dates back to craft guilds from the Middle Ages and involves federally-mandated collaboration between these associations, unions, educational institutions, and government.

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What’s new in EAL delivery for both teachers and pupils?

“The proliferation of online learning courses is well known, but finding a course that is well presented on a high-quality Learning Management System is important”

It is estimated that over 1 billion people are currently learning English worldwide and there have never been so many ways to learn it. We asked industry insiders for their views on the best new advances in technology and delivery to support teachers of EAL and their pupils, both inside and outside the classroom.

For teachers, FutureLearn’s Head of Client Services, Fiona Reay, highlights The British Council’s online program: Teaching for Success: Practices for English Language Teaching. The program helps EAL teachers understand and plan their professional development as an English language teacher. “Taken in any order, the three courses equip any English language teacher with the tools they need to take responsibility for their own CPD. Each course looks at four professional practices and in doing so explains their importance to the continuously developing teacher; offering a range of practical advice and suggestions, as well as providing the opportunity to interact with fellow teachers around the world”, says Fiona.

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5 Books That Every International Educator Should Read

“Adding quality vocabulary instruction practices to your role as an educator can help you identify when a student of yours is quite literally lost in translation”

You’re probably used to assigning books to your students, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some valuable books that can help you be a better educator. The following list of books is intended to broaden your perspective as an international educator so you can be as effective as possible in your classroom of diverse students. Being open to various concepts of thinking and logic will benefit everyone under your instruction.

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