Look to Africa to recruit future international students
For ten years I managed the recruitment and admission functions of Suffolk University’s campus in Dakar. We recruited students from all over Africa, enrolled students from more than 40 countries, and all of the students, after two years, moved on to complete four-year undergraduate degrees. These were among the best students we enrolled. So I am very bullish on recruiting students from Africa.
Let’s examine some of the reasons why.
The African continent is the second and most populous continent on earth. More than one billion people live in Africa today. By some estimates the African middle class has tripled over the past 14 years from 4.6 million households in 2000 to 15 million by 2016. These figures represent a new cohort of students for many colleges and universities worldwide from which to recruit.
Over the past ten years enrollments from Africa have increased both within Africa and around the world. Students from Africa account for more than one in 10 international students. France continues to be the top destination for African students studying abroad, followed by South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany.
According to a recent UNESCO report, an increasing number of African students are choosing to remain in Africa for postsecondary education. South Africa is the preferred destination with nine of the top ten sending countries located in sub-Saharan Africa. Living conditions in South Africa, along with the cost of living and visa requirements are among the reasons for increased African enrollment in South African universities. South Africa is also a leader in mobile learning, particularly using cell phone to deliver courses.
The future of recruiting African students lies in providing online courses. eLearnAfrica is a MOOC provider offering more than 1,000 courses from EdX, FutureLearn and other online providers and institutions. In February, 2017, eLearnAfrica and the Association of African Universities announced a partnership that will expand online learning opportunities for students enrolled in 380 member schools.
The future of enrolling African students may not lie in the traditional bricks and mortar recruitment scheme but rather in remote, online educational delivery. Is your college or university poised to recruit African students through online options?
Recruiting in Africa is not easy. More about the best ways to do this in a future blog.b