Singapore has been ranked Asia’s number one country for Start-up Mobility and in the Education sector according to a recent Youth Mobility Report (YMI) from the team behind the .asia top level domain.
Singapore scored well with its highly educated workforce and ranked well in nurturing start-up talents. Singaporeans also enjoy a high degree of travel freedom according to the annual Henley Passport Index in which the country’s passport ranks the world’s second most powerful. This is also reflected in YMI.Asia, which ranks Singapore as number one in Inbound-Outbound Student Force, ahead of Hong Kong. Its competency in Education Mobility and an outstanding score in English Proficiency also helped Singapore to the number one position.
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The 39th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO last month gave the green light to continue the work on UNESCO’s academic mobility convention, the Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications, with the aim of formally adopting the new convention by UNESCO’s next general conference in November 2019.
Why should this be of interest to the academic community? Over the past generation, there has been an explosion in international student mobility worldwide. According to the OECD, the number of international students in higher education has risen from 0.8 million in the late 1970s to 4.6 million in 2015.
This increase has been accompanied by a growth in interregional student mobility, with 2.5 million international students studying in a country outside their region of origin, according to UNESCO in the preliminary report on a potential global convention.
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A new British Council report sets out the key trends that are shaping both higher education demand and international student mobility. “We are at a tipping point in the global higher education system. Students have more choices than ever,” says the British Council’s Director Education Rebecca Hughes. “Beyond and behind traditional student recruitment lie drivers of change that are shifting the very nature of how we view and deliver higher education: they are indicative of a larger movement in the education sector, in line with an uncertain and rapidly changing future.”
The full report, 10 trends: Transformative changes in higher education outlines the ten global trends that the authors have judged will have the greatest impact on higher education in the future.
These include some major shifts in demographics around the world. The British Council highlights in particular the influence of ageing populations in many regions. Simply put: greater life expectancy combined with lower fertility rates means that populations in many countries are getting older, and, in the process, the key 15-to-24-year-old college-aged cohorts are shrinking.
Youth population projections by global region, 2010–2100. Source: United Nations, British Council
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Educators would be pleased to know that one of the most exciting trends in international student mobility is a rise in intra-region mobility – the increasing tendency of international students leaving their home country to study in a neighboring country within their home region.
We believe that the increases in regional student mobility are being charged by several factors: 1) overall improved quality and capacity of regional education hubs 2) boost by government with better policies and infrastructure 3) greater affordability of regional study destinations and 4) student preference to be closer to home.
A good example of regional mobility programs that understand this shifting demand patterns is the Erasmus programme in Europe. Now known as Erasmus+, this new programme for education, training, youth and sport will provide funding for 4 million people to study, train, or volunteer abroad till 2020. The programme greatly exemplifies how regional mobility patterns can be accelerated with the support of broader economic and political cooperation within the region. And with indications showing similar systems being established among ASEAN states, this is certainly positive and worth noting. Read more