Showing posts from 2011

Top Stories of 2011 in International Higher Education

The year 2011 was a tumultuous year for the world of international higher education which is increasingly getting influenced by the phenomenon of globalization. As Jane Knight notes "...internationalization is changing the world of education and globalization is changing the world of internationalization." This year also reaffirmed deep interconnection of higher education with sociopolitical and economic environment. Following three stories further emphasize these trends:

- Increasing reliance on China: 
Chinese students constitute 15% of  3.3 million globally mobile students (~510,000 students) according to UNESCO. The second largest source of globally mobile students is India which constitutes nearly 6 per cent (~195,000 students). Some campuses like University of Iowa are already heavily reliant on Chinese students which constituted half of all international students in fall 2011 (1648/3271). Already, there are concerns about the campus diversity, language issues and role…

Emerging Markets for International Student Recruitment: Thinking Beyond China and India

With more than 260,000 students from China and India enrolled in the US, many American institutions are over-reliant on these two markets for meeting their international student recruitment goals. With the budget cuts, self-financed students are becoming increasingly important and Chinese undergraduate students are a lucrative and fast-growing segment. However, there are already concerns about concentration of Chinese students in some campuses and India had been showing stagnancy in last few years. This indicates that institutions need to look beyond China and India and cultivate other source countries.

International Student Enrollment from BRICs: Why Brazil and Russia are showing counter-trend to India and China?

A decade back, Goldman Sachs report coined the termed BRICs--Brazil, Russia, China and India. It predicted that "...over the next 10 years, the weight of the BRICs and especially China in world GDP will grow." The predictions seem right not only in terms of GDP but also something completely unrelated i.e. international student enrollment. China and India are dominant in terms of international student enrollment and contributed nearly 84% ( 146,850/175,410) of all international enrollment growth in the US between 2000/01 and 2010/11. 
However, it is surprising to note the counter-trend with Brazil and Russia. The number of international students from Brazil have remained stagnant (-1%) and it declined steeply for Russia (-33%). What explains this counter-trend for Brazil and Russia as compared to India and China?
International student mobility is a complex interplay of many push and pull variables. One such very important variable is advancement opportunities at home which m…

The Unexpected Contributors to Growth in International Student Enrollment in the US

Number of international students enrolled in US higher education increased by nearly 175,000 in a decade, according to the IIE Open Doors 2011. This is a robust growth which weathered the impact of 9/11 and then recession of 2008. However, looking closely one notices that this growth is contributed by two unexpected segments--Optional Practical Training (OPT) and "Non-degree" students. In fact, 46% (80,323/175,410) of all growth in this decade was contributed by OPT and Non-degree students.

The proportion of OPT students in total enrollment figures increased from 3.8% to 10.5% in a decade. One of the reasons for this increase is attributed to extension of OPT duration from 12 months to 27 months for STEM students. Given that at least 35% of all international students are enrolled in STEM fields which qualify for extended OPT, many students are opting for this opportunity. This becomes even more pronounced in the case of Indians. In fact, two out of three Indian students are…

International Undergraduate Student Recruitment: Reversal of Trends for 2015?

Enrollment of Indian students in undergraduate programs in the US for Fall'2010 has declined by ~8% as compared to previous year (IIE Open Doors, 2011). In contrast, China enrollment at undergraduate level has increased by 43%. This translates into increase of 17,055 Chinese students as compared to decrease of 1,188 Indian undergraduate students. Are these trends for Chinese and Indian undergraduate students sustainable? What are the future directions?
Undergraduate Student Enrollment in the US (IIE Open Doors)
                    India   |  China
09/10        15,192 39,921
10/11        14,004  56,976
% change      -8%     43% I project that beginning 2015, growth directions of undergraduate market for China and India would start showing an opposite pattern (I was quoted on this in the Chronicle of Higher Education). This is the time when India would emerge as a major market for undergraduate student recruitment while China would start showing a decline.

Decline of Chinese undergr…

The Missing Quality and Relevance Mindset

In November, I presented at two conferences on higher education in India--FICCI Higher Education Summit and CII.

At FICCI, I co-presented in plenary session on Internationalization with following speakers:
Mr Anand Sudarshan, MD & CEO, Manipal Education  Dr Kavita Sharma, Director, India International Centre Prof Dame Joan Stringer, Principal & Vice Chancellor, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland Mr Nirmal Pal, Regional Director for India, Pennsylvania State UniversityDr Sheila Embleton, President, Canada India Education Council (CIEC), Canada My core argument was that India is lacking a quality mindset and internationalization is emerging as a competitive compulsion to inculcate quality. By any indicators of excellence, India is falling behind. It is ironical and embarrassing that with the largest number of B-Schools in the world, India does not have a single B-school which is AACSB accredited (B-school Bubble). Likewise, only 4,300 colleges out of ~33,000 colleges in Ind…

Higher Education Collaborations: Investing In Capability Building

Recently held U.S.-India Higher Education Summit in Washington, DC was successful in creating the excitement among the higher education community about the prospects and possibilities in forging collaborations. However, the constraint remains in translating this symbolic event into sustainable partnerships (My earlier article Foreign Universities in India: Who's and Why).

Here, Indian government and institutions have a much bigger role to play in inspiring confidence among the foreign institutions. India does not has to sell the huge potential it offers to foreign institutions in terms of its importance and growth prospects, however it has to communicate that capabilities of Indian policy framework and institutional practices have matured to understand the diversity and complexity of global higher education system.

Some institutions have taken the big leap, while many other remain skeptical and unsure of how to engage with India. Various models of collaborations have been emergin…

Challenges of Quality Assurance in Cross-border Education

Deficiencies in assessing and enforcing quality was a recurring theme at the University of Wales, according to BBC investigation which began last year. More recently BBC also discovered a scam "in which overseas students are helped to cheat their way to University of Wales-validated degrees and visas is being investigated by the UK Border Agency."  (see the video in the link). In other words, University's model of validating cross-border degrees has turned out to be more business, less quality.

TASMAC London which used to offer University of Wales' validated degrees has shut it's shop leaving 500 students stranded. Now even the future of the University of Wales is being questioned.

Here is another incisive video from last year's investigation
University of Wales example also supports my earlier assertion related to agent debate--any process of "validating" student recruitment agents will be futile. When quality assurance agencies and governments hav…

International Student Mobility Trends

My article The Future of International Student Mobility was published in UniversityWorldNews.

International student mobility in the first decade of the 21st century has been transformed by two major external events, 9/11 and the recession of 2008. Today the rationale for international student recruitment has shifted from attracting talent to make the student body more diverse, to seeking an additional source of revenue.

Recruitment practices have been evolving and responding to this new competitive landscape, as can be seen in the increasing number of commercial entities offering recruitment services ranging from agents to websites.

How is this transformation going to shape the future of student mobility?

The US was an undisputed leader in global higher education until 9/11, which forced it to tighten visa requirements for students. Australia and the UK cashed in on this opportunity and were successful in absorbing most of the growth in international students.

Growth in internationa…

University leadership: Finding the right balance between academic and business expertise

The nature of higher education leadership is undergoing change in the US. Demographics of university leaders is graying and a wave of change at the top is expected. According to the American Council on Education survey, the percentage of presidents age 61 and over increased from 14 percent in 1986 to nearly half in 2006 and the average age of presidents increased from 52 years in 1986 to 60 years in 2006. Here is a chart indicating likely retirement of presidents at leading universities in the US. At another level, the changes in the external environment with increasing competition for resources, ability to raise resources. To build a competitive advantage, this may require a stronger set of business skills ranging from operational efficiency to strategic development. Thus, emphasis on business skills may increase in American institutions.

However, in the Indian context, institutions are facing another leaderships crisis and it relates to lack of professionalism and academic values a…

The Changing Profession of Admissions: From Counselling to Selling?

Admissions profession is undergoing a rapid transformation in its character, purpose and approaches. A recent report by insidehighered found "Clashes of Money and Values" driven by increasing pressure to look for sources of revenue. This is resulting in importance of full-fee paying, out-of-state and international students (Of course, this shift is more pronounced in public institutions as they are directly affected by state budget cuts.)

Another interesting dimension of the report relates to increasing use of agents for recruitment (one-third of the respondents are considering using agents but do not do so now, according to the report). This supports my assertion that there will be increase in interest for using agents, however it is a risky proposition due to incentive models which promote compromises to integrity of admissions process including document frauds (here is my earlier post). This concern of document frauds is also validated in the survey where nearly half of …

International student enrollment post 9/11: This time for America?

International student mobility in the decade following the tragedy of 9/11 is characterized by a rapid growth supported by growing demand from China and India. Australia and the UK had been successful in absorbing most of the growth in the demand driven by aggressive recruitment practices and easier immigration policies as compared to strict visa policies of the US post 9/11.

Size of international student market for Australia grew by 131% between 2002 and 2009, adding more than 350,000 students. Likewise, the UK grew by 67% in the period between 2001 and 2009, adding more than 160,000 students. In contrast, US added about 100,000 students and grew by 19% between 2001 to 2009. This is quite a slow growth for the US given the size of the higher education system.

Another major characteristic of the growth has been over-dependence on top two source countries--China and India.  For example, proportion of Chinese and Indian students has doubled in Australia and the UK from 22% in 2002 to …

Quality assurance in for-profit education: Tame risks, not growth

"If quality assurance is partly about risk, are for-profit institutions inherently more risky than public institutions?", asks a discussions paper released by Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and UNESCO) based on a recent meeting on for-profit higher education.

The paper looks into the quality assurance challenges and needs with internationalization of for-profit higher education institutions supported by ambitious growth goals and technological advancements with e-learning models. It is becoming increasingly complex to assure quality in a multi-country delivery format. For example, there are 420,000 people outside the UK pursuing UK degrees through a range of models in 100 countries.

I agree with report at one level and disagree on another.
Agree: For-profit is indispensable in meeting global demand The report notes, "...taking an international perspective, it may be that distinguishing within the private sector between for-profit and not-for-profit in…

Guest Post: Students from India Crossing Borders for Higher Education by Louis Berends, Ph.D.

Dr. Louis Berends is University Relations Manager, Midwest at SIT Study Abroad. Lou holds a Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago (LUC) in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies. He has studied at Brunel University (Uxbridge, U.K.), the University of Oxford (St. Catherine's College), and LUC's Rome Center in Italy. He has presented many academic papers at various settings including Columbia University –Teachers College and Harvard's Graduate School of Education. He enjoys reading, music, and anything outdoors.

Students from India Crossing Borders for Higher Education: “Pushed and Pulled” by Reputation, Family, and Field of Study By Louis Berends, Ph.D. 

Each day the world feels a little smaller. To be sure, globalization can be seen in many forms these days – through the McDonaldization of capitalized nations, international assessment of education at all levels, and the ease for anyone to flip a switch and view ongoing wars and uprisings captured on live television. Beyond …

Will Indian Higher Education Get Freedom from Corruption?

This month, India celebrated its sixty-fourth year of independence, however, freedom from the slavery of corruption is elusive. India has a long history of corruption and some of the recent cases in this "season of scams" are:
Commonwealth Games: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India found that the final cost of the Games was 16 times the original estimate of $270 million to over $4billion. The head of the CWG is now serving jail time for charges of misappropriation. 2G Scam: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India found that the goverment lost revenue to the tune of US$ 39 billion due to corruption and favoritism to particular telecom companies during spectrum allocation. Former minister is in jail and Kapil Sibal replaced him as telecom minister, who is also higher education minister. I have been writing for a while about the lack of quality and professional standards in Indian higher education. There have been numerous reports about the corruption with Indian …

International recruitment agents: Playing with fire?

This week America's second largest for-profit company--Education Management Corporation--was sued by the US government for allegations that it "consistently violated federal law by paying recruiters based on how many students it enrolled", according to New York Times. Education Management is 41 per cent owned by Goldman Sachs and enrolls 150,000 students across 105 schools and clocked an annual revenue of nearly US$ 2.9 billion. If the allgegations are true than this is a prime example of institutionalization of illegal recruitment practices.

A couple of weeks back, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) came out in a public statement supporting commission-based recruiting for international students. APLU is an association of 221 public universities including state university systems like California State University System. Yes, the same commission-based recruiting which is illegal in the US is acceptable in international recruitment--double standards?…

Policy reforms in Indian higher education: From rhetoric to results

Higher education reforms in India gained a big boost of optimism with the announcements by Mr. Kapil Sibal in 2009 with his 100-day action-plan. However, policy reforms are yet to move beyond paperwork and rhetoric. There are nearly 15 bills with the government awaiting approval.

Foreign universities bill is one such example which faces several practical issues and it has turned out be a car with square wheels. Even if the bill is approved, there are serious questions about its effectiveness and relevance. Further, there a few foreign institutions like Lancaster University, which decided not to wait for the bill and have started their campus in partnership with GD Goenka. This is a classic example of how a disjointed approach many make a policy irrelevant. In my recent article in EDU magazine, I have highlighted the need of comprehensive internationalization policy.

Uwe Brandenburg in their article “The End of Internationalization” argue that it is time “to rethink and redefine the w…

Innovating the Transnational Model: Thinking Beyond Branch Campuses

Call for Guest Columns: I welcome guest post from leaders, scholars, and students on topics related to higher education. I am looking for brief posts (~500 words) which build on published research/book or well supported by data. If you would like to share your research on higher education feel free to reach out to me on rahul [at] .

This guest post is from Sean Angiolillo who earned a BA in International Relations and South Asia Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2011. This post draws from his senior thesis “Importing Knowledge: How Transnational Higher Education Builds Human Capital in India.” Next year, Sean is working as an Academic Ambassador for Dipont Education Management in Shanghai, China.
Dr. Rahul Choudaha

Innovating the Transnational Model: Thinking Beyond Branch CampusesBy Sean Angiolillo Last year this blog wrote briefly about the “industrialization of education”. Some, such as Sir Ken Robinson, have argued that education models from around…

Indian B-School Bubble?

Are Indian B-schools in a bubble as some project about American higher education? (Here is my EDU article). Schumpeter in his recent article in entitled “The latest bubble?” in the Economist, argues that American higher education bubble is already beginning to burst. Specifically, for business schools he concludes “Middle-ranking schools are seeing a significant drop in demand, which they have masked by taking weaker candidates, but which will eventually force them to start cutting back.” He also cites Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal who “believes that higher education fills all the criteria for a bubble: tuition costs are too high, debt loads are too onerous, and there is mounting evidence that the rewards are over-rated.”

With more than 3,000 B-schools, India has three-times the number of B-schools as compared to the US. This difference becomes stark considering that the size of the Indian economy is one-tenth of the US economy. The end result is poor quality of education, overs…

The New Wave of Branch Campuses

Branch campuses are in news again with some optimistic and others with pessimistic tone. However, this time it is more than Gulf region and also has some big names involved.

After mega launch of NYU, Abu Dhabi, Duke's plans for China and Yale's plan for Singapore are being closely watched. However, both of them have faced resistance from faculty. While Yale faculty is concerned about academic freedom, Duke's faculty is concerned about financial feasibility.

A report in University World News noted "Concerns over the cost of a new branch campus for Duke University in Kunshan, near Shanghai, which is set to open in 2012, has led to vocal opposition from Duke faculty." It adds that "Duke is spending around US$37 million on a new campus in China when more than US$125 million has been lopped off its own budget in recent years, and arts and humanities are facing a $3 million budget deficit this year. Some $5.5 million is being spent by Duke to ensure the facility…

IIPM: Mocking at Quality of Indian Higher Education?

IIPM and Arindam Chaudhuri have been synonymous with advertisements shouting "Dare to think beyond the IIMs!" (Here is Hoot's analysis on IIPM's advertisements). It took audacity (often to the limit of brashness) and entrepreneurial grit to equate oneself with big brands like IIMs. IIPM enrolls more than 5000 students across 8 campuses with more than 400 faculty members.
So, what's the issue? The issue is better understood if you see the advertisements of IIPM like below. What's the brand "promise" to a prospective student? They are most likely to see "MBA/BBA/EMBA" along with major brands like Cornell and Stern.

However, FAQs on IIPM website mentions: "1. Does AICTE/UGC [Indian regulatory bodies] recognize IIPMs programme in planning and entrepreneurship?
No. IIPM has never sought recognition from any statutory bodies and is proud of its world class course contents. Students bothered about statutory recognition of IIPMs programmes n…

In Search of Self-financed International Students

The number of High New Worth Individuals (HNWIs) have increased by 21% and 12% for India and China respectively, according to 2011 World Wealth Report. India added 26,000 new HNWIs and China added 58,000 in one year. HNWIs are defined as those having investable assets of US$1 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables.

This expansion of wealthy class means number of self-financed international students may also grow by a healthy double digits. In times of severe budget cuts, this may present a very lucrative opportunity for many public institutions. The expansion of HNWIs is just one indicator of increase of very wealthy, however, self-financed international students may come from the immediate next segment under HNWI, which is even bigger in size.

Both China and India have a hyper-competitive environment to gain admissions into good quality institutions and quality of institutions falls precipitously beyond few top institutions. Ma…

Indian University Admissions: The Crisis of Confidence in Quality

Expansion, growth and access have been the buzzwords for Indian higher education in last five years. However, they all sounds hollow when you hear that some colleges in Delhi University expect 100% marks for admissions. As this cartoon from Manjul shows, "aiming high" has a new standard.

The talent pool aspiring for quality higher education is increasing at a much faster rate than number of institutions with quality. This means that more students with highly competitive academic preparedness are available, however, the institutions with high quality have not increased in the same proportion. According at a recent article in Times of India, number of students with over 95% marks in CBSE (XIIth grade) have shot up from about 1200 last year to over 2100 this year, while the number of undergraduate seats in the University of Delhi roughly the same as last year at 54,000.

Instances like this, question the whole rhetoric that Indian higher education is reforming and expanding acces…

Agents for international student recruitment: Have we not learned anything from Australia and the UK?

Australia and the UK have been revered for their best practices and proactiveness in using agents for student recruitment. Then came the "trouble" in international student market in Australia and the UK, resulting in tightening of student visa norms. What's the relationship between tightening of student visa and agents? Many agents enabled "short-cuts" (read document frauds) for students in using education for immigration. (Here is my related post where I argue that a handful of self-proclaimed or certified "good" agents are not the industry.)

At a time when Australia and the UK are tightening the student visa, more students are looking to study abroad and agents are hungry for new destinations beyond their traditional favorite markets. At the same time, American public institutions are looking for more international students to meet their budget cuts. This is a perfect storm for the US higher education and international student recruitment practices.…

Indian Vocational and Doctoral Education: Tale of Two Extremes

Indian post-secondary education faces acute problems at two extremes. On the one extreme is the skill-based vocational education and on the other is research-based doctoral education. Both are facing serious quantitative and qualitative challenges in terms of attracting talent, delivering value and meeting the needs of the society.

According to the Ministry of Labour & Employment, 12.8 million people enter labour force annually, however, vocational training capacity is available for only 4.3 million per annum. Further, a report by the World Bank noted that over 60 percent of all graduates of vocational education system in India remained unemployed, even three years after graduation.

Likewise, doctoral education system is struggling with the issue of optimizing quality and quantity. According to the latest official statistics released by UGC, number of PhDs awarded in 2007-08 increased by only 484 as compared to previous year. In the same period, student enrollment in "Gradua…