Category: Higher education

Joining new social circles outside your native tongue

“Complications in communication should not in any way deter you from a once in a lifetime opportunity of studying abroad”

 

As we grow older entering new social circles becomes harder to achieve, from fewer opportunities to meet new people to less time to get out socially. Time at university offers a multitude of possibilities to interact with people from all over the country, and indeed, world. But for the students who seek to broaden their mind abroad, there are additional obstacles, not least of all, the language barrier.

So how can students cross-linguistic blocks to enrich their friendship group with culturally diverse inhabitants? Here are a few suggestions based on our experience at William Clarence Education.
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The big IP question: How well do students understand intellectual property?

“Without IP knowledge, it is likely that interns and graduates will miss opportunities to protect valuable ideas”

University students are constantly encouraged to be creative and to come up with new and innovative ideas, but are they being taught the value of their ideas and how to protect them?

Intellectual property (IP) knowledge is important not only for law students learning how to inform others about the value and management of IP but for individuals studying business, engineering and technology.
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How San Mateo CCD Rewrote Its International Education Playbook

“We set out to change that one country as a time and we did just that”

Back in 2012, when we initiated our International Education Program, we quickly realised that those “tried and true efforts” such as fairs, online advertising, joint degrees, satellite campus programs, brochures and web pages, and direct meetings with foreign students were simply not effective.

As a result, we decided to develop our own systematic approach, and in short order, the number of international students went from 80+ to 1,500 today, an increase of over 1,700%. The rate of growth is holding, as we see yearly double digits in growth. In a few short years; we leapt from the bottom and joined the top 30 community colleges in the nation, according to IIE International –a respected source in the world of international education. In 2017, our international students brought in over $40 million to our local economy.
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Brexit and the Strengthening of US Partnerships

“US institutions will do well to pay close attention to the final negotiations of Brexit in early 2019”

The much anticipated  September report of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has largely confirmed everyone’s expectations: yes, foreign students are an unalloyed benefit to the UK, but, no, not all obstacles will be removed to promote their arrival.

It’s a bit of a contradiction, but one that might be explained by the committee being appointed and answerable to the Home Office. With its eyes on the Brexit horizon, the committee admits it sees “no strong arguments for discriminating in favor of EU Students.”
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“Thanks MAC, but we should go further”

“Taking students out of the net migration target is not about fiddling the figures”

In light of the recent and long-awaited MAC report, director of Universities UK International Vivienne Stern says that the UK’s stagnant growth in international student enrolments has been an “active policy choice” and highlights the need for a clear, compelling and competitive post-study work offer.

Last week’s report by the Migration Advisory Committee confirmed what many of us in the university sector have long argued – that the benefits international students bring to the UK are enormous. The MAC team should be congratulated on some excellent analysis. But their conclusions were disappointing.

Now, attention has turned to the government response, and I believe there is a live debate between departments about whether to accept the MAC recommendations or go further.

The government should have the courage to do so.
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The Elevator Pitch: Why every international student (and professional) should craft one

“Your elevator pitch can be your answer when someone asks, “How do you plan on adjusting to a foreign company’s work culture?”

Whether applying to a company for an internship or a first job, an elevator pitch is that company’s first impression of your ability to fill a space in that organisation. This can even happen when visiting representatives at a college’s career fair or when answering the infamous first question, “Tell us about yourself.”

What is an elevator pitch? 

An elevator pitch, also known as an elevator speech, got its name from the amount of time you may spend with another individual in an elevator. On average, elevator rides last about 30 seconds or less. With your elevator pitch, you have that long to persuade someone before one of you walks off the elevator.
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A View on some of the top education destinations for Indian students

“Indian students today prefer to study abroad for greater career opportunities and to experience diversity”

Overseas education has been gaining grounds and Indian students today prefer to study abroad for greater career opportunities and experiencing diversity, among other reasons. Here I will walk you through top international education destinations for the Indian students.

  1. USA

The USA is one of the prime countries for Indian students who are in pursuit of educational courses such as business management, computer sciences, social sciences, physical and life sciences, mathematics, engineering and other courses. With top-tier universities, USA accommodates lakhs of foreign students every year. Institutions such as MIT, Princeton and Stanford, Harvard, are the most preferred.

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Finland: A view on one of the best university systems in the world

“Despite being a small nation, Finnish universities keep topping the world polls. So, what is it that they get so right?”

Finland is well-known for thinking outside the box in education, and its universities are no exception. The region’s focus on innovation appears to yield results, with Finnish universities recently ranked as the highest performing in the world. So, what exactly is it that they do so well? In my opinion, this can be roughly broken down into three broad categories.

  1. Strong support for quality teaching

Teaching is a respected profession in Finland, one that is extremely competitive to break into. Typically, fewer than 10% of applicants are accepted into the teacher training programme, five-year Master’s degree programmes are compulsory, and subject teachers are expected to carry out advanced academic studies in their field.

Finland’s teachers and lecturers are given great flexibility and freedom in their teaching styles too.

Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) embraces state-of-the-art teaching methods, for example, but teachers have autonomy for deciding how they are incorporated.  Mika Pulkkinen, an educational technology designer at LUT, says: “We offer a number of complex courses so we’re always looking for ways to help students cement their knowledge. We don’t want to insist on any single method of teaching, but we do make sure staff feel confident to use technology if they want to.”
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UK universities can be much more innovative in marketing in India

“UK universities need to be more innovative, less conservative and worry less about the Post Study Work visa”

Indian student numbers to the UK have fallen substantially in the last few years because of tighter visa controls. India was left out of an expanded list in June this year relaxing Tier 4 visa rules. But this is the new normal now. British universities need not use these excuses to justify low recruitment in India but do need to become more innovative in how they recruit.

The Foreign Providers Bill was long seen as a panacea for UK universities to enter the Indian market. In 2015, India’s National Knowledge Commission in 2005 recommended the establishment of Independent Regulatory Authority for Higher Education (IRAHE), replacing the higher and technical education regulators. The Higher Education and Research (HER) Bill 2011 sought to do the same, additionally seeking to grant greater autonomy to well-performing institutions.

In June 2017, the current government announced its intention to replace both the higher and technical education regulators with the Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA) instead. A month later, reports suggested the plans were on hold. Sometime thereafter, they were back on track. Then, formally earlier this year, the plans were finally superseded with a version more acceptable to the sector.

There is a very simple reason for this policy vacillation. The education portfolio in the Indian government is not as prestigious as many others. Governments don’t like spending political capital on reforming this sector when far greater political dividends can be achieved elsewhere.

In the Joint UK-India Trade Review earlier this year, the UK government identified several barriers to entry for increased UK-India education trade, including restrictions on repatriation of investment profits, lack of mutual recognition of one-year UK Masters programmes, twinning programmes not being recognised and foreign universities not being allowed to set up.

These are all fair points to make, but there is little prospect of changes happening in India any time soon. Instead, UK universities would be better served by being more pragmatic.

“It sounds simple, but UK universities should focus more on what Indian students want to buy, not what the UK wants to sell”

First, provide guaranteed placements or internships to Indian students. Indian parents and students care far more about ROI than Chinese students and are less likely to be worried about a poor TEF rating if the course guarantees an internship, however short. I have had multiple cold calls from London-based universities asking me to take on international interns. Leaving aside the GDPR implications, I’ve been surprised at how poorly those organisations have understood the CV they are pitching to me. Some universities outside the Russell Group, are slowly beginning to realise the power of this marketing.

Second, reduce dependence on agents. This model of recruitment in India (indeed, elsewhere too) focuses on what a university wants to sell, not what the student / their parents want to buy. Agent models of selling work better for the top-rated universities, not the second tier. Online avenues of marketing like Shiksha.com have far better reach and are significantly more cost-effective.

Third, understand the Indian psyche better. UK institutions are not always on point when it comes to understanding the thought process of Indian students. A prospective European student may see a marketing message about a variety of on-campus clubs, societies and extra-curricular activities, and think that represents the opportunity to develop as a person. An Indian student may see the same marketing message and think about how much extra money this will all cost.

Fourth, focus on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Yes, they might not have a nice Sheraton or Taj, but there are plenty of rich parents there, who want to send through children abroad. British universities are – amongst its global competitors – the most conservative when it comes to targeting these smaller cities.

Fifth, understand the power of PR and networks in India. I recently arranged a guest lecture for a visiting academic at a TEF Gold institution at short notice, at a leading college in Bangalore, at the request of their India office lead. The students had great feedback and the college Principal thought it was a wonderful collaboration opportunity. Subsequently, at least a dozen leading academics from the UK university have visited different cities in India, and no guest lectures have been arranged.

“These were missed opportunities to reach out to the right kind of enthusiastic student, without having to pay for stalls at student fairs or commission to agents”

Supplement this with more marketing through WhatsApp groups and a concerted PR campaign means that the universities can reach an audience that goes much beyond just a student fair.

According to Rohit Ramesh, Head of International Recruitment at Liverpool University, they were one of the first universities to successful try the PR route in India, paying significant dividends in terms of recruitment. Dr Sonal Minocha, Pro Vice Chancellor at Bournemouth University, has led an annual Festival of Learning in India and other countries, that enable UK students to experience India, and establish an innovative way of marketing the university in-country.

There is plenty of scope for UK universities to expand in India. To do this, UK universities need to be more innovative, less conservative and worry less about the Post Study Work visa.

About the author: Pratik Dattani is Managing Director of EPG Economic and Strategy Consulting, and has worked with educational institutions around the world on establishing innovative models of partnerships.

Switzerland’s tradition of learning: “a point of reference on the global stage”

“All too often, graduates of traditional academic degrees feel that their studies have left them unprepared for the workplace”

For the eighth year in a row, Switzerland has been ranked the world’s most innovative country by the World Intellectual Property Organisation. It is a country famed for its economic health and political stability.

Some may be surprised, then, to learn that less than a third of Swiss people under the age of 25 enter traditional academic higher education, or what the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development calls “tertiary-type A” education – theory-based programs lasting at least three years.

It’s not that Switzerland doesn’t value education. Quite the contrary: Switzerland has long recognised the importance of providing a range of educational pathways for different needs and objectives. Apprenticeships and vocational training play a key role in the country’s education system, with approximately 70% of young Swiss people participating in these programs either before or instead of attending university.

Vocational education gives teens the opportunity to combine classroom learning with entry-level responsibilities in the workplace, preparing them for careers in technology, services and health as well as traditional trades and crafts. It enables students to develop the skills they want and the skills employers need. As a result, youth unemployment in Switzerland is among the lowest in the world (8.1%, compared to the OECD total of 11.9%), and the Swiss educational model has become a point of reference on the global stage.

The Swiss tradition of learning by doing has also shaped the nation’s higher education landscape. Switzerland excels in research, with the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (EPFL and ETH Zurich) ranked as among the best engineering and technology universities worldwide. In addition to academic universities, the country offers a number of universities of applied sciences specialising in practice-oriented bachelor’s and master’s degrees, where apprentices who hold a Federal Vocational Education and Training (VET) Diploma or Federal Vocational Baccalaureate may qualify for admission. These industry-specific programmes enable graduates to make a smooth transition from studies to their career.

“We have found that this dual approach is key to ensuring that students can apply their classroom learning to real-world contexts”

In the area of hospitality management, for example, four out of the world’s top ten institutions are based in Switzerland. At both Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, the Swiss model of combining practical and academic learning forms the backbone of the curriculum. Bachelor’s degree students are immersed in hospitality operations, such as guest service, culinary studies and housekeeping, as well as business theory, such as finance, entrepreneurship and luxury branding.

This experience enables them to develop professionalism, communication, adaptability and other essential soft skills as well as business management expertise. In addition, students are required to complete two internship semesters and are encouraged to work and study abroad to further enhance their employability.

We have found that this dual approach is key to ensuring that students can apply their classroom learning to real-world contexts. Specialist programmes that maintain close ties with the industry are better equipped to prepare students with the necessary skills for their chosen profession. It’s an educational experience that is valued by students and companies alike: in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, Glion and Les Roches rank first and third respectively for employer reputation among hospitality management institutions worldwide.

“Youth unemployment in Switzerland is among the lowest in the world “

All too often, graduates of traditional academic degrees feel that their studies have left them unprepared for the workplace. The Swiss model of blended theoretical and practical learning has become increasingly attractive not only in Switzerland but around the world. Today, Glion offers its curriculum through a branch campus in London, UK, while Les Roches also has campuses in Marbella, Spain and Shanghai, China. For career-focused students, the integration of vocational and academic education offers a compelling alternative.

About the author: Dr Pierre Ihmle is Chief Academic Officer of Sommet Education, the hospitality education group that includes Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches Global Hospitality Education