Category: Higher education

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

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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Prateek Aneja is Vice President at University Ventures, a firm reimagining the future of higher education and creating new pathways from education to employment, where Ryan Craig is Managing Director. Craig is also author of College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education.

‘Migration mercantilism’ is an ill-advised policy

“Why would the Home Office want to include visiting students in its statistics? Most likely, the reason is because this is a category they can control easily”

Maurits van Rooijen, economic historian and chief academic executive at Global University Systems, draws parallels with historical mercantilism in overseas trade and the current political maneuvering in the UK that means international students face ever-tighter restrictions on studying in the UK.

History shows us that there is always a real risk that socio-economic common sense can get pushed aside.

For instance, from the 16th to the 18th century, many economies in Western Europe suffered due to mercantilism: the mistaken belief that governmental regulation of a nation’s economy, especially reducing imports, would strengthen the state at the expense of rival national powers.
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Prof Dr Maurits van Rooijen is an economic historian and the chief academic executive of Global University Systems (GUS), an international group of universities and schools in the private sector.

Brexit means tough times ahead for UK HE

Professor Aldwyn Cooper, Vice Chancellor at Regent’s University London, shares some sobering predictions about UK HE’s post-Brexit future.

There is much discussion about the potential impact of ‘Brexit’ on UK universities. The answer, of course, is that nobody really knows what will happen next, and the total impact will be determined by the nature of any agreement that is finally reached.

In terms of research funding, where at present UK universities are the largest recipients of EU research and structural funding, loss of access could be devastating to many higher education institutions.
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Professor Aldwyn Cooper is vice chancellor at Regent’s University London.

Don’t be too quick to write off for-profit education providers

“If the government has to cut funding for social programs to provide additional support for a publicly funded institution, is tuition inexpensive and good value for money? Or has the cost been shifted?”

In the education sphere, people can be quick to criticise for-profit education – but having worked in both the public and private sectors, Michael Evans wonders if we’re asking the right questions.

A recent article posted in The PIE News reported on the results of a study carried out by the UK based Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), which looked at for-profit degree granting institutions in six countries. I suspect most educators working in HE education in the last ten years would able to predict many of the study’s results, as well as the tenor of the post.

That there are issues in for-profit education is by now conventional wisdom. As well, certainly no one would suggest anything but the most robust policies to protect student tuition and uphold natural justice in dealings between the student and institution. However, when opinions are so ubiquitously held around other more complex issues, does it not beg the question as to whether we are fully understand the issues?  I am not an apologist for private education; however, having worked in both public and for-profit education, I think the conventional thinking around these issues demonstrates the need for a different approach.
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Wonkhe’s #BrHExit: time for a new internationalism in UK HE?

“We are a resilient and a resourceful community”

What does Brexit mean for universities in the UK? This is what stakeholders from across UK HE came together to discuss on 9 August at a day-long conference hosted by Wonkhe in London. Here are a few highlights from the afternoon’s sessions…Read More

Beckie Smith is senior reporter at The PIE News and manages The PIE Blog. To get in touch, email beckie[@]thepienews.com.

How much do academic rankings really mean to students?

When asked outright: “Did any traditional rankings of this university influence your decision to study at this university?” 77% of the student respondents answered “No”

Are rankings really that important to students? Nelli Koutaniemi, coordinator at Study Advisory, shares the preliminary findings of a survey that suggests student satisfaction doesn’t always correlate with league tables.

Student mobility and digitalization are the megatrends of our time. There are currently 200 million students enrolled in a higher education institution, and that number is projected to exceed 660 million by 2040. Finding the most suitable option of education is, however, difficult and the competition between students for universities is tough. In addition, search patterns have changed: rather than visiting campuses or education expos nationally, students look for information online, and to be more specific, globally online, since future students are increasingly looking to apply to study abroad.
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Brexonomics: what does the leave vote mean for UK universities?

“There’s no absolute guarantee that EU students starting three or four year programmes in September will have visas to study once Britain is outside the union. That’s a very high level of risk for any EU student”

Ant Bagshaw, assistant director at Wonkhe, the UK’s leading higher education policy analysis website, digs down into the economic impact of Brexit for the UK higher education sector.

Let’s start with the good news. With the value of the pound falling to lows not seen since 1985, the cost of exports – including tuition for foreign students – have reduced dramatically. International students with places to study in the UK have just seen their fees and costs of living reduce by ten per cent. That should be good for demand even if the global PR disaster that is Brexit (we’ve decided to become a more insular nation) diverts some students to other Anglophone markets.
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Ant is Assistant Director at Wonkhe, following roles as a policy wonk at LSE and the University of Kent. He has also worked for UCL, the NUS and as a reviewer for QAA. As Assistant Director, Ant is responsible for leading a range of activities including training, events and projects. He is particularly interested in leadership, management and strategy in higher education and the positive impact that effective policy advice can have on decision-making.

After Brexit, UK HEIs should partner to thrive worldwide

“At the end of last week, from one day to the next, the international landscape changed shape for British universities”

By Simon Butt-Bethlendy of @GlobalHE and Chair of CIPR Education & Skills Group, writes about what the UK’s momentous Brexit decision might mean for UK universities and TNE.

At the end of last week, from one day to the next, the international landscape changed shape for British universities.

At 9am on the morning after the EU Referendum vote I chaired a teleconference with some of my CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) Education & Skills Group committee. Fellow education communicators registered shock, bafflement and despair.
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Simon Butt-Bethlendy is a communications and reputation management consultant for universities who shares news and views about international education on Twitter at @GlobalHE, TNE at @TNE_Hub and research impact via @REFimpact. He is also Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Education & Skills sectoral group.