Trends, insights and strategies on internationalization of higher education by Dr. Rahul Choudaha

August 27, 2015

Defining the future of internationalisation in Europe

A recent study entitled 'Internationalisation of Higher Education' in the European context provides a comprehensive perspective on what is the current state of internationalization is and what should it look like in future.
IAU, EAIE, Europe survey findings on internationalisation highered

The study critically analyzed the key literature in the field of international higher education and coupled it with survey findings from three sources--IAU 4th Global Survey on Internationalisation of Higher Education, The EAIE Barometer: Internationalisation in Europe, and Delphi survey (with support from Robert Coelen).

The study funded by the European Parliament was undertaken by some of the leading researchers and thinkers in the field-Hans de Wit, Fiona Hunter, Laura Howard and Eva Egron-Pola. The blend of comprehensive background research along with deep expertise of the authors resulted in this influential, landmark publication.

The ten recommendations (I wonder, why it rhymes with ten commandments) of the study have the potential to create a more meaningful future state of internationalization in Europe:
"1. Address the challenges of credit and degree mobility imbalances and institutional cooperation, stemming from substantial differences in higher education systems, procedures and funding.
2. Recognise the growing popularity of work placements and build options to combine them with language and cultural skills training and study abroad.
3. Support the important role of academic and administrative staff in the further development of IoHE.
4. Foster greater higher education and industry collaboration in the context of mobility of students and staff.
5. Pay more attention to the importance of ‘Internationalisation at home’, integrating international and intercultural learning outcomes into the curriculum for all students.
6. Remove the barriers that impede the development of joint degrees.
7. Develop innovative models of digital and blended learning as an instrument to complement IoHE.
8. Align IoHE with internationalisation at other levels of education (primary, secondary, vocational and adult education).
9. Stimulate bilingual and multilingual learning at the primary and secondary education level as a basis for a language policy based on diversity.
10.Remove barriers between internationalisation of research and education, at all levels, for greater synergy and opportunity."

Here are related analysis and coverage of the study:
Penetrating insights into internationalisation progress, University World News
Internationalisation: variations and vagaries, University World News
Internationalisation should be for all – Landmark study, University World News
Academic values ‘at risk’ in internationalisation, says report, Times Higher Ed
EU study: internationalisation must reach all levels of education, The PIE News  
Read More »

August 06, 2015

China's Economic and Education Ambitions on the New Silk Road

Eugene Sebastian, deputy pro vice-chancellor, business international, RMIT University, Australia and I recently published an article entitled "Knowledge helps power China along the new Silk Road" in The Australian. Here is the excerpt:

Chinese higher education along silk road
Source: The Wall Street Journal
The Silk Road concept is not new. Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the idea in 2013 during a visit to Kazakhstan and Indonesia. What is new is the use of education as a tool to help drive China’s regional economic ambitions.

China’s education strategy has three parts. First, Beijing has promised 10,000 new scholarships will be handed out every year to the countries along the Silk Road. Offering scholarships has worked in the past. Ten years ago, in support of its scaled-up engagement with Africa, Beijing introduced scholarships for African students, the numbers of which have more than doubled — as has its economic influence. China already provides a lot of scholarships to international students. In 2010, it sponsored almost 23,000 and plans to fund 50,000 by this year.

The second part involves using governance and technical training to engage government officials.Xi has highlighted training as an important form of co-operation. Yunnan province — in southwest China and an important pivot to South and Southeast Asia — is being positioned as a training base for public officials from Myanmar, Thailand and the Mekong subregion. Xi has even ­proposed sharing and integrating resources between countries to tackle issues such as youth ­employment, entrepreneurship training and vocational skills ­development.

The third part of the education strategy involves creating science and technology platforms, such as labs, centres and networks. These platforms will help promote research collaboration, exchanges and training. In Xinjiang province — the northwestern hub — plans are under way to establish a science and education centre that will open links into Central, South and West Asia, and Russia’s Far East. In May, Universities Alliance of the New Silk Road, led by Xi’an Jiaotong University, was established. The alliance draws together more than 60 universities from 22 countries in Asia, the Middle East and Russia.

Education can be an effective diplomatic tool for engaging neighbours. It’s practical, responsive to development needs and can be packaged easily for media communications. Beijing’s use of education will help it soften the edges of what is viewed regionally as an ambitious and politically complex endeavour. More important, the venture will allow China to address the region’s yawning skills gap, which invariably stands in the way of its economic ambitions.

Related links:
Xi'an Special: Alliance unites higher education along Silk Road route
Interactive Map: China’s New Silk Road
Silk Road Fund makes first investment
China Sees Itself at Center of New Asian Order (Image)
Read More »

More preventive measures needed in India to stop high-stakes cheating, says Britt of Prometric

Admissions to higher education institutions of excellence in India is often reliant on high-stakes testing. At the top are some of the most competitive exams like Common Admissions Test (CAT) for Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Then there are many more exams for different professions and states. More recently, a scams in the state of Madhya Pradesh exposed system-level corruption with more than 2,000 students estimated to have cheated their way into coveted medical colleges. Here is an interview with Wade Britt, Country Manager, Prometric Testing Services Pvt. Ltd., India, a test development and delivery provider. Prometric is a wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary of Educational Testing Service.

Wade Britt is the Country Manager for Prometric Testing Services Pvt. Ltd in India. He has extensive international experience in operations and sales in the education, technology and logistics sectors. Prior to Prometric, Wade had worked with Open English, Kaplan University and DHL. He holds a  master's degree in International Business and a bachelor's degree from University of South Carolina.

Rahul- What are the reasons for high-stakes cheating in India? Based on Prometric's global experiences, is it more than other countries?
Wade- Cheating in India is comparable to other countries. Any high stakes exam has a built-in incentive to attract cheats. Where an exam can better one’s life, increase ones earnings or differentiate one from the crowd, there will be people that will try to achieve these accomplishments through fraud rather than effort. What is perhaps more specific to India is that there needs to be more attention given to how cheating can be stopped. Prometric takes a bigger view on preventing cheating’s effects and dissects the complete examination process.

We write and administer test questions in ways that prevent cheating while keeping the test fair. We use data protection and encryption that prevents unauthorized access to exam content and renders it entirely unreadable should a breach occur. We can analyse candidate behavior during exams and identify patterns indicating someone is cheating or attempting to steal content. In the event someone thinks they’ve succeeded, we will have recorded the entire event and be able to draw upon it as evidence later during legal proceedings.

We operate solely to help honest test takers succeed and our international testing expertise brings lessons learned that allow us to remain ahead of cheating attempts.

Rahul- How can these incidences of cheating minimized? Any examples from other countries?
Wade- Securing exams and protecting honest test takers from unearned scores requires a global perspective and involves multiple processes that are required at every step of the way to ensure the sanctity of the test and a fair result for all candidates. What is often reported in the media is the point in the process where test takers are at a test centre, but that is only one part of a comprehensive process. Prometric has a process for securing exams that has proven effective in all countries we operate, and our performance in India has, without question, protected our clients and every honest candidate from cheating.

Denying the cheats starts back at the time of test creation. For example, are the questions valid and fair? Are they written by subject matter experts guided by testing professionals? Are the questions secure? Assuming the test has safely reached a testing location, you then have physical methods of security-high proctor (supervisor) to candidate ratios, video surveillance for record keeping, biometric identification to eliminate “proxy exam takers” and physical checks to detect hidden objects used to cheat. And then, there is the post exam process. Are the results secure and safe from interference? Are the results published by a reputable third party?

There are many measures we take throughout the testing lifecycle. No single solution at a single point in time can address the risk of cheating. Prometric specializes in high security for high stakes exams based upon our decades of experience and expertise along with stringent testing standards that are uniformly high across the globe.

Rahul- Please provide a brief background of Prometric Testing Services' engagement in India and what are the strategic priorities for next three years?
Wade- Prometric tests several million candidates a year on behalf of our clients – locally and globally Our priority has been and will continue to be to provide honest test takers fair, reliable and valid exams to help them in their career and personal goals. Our global reach benefits India by bringing people access to exams they want in order to find career opportunities, such as TOEFL and foreign medical licensing exams. Our strategy for the next three years is to help people earn the test scores they need to gain better job prospects and higher incomes, and we are committed to helping all candidates have fair opportunities.
Read More »

August 02, 2015

Ability to partner effectively is core to leadership in academia and enterpreneurial ventures, says David Finegold

university higher education innovation international
Dr. David Finegold, Chief Academic Officer, Quad Learning
Dr. Finegold is a leading expert on skill development systems and their application to economic performance in the global marketplace. In his last role, he served as Senior Vice President for Lifelong Learning and Strategic Growth at Rutgers University, spearheading efforts to build a workforce development system for New Jersey’s bioscience sector. He was also a professor at the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences in Claremont, California. David graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Social Studies from Harvard University, and earned his Ph.D. in Politics as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University in England.

Rahul- You have extensive experience as a faculty member and academic leader in university setting. Now you are working in an entrepreneurial and innovative environment at American Honors. What are couple of key leadership lessons for future academic entrepreneurs to succeed in a non-university settings?
David- I believe you can be entrepreneurial in academia as well as the private sector. I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to be part of starting new institutions, as one of the founding faculty members of the newest of the Claremont Colleges, the Keck Graduate Institute. And also to innovate within large public universities, creating the first interdisciplinary new degree program, the Master of Business and Science, that involved more than a dozen schools across all 3 Rutgers campuses. And to forge new public-private partnerships, bringing educators, from K-12 through universities, together with the pharmaceutical and biotech industry to form Bio-1, a life science workforce and economic development regional cluster in Central New Jersey.

The most exciting parts of being a leader in a double bottom-line private start-up company like Quad Learning, which works was the chance to build your own team of bright, highly motivated young people all focused on the same objective, without some of the internal politics and bureaucracy that can sometimes stifle promising initiatives in traditional higher education institutions. Another great feature of leading in the private sector is the knowledge that if you can demonstrate the success of your business model, that you have the opportunity to scale and continue to improve your innovation without worrying it may fall victim to state budget cuts or a grant running out.

The biggest leadership challenges are coping with the pace of change and need to wear multiple hats in a start-up environment. American Honors has grown faster than any new initiative I’ve been part of in higher education, from a pilot of 50 students to over 1000 students spread across 15 campuses in 5 states in just 3 years. And in a lean start-up, each leader has to take on a range of responsibilities without many of the established systems and support staff available in a large university.

The key leadership capability that appears to be common to both academia and entrepreneurial education ventures is the ability to partner effectively. This is particularly true for American Honors, where we are not an accredited institution, but rather an enabler of a national transfer network and strong honors programs built in collaboration with faculty and staff at our partner colleges.

Rahul- Please provide a brief background on American Honors (AH). What is the gap in the market it is addressing? What are the opportunities for international students?
David- A growing number of talented US and international students want to get a top US degree, but don’t have the resources to pay for 4 years at a leading university. In addition, many students have the underlying ability to graduate from these top institutions, but lack the academic preparation, English fluency and/or confidence to go straight to these highly competitive environments directly from high school.

American Honors offers a new, more affordable 2 + 2 path to obtaining a degree from the top public and private colleges and universities. Students spend their first two years in the American Honors program at one of our partner community colleges, and then can transfer to complete the final two years of their bachelor’s degree at a leading university, including our growing network of more than 55 partners, which include 5 top 100 universities offering assured admission places to our graduates. 

Rahul- What are couple of strategic goals/initiatives you are looking forward to achieving in next three years?
David- Our primary goal is to expand access for first generation and lower and middle-income students to the best U.S. colleges and universities by continuing to build the first national network which connects honors programs at community colleges to the leading four-year institutions. We already have the most honors students of any community college program in the U.S. and eventually hope to have more seats for talented students during the first two years of colleges than the Ivy League and the top 10 liberal arts colleges combined.

To further expand access globally we are establishing partnerships with educational institutions in different countries. This includes identifying strong partner high schools that we work closely with to prepare a group of students each year to come to American Honors as a first step toward obtaining a top U.S. degree. And working with colleges and universities to offer an American Honors Foundation program that features English as a Second Language (if needed) and a set of the first-year courses so that students can begin their college studies at home and then come to American Honors and our partner universities to complete their degree. We are beginning with partners in Sri Lanka and South Korea, and have discussions underway with other institutions around the world.
Read More »

July 27, 2015

Economic climate and its impact on international mobility of Chinese students

My recent article "The end of the China growth story?" published in the University World News analyzes the trend with the global mobility of Chinese student in the context of economic uncertainties. Given below is the excerpt.

Prior to the recession, a majority of Chinese students in the US were concentrated in graduate-level programmes. In 2006-2007, only 15% of a total of 67,723 students from China were enrolled in undergraduate programmes. By 2013-2014, undergraduates formed 40% of the 274,439 Chinese students, according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors data.

Looking at Chinese students from the framework of international student segmentation, the increase in students at the undergraduate level was primarily driven by the growth of ‘Explorers’, those with high financial resources and low academic preparedness. This expanding segment is funded by financially well-off families who want to invest in the experiences and future of a single child. This segment is relatively immune from financial uncertainty and continues to have a strong demand for studying abroad.

In contrast, ‘Strivers’, those with low financial resources and high academic preparedness, are more likely to be graduate-level students. This traditional segment is typically motivated by career advancement and job opportunities.

Given the size and scale of the wealthy class in China, the demand for undergraduate and high school education abroad will continue to be strong. However, self-funded graduate education at both the masters and doctoral levels will face challenges for the next couple of years.

Given that more and more Chinese are studying abroad at a younger age and continuing to study longer as “professional students” – starting at high school and continuing to masters degree and beyond – institutions cannot ignore recruiting in their own backyard. The next opportunity for recruiting Chinese students is not necessarily from China, but instead from a local institution or from a third country.

In sum, the overall demand for foreign education among Chinese students will continue to be robust. However, there will be a shift in student segments and their decision-making processes. Proactive institutions will adapt to this changing environment by deepening their understanding of different segments and preparing for the future.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

How China Saved International Student Enrollment in the US?
How many Indian and Chinese students go abroad every year?
Interest in Foreign MBA: Chinese Women on Top
Read More »

July 20, 2015

Shai Reshef on his mission to scale a sustainable model of non-profit, tuition-free, accredited, online academic institution

higher education innovative leader interviewShai Reshef is President & Founder of University of the People – the world’s first tuition-free, non-profit, accredited, online University dedicated to opening access to higher education. An educational entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the international education market, President Reshef has been widely recognized for his work with UoPeople, including being named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business; joined UN-GAID as a High-level Adviser; granted membership in the Clinton Global Initiative; selected by The Huffington Post as the Ultimate Game Changer in Education; nominated as one of Wired Magazine’s 50 People Changing the World; and selected as a Top Global Thinker by Foreign Policy Magazine. His TED Talk: “An Ultra-Low-Cost College Degree” has been viewed by almost 2 million people in the last year.

Rahul - At University of People, you have created a large volunteer operation with over 3,000 volunteering professors, academic leaders and built a range of partnerships. What are your two most important lessons in successfully working with volunteers and partners?

Shai - I knew that there were good people out there – I just didn’t know how many. This was my biggest lesson!
  • People are willing to give of themselves and give to the world.
  • If you have a great idea, you will find great people who are willing to make it happen.
  • When you give you always get back more than you have given – (true for me and for them)
  • When you start a business you know some times are harder than you expected. Just reach out for assistance.
  • Be happy with whatever you can get. Remember that volunteers are not your employees. Set up fair expectations and be grateful for the support.
Rahul - In last six years, University of the People has emerged as the "world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited, online academic institution". Based on your unique leadership perspectives in institution building, what are couple of things you would have done differently to further enhance the impact of the University?

Shai -
  • To have more budget allocated toward spreading the word.
  • UNESCO stated that in 2025, 100 million students will be deprived from higher education simply because there will not be enough seats to accommodate them, to meet the demand. Our main challenge is how to make the 100 million aware of us.
  • Due to our accelerated growth, for the first time in our history we are running out of scholarships. The mission of the University is that nobody will be turned away and no one will be left behind due to financial constraints. We have to continually dedicate more and more effort toward raising more scholarships in order to meet the growing demand.
Rahul - What are couple of strategic goals/initiatives you are looking forward to achieving in next three years?

Shai -
  • Sustainability: We will reach sustainability once we have 4,000 students; $2.5 million; and we expect this to happen in 2016. From that point on, we expect to continue our accelerated growth, to service the millions that need us and to build a model for others. In addition, we are on track to doubling the student number with every year.
  • We are currently in the process of developing 2 new programs – an MBA and a Bachelor of Health Science – to address the capacity-shortage problems that exist at traditional universities as well as addressing the requests of our students.  
Read More »

July 06, 2015

Partnering to build an ecosystem of highered innovation

Here is the excerpt from my recent blog "Building an Ecosystem of Higher Education Innovation" published in Huffington Post.

The confluence of cost and funding pressures, technology-enabled learning innovations and new paradigms of quality and teaching will continue to force higher education institutions to redefine their value.

higher education ecosystem of collaboration edtech
However, higher education institutions are unwilling to embrace new definitions of value and quality "as valid, even when they can see that customers increasingly prefer the new value offerings," notes a report from TIAA-CREF Institute.

The Presidential Innovation series hosted by the American Council on Education sums up with a tough question--"Are our current business models stale and too tradition-bound to serve us effectively in this new era for higher education?"

Innovation is taking place at a much faster rate at the fringes of the higher education system than at its core. It is getting accelerated by the energy of entrepreneurs, employers, investors and most importantly, new types of learners who are open to experiment.

The opportunity for higher education institutions and systems is to embrace these "outsiders" as an important part of the innovation ecosystem. Higher education institutions will face increasing pressure to counter the public perception that "too many degrees are a waste of money."

This shift will require the expansion of the ecosystem of higher education innovation through partnerships with and the inclusion of new stakeholders.

Share an example of an institution or initiative at the forefront of innovation--tweet @DrEducationBlog or email

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

Related resources:
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