It’s the summer, international student recruitment has slowed down a bit as we receive last-minute applications and concentrate on our conversion tactics to get students with offers to commit. And although I took a short break from blogging the past two weeks, I didn’t stop following the latest international higher education news from around the world. Some of the same stories are still with us, and some new and noteworthy headlines have appeared.
Scholarships for study abroad: I’ve written about Brazil’s ‘Science Without Borders’ scholarship scheme and touted Japan’s support for its students studying abroad. Now three more countries have committed to scholarships supporting their student’s aspirations to study overseas: “Peru investing in STEM, offering 2500 scholarships” as reported in the ICEF Monitor and “Higher education funding scheme to allow Scots to see the world” from the scotsman.com. The PIE News wrote about the new scholarship scheme recently launched in Taiwan, “Taiwan offers US$5million in scholarships”. When will England jump on this bandwagon?
Visa changes and Indian students: A recent article on the University World News website “UK visa changes driving Indian students away” is being gleefully tweeted by American, Canadian and Australian institutions and HE organizations, perhaps in the hope that they will pick-up the wayward students. While it is undeniable that the cancellation of the Post-Study Work (PSW) visa scheme has negatively affected student recruitment from India, it might not be as bad as all that – at least for top UK universities. The Indian news outlet The Economic Times recently reported “Indian students eye Ivy League universities like Cambridge, Harvard and Oxford despite rupee depreciation”.
Internationalizing Japanese universities: Few Japanese students take up a study abroad experience, and that has Japanese companies and corporations worried graduates (and therefore prospective employees) won’t have the bilingual language skills and cross-cultural understanding needed. A couple of private universities in Japan are bucking this trend: read the New York Times article, “Japanese Universities Go Global, but Slowly”. Another new development which should help encourage Japanese students to go overseas to study is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme will soon be offered in the Japanese language: “Study-abroad language barrier lowered”.
South Korea marching forward in its efforts to become a regional education hub: South Korean universities have welcomed foreign students for a long time, and the desire to become a regional education hub has gotten a boost from Korean popular culture, “Korea becomes hot summer-school destination” from the Jakarta Post.
The ‘agent debate’ in the USA carries on: In fact, it’s showing no sign of going quiet, with each side pitted against the other in an acrimonious dispute. To me, an outsider, it seems the pro-agent forces are trying to convince everyone it’s OK to use recruitment agents, and the anti-agent forces are trying to prevent everyone from using them. I don’t understand why they can’t adopt a ‘live and let live’ approach: if an institution wants to use agents, then let them, and if an institution doesn’t want to use agents, they won’t. Why does one side need to be declared the victor? From Inside Higher Ed, two recent articles, “No Shortcut” and “Why do we want international students?”. And from the Times Higher Education, “Fight the rogue agents with a badge of honour that rewards the good”.