Category: UK

A new tool to improve international recognition of TNE qualifications

“UK NARIC has been working to develop an enhanced service aimed at improving international understanding and confidence in TNE qualifications”

 

The TNE Quality Benchmark scheme will be an important tool to inform UK NARIC international engagement aimed at improving the recognition climate for TNE qualifications of demonstrated standards, quality and relevance, writes Dr. Fabrizio Trifiro. Fabrizio Trifiro is head of Quality Benchmark Services at UK NARIC.

As education systems and institutions worldwide are trying to adjust and respond to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, transnational education (TNE), and in particular online modes of delivery, can become an increasingly important way to sustain international activity and growth going forward.

Students might not be allowed to return to their university’s campus, and many international students might not be able to travel or might not want to take the risk to travel until the likelihood of further peaks of Covid-19 and further lockdown measures have receded.

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Boarding school and state school collaboration in the UK

“Private and state schools cater to different markets…so, if it is handled sensitively, long term relationships can be successful”

 

The UK boarding school sector, home to approximately 29,000 international pupils requiring a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK  is criticised in some quarters for the perceived lack of ‘sharing’ of resources & expertise with pupils attending state-run schools in the UK.

This builds domestic political pressure on the sector as only 7% of children in the UK attend private/boarding schools. But what is the reality?

One scheme worthy of note is the Boarding School Partnerships (BSP) programme that advises local authorities on how, when and where to place vulnerable young people in boarding schools. Some pupils are already in the care system, having been removed from their families, whilst others may be close to the edge of care.

According to Colin Morrison, founding Chair of the Department for Education’s three-year-old boarding School Partnerships (BSP), there are approximately 750 young people currently being supported in state and independent boarding schools by specialist charities and an additional 1,500 by local authorities.

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Preserving the mental health of international students during national lockdown

“Open, transparent and clear communication with families is critical – now more than ever”

 

“These are unsettling times for adults, let alone international students far from home. It’s our responsibility to step up and provide them with the support they need to make it through this crisis and come out on the other side feeling happy and healthy,” writes Sarah Bakhtiari, co-principal and director of Welfare at Bellerbys College Brighton.

With Britain’s schools closed indefinitely, many international students are left stranded by travel restrictions or national lockdowns. While these students remain in the UK, institutions have a duty of care to them. At Bellerbys, we’re currently looking after 135 international students, aged between fourteen and eighteen, who are unable to return home. Here’s how we’re approaching their mental health and wellbeing.

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How UK colleges are adapting their international programs during coronavirus

“Everyone has had to adapt quickly and compliantly to a different way of life through this grim pandemic, and UK colleges are no exception”

Back in January, I wrote my first briefing for colleges about the coronavirus outbreak in Asia,” writes Emma Meredith,  International Director at the Association of Colleges.

It’s no surprise that China is one of the most important international education markets for UK FE, so coronavirus raised obvious concerns for college international business, partners and students. As the weeks passed, COVID-19 even elbowed Brexit out of the headlines – both in national media and in my college briefings.

Now in April, I am writing, and you are reading, from near lockdown in our own homes all over the world. Everyone has had to adapt quickly and compliantly to a different way of life through this grim pandemic, and UK colleges are no exception.

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COVID-19 highlights need for recruitment automation

“Many HEIs were already struggling with fluctuating international enrolments due to unpredictable political and economic conditions”

UK universities face significant financial losses in international tuition fees as Covid-19 decimates prospective enrolments. However, automating recruitment processes mitigate the potential for economic ruin says Jeffrey Williams, co-founder at Enroly.com.

As global leaders in higher education, UK universities are heavily reliant on international tuition revenue, with the most important recruitment markets for the UK are China (120,385); India (26,685); the United States (20,120); Hong Kong (16,135), and Malaysia (13,835).

Indeed international students make up 20% of the UK’s undergraduate student body and a staggering 35% of all postgraduates, meaning there are close to half-a-million international students in the country at any given time.

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Supporting international students in HE during COVID-19

“As we enter a new normal, we must ensure that no student is left behind”

Covid-19 has thrust the Higher Education sector into the realities of ‘Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity’ (VUCA)  writes senior international lead at the University of Sussex, Tosin Adebisi. As a result, many universities are responding quickly, creatively and moving in-person teaching to online platforms.

I commend universities for developing robust solutions; however, as we develop these learning platforms, how are we supporting international students, especially those unable to fly back to their homes and families? How well are we creating a level learning field that promotes accessibility, participation and inclusion?

In this opinion piece, I argue that we can do more to support international students. I also present suggestions to help universities develop human-centred solutions for this group.

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The role of think tanks in education

“Education is an important and lasting way in which university-affiliated think tanks can impact the world”

By connecting the worlds of the practitioner and the scholar, says Aaron McKeil of  LSE IDEAS, think tanks – university-affiliated think tanks especially – act as conduits between the two.

They strive to convey concepts and ideas from academia to practice and to bring experience and insider knowledge from practice to academia. Research and working groups are some of the most common mediums for this activity, but education has an important function and role too.

Think tanks, especially university-affiliated think tanks, can provide education by conveying academic knowledge to practitioners, at various levels. They can also provide education by connecting students to the distinct type of expertise that professional practitioners can provide.
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Coronavirus: separated families need greater focus

“Families are bearing the brunt of this disruption on both a psychological and practical level, and more must be done to meet their needs”

As the Coronavirus crisis widens geographically, the immediate focus for the boarding school sector is to provide up to date health advice to help keep schools virus-free. However, as Pat Moores of UK Education Guide writes, alongside this issue there is a massive human story. 

As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, young people are being separated from their families unexpectedly, uncertain when the situation will improve and concerned about their own welfare and the welfare of their families.

We have heard of one Chinese pupil who has donated £750 of her own money to help Wuhan residents, as many of her friends live in the Hubei region and she is very worried about them.

So what about enhanced pastoral care provision during this crisis?

As Caroline Nixon, General Secretary of the British Association of Independent Schools with International Students (BAISIS) says, “anything a school can do to reassure the child and to put into place arrangements that support them emotionally as well as physically is welcome; the most obvious being keeping the school open so that children without good guardians have somewhere familiar to stay.”

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TNE must deliver portable qualifications that will be recognised internationally

“At times, regulations developed to safeguard students and societies… can hinder the achievement of the very benefits associated with TNE”

Cross-border cooperation and coordination are needed to reap the full benefits of transnational education, writes Fabrizio Trifiro. Fabrizio is the recently-appointed Head of Quality Benchmark Services at UK NARIC and was formerly at the UK QAA where he led on the quality assurance of TNE.

From my experience in the external quality assurance of UK TNE over a number of years, I appreciate the key challenges and opportunities facing TNE providers, students, and sending and receiving countries’ authorities; and also some of the priorities to focus on, to fully achieve the benefits that can come from TNE.

The challenges of TNE are several, but it is with a firm sight to its potential benefits that they need to be looked at. TNE is a way to make available education programmes to people who would not otherwise be able to access them because they are unwilling or unable to move internationally, be it for financial, family, work, or visa-related reasons.

TNE has, therefore, the inherently progressive potential to widen international access to quality and relevant education, in particular in locations where there is unmet demand, contributing to the development of skills needed to support social and economic development.

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Post-Brexit, UK should not overlook the role of ‘technology’ in providing global education

“Everyone for the foreseeable future is going to be developing work and social relationships, based on virtual networking”

On January 8th, the U.K. parliament voted against an amendment that went unnoticed beyond the few students, educators, and policy advocates who took to Twitter in angst.
The amendment insisted that the government maintain full membership in Erasmus, EU’s student exchange programme, and negotiate terms before the transition period ends in December 2020.

What did the vote mean? What indication it gives as to the faith of the UK’s participation in Erasmus+ post Brexit? From the launch of the program in 2014 to 2018, UK projects received €680 million in Erasmus+ funding, and 167,000 participants from the UK benefited from Erasmus+.

Brexit may mean the country rejects globalisation as an economic model but that doesn’t automatically translate into the rejection of global education. After all, the skills and attitudes gained from intercultural and international learning, as well the values it represents such as freedom and tolerance, are as British as they are European.

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