Category: Higher education

Can the international education sector do more to welcome refugees?

“Supporting vulnerable groups such as refugees is one way we can contribute… to the wider community”

Working in education we are uniquely placed to respond to a range of societal challenges, writes IDP  UK and US director Arlene Griffiths.  At times it can seem daunting to know where to begin in order to make a difference. Over the past two years IDP has developed a corporate social responsibility strategy, and after a few “false starts”, the aim to support refugees in south Wales led IDP to the Welsh Refugee Council. This experience shows the value of CSR, both to our sector and the wider community we operate in. 

We knew we wanted to support local refugees, and we had some ideas, but how to reach them? Then a colleague on his daily commute happened to walk passed the Welsh Refugee Council offices. This sparked a thought, which then led to tentative conversations with the WRC about their needs and where we might be able to support their work by drawing upon the employability skills within our team. A year on, and the impact that we have been able to make through our collaboration with the WRC has been life changing for myself, my team, but most importantly, the people we have been able to help.

We began small; piloting some initial workshops on CV writing and job applications, before progressing onto lessons in business English, personal branding tips and the use of LinkedIn as a vehicle to connect and build a professional network. We had some amazing participants that were fully committed to re-building their lives in the UK. They were well-qualified people with good English, hungry to learn new skills that make them ready for the workplace and attractive to UK employers or, in a number of cases, prepare them for UK universities to undertake further study.

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A perfect storm is massing against British universities

“This tempest massing against British universities will create financial damage and reduce the UK soft power in the world”

A leaked document putting forward proposals for more stringent controls on workers and students from the EU has dashed hopes that the UK government might be considering a more liberal approach to international student visas. Aldwyn Cooper, vice chancellor at Regent’s University London, says the higher education sector is already at breaking point.

The latest proposal by the government in a leaked document – stating that the Home Office wants to introduce a crackdown on overseas students from the European Union following Brexit – is another example of what appears to be the systematic demolition of the attraction, stability and international reputation of UK higher education.

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Bundled pathways unbundled. Can universities have their cake and eat it too?

“In the context of financially strapped universities with decreasing domestic enrolments, the prospect of large numbers of international students paying out-of-state tuition rates makes the bundled pathway an attractive proposition”

Are so-called bundled pathways the future of international student recruitment at US universities, and the world over? At a time when the international education sector is dominated by conversations on change, Jean-Marc Alberola, president of Bridge Education Group takes a detailed look at options for internationalisation in higher education. 

In recent years, much debate and a significant amount of controversy has surrounded the advent of third-party international student pathway programs in the US higher education marketplace. The debate is particularly active in international educator circles and was a hot topic at the NAFSA annual conference this year, with at least four sessions devoted to the theme, including a study commissioned by NAFSA itself.

These new pathway programs, whose main protagonists include a few large, often private-equity backed firms such as Shorelight Education, StudyGroup, INTO, Navitas and Kaplan, have been well documented in the press.

Some of the confusion and misunderstanding surrounding international student pathway programs is a result of the term being broadly used to describe a wide variety of models, including intensive English programs that prepare students for university admission, TOEFL waiver partnerships, and progression from community colleges to four-year institutions.

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Myanmar: a new frontier for international student recruitment

“Since political and economic liberalization, the advent of a multiparty democratic system, and the lifting of economic sanctions, the country has been opening up to the world in grand fashion”

The number of Myanmarese students heading overseas for study may be low at the moment, but political shifts and a growing economy mean it is a rapidly growing student market. The time for education institutions in the US and beyond to begin recruiting is now, say Mark Ashwill, managing director of Capstone Vietnam, and Deepak Neopane, founder of City College Yangon and managing director of Academics International.

Situated between two of the largest countries in the world, India and China, Myanmar has significant geopolitical importance in Southeast Asia. Until the early 1960s, Burma, as it was then known, was the region’s most developed, most well-educated, and richest nation. Yangon University was a prestigious institution in the region and Yangon Airport was a major regional hub.
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How can universities protect themselves from cyber attacks?

“One of the reasons why HE could be targeted by cyber criminals is that it holds lots of personal data and intellectual property that can be sold to information brokers”

As details of a recent ransomware attack on a top UK university unfold this week, Andrew Blyth, director of the Cyber Defence Centre at the University of South Wales, reflects on the lessons learned from the Wannacry cyber attack on the NUS and how the higher education sector can arm itself against cybercrime.

How did the NHS Wannacry attack happen and why?

There are two major lessons that we can learn from the Wannacry ransomware outbreak of May 2017. The first is the need to practice basic cyber security hygiene in terms of patch management, antivirus and firewall management. The reason for this is that the Wannacry ransomware used the MS17-010 vulnerability to attack unprotected computer systems. Microsoft had, in the weeks before the Wannacry outbreak, published a patch which was developed in response to the MS17-010 vulnerability. You may say that if all systems had been patched then the outbreak on the NHS systems would not have happened.

However, such a simple assertion ignores the second lesson.
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No one saw the UK’s election upset coming. What now for higher education?

“Our European colleagues have told me they see this as a very good result. It will make it impossible for the government to force through a hard Brexit”

Following the UK’s shock election result, which saw the Conservatives fall short of a majority, Aldwyn Cooper, vice chancellor and chief executive of Regent’s University London, considers what the upset and a resulting alliance with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party could mean for the higher education sector.

No one in government saw this result coming. Only yesterday, one senior Conservative suggested that they were expecting to achieve a majority over Labour of over 100.
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Professor Aldwyn Cooper is vice chancellor at Regent’s University London.

Outreach work could increase the ‘1% of refugees who reach higher education’

“This kind of work is about identifying the needs of the individual and providing effective signposting”

A new report claims just 1% of refugees reach higher education, but there is an argument that this figure could be improved with outreach work by universities. Lucy Judd, outreach coordinator at Nottingham Trent University, explains.

Imagine having aspirations of staying in education to become a doctor, lawyer or architect, but then being unexpectedly forced to abandon your studies and flee your country because it is unsafe, leaving you unsure of what your future holds.
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London-Paris: Building a post-Brexit future in higher education

“London and Paris, and other global cities, can deliver positive global impact at scale, if we work together to address shared challenges”

As Brexit draws closer, Nicola Brewer, UCL Vice-Provost International, and Tim Gore, CEO, University of London Institute in Paris, write about how universities in the UK can continue to engage with institutions in Paris and other global cities, even after the UK leaves the EU.

London and Paris are truly global cities. With their diverse populations of close to nine and 12 million respectively, world-leading culture, media, innovation and business quarters, they both play a big role in the world economy. Higher education is an integral part of driving economic prosperity.
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Is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s anti-agent stance a case of Americentrism?

“If US institutions hope to continue to attract international students in an increasingly competitive marketplace, then we had better sit at the table and find a way to make this work”

Jean-Marc Alberola, president of Bridge Education Group, reflects on a recent proposal to prohibit the use of compensated oversea student recruitment agencies in part of the US, and looks at the arguments for and against using agents.

After much study and debate on the topic of commissioned agents in international student recruitment, is it time for many in the US higher edu community to reflect upon the notion that it might be viewing the agent debate from an overly US focused perspective?

To many, the recent proposal by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to extend the prohibition on incentive compensation to the recruitment of foreign students who are not eligible to receive federal student assistance is bewildering. That is, it is bewildering unless we consider that this might very well be a case of bias, or having a US centric perspective, with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, that the context of domestic student recruitment somehow applies and is relevant outside the United States.
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Jean-Marc is President of Bridge Education Group, a comprehensive provider of language and education services including corporate language training, teacher training, university pathway programs and international student recruitment. Jean-Marc started his language industry career with Telelangue Systems in Washington, D.C., before venturing on to Brazil, Chile and Argentina to launch Linguatec Language Centers. After 12 years in South America Jean-Marc returned to the U.S. to head up Bridge Education Group.

Jean-Marc has over 25 years’ experience in language and education abroad and is a regular presenter at AIEA, NAFSA, AIRC, IALC, and ICEF events. Jean-Marc holds a BA in Economics from the University of Vermont.

Don’t overlook transnational alumni

 “Enter transnational alumni: alumni that conduct their personal and professional lives within two or more countries”

Education institutions around the world are upping their efforts to engage with not only their domestic but also their international alumni – but many overlook a third category, writes Gretchen Dobson, EdD, Academic Assembly‘s Vice President International Alumni & Graduate Services, Managing Director, Australia.

Two years ago, while based in China, I had one of those ‘ah-ha’ moments: I realized that for the vast majority of institutions that define their alumni demographics as “domestic or international”, there is another category to define and engage. Enter transnational alumni: alumni that conduct their personal and professional lives within two or more countries. Today’s international education’s trends and future practices support the concept of this new definition that goes beyond the “either/or” and other limiting database management practices.
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