Category: UK

Broadening access to education across the globe

“The number of 18-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds embarking on full-time undergraduate courses has increased 52% since 2006”

Across the world, over 159 million children have no access to pre-primary education, and 57 million remain out of school at primary school age. A staggering 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, with more than 60% of these being female. Though global efforts are being made to redress these problems, UK HE has a vital part to play in advancing worldwide education, writes Sean de Lacey, head of sales at Diversity Travel.

The growth of online education and university expansion through branch campuses have helped to broaden learning possibilities for some, particularly in developing countries, whose access to traditional education routes may be restricted or in some cases shut off entirely.

“As popular as their uptake may be, the completion rates for MOOCs remain stubbornly low”

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider Coursera, which works with some of the world’s leading universities and prides itself on offering top-quality education to anyone, has in excess of 24 million users worldwide. A huge 45% of these users are from developing countries.

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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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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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Branch campuses and Brexit: should universities be doing more?

“Branch campuses could, and should, be one of the major methods by which UK universities look to broaden worldwide access to education”

Is building new campuses in the EU the route to safety for UK universities in a post-Brexit world? Chris Hellawell, head of account management at Diversity Travel, argues it is, and King’s College London’s move to partner with TUD in Dresden should be the first of many such ‘branch campuses’.

King’s College London recently announced its intention to become the UK’s first university to open a branch campus in the EU. In collaboration with Technische Universität Dresden, it aims to create an ‘offshore King’s College Europe’, with TU Dresden dean Professor Stefan Bornstein commenting that the plan will allow King’s to have a presence in Europe and maintain access to European research funding post-Brexit.

Branch campuses are by no means a new phenomenon in the higher education landscape – in May this year, the University of Birmingham announced its intention to open its first international branch campus in Dubai next year, for example. With a total capacity of 4,500 students, within six years it will offer a full range of science, engineering, business, social science, and humanities programmes – mirroring those offered by the university’s home campus. Yet last year’s Brexit vote has dramatically increased the significance of these campuses and their potential value to universities.

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Creative thinking in the UK boarding schools market: the key to survival

“Schools that stick rigidly to their systems suffer untold reputational damage, which could take a generation to dilute”

Pat Moores, director of UK Education Guide, looks at some of the challenges facing the boarding schools sector in the UK, and how schools are adapting by opening up new markets.

Under increasing international competition, many schools are looking at new, emerging markets to benefit all pupils and school finances.

“Smart schools celebrate high levels of diversity in their international population and know their British students have much to gain from living and learning side by side with a broad range of nationalities,” says Maura Power, international student recruitment manager at Culford School.
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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.

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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What will Brexit mean for teaching in the UK?

“One side of this debate that has gathered less fanfare has been how leaving the EU will affect the UK’s teacher shortage”

With the Brexit gears in motion, teachers from the EU currently teaching in the UK – and vice versa – are currently in limbo, not knowing how they will be affected by the UK’s impending exit from the union. And the UK’s teacher shortage won’t be solved any time soon, writes Rob Grays, managing director of the Prospero Group Ltd and CEO of the Prospero Teaching recruitment agency.

For the past 20 years, the UK’s membership of the EU has been at the forefront of the political debate, whether it be parliamentary sovereignty, open borders or bendy bananas. However, one side of this debate that has gathered less fanfare has been how leaving the EU will affect the teacher shortage and as a result how education recruitment agencies will evolve their businesses and business practice.

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Rob Grays is managing director of the Prospero Group Ltd. Established in 2000, the Prospero Group continues to achieve award winning success across a variety of sectors, namely education, technical, IT, engineering and health & social.