China and the New World Order

The worldwide political changes of 2017 will benefit China by increasing its political and economic influence in Asia and around the world. China’s new dominance and strategic alliances will influence the future of international student mobility. It would be easy to focus an article about the impressive rise of China’s higher education system and the impact of Chinese students on international mobility patterns. The numbers are dazzling.In 2017 more than 700,000 Chinese students will study abroad, some to study in high schools and colleges, others to study abroad for a shorter period of time, perhaps for language study. According to an April 22, 2017 article in “The Economist,” 57 per cent of Chinese parents would like to send their children abroad for study.
But this is not an article about increasing Chinese student numbers. This article is an attempt to see to tomorrow and how China may and can emerge as a higher education
superpower in the coming years. The U.S. columnist Ian Bremer predicts that American
international leadership, a constant since 1945, will end this year. The U.S. has become the single biggest source of international uncertainty, creating a void that China is
eager to fill.
Xi Jingping, China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping, has been called the chairman of everything. His policies have ushered in a new territorial assertiveness as
evidenced by recent events. The fawning reception given him in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos signaled the importance of the Chinese president on the
world stage. And the chairman did not disappoint. He presented himself and his country as champions for globalization and open markets and he suggested that China should guide economic globalization in the future.Mr. Xi’s frequently refers to the “Chinese dream of the great revival of the Chinese nation.”
Contrast these sentiments with the inward-looking policies of the U.S. and it is easy to understand why Xi’s comments were not lost on the attendees of the World Economic Forum. Nor were they lost on the countries in Asia and Southeast Asia, such as Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia.
On May 14th of this year the first Belt and Road Forum was held in Beijing. This initiative boasts spending $150 billion in infrastructure projects in countries south and west of China, along the historical Silk Road. The overarching aim of the project is to construct a network of ports, railways and pipelines that will plug China into economic hubs across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
The founding of the Asian Universities Alliance, on April 29th with an initial membership of 15 universities from across the region, has initial funding of $1.5 million from Tsinghua University and is an example of China flexing its higher education muscles.
Joining Tsinghua University are several academic powerhouses in the region, including Peking University, the University of Tokyo, Seoul National University, the
National University of Singapore and the University of Malaysia.
In addition to promoting student and faculty mobility within Asia, the organization also aims to promote collaborative research among member institutions. Chinese Vice-
Premier Liu Yandong delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony and predicted that the Asian Universities Alliance will “Resolve regional and global
problems and bring together outstanding talents with an international perspective to serve regional development.” According to Yoichi Funabashi, chairman of the Tokyo-
based think tank, Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation,
China can and will use its economic pull to draw Asian nations into its geopolitical orbit. Inevitably, political and economic ties eventually translate into educational ties.
Joseph Nye, who coined the term “soft power” in 1990, certainly would agree that China’s initiatives are good examples of making “soft power” investments that really
are expressions of hard power.
What does this mean for the future of international student enrollment in the U.S.? It is my opinion that if, and when, U.S. policies change, it will still take a long time to
 untangle current perceptions and realities. International deans and recruiters will have to accept the reality of the increasing importance of China’s educational prowess and
adjust future strategic plans accordingly. There will be opportunities for U.S. colleges and universities in the new world order. But these opportunities will demand a different way of recruiting from today’s standard procedures. International deans and recruiters
will have to think differently and will have to focus more on collaboration and less on the go-it-alone strategies many schools use today.
Strategic plans written last year or this year, should be scrapped in full or in part. New plans should be written taking into account that what was once certain with regard
to international student mobility patterns, are now uncertainy
Beyond the corridors of today lies a new world order.

Future International Student Mobility Destination: Africa

Future International Student Mobility Destination: Africa

I was recently asked by a colleague to predict the home countries of future international students. I responded by predicting that in the short-term, future international students are likely to come from countries in Asia and Southeast Asia. But in the long run, they are likely to come from Africa.

I base my prediction on the following:

The African continent is the second and most populous continent on earth. More than 1.2 billion people live in Africa. The continent has 20 percent of the world’s land and 15 percent of the world’s population.

By several estimates, the African middle class has tripled over the past 16 years, from 4.6 million households in 2000 to 15 million in 2016.

A World Bank estimate lists the African economy growing at a rate of 5 percent for the past 10 years and predicts that it will grow more than any other continent over the next 5 years.  Six of the world’s fastest growing economies between 2001 and 2010 were in Africa.

In the publication, “New African,” editor Baffour Ankomah writes that the majority of the world’s natural resources are in Africa. And Africa’s vast oil and mineral reserves will be a pipeline to investments in infrastructure, health and education.

Students from Africa account now for more than 1 in 10 international students. A British Council forecast predicts that 5 two of the top 10 fastest growing 18-to22 year old populations through 2025 will be in Africa and the continent’s youth population will surpass that of Asia by 2080.

70 percent of the continent’s population have cell phones, an important statistic for online learning.

Recruiting in Africa or recruiting students from Africa is not easy. I managed an enrollment office in Dakar, Senegal for 10 years and although we enrolled students from more than 40 African countries, it was difficult. Most of the standard rules for international recruiting had to be abandoned for recruiting in an “African way.” However, I believe if a school is willing to make a long-term investment in Africa, the results will be worth both the time and resources.

 

International Student Mobility and the New World Disorder

International Student Mobility and the New World Disorder

It has been some time since I last posted an article about some aspect of international trends and international student recruitment and mobility. I have a good reason.

For the past several months I have been researching and writing a new book, “International Student Mobility and the New World Disorder.” The book is finally finished and I would like to share some of its information, including:

Part 1

World events have had, and will continue to have, an impact on future generations of international students. The destinations of future international students cannot be isolated from changing worldwide geopolitical and economic realities. The book outlines some of the political, economic, societal and technological trends that are shaping our world and correlate those trends to future international student recruitment and enrollment. The impact of the Brexit vote and the election of President Trump on future international student mobility is presented in detail.

Part 2

In this section of the book I offer the reader practical guidelines and recommendations for dealing with the new realities of future international student mobility, the elements of a successful and unsuccessful international strategic plans and recommendations on how to increase international student enrollment.

The basic theme of the book is to present information to international enrollment managers, deans and recruiters of worldwide political, economic, societal and technological trends in order to assist them to write not just strategic international plans, but innovative strategic international plans. The book marries research with actionable suggestions for how to plan now for the uncertainties of tomorrow.

No crystal ball. No one knows, for certain how international higher education will evolve over the next year and in future years. What I have researched and written is what I know to be true today. Tomorrow’s research could point in a different direction. The chess players in the international student mobility game are changing and are constantly moving.

Even though I did not take his advice the late movie mogul, Sam Goldwyn, once said “Never make predictions, especially about the future.”

New Chinese International Student Market

New Chinese International Student Market

A short while ago I was in Seattle for my daughter’s wedding. Staying in our hotel was a family from China. They were in Washington state to enroll their 15 year- old son in a local high school. I spoke with the family about why they would choose to separate their son from the family at such an early age. The father assured me that they were one, on many Chinese families, who have decided to better prepare their children for college enrollment in the U.S. by sending them to the U.S. for one or two years of high school.

So I decided to do a little research on this trend.

In the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of Chinese students enrolling in high schools either in the U.S. or Canada. According to an article by Mini Gu, Advanced Evaluation Specialist, there are more than one million millionaires in China and an estimated 83 percent plan to send their children abroad for high school.

According to a report published by IIE in 2013, there were nearly 25,000 Chinese students enrolled in U.S. secondary schools. Two years later, “The Wall Street Journal” reported that number was almost 35,000.

The Canadian Bureau for International Education reported more than 21,000 Chinese students enrolled in Canadian high schools.

What are some of the reasons for this early student migration?

For many Chinese parents graduating from a respectable American or Canadian university is better than graduating from a second or third tier Chinese university. A recent Chinese government crackdown on teaching western ideas in university classrooms is another reason. Finally, many families have come to understand and appreciate the value of a liberal arts education as opposed to the rigid teaching methods, a hallmark of Chinese university lectures, based on strict memorization.

Key Takeaways

College and university international deans and recruiters should partner with local high schools to create a pathway program from high school to university admission.

International recruiters and agents should market a combined high school and university placement.

College and university deans should begin to “re-recruit” the Chinese high school students in the partnership program by including the students in school events and through a focused student services outreach program.

Outreach to Chinese parents should begin while the Chinese students are in high school and should continue throughout college enrollment and graduation.

 

Please note: This will be my last blog posting until September, 2017. I need a break from writing. And you need a break from reading. Happy summer.

 

International Student Recruitment “Winners” 2018

International Student Recruitment “Winners” 2018

Time to take another snapshot of international student  mobility patterns a year after Brexit and six months after the U.S. election. I don’t think we will have to wait until September to learn which countries have already emerged as international student “winners.”

Consider the following.

Many colleges and universities in the U.S. and UK are reporting declines in international student applicants.

Clearly most Canadian colleges and universities have experienced an increase in applications from international students. The University of Toronto, for example, reports a 20 percent increase in undergraduate applications and a 41 percent increase in graduate student applications.

International undergraduate applications have increased nearly 30 percent at the University of Alberta; a 120 percent increase in applications from India and a 50 percent increase from U.S. applicants.

The number of international applicants to Irish universities has increased by 17 percent this year with significant increases of applicants from China, India and Southeast Asia.

In 2016-17 a record 112,000 international students attended Dutch colleges and universities. Courses offered in English, low tuition costs and post-graduate employment opportunities contributed to the increase. The highest number of students came from Germany, China and Italy.

In a recent UNESCO report, Malaysia has emerged as one of the top 10 destinations for post-secondary education. Currently there are 11 foreign branch campuses in Malaysia and the Malaysian government has set up two education zones as sites for additional branch campuses.  

“The Jakarta Post” recently reported that Indonesia will have one of the largest college-age populations in the world by 2020. Government policies are poised to make the country an educational hub for students in Southeast Asia.

Key Takeaways

The international higher education student market is poised to grow by almost 5 percent by 2021.

Regional educational hubs, rather that distant locations, will realize an increase in international student enrollments.

The largest increase in international, college-age students will come from Asia.

Government policies, including streamlined visa processing procedures, low tuition costs and favorable employment opportunities after graduation, will determine, in part, future international student mobility patterns.