Tag: COVID-19

How international schools can soothe back-to-school panic

“It is important that schools show a willingness to hear the worries and fears of parents.”

Many teachers might soon be asked to put away their computers and webcams and return to reality at the front of the classroom, writes Katie Harwood of Haut-Lac International Bilingual School in Switzerland. Naturally, this restoration of normality might not be so simple as it seems on the surface, and students and staff alike will likely feel a little daunted by it. Many might even have to return from their home countries, having sought comfort from familiarity during the pandemic. However, there are a few simple things schools can do to make their teachers and students feel more comfortable about the situation.

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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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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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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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Young Learner operators ready to go with summer programmes when safe to do so

“More than ever now, we can all appreciate just how small the world truly is and the importance of coming together”

A letter on behalf of Young Learner operators to our friends around the world:

At this time of international crisis, we have all seen the huge impact COVID-19 has had on our lives and our industry. More than ever now, we can all appreciate just how small the world truly is and the importance of coming together to protect our global community in times of great need.
As the global situation changes, our plans may too. For now, we all continue to watch the unfolding measures that governments around the world are taking to stem the tide of the virus and get us back to normal soon.

As a sector of Young Learner English Language course providers a number of us have come together to work out how best to serve you, our valued clients.  It’s hard for us to navigate the unknown, but as we continue to better understand how to slow the spread of COVID-19 we want to do all we can to keep our partners, students, employees and our local communities safe. The wellbeing of our people and our students is always our number one priority.
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Reasons for optimism about student housing demand despite a fall in bookings during the lockdown

“Unilodgers is seeing some interesting student research patterns and booking behaviours during the COVID-19 lockdown”

“University leaders and housing operators and managers, both on- and off-campus, are now rightly focussed on today and making sure their students and staff are safe, but what does the future post-pandemic hold?” asks Vincenzo Raimo & JoAnn Orrell of Unilodgers.

There is already very significant speculation about falls in university enrolments in the UK, USA and elsewhere in 2020/21, not only from international students unable to complete prerequisite admission requirements in time for the start of the new academic year but also from potential domestic students delaying their studies rather than compromise their student experience.

Falls in university enrolments would obviously impact housing providers both short as well as potentially longer-term with smaller cohorts working their way through the system.

The evidence, however, suggests a more nuanced picture and reason to be more optimistic for student housing demand than some are perhaps suggesting.  First, the longer-term projections for growing worldwide demand for higher education and international mobility are unchanged.

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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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Lessons from Katrina: conducting ‘learning as usual’ in unusual times

“Instead of succumbing to panic and fear, let us instead ask how we can continue to help each other in this time of need”

“Amid the global pandemic of COVID-19, I am reminded of my time in New Orleans in 2005 experiencing Hurricane Katrina,” writes Isaac Garcia-Sitton, director of International Education & English Language Institute (YUELI) at York University’s School of Continuing Studies in Toronto.

At the time, I was a young diplomat, working in the Panamanian Consulate, thrust into one of the most formative personal and professional experiences I had ever faced.

I led efforts in coordination with the US State Department, FEMA, State Police, and Red Cross for search, rescue and relocation of dozens of Panamanians families affected. It is difficult to overstate the toll that the months-long shut-down and city evacuations took on the displaced and unhoused people who lived through Katrina. However, what came out of that severe strife was an unshakable belief in the resilience of communities – their ability to stay connected, and their relentless commitment to helping one another.

Today, New Orleans has been rebuilt, its residents have reestablished their lives, and most traces of the wreckage and debris have now disappeared, leaving behind memories of courage, strength and unity.

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This too shall pass – reflections on international education crises

“At some point during each crisis, we worry about the long-term impact on international education”

I remember the feeling, writes Kerry Geffert, product evangelist for Terra Dotta. Restless, hard to focus, antsy, anxious, neither depressed nor positive. It was right after 9/11. Our world had turned upside down and, when we got past the immediate personal implications, those of us in international education wondered what the future held for the work that was near and dear to our hearts.

At that time I was also Conference Chair for the 2002 NAFSA Annual Conference. When we held our first meeting of the planning committee following 9/11, I started by admitting that I had had trouble focusing on our tasks. There was an immediate collective sigh of relief. Turns out I was not alone.

Two lessons from that experience: We are not alone in our feelings of uncertainty. And our professional/industry peers and colleagues are an important part of self-care and mutual support.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its spread, international educators are in month three of the crisis. First, dealing with the impacts in China, then fear and impacts as the virus spread abroad and now, here at home.

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Standing #ApartTogether in times of crisis

“Keeping our communities safe, and focused on moving forward with hope and creativity, is our path through and out of our collective current reality”

It is vitally important to refocus on the importance of community and leadership, writes Tina Bax, Founder of CultureWorks in Canada.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer has tweeted her hope that we might stand #ApartTogether in this.  There’s arguably never been a more important time to be together.  To expand the concept of community that we continually build in our classrooms, to the rest of the world.

In the spirit of humility and service then, here are three communities to consider when we’re trying to take such great care in the coming weeks and months, not just of ourselves but of our world.

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