Lessons learnt from lockdown – how international business is evolving

“My worry was that being forced to work from home could be very demotivating and this would be absolutely disastrous.”

At the end of February I went to Abu Dhabi for the BSME conference, remembers the director of m2r Education Munir Mamujee,  a great event which was supposed to be the highlight of our Q1 international business develop strategy. The conference never happened due to Covid-19 and I ended up in lockdown  at the hotel for five days. It was a rather surreal experience and one I hope never to repeat.

Fast forward and here we are. My team could have vanished, our international business could have ended and all of us could have been on our respective sofas watching daytime TV.

Yes we, like virtually every business out there, have had to make some dramatic changes and accept that for some time to come, it’s not business as usual.

As a business owner I initially went through the usual initial emotion of woe is me, head in hands, wondering what the hell we were going to do.

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The “new normal” for universities: how Covid-19 could reshape higher education

“In many ways we’re seeing an acceleration of the nascent changes that already existed”

 

Covid-19 has forced sudden and great change across the entire education sector. We have seen rapid investment in edtech to safeguard students’ courses and ensure some form of continuity, writes Stewart Watts, vice president EMEA at D2L.

The UK government’s backing of the Oak National Academy online learning platform, the supply of laptops and 4G routers to students to ensure they can connect remotely – the coronavirus has forced the first stage of the edtech revolution.

Yet what does this mean for when the current crisis has abated? It’s unlikely that we’ll go back to exactly how we were before, and there are several ways in which the higher education sector could change even after the viral risk has disappeared.

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The PIE stands in solidarity with the George Floyd movement and Black Lives Matter

“Within our own industry more can be done and we should all try to broaden access where we can”

 

The PIE stands with all activists advocating for change in light of the appallingly brutal murder of George Floyd in the USA.

Systems need to change – justice systems, education systems, arbitration systems, employment structures – to try and ensure greater equality and opportunity in our world.

International education can help achieve this although within our own industry, more can be done and we should all try to broaden access where we can.

The PIE is proud that Andrew Gordon of Diversity Abroad won our PIEoneer Award in 2019 for Outstanding Contribution to the industry and to support the #StudyAbroadStrong movement.

We need to be bold and unafraid to start dialogues around discrimination: how to be aware of it and then eliminate it.

We will endeavour to remember our responsibility to level up opportunities within the global education sector and ensure our news coverage shines a light on efforts to ensure equality, diversity and solidarity in our own industry.

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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How Mandarin schools in China are coping with Covid-19

“A well-developed online learning platform is essential for Chinese language schools to maintain their profits during Covid-19”

 

The coronavirus pandemic has had a disastrous impact on the Chinese economy and Chinese people’s daily lives, writes Ivan Suchkov of That’s Mandarin. Here he discusses how Mandarin-language schools based in China are shifting online for classes.


 A large number of enterprises and factories had to suspend production to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, the situation has got a lot better now in China, and all the production lines (except for some industries like the educational sector) have fully resumed work.

However, thousands of private Chinese companies are now still on the verge of bankruptcy, as their businesses have been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Universities Launching Pathways Themselves, Part 4

“To enhance the international student experience on your campus, it can be useful to mirror some of your campus practices for outgoing study abroad students”

Part 4 of our 4 part series on pathway programs. For part 1, please click here

In addition to Larry Kuiper and Rick Rattray, Mark Grace, the former Senior Director of Academic Affairs at NAFSA has contributed to this post.

Student Services

Under the circumstances of the past few weeks, it’s almost hard to imagine a calm time when international students will once again be returning to campuses in the US, but odds are that time will come.  So when the dust settles on COVID-19 priorities, it may be a great time to review your university’s practices related to international student services.

In our previous instalments in this series we’ve asserted that if you’ve been at all considering a pathway partnership, you likely are doing so to address some level of perceived underperformance in your international approach and are considering outside support to bridge particular gaps.

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International education in the era of Covid-19: walking the talk

“Ironically…I find myself in the position of one of the international students whose future I am now involved in planning”

 

“As countries around the world prepare to unwind nationwide lockdowns and move to a more sustainable way of containing the Covid-19 pandemic, universities are beginning to plan for a resumption of classes on campus,” writes professor Nigel Healey, associate vice-president (Global Engagement) at the University of Limerick.

Most institutions are considering some form of ‘flipped classroom’, with theoretical content delivered online and face-to-face teaching limited to tutorials and laboratory sessions to allow for social distancing.

High on the list of concerns is the impact of Covid-19 on international students.  Most obviously, it is unclear how quickly cross-border travel restrictions will be lifted and scheduled commercial flights restarted.  Some potential students may be reluctant to leave their home countries, for fear of another outbreak.

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How Google Trends can assist education providers during times of uncertainty

” This dataset in the time of COVID-19 can prove to be a useful tool in gaining a better understanding of some of the extraordinary changes”

 

The international education sector is dealing with a period of uncertainty, complexity and confusion, unlike anything we’ve known before, writes Keri Ramirez, managing director of  Australia based consultancy firm,  Studymove

To mitigate the uncertainty created by COVID-19, this month we looked at a different data source which we thought would help support education providers in their current and future decision making.

Google Trends analyzes a portion of the three billion daily Google searches and provides data on geospatial and temporal patterns in search volumes for specific terms. It is a useful tool to assess the change in the intentions of individuals based on their online search activity.

The power of Google trends is the ability to report real-time insights on what the audience is thinking. This dataset in the time of COVID-19 can prove to be a useful tool in gaining a better understanding of some of the extraordinary changes affecting the international education sector worldwide.

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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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Remote learning is here to stay: Here’s how to succeed

“There is little point in designing a groundbreaking learning environment if the institution is unable to keep track of records, process payments or manage data efficiently”

Teachers, administrators, course designers and students are grappling with the impact of lockdowns and social distancing on the education sector.

 Education – especially at a post-secondary level – is a highly international sector, with students and experts frequently crossing borders to study and teach. The COVID-19 crisis has dramatically accelerated changes in the way we live, work and, indeed, learn. Many of those changes are here to stay.

With countries outlining long-term recovery strategies that are both varied and uncertain, business continuity for the education sector is contingent on digital engagement and remote delivery.

While the challenge we are facing is both unexpected and unprecedented, the changes can be seen as a rapid, if highly disruptive, the advancement of the steady trend towards digitisation that was already underway in the education sector before COVID-19.

As it becomes increasingly clear that education delivery practices won’t be “snapping back” to their pre-COVID state, there are a number of issues that the sector must navigate.

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