Category: UK

How will academics be affected by the recent UK/US electronics ban?

“Remember that if needed you can rent or borrow equipment when you reach your destination”

Rowan Burnett, Supplier Relationship Executive at Diversity Travel, a travel management company that specialises in travel in the not-for-profit and academic sector, provides advice for travellers following travel restrictions announced this week.

This week, both the UK and US governments announced a cabin ban on certain electronic devices on inbound flights from countries across the Middle East and North Africa, with immediate effect.

The ability of academics to travel internationally is crucial for academic institutions around the world. A fantastic opportunity from a commercial perspective, as a means of expansion, collaboration, and partnering with a global network of peers, travel allows academics to develop a truly global mindset, improving the breadth and quality of their course material, and bringing huge benefits to students.

But now, in response to suspected terror threats, there have been changes to travel legislation on both sides of the Atlantic, which have, in some cases, left travellers confused as to what they need to do to reach their destination safely and in compliance with the new guidelines.

So, how will this latest development affect academic travel? Here are my top tips on what academics need to think about before they embark on their journeys:

Check whether your route is affected:
• Remember that there are different restrictions in place in the UK and the US – currently nine airlines are affected for the US, but 14 for the UK
• Reports have suggested that other European countries are considering similar restrictions, so make sure you keep on top of announcements in the media

Check the current state of play:
• Check the current status of the changes – this can be found by:
o Checking the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website if you are in the UK
o Checking government websites for the country you intend to travel to
o Checking with your travel partner, who can also prove to be a source of information throughout the booking process and your journey

Only take what you need:
• It sounds like common sense, but remember that if needed you can rent or borrow equipment when you reach your destination – it is worth looking at what options are available to you before you travel
• If there is equipment you have to take with you and has to be checked in, find out whether you are eligible for any additional discounts or allowances through academic fares – many airlines have good relationships with travel management companies who can offer this as a solution

Talk to your airline:
• If there is anything you are unsure about, check with the airline you booked with
• If you booked through a price comparison website, the booking will most likely have been processed via a travel agent or booker – be prepared for the airline to redirect you to them in the first instance
• Airline websites will usually communicate major changes through a corporate statement or on social media if there are any sudden changes you need to know about
• If you use a TMC, take advantage of the close, long-standing relationships they have with airlines, as they are ideally positioned to field and answer most common questions and concerns

Remember to keep your employer informed of your whereabouts:
• Whether or not you agree with the restrictions, the primary reason for their introduction is to ensure the safety of passengers
• Duty of care is something that is important to all employers when staff travel for business: make sure your employer knows you have landed safely, particularly if you have booked your tickets independently

When we reassure students that the UK and US are safe and welcoming, we cannot be vague or elusive

“If you were to ask most colleagues across the HE sector whether or not they believe that the UK is tolerant and inclusive, then the likelihood is that they would say ‘yes’. There may be a pause before they respond”

As the turbulent political landscapes in the UK and US have some international students questioning how welcoming they really are, Martyn Edwards, head of marketing and business development for IDP, considers what educators can do to reassure students.

If you were to ask most colleagues across the HE sector whether or not they still truly believe that the UK is secular, tolerant and inclusive, then the likelihood is that they would say “yes”. There may be a pause before they respond, due largely to the events that have followed 2016’s EU referendum, but the answer would be affirmative.
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Martyn Edwards is Head of Marketing and Business Development for IDP, working closely with partners in the UK and US. Prior to joining IDP he has held senior positions at a number of organisations including the British Council and the University of Nottingham.

Off the beaten pathway: why UK universities should open up to more partnerships

“It may be that the rapid adoption of embedded pathways by UK universities is a case of hungry institutions in an international restaurant ordering the only menu item they understand, as opposed to the best dish”

University pathway programmes for international students have been the subject of much debate in recent years. The UK pathway market is flourishing, but universities should consider they’re limiting their options with a single partner, argue Prateek Aneja and Ryan Craig, vice president and managing director at University Ventures.

One of the most remarkable developments in UK higher education over the past decade has been the rapid adoption of embedded pathway programmes by universities. Embedded pathways serve international students through Foundation Year programmes – including EFL training and development of general academic preparedness – that are located on or adjacent to campus, are operated by commercial providers, and guarantee progression to students who achieve at the requisite levels.
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Prateek Aneja is Vice President at University Ventures, a firm reimagining the future of higher education and creating new pathways from education to employment, where Ryan Craig is Managing Director. Craig is also author of College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education.

Comparing the US and UK: contrasting trends in international education

“The biggest challenge for British universities is that its top two source countries — China and India — are not driving enrollment growth”

International student enrolments in the UK have flatlined, with Indian students continuing their downward slide, according to the latest statistics published by the Higher Education Statistics Authority last week. But how does the picture compare in the US?  Dr. Rahul Choudaha, co-founder of research and consulting firm DrEducation, shares his analysis.

The following table shows the shape of international student trends in the UK and US in recent years, based on data from HESA and IIE’s Open Doors report:

US IIE and UK HESA data on international student statistics - Dr Education
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Dr. Rahul Choudaha is co-founder of DrEducation — a US-based research and consulting firm specialising in international student mobility trends and enrolment strategies.

No end in sight for the UK’s Indian slump

“Unless there is a significant shift in UK visa policy or a re-introduction of Post Study Work, it is hard to see how the UK can recover its share of Indian students”

Aaron Porter, director of insights at Hotcourses, delves into the data…

Prime Minister Theresa May finished her first major international visit to India last week, and higher education was high on the agenda for the bilateral talks. Accompanied by Universities Minister Jo Johnson and a number of UK vice chancellors, attempts will surely have been made to arrest the slump in demand from Indian students looking at UK universities. Indian Premier Narandra Modi certainly raised the importance of ensuring the UK was both open and welcoming for Indian students.
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‘Migration mercantilism’ is an ill-advised policy

“Why would the Home Office want to include visiting students in its statistics? Most likely, the reason is because this is a category they can control easily”

Maurits van Rooijen, economic historian and chief academic executive at Global University Systems, draws parallels with historical mercantilism in overseas trade and the current political maneuvering in the UK that means international students face ever-tighter restrictions on studying in the UK.

History shows us that there is always a real risk that socio-economic common sense can get pushed aside.

For instance, from the 16th to the 18th century, many economies in Western Europe suffered due to mercantilism: the mistaken belief that governmental regulation of a nation’s economy, especially reducing imports, would strengthen the state at the expense of rival national powers.
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Prof Dr Maurits van Rooijen is an economic historian and the chief academic executive of Global University Systems (GUS), an international group of universities and schools in the private sector.

After the Language in London closure, what now?

“This type of sudden closure is awful for the whole industry, and at the end of the day it is the students and agents that we need to consider”

The sudden closure of Language in London, one of the three English language schools until recently that made up Language in Group, shocked the UK’s ELT sector last month. Here Margie Barker, director of Language in Totnes and Language in Group, reflects on the closure and the state of the industry.

Recently, yet another London school failed. While all such events are equally sad and distressing, this one hit home even more as it was a school that had belonged to a long term associate of mine. Language in London closed it doors without warning to any of us and staff, students and agents alike were all at once distressed and displaced.

Up until quite recently, my own school in Totnes, along with the Dublin school of Kevin Kheffache and Language In London, had been cooperating and pooling our sales and marketing efforts. This was primarily driven by the hope that that by combining our efforts our three smaller schools may be able to compete better with the big players in what is a very competitive and difficult market. We had recently decided to discontinue with this and return to working completely independently because the costs outweighed the benefits and our experimental cooperative simply didn’t work!
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Brexit means tough times ahead for UK HE

Professor Aldwyn Cooper, Vice Chancellor at Regent’s University London, shares some sobering predictions about UK HE’s post-Brexit future.

There is much discussion about the potential impact of ‘Brexit’ on UK universities. The answer, of course, is that nobody really knows what will happen next, and the total impact will be determined by the nature of any agreement that is finally reached.

In terms of research funding, where at present UK universities are the largest recipients of EU research and structural funding, loss of access could be devastating to many higher education institutions.
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Professor Aldwyn Cooper is vice chancellor at Regent’s University London.

Building bridges (or life after Brexit)

“All of a sudden my plans seemed not so sure anymore, and it was easy to see how current and prospective international students might feel the same”

Melisa Costinea, originally from Transylvania, Romania, is studying PGDip Social Research Methods at University College London, and has previously studied MA Film and Visual Culture – Sociology at University of Aberdeen. She is currently interning for UKCISA, and here she writes about her reaction to the Brexit vote, and how UKCISA is working to support international students.

Everyone will remember what they did on the 23rd of June of 2016 as one would remember, for example, where they were when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. I think the first thing that one should do in the aftermath of Britain’s EU Referendum result is acknowledge the immense impact that this has had on so many people, including an international student such as myself. Along the way, I will also give you a glimpse into how UKCISA is responding to the situation.
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Wonkhe’s #BrHExit: time for a new internationalism in UK HE?

“We are a resilient and a resourceful community”

What does Brexit mean for universities in the UK? This is what stakeholders from across UK HE came together to discuss on 9 August at a day-long conference hosted by Wonkhe in London. Here are a few highlights from the afternoon’s sessions…Read More

Beckie Smith is senior reporter at The PIE News and manages The PIE Blog. To get in touch, email beckie[@]thepienews.com.