Studying Abroad: Cultural Preference Tops Academics for Gen Z

A research conducted by AFS Intercultural Programs concluded that Generation Z prefers the cultural aspect of studying abroad over considering the quality of education.

Over 5,000 students were surveyed from 27 countries around the world with ages ranging from 13 to 18 years old between March and December 2016.

international-student

According to the study, 67% of the students have shown high value on the cultural experiences that are bound to come while studying abroad compared to the scholastics and education.

Daniel Obst, the president and CEO of AFS expressed that based on the findings, Generation Z students do not only want to travel overseas for the sake of it but actually want to experience what the local people of foreign countries experience. He adds that they are keen on having a ‘global’ status on their identity when compared to older generations.

Of the 67% of culture-yearning students, there are two groups. ‘Cultural hitchhikers’ or those whose primary focus is on cultural experience that does not have high financial resources make up 36% of the respondents. On the other hand, ‘cultural floaters’ or students with high financial resources and who intends to experience other cultures are 31% of the students.

culture-yearning-international-students

When broken down by nationality, three-quarters of the students who prefer culture more than academics are European, followed by 57% from Latin America, 58% from Southeast Asia and 72% from North America.

According to a report, Mapping Generation Z: Attitudes toward International Education Programs, AFS discovered that the top destinations of this generation were Anglophone or English-speaking countries to be most considered, achieving a percentage of 77% of students. The countries most preferred were the US, UK and Australia.

Western European countries like Germany, France and Italy faired 65% as favourable countries and China being the least favourable fairing 38% of the Gen Z students.

“These findings paint a picture of large growth potential for the traditionally popular English destinations and set the tone for increasing competitive pressures among them” the report noted.

Concerning security issues, 36% of students expressed their anxiety but after May 2016, the percentage increased to 52% as the terrorist attacks were publicised globally.

Other issues concerning studying abroad were making no friends, followed by homesickness and school re-entry requirements upon returning home, each shared by 48% of students.

None of the respondents had been on an international exchange before this but 60% has considered the possibility.

Hristo Banov, manager of the management information unit at AFS and the study’s lead researcher said that in order to increase the interest of students to study in foreign countries, it is important for information to travel by word of mouth.

He adds that, in today’s environment, ‘genuine, personal referral’ remains unchanged although students listen to experiences from immediate friends and family but also get to see the experiences of others from their extended social media footprint.

New Regulations Allow Post-Grad International Students to Work in China after their Studies

The Chinese government has decided to set regulations concerning post-study labour allowing Post-Grad international students to work after completing their degree in the country.

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The action was called as a strategy to establish China as a study destination and attract potential talents to globalise its workforce. The new regulations announced on 6 January by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Foreign Affairs and Education, stated that foreign students who have graduated with a master’s degree or above from the universities in China or other “well-known universities” are eligible to work.

Previously, international students with foreign degrees were required to have two years of work experience outside China. This, however, prevented international students in the country from continuing to work after graduating from their studies according to Erik Skuse, research manager at Emerging Strategy, a market intelligence company based in Shanghai.

“This policy change is a recognition that if China wants to expand its international higher education capacity further, it must leverage the attractiveness of China’s massive, globalised employment market among foreign students seeking to start careers,” commented Skuse.

The country is taking action to grow its number of global students from of 390,000 students in 2015 according to the Ministry of Education.

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To apply for the one-year work visa, students must have had previously secured a job with a Chinese company according to their respective field of study, which meets local skill demands and offers a salary set to market standards. Student applicants must be over the age of 18 and have obtained a B (80%) grade average or higher.

This new policy hopes to encourage more foreign students to choose China as a study destination and then to stay and work here,” commented Jill Tang, founder of CareerXFactor, a talent recruitment company for graduates with foreign degrees.

She also mentioned that China will still need to import either knowledge or people from overseas to accommodate certain skills.

Tang also says that certain big companies are thinking of providing internships or graduate programmes for international students and later send them back to their homelands to contribute to the growth of the company there.

Survey reveals what potential students look for when deciding on an MBA

A step up from previous years, the rise and potential of entrepreneurship is now one of the top reasons, among several others, as to why students wish to pursue an MBA.

Amidst several reports undermining the value of an MBA and its decline comes the Tomorrow’s MBA study, conducted by CarringtonCrisp and constituting of the voices and opinions of more than a 1000 potential MBA students from 82 countries.

One of the survey’s key findings were the reasons behind students wanting to pursue an MBA, of which the rise in earning potential took priority, while other factors such as employability and the want to be internationally recognised made the list as well. The desire to venture into entrepreneurship too topped the list as the fifth most significant reason, up from 10th place in last year’s survey. The sudden push of this specific topic of interest brings to mind the need for an MBA’s content to be tailored differently so as to support and acquire more students’ interests, that “Given this interest, schools should think about what they teach, career services provided and how they align programmes with this growing demand.”

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With the Kauffman Index of Start-up Activity reporting that 550,000 individuals emerge as entrepreneurs each month in America, it’s an easy task at a glimpse of the entrepreneurship boom in recent years. Several reasons, such as the ease with which ideas can now be brought to life, and a changing and more encouraging economy, entrepreneurs often tend to gain success, walking down such a path.

The survey also detailed several other findings, such as the number of women who are actively considering working towards an MBA, making up to a complete 42% of the total candidate number, the highest to be recorded in previous surveys. Andrew Crisp, owner of CarringtonCrisp, highlights the advance in technology as a vital factor in allowing more women to pursue an MBA, with methods such as online distance learning now easily accessible to the overall population, such as for women “who’ve come out of the labour force for a while – maybe they’ve been having children – to do an MBA without having to sit in a classroom of men who are trying to get into a finance career, with everything that goes with the culture of some of the big finance houses,” says Crisp.

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Following up on this, Crisp additionally remarks that it would be the successful schools who realise that it is integral to market to both potential male and female candidates, keeping in mind the difference in each gender’s perceptions and opinions of what they look for in an MBA and the additional services offered to them. A fine example of this is the difference both genders hold in valuing assistance while in search of an internship, with female candidates ranking at 72% while male candidates ranked at a lower 60%.

The essentiality of career services being part of an MBA course too was present in the findings, with 72% of individuals desiring for help in planning a career which would make them more employable in the near future.

On the topic of what can be called an “MBA 2.0,” –which seeks to be more flexible and look into the changing and growing interests of potential candidates –technology’s advance has been quite a game-changer, with the survey reporting that, as it now stands, more than a quarter of potential candidates prefer flexible or online MBAs, instead of the usual one-year, full-time MBA.

As a final note, Crisp advises schools offering MBAs that “It’s not necessarily the longest running programmes that are going to be the best; it’s going to be the ones that are quickest to adapt, that embrace the new technology, that use it to best effect to deliver a really outstanding online experience.”

UCAS Applications To Be Anonymous

To prevent unconscious bias against candidates from minority groups, Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed plans to remove names from university applications forms starting 2017.

In response to this UCAS chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook, said it would consult with degree-awarding institutions on name-blind applications as this would impact applications from black and ethnic minority students.


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US Graduate programs growth led by international students

Highlights

  • Between the fall of 2013 and fall of 2014, first-time graduate enrolment in the US went up by 3.5%
  • Over the same period, first-time enrolment for international students grew by 11.2%
  • Over two-thirds of the growth over the past decade has been fuelled by international students
  • The main focus areas for international students in the US is in STEM fields

the Bonn International Graduate School of Neuroscience

(Source: http://bigs-neuroscience.de/)

Earlier this month, the US Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) reported that first-time graduate enrolment in the country went up by 3.5%. The growth, tracked between the fall of 2013 and fall 2014, is the largest one-year increase since 2009. While this bodes well for future enrolment trends, America’s graduate enrolment remain below its peak in 2009 growing only by 0.4% between 2013 to 2014. Read more

US new bill pushes colleges to be accredited to have foreign students

In recent weeks, The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that the US House of Representatives has passed a bill that would require all colleges and universities in the US that enrol foreign students with the issuance of I-20’s to be accredited.

Lawmakers in the US approved the H.R. 3120 bill, making it mandatory for all institutions of higher education enrolling 25 foreign students or more, to have certified accreditation, nationally or regionally, that is recognized by the US Department of Education.

(Source: http://www.ndtv.com/)

This move comes as part of the effort by the US to close a major loophole in the foreign student visa system passed in the wake of 9/11 attacks, wherebyfraudulent colleges have taken in foreign students by the thousands by luring them the right to work in the United States. Senator Chuck Grassley said, “This is a national security matter. Foreign student visas were issued to terrorists who attacked the United States both in 1993 and on September 11.” Representative Zoe Lofgren lauded the approval of the bill by the US House of Representative, believing that the accreditation requirements will prevent unauthorized institutions from deceiving genuine foreign seeking education in the United States. He further added, “In addition, this requirement will prevent fly-by-night institutions from engaging in student-visa fraud to smuggle or traffic persons into the country.” Read more

US Education Department releases College Scorecard: Yay or Nay?

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/)

The US Department of Education recently released the College Score – an online portal aimed to help prospective students get the best bang for their education dollars by finding the college that fits them. Following President’ Obama’s recent State of the Union address, the College Scorecard is part of the US government’s efforts to hold higher learning institutions accountable for cost, value and quality, to help students choose schools that meet their needs – from affordability, to educational and career goals. Read more

Asia – The Next Superpower Of Higher Education?

chenese graduates
(Source: www.askbennychinese.com)

In the world of higher education, there has been much discourse and claims of a shifting global movement gravitated towards Asia. Indeed, it is not unusual to also hear and read about the region’s profound transformation and rise over the past half-century since the 70s to the present day.

Asia has undergone unprecedented economic growth over the last few decades resulting in driving major social and demographic change as well as institutional reform. In some countries, for the most part, this has brought about greater stability, infrastructure and more sound policies and regulations. The rise of a large and growing middle class together with increased openness, market reforms and regional initiatives such as ASEAN to unite and increase its global competitiveness has brought about greater interconnectedness amongst Asian countries and the rest of the world.

The higher education sector in the region has also reflected these dynamics, which is no surprise considering the economic boom in many fast-growing Asian countries is linked to a knowledge-based economy – knowledge production, advanced skills and an overall rising demand for higher education. In fact, it is estimated that by 2020, China alone will account for 30% of the world’s university graduates aged between 25 to 34 years old. Asia’s third largest economy, India is also projected to add 300 million people to the workforce in the next 2 decades – that, by the way, is the equivalent size of the entire population of the United States. On top of these big players, let’s not forget hot emerging countries that have undergone strong transformation or are part of the global competition and experienced rapid economic growth and taken steps to internationalize their higher education institutions, such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. Let’s look at the higher education landscape in Asia from the view of international engagement between Asian countries versus the rest of the world as well as domestic higher education developments of Asian countries.

A recent Open Doors 2014 statistics show a clear pattern that affirms the surge in mobility out of Asia, as well as into Asia. Delving deeper, we see many Asian faculty who return to leadership positions in their countries having obtained their PhDs from either US or European universities. On top of that, there is an increasingly growing segment of post-secondary students in Asia that plan to study abroad, likely in the US, Australia or Europe. This isn’t surprising. Consider this – Asian students make up a whopping 64% of the total international student body in the US. What does all this mean for Asia’s higher education landscape? Read more

Outdated & Ageing Leaders Holding Back Private Varsities In Malaysia?

Ministry of higher education Malaysia

(Source: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/)

Currently, only about 15% of Vice-Chancellors and 8% of Deputies have significant and relevant overseas management experience

A new study conducted by The Penang Institute analyzing the latest data from 2013 by Malaysia’s Ministry of Education found that poor leadership from the top management may be the cause of financial pressure and poor overall quality outcomes seen at private institutions in Malaysia.

The research examined publicly-available data and studied the diversity of top management teams in Malaysia’s private higher education institutions (HEIs) and found them to share disproportionately high similarities in terms of background, demographics and experience.

Penang Institute General Manager and Serdang MP, Ong Kian Ming stated that “[the] data showed that around 90% of Malaysian Vice-Chancellors were men and only 20% of their Deputy Vice-Chancellors were women.” Age was also highly concentrated – 56% of Vice-Chancellors aged sixty years old & 32% in their fifties – showing close to nine out of 10 being aged in their fifties and above. What is even more worrying is that, the next generation were also close to the end of their careers. Almost half (47%) of Deputy Vice-Chancellors were in their sixties with 34% in their fifties. Read more

Education The Gateway For Growth For Indonesia

A recent World Bank report highlighted that Indonesia is currently facing a developmental crossroad. It has now grown to one the world’s 20 largest economies in the world and aims to be the top 10 largest economies globally by 2030; certainly bold and bodacious goals. Looking at growing major trends and developments not only in Indonesia but also the region – particularly a growing middle class, rapid urbanization, strong growth in the region and an opening up of regional markets in Southeast Asia with the Asian Economic Corridor (AEC) – this has resulted in new challenges as well as strong opportunities for Indonesia, especially in the country’s education sector.

Critical to be competitive

Indonesian female students

The World Bank believes that having a skilled labor force would be crucial to leverage on the country’s existing opportunities. The World Bank further adds,

“Without the right skills, opening up to ASEAN may pose a problem more than an opportunity [whereby] without the right skills or urban migrants, urbanization will not bring about the benefits of scale. [If youths don’t possess the right skills,] the growing demand for higher quality products and services may be met by importing them rather than increasing the value added of Indonesian firms.”

It is clear that for Indonesia future’s success, the country will need to have a serious look at improving its state of education – simplifying access to all levels of education and improved parity of graduate skills to its future labor requirements.

While general unemployment rates in Indonesia has been on a downward trend in recent years (ranging from 6-9& over recent years, and 5.9% in 2014), it is increasingly worrying to note that unemployment rate is highest among high school and higher education graduates (aged between 12 – 24 years old). In fact, the unemployment rate for those aged between 15 – 24 is alarmingly far above the national average. Fresh graduates from high schools, colleges and vocational schools are finding it difficult to secure a job in the national workforce. Read more