Category: Higher education

How can UK boarding schools help smooth the transition to university for international students?

“One excellent example of specific support for international students is putting final year students in touch with alumni who are currently at the universities the student might be considering”

As parents know, selecting a university is about more than accessing the latest subject and university rankings. The challenge is even harder for parents who may be several thousand miles away, writes Pat Moores, director and co-founder of UK Education Guide.

Therefore, the responsibility for helping international students find the right university often relies on the diligence of boarding schools.

Some schools offer the same support for international students as they do for UK students, but it is hard not to think that they need more, recognising the lack of direct parental input.

As Caroline Nixon, General Secretary of BAISIS comments: “International students need greater support than UK pupils, not the same…parents don’t understand the process and are remote.”

“University websites make it quite difficult to find basic information, as the focus is on a detailed examination of facilities themselves”

Some schools argue that if their pupils are prepared properly, it is right that they lead the process, not the school or parents.

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Documentation in times of crisis

“If documents are destroyed, what options does a student have? What happens when the infrastructure is unstable? If records are held online, but there’s no internet available, how is that information obtained?”

In the event of war, economic hardship or natural disasters, students are not always able to provide the standard educational documents, writes research & knowledge management evaluator at Educational Credential Evaluators Melissa Ganiere. So what can be done in times of turmoil to ensure that student qualifications are accessible?

At ECE, we recommend that institutions try to be flexible when dealing with exceptional cases. However, we understand that schools need to adhere to standards while simultaneously keeping the needs and best interests of the student in mind.

The final decision regarding what documents are acceptable is up to your institution. Some best practices have been adopted for documentation issues you might encounter during a crisis.  These may help you gain flexibility without damaging your credibility.

Our top five guidelines for dealing with unusual situations are:

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International Education in New Zealand: New Applications for “№8 Wire”

“Policymakers are positioning international education within a fragile eco-system where sectors of the economy could collapse without the contributions of international students”

 

In 19th century New Zealand, №8 wire was the preferred wire gauge for sheep fencing, so farms often had plentiful supplies. It was said that one could just about fix anything with a handy piece of №8.

Over time, the idea of №8 wire came to represent the ingenuity, resilience and resourcefulness of New Zealanders and became a symbol of the nation’s ability to improvise and adapt. Today, New Zealand faces an array of more complex challenges.

As if with a piece of №8 wire in hand, Anthony Ogden, executive director of education abroad and exchanges at Michigan State University writes, the nation’s leaders have begun to reimagine international education as a viable strategy that can be repurposed to solve some of the country’s pressing challenges.

Although international education is generally discussed in relation to international student and scholar mobility, it is being framed in New Zealand as a dynamic industry in terms of export value, immigration, and as “supply chain management” to bolster the domestic workforce.

The nation’s policymakers are positioning international education within a fragile eco-system wherein certain sectors of the economy would potentially collapse without the economic and workforce contributions of international students.

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Student scammers and how to stop them

“Students have always served as a favourite target for phishing scams – perhaps due to the combination of just setting out into the world while armed with a sizeable student loan in their bank accounts”

The rise in sophisticated cybercrime means a growing number of students are falling victim to malicious email scams, writes Agari field CTO, John Wilson. But are educational institutions doing all they can to protect their students from becoming targets? 

The beginning of a new academic year means millions of students are just starting their journey into higher education. It’s a time that should represent unlimited horizons and discovery for students and educators alike. Unfortunately, thanks to the growing number of cyber criminals around the world, the new academic year also means a fresh crop of unwary victims and the opportunity for a bumper payday in stolen funds.

Email phishing scams – where the criminal tricks their victim into giving up personal information through a fraudulent email – is a growing problem that even sophisticated businesses are struggling to defend against. These emails will usually impersonate a trusted identity, such as a well-known brand, public authority or even a personal contact, to trick their target into opening them.

“The more seasoned criminals will take pains to ensure their emails are indistinguishable from the real thing”

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Meet the new boss, similar to the old boss: new agent regulations unveiled in Vietnam

“It will take a while before the ‘Wild West’ becomes less wild”

Vietnam is a country in flux and the international education sector is no exception. In fact, it is a case study of changes and reforms. Mark Ashwill, the MD of Capstone Vietnam, looks at the current regulatory system for education agencies and what consultants must do to succeed in this exciting market.

Here’s how a typical scenario plays out: the government will attempt to address a concern or deficiency through a policy change. If the desired result is not achieved, or there are negative consequences, the policy will be rescinded and replaced by another. Such is the case with certification requirements for education agents. This reflects Vietnamese flexibility and the never-ending search for workable solutions to vexing problems.

Out with the Old and In with the New – After an interlude

In August 2016, I wrote about a policy that was implemented in 2014 in response to a decision on the Regulation of Overseas Study of Vietnamese Citizens, issued by the prime minister of Vietnam in January 2013. Of particular interest to education consulting companies was chapter three, entitled Management of Overseas Study Services. This section stipulated that education agents would henceforth need to meet certain requirements related to staff qualifications, official certification, and financial capacity “to ensure the settlement of risk cases.”

The stated purpose of these regulations was to raise the standards of practice and improve the quality of service by regulating educational consulting companies on some level. In a December 2014 article, I noted that as with all new approaches, it will take a while before the ‘Wild West’ becomes less wild, less greedy and more responsive to the needs and demands of its clients and higher education partners. This type of certification is a step in the right direction.

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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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