We've given our weekly HE bite an international focus this week. Here's what's beenhappening...

International education: data suggests there may be a decline

At NetNativeswe have been interested in trends around international student mobility and the various socio-economic factors that may be behind data fluctuations. Our recent research into Southeast Asia highlighted that Thailand is experiencing an unusual decrease of international students coming to the UK, relative to the region. This could be due to a lower number of college aged Thai students eligible forinternationalstudy. Research on international student trends shows the importance of looking at all factors, including projections of population trends and transnational education policy, to avoid over reliance on international students which may decline in the future.

The latest report from Universities UK highlights several interesting trends and patterns in Higher Education. Among these trends is an alarming decline in the youth population of China. To take a look at the analysis of the Universities UK report see the Times Higher Education piece.

Click here to read the full report from Universities UK.

Why does this matter to you?

How does your university strategise its international recruitment? It is important to keep abreast of major trends in the data to understand how they may affect declines, or increases, of international students. Although it is important to look at fluctuations, there needs to be research to contextualise socioeconomic factors influencing these trends.

Open University and Cuban Students: overriding British Law due to US Sanctions?

Jo Johnson has been urged to intervene in the outcry over Open University and international students from Cuba. The ban came to light after a Cuban student was prevented from accepting a PhD offer in the United Kingdom due to the ban. Although it is illegal for American companies to trade with Cuba, British institutions do not haveto comply with this under special "antidote" laws. The University is facing investigation by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, with a spokesperson stating: "The Equality Act makes it unlawful for universities to discriminate against students based on nationality when deciding who to offer admission to. The Open University may be in breach of the Act. We'll be looking into this matter further."

Click here to read the original Telegraph article.

Why does this matter to you?

As the rate of EU international students continues to decline (per UCAS figures), there needs to be special attention paid to ensure that compliance is met with international bodies. Additionally, your institution has role to play in making international students feel welcome in the UK, when studying at HEIs.

Accelerated degrees: is Jo Johnson's proposal feasible?

Last week we discussed Jo Johnson's defence of current university fees. Johnson also discussed the prospect of the two-year university degree programme or accelerated degree, which he mentioned in his February address. The idea of accelerated degrees presents challenges, which was analysed by the Department of Education in May.

In this report, Universities sifted through the various impediments, cost and logistics to name a few, that make accelerated degrees a challenging undertaking. In his address, Johnson touches on the topic of cost, countering that these courses are feasible - given that it reduces maintenance costs.

Click here to read the Guardian piece addressing the potential cost implications, as well as the impact this might have on the student journey.

Why does this matter to you?

How does your university feel about accelerated degrees? Are they currently being offered at your HEI? If so, it is important to be aware of the conversation and debate around their feasibility.

Article by

Saja Al-Nahi

Higher Education Researcher