Category: Europe

International education in the era of Covid-19: walking the talk

“Ironically…I find myself in the position of one of the international students whose future I am now involved in planning”

 

“As countries around the world prepare to unwind nationwide lockdowns and move to a more sustainable way of containing the Covid-19 pandemic, universities are beginning to plan for a resumption of classes on campus,” writes professor Nigel Healey, associate vice-president (Global Engagement) at the University of Limerick.

Most institutions are considering some form of ‘flipped classroom’, with theoretical content delivered online and face-to-face teaching limited to tutorials and laboratory sessions to allow for social distancing.

High on the list of concerns is the impact of Covid-19 on international students.  Most obviously, it is unclear how quickly cross-border travel restrictions will be lifted and scheduled commercial flights restarted.  Some potential students may be reluctant to leave their home countries, for fear of another outbreak.

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Young Learner operators ready to go with summer programmes when safe to do so

“More than ever now, we can all appreciate just how small the world truly is and the importance of coming together”

A letter on behalf of Young Learner operators to our friends around the world:

At this time of international crisis, we have all seen the huge impact COVID-19 has had on our lives and our industry. More than ever now, we can all appreciate just how small the world truly is and the importance of coming together to protect our global community in times of great need.
As the global situation changes, our plans may too. For now, we all continue to watch the unfolding measures that governments around the world are taking to stem the tide of the virus and get us back to normal soon.

As a sector of Young Learner English Language course providers a number of us have come together to work out how best to serve you, our valued clients.  It’s hard for us to navigate the unknown, but as we continue to better understand how to slow the spread of COVID-19 we want to do all we can to keep our partners, students, employees and our local communities safe. The wellbeing of our people and our students is always our number one priority.
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Work, rest and learn – delivering flexible higher education in Estonia

“Universities across the world have an opportunity to look at how they can use technology to help students balance work and study commitments”

More and more students today are juggling work and family responsibilities alongside their university studies, writes learning development specialist at the Estonian Business School, Marko Puusaar.

Add to this the growing number of students who are looking globally to find the right course or university and you can quickly see why the traits of a typical higher education student are becoming increasingly difficult to define. Expectations are changing too, with demand growing for institutions to provide greater flexibility so that students can study how, when and where they want to.

Higher education is evolving. Universities that make good use of technology can adapt teaching methods much more effectively to attract students from across the world, support them through their studies and respond quickly in the event that their circumstances change.

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How European students will be affected by Brexit

“Despite many universities efforts to inform and support each of their students, a sense of uncertainty surrounding the subject is all too familiar”

The 31st October may have passed yet Brexit still looms and, with the UK remaining at risk of a no-deal following their withdrawal from the European Union, many people in education are still questioning exactly how European students will be affected by Brexit.

Despite many universities efforts to inform and support each of their students, a sense of uncertainty surrounding the subject is all too familiar for both EU nationals studying at UK universities and those participating in Erasmus+ programmes which since 1987 have granted all UK and wider European university students and lecturers the opportunity to study or intern abroad for up to a year.

So, what may a ‘no deal’ Brexit mean for European Students? According to Universities UK, whose members consist of both vice-chancellors and principals of institutions across the country, an exploration into the implications for universities and how to minimise risk has revealed that a failed Brexit negotiation will cause further uncertainty about the UK’s commitment and involvement with the Erasmus+ programme.

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What next for differential pricing?

“News of different price arrangements based on country could very easily go viral with a negative impact on reputations and on business”

Language schools in many parts of the world will often charge a lower price to say, a student from Colombia than to a student from Saudi Arabia, a lower price for a Turk than for a Japanese. 

This practice is commonly referred to as “pricing to the market” and has evolved in large measure because course rates can be viewed as unaffordable – or at least as uncompetitive – by students in certain countries or regions.

Schools may refer to “special offers” or “country promotions” as a rationale for the discounting; those terms are, however, frequently used as a cover for what is, in fact, a permanent differential pricing policy.

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How Scandinavian teaching at a primary school differs from British methods

“Parents receive a more holistic progress report about their child’s development, this may seem somewhat strange to UK parents”

Earlier this year, the Department for Education announced plans to change the way that children across England are tested by using a statutory reception baseline assessment.

The Government hopes to introduce this by autumn 2020, but as we have seen, the decision to test children on communication, language, literacy, and maths when entering primary school, has been controversial debate around how early children should be academically tested.

Many parents and teachers argue that children should not be academically tested at four years old, as it puts too much pressure on them at such an early age, whereas others believe that introducing testing at an early age is vital.

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The uncertain future of Britain’s education sector

“When overseas European teachers can no longer settle… the likelihood that they will opt to choose the UK as their base will be diminished”

It is no secret that Britain’s teaching workforce is struggling. Last year, every single secondary subject – aside from Biology and English – fell short of recruitment targets.

This January, Tes estimated this shortfall to be close to a thousand. In some subjects, such as Physics, hundreds of teaching spaces are going unfilled; despite initiatives and marketing campaigns being introduced by the Department of Education, domestic talent is not enough to fill teaching positions in UK schools.

Meanwhile, Britain has been hurtling towards an ever-likelier no-deal Brexit. Despite parliament managing to push through a bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31st  last week, Boris Johnson is still hinting at the prospect of crashing out on this date without an agreement, in a move which would defy law, but is still very much a possibility.

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The instrumental impact of EU funding

“As a research-led University with a strong sense of civic mission, regional economic and social development are a major priority”

As Wales braces for what could be a perfect economic storm in the months ahead, Ceri D. Jones, director of Swansea University’s Research, Engagement and Innovation Services looks at the impact of EU funding on regional development, and some of the seeds of hope in the pipeline.

Recently Ford announced its engine plant in Bridgend is set to close in autumn 2020, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.  Just weeks ago, British Steel was put into compulsory liquidation – re-igniting major concerns about an industry that employs thousands in Wales.  With the UK set to leave the European Union on the 31 October, Wales is set to lose out on hundreds of millions of pounds each year in EU funding that has been driving economic and social regeneration in recent years.

Swansea University is located within the ‘West Wales and the Valleys’ region, which has been identified as one of the most deprived regions within Northern Europe, and as such, is a net beneficiary of EU funding.

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Are we on course for a global homogenisation of higher education?

“Students have different educational outcomes in mind, depending on where they come from and study”

Student aspirations and course expectations are more internationally diverse than you might think.

In fact, the reasons students are in higher education and the employability skills they think they will need on leaving are wide-ranging – according to the results of our Student Voices survey we conducted in collaboration with research consultancy Shift Learning.

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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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