Tag: COVID-19

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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Supporting international students in HE during COVID-19

“As we enter a new normal, we must ensure that no student is left behind”

Covid-19 has thrust the Higher Education sector into the realities of ‘Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity’ (VUCA)  writes senior international lead at the University of Sussex, Tosin Adebisi. As a result, many universities are responding quickly, creatively and moving in-person teaching to online platforms.

I commend universities for developing robust solutions; however, as we develop these learning platforms, how are we supporting international students, especially those unable to fly back to their homes and families? How well are we creating a level learning field that promotes accessibility, participation and inclusion?

In this opinion piece, I argue that we can do more to support international students. I also present suggestions to help universities develop human-centred solutions for this group.

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The magnitude of the crisis among international students

“Not many international students are equipped to advocate for themselves when a crisis arises”

This week’s guest blog is by Ruby Cheng, director of the International Enrollment Program (Asian Pacific Region) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

I’m writing this article as an international educator, a guardian of a college international student, and an advocate who wants to voice up the concerns for the vulnerable and underrepresented group, international students, during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

When the COVID-19 became imminent in China in early February, I saw a great effort exerted by U.S. institutions, trying to accommodate Chinese applicants. Many international admissions offices offered opportunities for applicants to delay the transcript submission due to the closure of schools and universities in China.

In response to the closure of the testing centres for TOFEL, IELTS and GRE/GMAT, many admissions offices provided flexible policies including online interviews and Duolingo test, which allows students to take the English proficiency test at their homes. Those strategies made Chinese applicants and their families feel welcomed, despite the virus chaos they are experiencing in China.

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