Trends, insights and research to inform growth and innovation strategies in international higher education.

June 30, 2014

How universities and colleges can improve experiences of international students? What are the best practices?

foreign student and university perspective on research and strategies
Source: NAFSA research on international student research
NAFSA commissioned national research to investigate the reasons why international undergraduate students leave their institutions of first enrollment and what are the best practices to avoid attrition?

One of the key take-away of the research was "that poor retention is a function of the mismatch between expectations of students prior to enrollment and the actual experience of students once they are on campus.” Three key implications of the study for institutions improving the experiences and setting proper expectations with international students are: -understanding the diverse needs of the international student body,
-coordinating internationalization efforts across campus, and
-investing in programs and services that improve student experiences.

Here are the related links covering the research:
Infographic on NAFSA International Student Retention Research 
Why They Stay or Leave, Inside Higher Ed 

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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June 14, 2014

International Branch Campuses of UK Universities in UAE: Highlights from QAA

Quality Assurance Agency of UK released a very insightful report entitled "Review of UK Transnational Education in United Arab Emirates." It provides an overview of the scale and scope of the overseas branch campus activity of British universities in UAE. It is an important indicator as, according to the report "the UAE is the country hosting the largest number of international branch campuses in the world, currently hosting 37 from 11 different countries, with the UK being the highest sending country."

The report notes that "of all UK higher education institutions, 70 of them (over 40 per cent) were engaged in some form of TNE activity in the UAE in 2012-13. This activity involves just over 15,000 students, representing an increase of 37 per cent during the past two years. This increase has been most noticeable in the number of students studying in the two large branch campuses of Heriot-Watt University and Middlesex University, which account for 78 per cent of the students working towards a UK award in the Dubai free zones." 

These numbers are quite small in terms of the overall scope of the activities. To put in perspective, The University of Manchester and University College London alone enrolled nearly 23,000 non-UK students in 2012-13 on their home campuses. Likewise, University of Southern California and University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign enrolled nearly 19,500 international students between two of them.

I have previously noted that international branch campuses get disproportionate amount of attention as compared to alternative models of transnational education engaged in by higher education institutions. 

Here are three additional charts from the report:

1. While overseas branch campus activity (Type 1) has grown, it still forms only 7,000 students in  branch campuses of UK universities in whole of UAE.

2. Two campuses-Heriot-Watt and MiddleSex-form 3/4th of IBC activity of UK universities in Dubai.


3. Student enrollment in Dubai is stagnating, showing a sign of saturation



Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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June 07, 2014

Access policies to higher education in the BRICS countries: Special journal issue

What higher education policies in BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are working and not working in achieving access goals? The open access Special Issue of the Journal Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning aims to answer this central question. 

The co-editors-- Erich Dietrich, Teboho Moja and Loni Bordoloi Pazich--note that "This special issue focuses on access policies to higher education in the BRICS countries with scholars from each country contributing an analysis of what is working and what is not, as well as a critical examination of emerging issues in the implementation of access policies aimed at addressing equity issues and increasing participation rates in higher education. This country-by country case-study approach illuminates the contextual challenges of developing equitable policies for access to higher education. In each country, the lines of inequality differ: race, socioeconomic status, caste, ethnic group affiliation, gender, rural versus cosmopolitan status, and inherited privilege. And yet, there is a remarkable unity in the fact that addressing these inequalities has become a top priority for each country."


"The central argument of the authors is that state is an important influencer in bringing large scale change in higher education and by analyzing the transformation of higher education in BRIC countries from the lens of nation-state, we would gain a deeper understanding of the long-term impact on the societies’ social and economic development. In specific, they find that the higher education systems in BRIC countries have been undergoing an increasing differentiation between mass and elite universities. Moreover, there is increasing shift of cost to students through tuition fees.

The book is unique on at least two counts. First, it uses an empirical and comparative approach to analyze the transformation of higher education systems in developing economies. It attempts to bring together seemingly complex data through primary sources and wherever data is unavailable collecting it through fieldwork. This is especially commendable as data availability in not only inconsistent it is unavailable in many cases, making it a challenging project. This enhances the value of the outcomes as one of the most comprehensive compilation of data on many aspects of engineering education in BRIC countries.

Second, the authors look into expansion from the lens of how state acts as an important influencer in achieving goals as compared to universities as a locus of change. This includes a detailed discussion on interaction between state and universities which is managed through two primary instruments. First, the degree of autonomy universities are granted by state and second, financing incentives that provide resources to universities and help them in improving quality. The policies of financing of higher education becomes even more contrasting when one learns about the growth of private higher education in countries like India and Brazil as compared to quest for “world-class” universities in countries like China and Russia. And of course, state is an influential actor in ensuring equitable expansion. The author’s treatment of politically and socially complex topics like access and its relationship with affirmative action, especially in Brazil and India are very insightful."

In addition, the special issue of Comparative and International Education Society’s (CIES) Higher Education Special Interest Group (HESIG) also focused on BRIC countries. I contributed an article on higher education reforms in India.

international student enrollment from brics: why brazil and russia are showing counter-trend to india and china?

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

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June 04, 2014

How many students graduate from India every year?

How many students are graduate from universities and colleges in India every year? This is one of the often asked question to me. While there is data available on the number of students enrolled in Indian higher education, I have not come across any official data on number of students completing the post-graduate (master's or doctoral) or graduate (bachelor's) degree. 

Number of Students Graduating from Indian Higher Education

Based on the latest enrollment figures available for 2012-13, I have estimated the student enrollment and number of graduates earning degree every year. Based on previous data, I have assumed that one out of six students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs is in four-year engineering and rest are in three-year degrees. In addition, I have estimated the rate of growth or expansion of higher education enrollment at the rate of 15% per annum. 

This results in an estimated 26.5 million students enrolled in Indian higher education in 2014-15 and 9 million graduates. 

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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