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
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:
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.