The value of the liberal arts through applied global learning

“The personal growth achieved via study abroad comes through intentional reflection on the challenges that arise from experiential education”

Crises inspire reflection. After suffering a loss or enduring catastrophe, it is only natural to reevaluate one’s choices and ask, “what is actually most important and valuable?”

Now, perhaps more than ever as students have returned to campus, they are questioning higher education’s return on investment. Students now look more intensely at the value of their experience through a different lens that includes both personal and professional growth to prepare for an uncertain future.

The Covid-19 pandemic changed a lot in college enrolment. The threat of contagion and subsequent necessity for isolation turned the traditional, in-person, campus-based approach on its head. Gone were the day-to-day experiential and social aspects of college that, for many, made the cost of matriculating worthwhile.

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The world needs a better understanding of the key role of education in sustainable development

“Different political, cultural and economic contexts across the world inevitably suggest that humanity may not share the same understanding of what  formal education should entail”

The Sustainable Development Goals were created by the United Nations to mobilise the world’s community in tackling a range of global problems.

‘Quality Education’ is the focus of Goal 4, but the remaining 16 SDGs also have links with education as an essential foundation of some of their targets.

However, there are apparent gaps in our knowledge around the definition and role of education in sustainable development; the links between the education goal and other goals; and the operationalisation of those links to help SDGs achieve their mission in sustainable development globally.

My recent research explores these gaps, highlighting the vague aspects of the definition of education and inconsistencies in the links between the education goal and other goals of the UN, their targets and indicators, which means that aspects of the process of utilising education to achieve sustainable development remain too vague.

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International students’ mental health is big business

“Students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are at a greater risk of experiencing mental health issues”

We can all agree that Covid has tested those with even the most robust mental health, let alone international students and visitors who were cut off from returning to their home countries.

The same goes for students and visitors who quickly returned home to be with family before the borders shut and could not return to their life in Australia.  Both cohorts have had their mental fortitude tested during this unprecedented period.

Whether it manifested in financial stress, grief, loss, or just the trauma of going through a pandemic isolated from their support system, there’s no doubt that the reality of coming to study in Australia was vastly different to the dream they were once sold. Especially when students were learning online in their bedrooms in India, Nepal or elsewhere and not in Australia at all living the life they imagined.

One in four young people in Australia will experience mental health issues each year. Importantly, students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are at an even greater risk. Moreover, more than one in four university students experience high-stress levels that negatively impact their studies, relationships, and daily lives.

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Higher-order thinking as a challenge facing Asian students at Western universities

“Despite having a reputation for being studious, Asian students often face uniquely complex challenges in developing key studying skills”

I studied 20 hours every day to enter medical school, believing that effort was the key to academic success and the concept of optimising my studying skills felt irrelevant.

However, after entering medical school where I faced more than double my previous workload, I realised that efficiency was crucial to manage the content, without compromising my mental health. For the last 10 years, I have worked as an educator with thousands of students around the world and have obtained extensive insights about how students approach learning.

These insights reinforce that developing efficient studying skills is crucial for academic success when students enter university. I have also noticed that Asian students, despite having a reputation for being studious, often face uniquely complex challenges in developing these studying skills.

This is especially true for higher-order thinking – a common expectation at Western universities – due to learning habits they carry from their home country.

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Mediation skills in the English language classroom

“If teachers are teaching real-life communication skills in the classroom, they’re probably already covering mediation skills”

We all have to take information, understand it, and then explain it to others. Although it may be second nature to many, it takes a unique set of skills to pull this off successfully.

Perhaps you’re at university and your lecturer has asked you to look at an English research paper and summarise it to your study group in your home language. Or maybe you’re at work and you have taken a detailed safety brief that you have to relay back to colleagues. Other common examples that require these skills include explaining a timetable to a new class or just passing on the latest gossip!

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UK quality on the global stage

“While interest in UK higher education remains strong, the move away from international quality standards in English regulation poses significant risks”

Though it may not come to mind as an export in quite the same way as cars, oil or whisky, education contributes significantly to the UK’s international trade economy with higher education contributing 70% of the country’s total education revenue in 2019. The global reach of higher education yields numerous additional benefits including staff and student mobility, research collaboration and knowledge exchange. The UK Government’s latest international education strategy sets an ambitious target to increase the value of education exports to £35 billion per year by 2030. The UK’s ability to meet this target will rely heavily on the global confidence currently enjoyed by UK higher education.

Reputation is not built overnight and the significant trust placed in the quality of UK higher education has been the result of a concerted effort by the sector over many decades, supported by a shared vision of what high-quality teaching and learning looks like.

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EdTech still going strong with £3m investment in UK HE skills training platform Aptem

“The world is rapidly changing, with globalisation giving way to protectionism”

Aptem (MWS Technology Ltd), the market-leading SaaS software provider for apprenticeships, vocational training and employability, has secured £3 additional funding at a valuation of £33 million from long-term investors 24Haymarket and Guinness Ventures. Despite UK crises and talk of funding cuts, alongside a level of disenchantment with online learning in HE, EdTech is still seen as a good bet.

It is no exaggeration to say that the UK is in a political and economic crisis. With a new government (albeit the same political party) every two years and three different education secretaries in 2022 alone, the impact on education has been stark. Reliant on stability and continuity, particularly in an era of funding constraints, the sector is struggling to deliver the skills the UK needs.

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Manaakitanga – a warm Kiwi welcome to international students

“One by one each had their moment and their selfie with New Zealand’s prime minister”

In New Zealand, manaakitanga means to show respect, hospitality, care, generosity, and care for others. Not only the people themselves but also their stories. That is what the warm welcome to international students’ event symbolised and demonstrated on September 2 when New Zealand’s Prime Minister and Minister of Education attended an event in Auckland.

Hosted in the University of Auckland Waipapa Taumata Rau Unleash Space, first opened by the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern in 2018, this space is predominantly a student co-working space nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit. Government and Education leaders came together to honour and celebrate the return of international students to New Zealand.

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AIEC gathers to “respond to challenges and continue to diversify education”

“AIEC is an opportunity for us all to join together as a global community, and ensure international students are supported in all aspects as we reunite beyond borders”

The global international education sector is gathering this week for the first time in three years for the Australian International Education Conference – AIEC – in Australia.

From October 18–21, the event on the Gold Coast and online will attract more than 1,600 delegates, where stakeholders will regroup and refocus in a bid to create sustainable and accessible global education opportunities.

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Finding the next Einstein in Cambodia

“English-language tests – the first step of the overseas education journey – remain out of reach for many”

In education, we use the word “access” a lot. But not everyone understands it in the same way. My own definition is simple – anybody who would like to get an education can get one. That’s what access means.

Without access to education, the world is missing out on a lot. By lowering barriers, we might find the next Einstein in Cambodia, but without access those minds might be missed.

We should also be able to provide the brightest minds the education they need to thrive.

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