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

June 13, 2015

Growth in 'glocal' students in transnational education programs for England

Transnational education is an increasingly important pathway for international students coming to the UK. They typically transfer from an overseas partner institution and then continue to stay to earn postgraduate program. This is the core finding of a recent research entitled "Transnational pathways to higher education in England" from HEFCE.

It notes that a third of the international (non EU) entrants to first degree programs (17,140 entrants) in England were transnational students, who transferred directly from overseas partner institutions. While this is a significant proportion of overall number of students enrolling in first degree programs, looking deeper into source countries, we notice that it driven by couple of countries. China and Malaysia form nearly 70% of transnational students transferring from overseas partners to England. Another interesting point is that there is very little traction for TNE programs among Indian students.

The report notes that transnational is providing a pathway for value-seeking students as they "give students greater flexibility over where to study towards their degree – in England, or at the home-based institution or branch campus. In addition to the lower cost associated with shorter periods of study abroad, transnational pathways are also time efficient" (p.15). In addition to value-seekers, I argue that there are students who enroll in TNE programs due to ease in accessing global education.

I hypothesize that there are two dimensions of TNE students:
1) those who are challenged by financial resources and hence seek lower cost (or value)
2) those who are challenged by academic preparedness and hence seek lower admissions standards

I have defined these TNE students as 'glocal' students based on the framework of international student segments. 

Janet Ilieva, former Head of Economic and Qualitative Analysis of HEFCE notes in her blog that "The increase in transnational pathways for international student recruitment may also change the way English universities and colleges engage with overseas institutions." She adds that "The nature of these pathways underlines the need to engage strategically by forging alliances with likeminded institutions overseas, underpinned by an in-depth understanding of the other countries’ education system."

Clearly, TNE is not only becoming bigger in scale but also more complex in the nature of international partnerships and quality assurance mechanisms. In my previous articles, I have mentioned that the issue of assuring quality in TNE and deepening the understanding of 'glocal' students will be integral to the long-term sustainable growth of innovative transnational education models.

Related links:
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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May 17, 2015

NAFSA 2015: Hot Trends for SIOs and The Innovation Imperative

Boston will be hosting 10,000 international education professionals from May 24-29 for NAFSA Annual Conference. With 200 + concurrent sessions and 500+ posters on a wide range of topics, the conference has something for everyone. Programming and networking opportunities are divided into five Knowledge Communities-- Education Abroad, International Education Leadership, International Enrollment Management, International Student and Scholar Services, and Teaching, Learning and Scholarship.

hot trends and symposium on innovation and leadership in international education
 This year, I've the honor of serving as the Chair of the International Education Leadership Knowledge Community (IEL KC), which focuses serving the needs of aspiring, new, or experienced senior international officers (SIOs) and internationalization leaders.  Interested in learning more about opportunities of engagement and developments at IELKC? Join us for IEL KC Update on May 27 at 8:45 AM in BCEC, 252AB.

NAFSA's IEL KC team has worked together to provide several opportunities of engagement for SIOs. Here is complete listing of Content of Special Interest to International Educators in Senior Positions. In specific, Symposium on Leadership will bring together experts to discuss on the theme of The Innovation Imperative: Leading Change in a Competitive Environment.

Are your curious to learn about the emerging priorities and strategic responses from SIOs' perspective? Join us for an interactive session entitled Hot Trends for Senior International Officers (SIOs) on May 27th at 10:15 AM in BCEC, 157BC. We will be sharing the findings of survey conducted by IEL KC and discussing its implications with the audience in achieving their internationalization goals.

In a separate session, I will be on a panel that will focus on Using Research to Advance Your International Education Goals (Thursday, May 28 at 9:30 AM).

I look forward to seeing you in Boston! Tweet with #nafsaSIO #NAFSA15

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Dr. Rahul Choudaha

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May 15, 2015

Top-30 world universities with largest number of international students

Australian and British universities are highly successful in attracting international students from around the world. Especially, given the relatively small size of the overall Australian higher education system, the large numbers of foreign show high maturity and dependency of Australian institutions on foreign students. [I will be discussing on this at the upcoming webinar entitled Global Student Mobility: Insights and Implications for Your Recruitment Strategy hosted by International Education Association of Australia (IEAA).]

Here is the list I compiled by taking top-20 universities in Australia, the UK and the US in terms of international student enrollment and sorting top-30 of total 60 universities. The results are:
Among top-10: Australia=5,   US=3 and UK=2
Among top-20: Australia=8,   US=8 and UK=4
Among top-30: Australia=10, US=9 and UK=11

top world universities with largest number of international students

This analysis excludes other leading destinations like Germany and Canada, due to unavailability of parallel data that indicates international student enrollment all institutions in the country. For example, McGill University enrolled 8,887 international students in 2013, but it is not included in the analysis. For feedback, questions, clarifications write to .

For the UK and Australia, the numbers exclude offshore or transnational education enrollments.
The data for Australia has been updated and reflected in the chart. Previous data incorrectly included offshore data for some universities.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha (Author)
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May 09, 2015

4 reasons why LinkedIn may be a gamechanger in global university rankings

Much has been debated and researched about the uses and abuses of university rankings. Now, the arena of global university rankings has a new contender, LinkedIn, which has the potential to change the future of the rankings game. Here are the four reasons in support of LinkedIn’s potential.

global university rankings with LinkedIn

1. Sharper focus on career outcomes
LinkedIn is focused on career outcomes. One of the biggest limitations of the rankings is that they focus on students as consumers of information, while their methodologies focus on proxies like research citations. An alternative approach is to use metrics that directly impact students. In a cost-conscious environment where the value of higher education is under increasing scrutiny, return on investment and career outcome is becoming more important for students.

2. Deeper view at program level
The multi-disciplinary and comprehensive nature of universities is better captured by program rankings than by university rankings. Program-level rankings are not only more informative for students, but also attempt to overcome the halo effect of university brands. LinkedIn provides an opportunity to break the data down by programs and customize it to additional issues like location. For example, the number one program for undergraduate accounting in the US, according to LinkedIn, is Villanova University, not a usual suspect.

3. Wider global reach
The growing global user-base of LinkedIn provides it with a solid platform to deliver rankings that are truly global in its reach. Sixty-eight per cent of the 347 million LinkedIn users are based outside of the United States. Currently, LinkedIn rankings are limited to US, UK and Canadian institutions and cover only select fields of studies. However, the growing number of international users supported by entry into new markets like China is going to help LinkedIn gain wider reach and credibility for global rankings.

4. Richer insights over time
Ranking providers conduct annual exercises of collecting data and releasing ‘new’ versions. However, there is hardly any year on year difference in institutions nor any noticeable difference from students’ perspectives. The methodologies and underlying data do not allow for exploring long-term results. In contrast, LinkedIn data is based on students’ career trajectory and provides the potential to analyse and rank according to the long-term impact of education investment. It even customises rankings from different angles, including location of work.

A better ranking?
Like any other ranking system, LinkedIn’s methodology is imperfect and has several limitations. For example, the career outcomes used in the rankings are confounded by several other variables beyond the institutions of graduation. Philosophically, they may also lead to a parochial view of educational experiences by reducing them to career outcomes alone.
Despite these limitations, though, LinkedIn rankings will evolve over time and have the potential to be a game changer by helping students make informed choices, by creating more competition for existing rankings and even by potentially incentivizing universities to move from research citations to career outcomes.

Originally published as LinkedIn: the future of global university rankings? in University World News by Dr. Rahul Choudaha.

What are your thoughts and comments?
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May 07, 2015

International student mobility trends and implications for enrollment strategies (Webinars)

International student recruitment is increasingly among the top priorities for many institutions in the US, Australia and the UK. Given the pressure to expand enrollment with limited budgets, some institutions adopted quick-fix solutions, which in turn has compromised the diversity and quality of international student body and their experiences. Developing sustainable strategies that are aligned with the changing needs and profile of international students, requires a deep understanding of student decision-making processes and mobility trends.

I am presenting two webinars that will provide an overview of the latest trends and research on global student mobility and its implications for strategic choices. Professionals working in higher education settings will be able to deepen their understanding of international student segments and their decision-making processes to craft sustainable and evidence-driven enrollment strategies.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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Why India should go beyond engineering and diversify with liberal arts education?

Here is an excerpt from my opinion piece "Want to save higher education in India? Go beyond engineering" published in The Economic Times.

In last 15 years, the expansion of IT sector has provided relatively bright prospects of upward social mobility for many families. While IT sector had been integral to the economic growth of the country, it has also boxed students into linear career pathways that start with competing for college entrance exams. Students are told that they can “study whatever they want, so long as it’s engineering.

Engineering and liberal arts education in India

I’m also a product of the factory line of engineering education and followed additional expectations by studying business management and working in IT sector. Only after working in IT sector, I introspected and realized that I am a misfit. In search of my passion, I moved to higher education sector in 2003 with a 25% cut in salary. After working for a few years, I came to the US to earn my PhD in Higher Education and formally learn about theory, practice and research of higher education. Luckily, I had a chance to discover and follow my passion; however, majority of the students do not get opportunities to explore.

There is an urgent need to broaden student choice beyond typical pathway of engineering education. One such alternative is to provide students with liberal education that encourages discovery and exploration. Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) defines the 21st Century Liberal Education as “an approach to college learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. This approach emphasizes broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g., science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth achievement in a specific field of interest.”

Japan was a manufacturing success story of 1980s however, for last several years it has been under a constant decline. According to president of Shiga University, Takamitsu Sawa, “The plight of the Japanese manufacturing industry today may be traced to the excessively compartmentalized manner in which engineering students have been educated for the past nearly four decades.” He goes on to make the case for liberal arts education and asserts “that high schools and universities in Japan have failed to provide their students with opportunities to acquire broad knowledge through the study of liberal arts and humanities before teaching them technologies in their specific fields.”

A recent conference, “The Future of Liberal Arts and Science Education in India“, in Delhi brought together educators to discuss opportunities, challenges and approaches for building a stronger foundation for liberal arts education in India. I presented on the theme of “Going Global with the Liberal Arts in India: Insights and Experiences from around the World” at the conference and argued that acceptance of liberal education in India will require creating new metrics of success among families and students that go beyond engineering. Likewise, liberal arts educators have to realize that employability is one of the biggest concerns for Indian families and hence need to proactively bring more evidence about the economic case of liberal education.

In sum, the rise of IT sector and engineering education in India has boxed students into linear path without giving them a chance to explore and discover their passions. Concerted and collaborative efforts are needed in broaden student choices through liberal arts education. India needs to learn from Japan and save the future of Indian higher education and society.

Related Links:
Liberal Arts Degrees and Their Value in the Employment Market, AAC&U
Growth of Engineering and Management Institutions in India Stalls
Statistics on Indian Higher Education
How Many Students Graduate from India Every Year?
Three Solutions for Reforming Indian Higher Education
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April 26, 2015

Will Education Innovation Move from Fringes to the Core of System?

Over the last decade, I have presented or chaired nearly 100 sessions at professional conferences on the themes of higher education internationalization trends and strategies with an emphasis on enrollment management, student mobility and transnational education.

Recently, I attended a conference outside my regular "conference circuit" to not only expand my perspectives and network on education technology (ed-tech or edtech), but also to learn from entrepreneurs and investors.
The ASU+GSV Summit defines itself as "the Knowledge Economy's Mecca of conversation and activism devoted to accelerating learning innovation around the world." The conference is hosted by GSV, a private equity group and Arizona State University (ASU), which is at the forefront of innovation through online education and strategic partnerships like Starbucks and now edX.

The conference exceeded my expectations in terms of scale and quality. The conference has grown from 250 to 2500 attendees in 4 years. They have clearly invested in delivering a rewarding and engaging experience for participants. The sessions ranged from high profile keynotes from Secretary Arne Duncan, Sir Richard Branson and Vinod Khosla to a series of company presentations (pitches) from entrepreneurs.

The panel discussions were not only provocative but also expansive. Given my interest in higher education, I especially enjoyed four panels hosted by 2U. The themes of the panels were:
- The Business of Higher Ed
- Brand Power Among US Higher Ed Institutions
- Do Degrees Still Matter?
- The Future of Online Ed
The overall enthusiastic tone of the conference was embedded in the power of technology to grow revenue and squeeze inefficiencies out of the system. And of course, make money for investors and entrepreneurs in the process. New York Times blog calls it to be "the must-attend event for education technology investors." And EdSurge sums it up as a "non-stop networking event. People groan about back-to-back meetings and miss most of the panels and talks." Of course, edtech wave is currently on the upswing and there will be an eventual shake-up with the survival of the fittest (Ed-tech bubble?).
In terms of participants, there were hardly any "insiders" of higher education--university leaders or faculty--at the conference. Of course, ASU as the co-organizer, had the largest representation at all levels. In future conferences, more needs to be done to cross-fertilize ideas between stakeholders of mainstream and innovative education models and services.
Also, while, there were a couple of sessions on international dimensions, there is lot more potential in not only getting international participants but also providing content and networking. There are excellent opportunities in scaling and taking some of these innovative models to global-level and likewise, bringing others to the US.
One of the my biggest take-away was that learning innovation is taking place at a much faster rate at the fringes of the education system than at the core. This innovation is truly getting accelerated by the energy of entrepreneurs are optimism of investors. The key question is will education innovation continue to be a led by outliers or will it gain traction among the mainstream stakeholders in education system? How to foster collaboration among different stakeholders to gain more acceptance of innovative mindset in education?
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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