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Australian Curtin University and the French research institution École Nationale Superieure de Techniques Avancées Bretagne have sealed a two-way mobility agreement for their doctoral students working of defence research.
The Collaborative Doctoral Program will enable PhD students at both institutions to conduct research at the partner university for up to a year.
“These relationships have intensified since the Naval Group contract was signed”
The new partnership builds on an ongoing exchange agreement that allows students from ENSTA Bretagne to study at Curtin for a period between three and 12 months.
The areas of research collaboration covered by the program will be those supporting the defence industry, including multi-disciplinary research across robotics and AI, human factors engineering, corrosion engineering and marine acoustics.
“The agreement with ENSTA Bretagne is an opportunity for Curtin to again demonstrate its world-leading research capabilities at an international level in order to make a meaningful contribution to the defence industry,” Curtin University deputy vice-chancellor Chris Moran said in a statement.
“At the same time, Curtin will benefit from the shared expertise and achievements of the visiting ENSTA Bretagne PhD students and researchers in what is a mutually enriching arrangement.”
Moran added that the collaboration was timely, given the recent signing of an A$50bn agreement between the Australian government and the French company Naval Group on the delivery of Australia’s Future Submarine Program.
The ongoing collaboration between Australia and France on defence have contributed to strengthen the collaboration between the two institutions, ENSTA Bretagne director Pascal Pinot said.
“These relationships have intensified since the Naval Group contract was signed, making Curtin a partner of choice, especially for our doctoral students,” he said.
“Our fields of expertise are very close to those of Curtin and we are counting on this collaboration to further strengthen them, to the great benefit of doctoral students who will also mix French and Australian cultures throughout their careers.”
Universities with test optional systems are at an advantage when recruiting undergraduates from China, according to a white paper from Sunrise International Education, while others suggest accepting China’s national university entrance exam offers “new opportunities” for students who miss their first choice domestic university requirements.
Sunrise’s paper highlights the number of US colleges embracing SAT/ACT test-optional admissions policies is increasing, at the same time as more HEIs consider Gaokao scores – China’s national university entrance exam – in the admissions process.
“These changes left a large footprint in China”
“Major national universities like Washington University in St. Louis, University of Chicago, and NYU are test optional or flexible, and even though they often have some testing requirement for international students, these changes have left a large footprint in China,” the paper explained.
The University of New Hampshire and the University of North Texas are the first state universities to accept the Gaokao, and many privately funded universities across the US also do.
Test-optional universities that accept applicants in the summer have a “unique opportunity” to recruit students with Gaokao scores through targeted campaigns in June and July, it added.
“We expect that in June of 2019, test-optional universities that make students aware of their policies can expect to see an uptick in applications in the last week of June and the first week of July.”
The number of students in China taking the Gaokao in 2018 was estimated to be just short of 10 million, and the move by US universities follows counterparts overseas.
“Australia has led the way for this”
In Canada, 30 universities accept Gaokao in admission decisions, as do seven of the Group of Eight universities in Australia. In 2018, the UK’s University of Birmingham announced it would start accepting Gaokao scores.
“Australia has led the way for this, and a number of European countries have also normalised accepting the Gaokao,” Andrew Chen, chief learning officer at WholeRen Group told The PIE News.
GKAC recruits in China as a consortium, and will admit its first cohort in autumn 2019.
The organisation, working with the WholeRen agency, currently has five core partner institutions: California State University-Fresno, Western New England University, Santiago Canyon College, the University of Hawaii-Kapiolani Community College, and the University of North Texas.
“Flexible admissions requirements for Gaokao students demonstrate these institutions’ progressive understanding of holistic admissions evaluations for an international population base,” the group said.
Students who achieve scores in the top 25% for their province qualify for admission and scholarship opportunities – UNT will be offering up to $16,000 scholarships, while WNE will offer between $8000-$21,000 per year.
“Students who prepared for the Gaokao have not thought about study abroad”
“Gaokao admission is a province-wide quota system,” Chen added. “For example, if Peking University gives 20 seats each to a densely populated province such as Henan, and a remote province such as Xijiang, the chance for Xinjiang students will have much higher chance.”
Students have become “Gaokao Migrants” to take advantage of this regional quota, Chen noted, perhaps because they have missed out on the grades needed, and resort to a second choice of studying abroad.
“Students who have prepared for the Gaokao have typically not entertained the idea of study abroad and we are providing this option and opportunity,” Chen said.
GKAC provides new opportunities for both students and US colleges, he suggested.
“In the past, since US universities ignored Gaokao scores due to lack of understanding, the students usually would have to spend a gap year to work on SAT and TOEFL exams,” he said.
The Sunrise paper also suggested agents and consultants in the China are experiencing increased competition from boutique consultants, tighter government regulations on training classes and higher taxes. Sunrise predicts competition will intensify in 2019.
The country’s national Double First Class Initiative, with aims to boost 42 Chinese universities into top world rankings by 2050, is focusing on improvements for HEIs in-country, rather than international cooperation.
“Administrators seem to be channeling much of the Double First Class funding away from international cooperation projects with Western universities,” the document explained.
Sunrise also highlighted the increasing sophistication of international schools in China’s second and third-tier cities, but a slow down in the pace of economic growth poses challenges for foreign boarding schools, it argued.
Students across the US will be able to incorporate travel into their bachelor degrees without extending their study, thanks to a new service from Verto Education.
With Verto’s offer, students can earn up to 16 college credits overseas while staying on track to graduate from their US institutions within four years.
“Students can start their freshman year by doing some time abroad”
The company offers students “a gap year without the gap”, with studies at accredited academic programs for a half or a full year, before beginning their courses at US institutions.
“With Americans a trend that has never quite caught on is gap years. Everyone goes for the four year path, it’s expensive to take gap years [and] it scares parents,” according to Mallory Meiser, Verto’s program director.
“We are a one-stop shop for taking some time abroad, getting credit and also getting admission to college,” she said.
“Essentially what happens is that students can start their freshman year of college by doing some time abroad, but earning enough credits to keep them on track to graduate in four years,” Meiser explained.
Verto expects to recruit between 200 and 300 students in this year’s cohort.
Meiser argued students are “burned out” by the time they reach college.
“We tie everything that students learn directly into field work… and it gets them excited about learning again. Students don’t want to just sit in a lab and learn – now they can actually go and apply it.”
Students can choose from eight destination countries, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Laos, China, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
“Our whole thing is ‘it’s a better way to start college’,” Meiser told The PIE News. “We say, ‘go and explore the world a little bit more, see what you want to do and come back to campus more mature, with a better outlook on the world’.”
Prices start at $12,000 for a semester (including room and board), comparable to fees at community colleges in the US, but significantly less than other US colleges, according to the firm.
Students can apply to Verto programs via the Common Application, as are the company’s partner college admissions. Successful applicants are automatically accepted to at least one partner college.
Verto is currently partnering with 10 colleges across the US, and Macquarie University in Australia, University of Bristol in the UK, University of Auckland in New Zealand and University College Dublin in Ireland.
Navitas’ board has announced it has entered into a formal agreement for a $2.1 billion take over by the BGH Consortium, including co-founder and former Navitas chief executive Rod Jones, and has recommended shareholders vote in favour of the scheme.
“The directors of Navitas unanimously recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme”
The announcement comes after a prolonged exclusivity period by the BGH Consortium, which was extended to 1 March in order to complete outstanding due diligence requirements and conclude negotiations of the completed agreement.
Under the terms of the deal, shareholders will receive $5.825 per share, initially offered on 15 January 2019 as part of a revised bid and a 6% increased from the $5.50 offer on 9 October 2018.
“The directors of Navitas unanimously recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme at the scheme meeting, in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an independent expert that the scheme is in the best interest of Navitas shareholders,” the company wrote in a statement.
Trading of Navitas shares was briefly halted on 21 March in the lead up to the announcement of the takeover agreement, and once completed, the provider will become a privately listed copmany.
Currently holding a combined 18% of Navitas shares, consortium members Jones and AustralianSuper will not be permitted to vote in the general scheme with other shareholders, but are contractually obligated to vote in favour of it.
Instead of a cash payout, Jones and AustralianSuper will receive shares in holding company BGH BidCo.
The formalisation of the arrangement marks the final steps towards completion of the takeover, expected to be finalised mid-2019, after a protracted and at times acrimonious period for both Navitas and members of the consortium.
According to reports, as part of the takeover, Jones will return as non-executive chairman of the newly formed entity.
In its statement, Navitas said shareholders would receive a scheme booklet in May, with meetings to vote on the scheme expected in June.
A major investment in international education was included in the Canadian federal budget 2019, with a focus on supporting the new International Education Strategy and outbound mobility.
The government proposed to invest CA$147m and $8m per year after that. The funding will be used to support work and study opportunities abroad, with the development of an outbound student mobility program, and to promote Canadian education abroad with a focus on its quality.
“In an increasingly global economy and labour market, Canadian youth need to develop a range of skills. These include adaptability, fluency in more than one or two languages and inter-cultural skills—skills that are best fostered through international experiences, such as travelling, studying and working overseas,” the budget text read.
“This will give more students the international study sought by Canadian employers”
This is welcome news for the sector, whose associations had advocated for more federal funding for outward student mobility in their submissions to the budget consultation last year.
“The government’s recognition and support of these fundamentals of international education, the incoming student and the outgoing student, Canada’s labour market development and the personal growth and learning of its students, has been long-awaited and is welcomed by the sector,” BCCIE executive director Randall Martin told The PIE.
Larissa Bezo, president and CEO of CBIE, said she was particularly pleased by the investment in outward mobility. The association last year advocated for an initial investment of $10m over 5 years to support outward mobility.
“Supporting international learning experiences is one of the best ways to reinforce the values of openness and inclusion that are the hallmark of Canada’s success as a diverse society,” she said.
“Moreover, there is strong evidence that educational mobility produces the greatest benefits among students from less advantaged backgrounds.”
Bezo added that a pilot project for post-secondary students is a “welcome start”, but CBIE believes that international opportunities must be available for K-12 and beyond.
Both Universities Canada and CICan welcomed the investment in outward mobility and promotion of opportunities.
“The investment…will give more students – including those from marginalised backgrounds – the international study and work opportunities so highly sought by Canadian employers,” a Universities Canada spokesperson told The PIE, adding that the promotion of Canada as a leading study destination is “great news” for the country’s institutions and communities.
“International students enhance our classrooms and communities with their diverse experiences and perspectives,” they said.
Denise Amyot, CEO and president at CICan, also highlighted that the investment will help the association’s members diversify their recruitment efforts in new and emerging markets, an effort the industry has become increasinglyvocal about.
Languages Canada’s executive director Gonzalo Peralta welcomed the news and its significance in terms of recognition and support for the sector.
“The ongoing $8m per year is a recognition that the sector is here to stay”
“The $147m over five years to support promotion and outbound student mobility demonstrates that the government is listening to the sector in terms of strategic direction,” he told The PIE.
“The ongoing $8m per year afterwards is an initial commitment to long term investment and a recognition that the sector is here to stay.”
However, he pointed out how the investment will be spent, and how it will recognise the potential contribution of all stakeholders is still unclear. He underlined the necessity for the language training sector to play a key role in achieving the objectives of the International Education Strategy.
“Some things are best done by the federal government. Others by the provinces. Yet other by agencies or representative bodies who understand the sector,” he said.
Hinting at the association’s efforts to retrieve access to work for language students, Peralta pointed out that some improvements don’t require a financial investment from the federal government.
“A responsible access to work program for international language students is a policy decision that could have a substantial impact on pathway programs, immigration objectives, labour shortages, and export revenues,” he added.
“Languages Canada would also like to see the government focus on this low hanging fruit that will cost Canadians nothing and contribute much”.
New Zealand’s international education sector has spread a message of tolerance and love as it ramps up additional support services for those affected by the terror attack on two Christchurch mosques.
“We will not be bowed by hatred and division”
In separate messages, education providers and representative groups condemned the attack and reassured international students,and their parents, the country is safe.
“The terrorist attack in Christchurch was an assault on the values that New Zealanders hold dear – values of international friendship, tolerance, care and a global outlook,” said Education New Zealand chief executive Grant McPherson.
“These values are at the core of international education and they are more important now than ever.”
Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel wrote on Christchurch Educated that the outpouring of love and compassion showed the world the city stood united.
“We will not be bowed by hatred and division. We will not be defined by the horrific acts of one extremist who came here with the intention of carrying out a premeditated attack,” she said.
“As Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said to the leaders of the Muslim community on Saturday, ‘This is not New Zealand’.
In the aftermath of the attack, the international education sector has also rallied behind its message of cultural understanding and inclusivity.
“At this time our international students need to know they are loved and cared for and our nations will do all we can to ensure living and studying occurs in a safe, loving and caring context,” ISANA NZ president Terry McGrath and ISANA Australia president Bronwyn Gilson said in a joint statement.
“ENZ will continue to promote New Zealand internationally as an inclusive and welcoming study destination – why? Because international education changes hearts and minds,” concluded McPherson.
A list of resources for students is available on the New Zealand’s Ministry of Education website.
After the double-digit growth rates which took the South African EFL sector out of its 2015 visa crisis, the market has slowed down in 2018, with a dip in student numbers only mitigated by a modest increase in student weeks.
Since 2017, student numbers fell 5% while student weeks increased by the same amount.
The biggest decrease comes from Europe, which reported losses for both numbers and weeks, -26% and -17% respectively, with crucial market Germany down by 17%.
“I feel that South Africa…is finally on the map for English training”
According to EduSA CEO Ryan Peters, the dip in student numbers could be due to a different kind of crisis from the one EduSA had been battling in court: a water crisis, and its portrayal in the media.
“Last year South Africa was dealing with the water crisis, which then had a major impact on tourism numbers in general, and then obviously it impacted our industry,” he told The PIE.
“The media covered the water crisis extensively, especially in Germany. And Germany is one of our big markets. Once again it comes down to what’s happening in the media. I’m very positive that we have put that behind us and going forward there’s going to be a massive growth coming.”
The association’s chair Johannes Kraus said the water crisis has been completely solved and that student numbers should be on the up again next summer.
“It is sad and also concerning that politics had to go the route of painting such a ‘panic-scenario’, which, thankfully, in the end never materialised,” he added.
The increased length of stay is instead a welcome signal that the visa crisis has been completely overcome as well, with students able to apply for study permits to enrol at EduSA member schools after their recognition by the government.
“The settlement achieved with our Department of Higher Education and Training and Department of Home Affairs, which gave us relatively easy access to study permits compared to recent years. As a consequence, schools had an increase in long-term bookings,” Kraus said.
Other parts of the world increased their market share, such as Brazil, the first source market for EduSA members, grew by 60%, and Saudi Arabia, the second source market, by 70%.
“There is a lot happening with Saudi Arabia and its relations to other nations, and this can redirect students [to South Africa],” Peters explained.
Although the market did slow down, newly-appointed Peters is optimistic for the future of South Africa as an EFL destination, a feeling backed by a number of positive developments over the past year.
The association has not only secured a major advocacy success in obtaining government recognition, but shifted gear by appointing a full-time CEO. And the first-ever ICEF Africa in Cape Town last year helped members secure new connections, Peters relayed.
“I feel that South Africa, and this is feedback from agents and general awareness, is finally on the map for English training,” he said.
“Students are asking for something different. They no longer want to go to the places they have been to, so South Africa has made it to the global map. And this is only the beginning of what’s coming.”
A new report has revealed that international students who stay in the UK to work after graduating from UK higher education institutions pay £3.2 billion in tax – and they aren’t taking jobs from UK citizens.
“Just one cohort of international students who stay in the UK to work contribute over £3bn”
“Graduates from other EU countries who stay here to work contribute £1.2bn and graduates from the rest of the world contribute £2bn,” the research carried out by London Economics explained.
“This is made up of over £1bn in income tax, over £700 million in employees’ National Insurance Contributions, over £800m in employers’ National Insurance Contributions; and nearly £600m in extra VAT payments.”
The analysis additionally shows international graduates who find employment in the UK typically do so in sectors that suffer from acute skills shortages.
“Rather than displacing domestic graduates, international graduates are plugging skills shortages,” the analysis read.
Speaking about the report, director of HEPI Nick Hillman said UK universities firmly believe the government’s biggest mistake in higher education has been to discourage international students from coming to the country.
“It is a testament to the strengths of our higher education sector that the number of international students has not fallen, but it is an absolute tragedy that we have been unable to keep up with the pace of growth in other countries,” he said.
Hillman added that the Home Office used to say there is “insufficient evidence to show international students bring benefits to the UK”.
“We proved this to be false last year when we showed international students contribute £20 billion a year net to the UK. But, afterwards, the Migration Advisory Committee claimed there was still a lack of evidence to show international students who stay in the UK to work make a positive contribution,” Hillman continued.
“We can now disprove this too. Just one cohort of international students who stay in the UK to work contribute over £3 billion to the UK Exchequer… and it would be even more if policymakers had not reduced post-study work rights in 2012.”
Senior vice president at Kaplan Linda Cowan added that there is currently a real risk to the UK of losing the significant economic, educational and soft power benefits it has enjoyed for many years.
“We now have evidence that one of the many ways international students contribute to our economy is by filling skills shortages. Given their high level of English competency and impressive academic achievements, we should be doing everything possible to encourage them to stay and work here,” she said.
Cowan said it was very encouraging to see the inclusion of growth targets in the government’s new International Education Strategy, and the emphasis placed on cross-governmental and sector cooperation.
“But we think the release of the report would have been even stronger if it had been released in the name of the Home Office as well as the Department for Education and the Department for Trade,” she told The PIE News.
MillionPlus said it welcomed the HEPI/Kaplan report, with chief executive Greg Walker adding that it should serve as a further incentive for the government to drive forward the International Education Strategy.
“A competitive post-study work offer is not only good for attracting students but, as this report highlights, it will boost the UK economy as well. These figures show what more could be gained if we get it right,” said Walker.
“Rather than displacing domestic graduates, international graduates are plugging skills shortages”
“This report…underscores the need for a clear change in approach, helping the UK to become more competitive by removing unnecessary barriers to educating more international students.”
Chief executive of Universities UK Alistair Jarvis said the UK’s immigration system should reflect the value of international students’ contribution.
“[International students] contribute economically… culturally by enriching the educational environment in our universities [and] play a vital role in combating skills shortages in key sectors including science, engineering and nursing careers,” he said.
“They want to come and study in the UK, seeing the value of the high-quality education our universities offer, but we are slipping behind our global competitors – Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
He said that while the new International Education Strategy marks a step in the right direction, more should be done to send a welcoming message to international students.
“The government should extend the opportunities for graduates to work in the UK to at least two years,” Jarvis added.
Sqore, a Swedish digital marketing company, has launched a new student recruitment tool for HEIs which it says understands digital natives and enables a ‘best fit solution’ for students in terms of institution and program.
The company – which made its name running popular competition-based campaigns – says its new ProgMatchr “candidate generation tool” was created in response to feedback from its sizeable student base.
“ProgMatchr brings connecting students and schools to the next level”
Pernilla Carlström, chief marketing officer at the company, explained to The PIE News how prospective students felt limited by other products or search engines.
“We know there is a problem with users not being informed enough about more programs,” she said.
Carlström added that in the company’s annual student survey, the most popular answer to the question on why only a limited number of programs were applied to was that students “want to make well-informed decisions”.
The second factor was time, she explained, was students complained they “didn’t have time to do more research”.
ProgMatchr works by asking students a series of questions, with their answers enabling the system to offer appropriate guidance and suggestions.
Preferences including location, ranking, skills learned, course content and budget help create a targeted “course catalogue” that aligns with the student’s priorities.
According to Sqore, early tests have shown the average conversion rate via ProgMatchr at around 20%, while research has the median conversion rate for higher education pages at 2.6%.
“We’ve always cared about connecting students and schools to each other and ProgMatchr brings this to the next level,” said Sqore co- founder and CEO, Niklas Jungegård. “Being interactive and engaging – especially on mobile – is the way to do it today.”
Carlström added that in live tests, students fed back “that this could help them to understand what questions should they be asking themselves when assessing which program they should choose.”
As part of the partnership, GES will create a new reading package of 320 books, called JillE Literacy, to support HMH’s Into Reading program which will launch in June 2019.
“Many of these approaches were developed in New Zealand”
GES director Tracy Strudley said there was an increased appreciation for New Zealand’s approach to English literacy and learning in North America, adding the county had become a recognised brand for many school teachers.
“Many of these approaches [to learning to read] were actually developed in New Zealand,” she said, adding that the series’ author Jill Eggleton had become globally well-known.
“Jill Eggleton is a big name in the US and teachers know her, are loyal to her. She understands what it’s like to be a classroom practitioner, so the material that she has written teachers just love.”
Strudley said the series took a classroom installation approach, rather than school installation, which provided better-tailored learning experiences for students.
“As a classroom teacher, we’ve got students who are at different stages of their literacy journey,” she told The PIE News.
“A lot of packages that go into schools in the US are always for grade level students when the reality is that that’s just not the case.”
The deal is the latest for GES after it secured Australasia’s largest print run for an education provider, finalizing a deal to distribute 1.63 million books to China.
Strudley said the company was exploring opportunities in Thailand and the Philippines.