Category: Internationalisation

How Swansea University remains internationally ambitious in challenging times

“Internationalisation via strategic partnerships will allow us to extend our global reach whatever the outcome of Brexit”

Since our foundation in 1920, Swansea University has embraced opportunities to think globally, growing and maintaining partnerships that enhance and support our research, teaching and student recruitment ambitions. But to say that universities are operating in uncertain times is no less true for being a cliché.

The numbers of international students entering the UK have been flatlining since 2012 when the government removed the two- year post-study work visa, followed by further changes in 2015, as the government began cutting immigration targets and tightening up rules in a number of areas, including academic progression and savings. At the same time, competition has got tougher as the market has grown in the USA, Canada and Australia, and HEIs in parts of Europe like the Netherlands and Germany have begun teaching courses through the medium of English.
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The benefit of ‘joined up’ thinking when teaching EAL

“EAL departments need to be seen less as stand-alone departments and more as departments encompassing and integrating all aspects of a school’s academic life”

 It seems common sense, but how often in schools and colleges across the country is EAL development held back due to a lack of communication between EAL teachers and their colleagues teaching other subjects?

As Pete Collier, Head of EAL at Kings College St Michael’s says, “if a student is performing a science practical it seems logical that in the preceding (EAL) support lesson they should receive vocabulary related to common laboratory equipment. Although a seemingly simple and obvious philosophy the lack of communication between departments often causes this approach to be neglected”.
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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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The benefits of studying the International Baccalaureate

“What has inspired me the most about the IB is its ability to encourage students to become internationally minded”

As students start to plan their future, choosing the right upper school curriculum is often a difficult decision to make. Faced with so many options, from A-levels to the International Baccalaureate (IB) or even the American Advanced Placement (AP) or high school diploma, the question is which one is the best fit for their abilities? And which one will more likely lead to a good degree?

I wish there was a simple answer, but it just depends on what type of student they are. Whether a good all-rounder who enjoys studying a wide range of subjects and rises to the challenge of investigative projects and exams like in the IB, or perhaps they are a more analytical mindset who prefers time to ponder their work with a curriculum focused on fewer subjects and graded more equally on coursework and exams like some A levels and the AP or whether no exams at all like the high school diploma.

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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

 

 

 

How technology is helping to educate Syrian refugees

“Articulating your level of education is tricky if you move country, let alone if you haven’t brought proof of learning”

Fiona Reay, head of Client Services at FutureLearn, recently travelled to Lebanon to see the impact of technology at schools educating Syrian refugees as part of the Partnership for Digital Learning and Increased Access project, which has five years’ funding through the Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform initiative. Here, Reay discusses what she learned during the visit and some of the challenges that are yet to be overcome.

I saw first-hand the innovative delivery of education in Lebanese communities from the American University of Beirut and listened to Syrian students and teachers about the impact of the PADILEIA project at the GHATA schools in the Bekka Valley.

Picture2I was very impressed at the rapid pace that new schools have been rolled out in the Bekka region to accommodate 1.5 million Syrian refugees who’ve arrived in Lebanon; not only the infrastructure which has been put in place but the care which has gone into the meal planning and the welcoming environment from the teaching and support staff.

These schools are happy places with enthusiastic teachers and grateful children and teenagers, a space of ‘normality’ compared to day-to-day life in camps or other temporary accommodation, and a chance for young people to be with their friends and have routine back in their lives.
But there are several challenges to gaining an education when being displaced. While I experienced a positive and inclusive environment, there are still hurdles to overcome.

  • Articulating your level of education is tricky if you move country, let alone if you haven’t brought proof of learning. The Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese certification levels don’t all align, and I heard examples of students travelling back into Syria to sit the exams needed to move onto the next level of study.
  • Stipends are often required to pay for travel costs and study expenses for Syrian and other disadvantaged youth. At the World Food Program school teachers reward participation with digital card ‘points’ that can be used in neighbourhood shops (much like vouchers), and this also helps stimulate the local Lebanese economy.
  • Funding and scholarship application forms can be daunting for most and understanding the nuances of “pitching yourself” requires guidance from people who have done it before. Learning how to answer what extracurricular activities you do, and the value you can add to your community (when you’ve had to relocate due to civil war) can feel even more of a stretch. The PADILEIA students have found it really valuable to learn from mentors who can support them through this process and help them fill in the forms.

Picture1I also witnessed a strong appetite for digital skills and discussion. PADILEIA’s aim is to increase critical-thinking skills so young people can prepare for higher education and consider wider career options like science, law, journalism, or IT.

The first year of the project has a focus on mixing practical digital skills with learning English, as part of a Foundation Certificate to build readiness for further education. These transferable skills build the confidence of young people.

“I was overwhelmed by the confidence and brightness of young women keen to practice with native English speakers and to show off their Adobe Photoshop exam progress”

Students also learn Microsoft and Google Drive programs, as well as AutoCAD software for potential engineering and architecture pathways in the future.

There also exists a supported and blended approach to online learning. A lot of mentoring is required around goal setting, and coaching on time management is constantly needed –  these are teenagers with homework after all!

Passionate teacher Mahmoud Shabaan, Students Service Coordinator at the GHATA School, provides mentorship support seven days a week, uses WhatsApp and Facebook groups to connect students after hours.

The school also invites Syrian scholarship awardees at the American University of Beirut to deliver “do your homework pep talks” to keep students motivated, and they plan to use graduates of the PADILEIA program to help train and support the next cohort of students.

Houssam, who has just completed his Foundation Certificate from the American University of Beirut (AUB), delivered an inspirational speech to the PADILEIA visitors, explaining the benefits he was seeing from studying with mentors and the goals he has for the future, including scholarships for higher education.

The teachers in Bekka also explained that using online resources to date has been a challenge, due to the students’ level of English but also connection issues and that they’re aiming to use more online tools in the classroom as their experience with using technology for learning increases.

It will be interesting to see how young people and their educators will embrace online and social learning.

Picture3To help with this, new online free basic English courses designed for the Middle East have been developed. Two new courses teaching Basic English from King’s College London, at elementary and pre-intermediate levels, have been specially created for Middle Eastern learners.

The short courses tell the stories of local characters Samir, Maya and Amena who learn practical phrases and hear from British voices. They include Arabic transcripts and are prepared for students learning in an environment with power cuts and slower wifi, meaning a stronger focus on audio (rather than video) and low bandwidth optimised files.

Online facilitators from King’s College London have been specially trained to help support Middle Eastern learners. The King’s College London courses are available on FutureLearn.com with free continued access for all, funded by the PADILEIA program.

How TNE & International Education will penetrate Egypt in 2019

“Students will be able to live out their dreams right where they are”

Egypt’s education sector has been facing a discrepancy between supply and demand for the past few years in terms of accessibility and quality. The solution to amend this is to seek education abroad, even though in most cases, the student’s choice of academic disciplines is offered in Egypt.

It is quite a bummer since not all students are able to afford the luxury to “study abroad”. This is due to a multitude of reasons, parents being the main concerned party. They wouldn’t let their children go on their own out of fear and security as well as being incapable of sustaining the financial implications. Torn between wanting to get their money’s worth, and not knowing if studying in Egypt is doing that for them, they wonder if there is a way to bring the best of both worlds: high-quality education and staying in their country.

And there is!

The solution to all these issues is the new government direction happening in the New Administrative Capital. The New Capital is envisioning 2,000 academic institutions to be built ranging from schools to universities and among them, 6 are licensed to apply the International Branch Campus (IBC) model. An international academic institution would partner with an Egyptian investor to collaborate together in providing an education similar to the home-based campus.

“Student employability is the ultimate measure of success for the academic and non-academic participants”

The institution would be responsible for the curriculum, faculty, teaching techniques, the works up until awarding the accredited degree. The curriculum is set to meet market needs, country national projects and students’ needs, and encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration between students and faculty. Thus, the students would not only focus on their academic discipline but also their subjects of interest and shape them for tomorrow.

One of the six licensed investors is El Sewedy Education, and they decided to approach the IBC model in a unique way, to position their campus as a global knowledge hub with academic partners from different parts of the world to provide a truly global experience to the community participants, an experience that will be available for students in September 2019.

Since students are the most important stakeholders in the eyes of the Egyptian authorities and the six participants, their employability is the ultimate measure of success for the academic and non-academic participants.

Additionally, the students will be able to live out their dreams right where they are, while their parents would be offered a way to improve their children’s chances of success aided by the provision of quality education without having to leave their hometown.

 It might sound surreal now but it won’t be long until it becomes the norm.

About the author:  Jayda Shaalan serves as the Junior Business Development Coordinator at El Sewedy Education.

Zero-Sum Thinking: Why Trump Risks Zeroing Out America’s International Education Sector

“The colleges and universities that will be hurt most deeply by the flight of international students will be those in states that voted for President Trump”

The Trump administration policies are having a notable effect on the number of international students studying in the United States. Managing Director of University Ventures Ryan Craig writes about the impact of “zero-sum thinking” and the effect it could have on American universities and colleges that depend on international students for their survival.

Ever since I read The Art of the Deal in the 1980s, I’ve not been a fan of Donald Trump. In August of 2015, writing in Forbes, I marvelled that he was leading the pack of Republican candidates for President, calling him “untrustworthy,” “fickle,” and an “entertainer playing a businessman.” Nonetheless, I never expected him to be economically illiterate as well.

Many have commented that Trump’s approach to civil liberties appears to be that freedom from discrimination for one group doesn’t result in a net gain for society because “their gain is your loss.” This “zero-sum” thinking is equally clear in his approach to immigration. In Trump’s view – at least as played to his steadfast base – every immigrant is taking a job that would otherwise go to a native-born American.
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U.S. is Losing an Opportunity for Economic Growth

International students studying in the US become powerful contributors to the economy…impacting foreign relations in ways that can lead to global growth. 

It is easy to view the value of international students in terms of economic impact says Gretchen M. Bataille, senior consultant at Navitas USA. But, as she explains, international students contribute much more than tuition fees, and unfortunately, the US seems to be missing the memo. 

Education is not often considered an export. However, contrary to images of barges laden with goods, the United States’ most valuable exports are services, including education. In July 2017, services accounted for over one-third of total exports at $65.8 billion.

International students studying in the US become powerful contributors to the economy and contribute new ideas, lifestyles, values, and experiences to their home countries, transforming their local economies and impacting foreign relations in ways that can lead to global growth.

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Chinese parents boost the UK’s £20bn higher education market

 “Parents in China are expecting to contribute on average £72,738 towards their child’s higher education abroad”

Thinking of international education and the boom in mobile students in the near past, we often think of the students as the drivers of change. And of course they are at the centre of the business – it wouldn’t exist without them – but there is another group that also deserves our attention, writes Trista Sun, global head of international and cross border at HSBC. Parents of mobile students, especially Chinese parents, are key to the international education economy.

Despite many concerns about the international political environment, globalisation of education showed no sign of stalling in 2017, creating vast opportunities for universities around the world. The UK in particular saw strong benefits from this, with international students bringing an estimated £22.6bn to our economy, as revealed by new figures from HEPI. We owe a great deal of this income to ambitious parents in China who are going to great lengths to make their child’s plans for university abroad a reality.

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