Predicting trends in international student mobility might seem slightly complicated but in fact it is far away from fortune-telling business. There are always clear indicators as to which country has a head start in the race and which one is likely to lag behind. Today we will talk about indicators you should consider while choosing countries for international student recruitment and diversification of your student body.
How to know if a country could provide you with great partners for outbound international student mobility?
National scholarship programs
We all know that Saudi Arabia is one of the key players on the global outbound student mobility market. One of the main reasons for that is substantial funding available to young Saudi students via the King Abdullah Scholarship Programme (KASP). This program allows hundreds of thousands students to gain knowledge all over the world. For example, between 2013-2014 over 100,000 Saudi students went to study in the US alone. Due to recent changes in oil prices, the requirements for the program are going to get tighter. Therefore, is assumed that less students might be able to complete their degrees abroad.
Another country which offers plenty of scholarship and funding schemes for studying abroad is Italy. In secondary education alone, Italian students can explore three pathways for international education – the PON, INPSIEME and ITACA programs.
Following the news about upcoming study abroad scholarships on a national level can give you great hints as to where to look for new stable sources of international students.
Demographic growth and youth population
In 2014, almost 18,000 students from Nigeria went abroad to pursue education in the United Kingdom. Another 12,000 went to study in neighbouring Ghana and around 7,000 went to study in the United States. These numbers, while yet not the highest in the continent, will soon expand extremely. Nigeria is projected to have the biggest population in Africa by 2050 according to the United Nations. With better healthcare, local children mortality rates decrease and with that a younger population emerges. Slowly growing economy might not provide all these young people with enough opportunities for high quality education. Naturally, these factors will make studying abroad an attractive option for a lot of young Nigerian people. Just like it already happened in many other Central Asian countries.
Focusing on Nigeria or other rapidly growing African countries in the upcoming years is thus quite a safe choice for international student recruitment.
Economic growth and emerging middle class
Demographic growth results in growing numbers of young people who are extremely willing to join the competitive global markets. Steady economy further stimulates the emergence of a middle class that has adequate funds to support such mobility ambitions. For example, one of the main causes of the rise of internationally mobile students in China was the fact that there were few local institutions providing world-class quality of education. Today, acclaimed universities such as New York University or Duke University are working together with universities in China. They’re even setting up joint campuses on Chinese land. Also, young people with advanced degrees come back to the country and join local business via a wide variety of recruitment programs.
When outbound student mobility stabilizes in one country, some space opens up in another. We suggest finding new markets for internationalization and diversification by regularly checking statistics about the local economy and middle class.
Until now we were mostly talking about undergraduate degrees – the most abundant education sector for internationally mobile students. But what about students that have already gained their Bachelor’s degree in their own country and want to further advance their education abroad? A good strategy for diversifying such student body would be looking towards countries that have strong governmental support and clear guidelines on improving their undergraduate programs. Malaysia serves as an example here with its ambition to the region’s main educational hub. One of the goals outlined in the country’s educational improvement strategy is becoming internationally acclaimed by joining top university lists.
With strong undergraduate programs, professionals enjoy better opportunities to study abroad. We suggest following local education policy developments and picking countries that are willing to invest in their undergraduate programs.
As you can see, there are various indicators that might be useful while forming a list of potential countries to recruit from. Of course, using a combination of methods will provide more clear results.
Do you have your own suggestions for choosing countries to recruit from? What are they?
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