EdNZ assumes overseas responsibility
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the export promotion arm of the New Zealand government, is handing over responsibility for education export promotion in other countries to Education New Zealand (EdNZ). Alan Koziarski at NZTE told Language Travel Magazine that under a new strategy agreed in August, "NZTE will be dedicating half of its offshore education staff resource to undertake generic education marketing activities, directed by Education New Zealand, from 1 January 2007."
Responsibility for development of high value business-to-business export education opportunities in the corporate, industry and government sectors rests with NZTE but consumer-focused marketing activities from the NZTE offices will now be actioned by EdNZ.
Robert Stevens, Chief Executive at EdNZ, said the news was a very positive development "both for institutions within New Zealand and for all those stakeholders around the world who are keen on what we have to offer as an education destination". He elaborated that NZTE staff will now have alloted time to promote the country as a study destination, ensuring the front-line staff overseas can broaden and develop relationships already established; levels of service to agents in-country will improve and finally; "synergies across the range of institutional, EdNZ and other promotional efforts will be enhanced".
NZTE has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE and Vietnam.
Stevens added that for institutions with specific individial objectives overseas, "the full range of NZTE and EdNZ services that have been available in the past will still be accessible."
Schools likely to pay for new UK visa system
UK visa prices may rise and education institutions in the UK may be burdened with additional costs as a government consultation gets underway about how best to pay for the enhanced immigration system being ushered in in the next four years. This includes the new points-based system and sponsor-tied visa issuance for international education, promised to be in place by April 2009 (see Language Travel Magazine, October 2006, page 6).
Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, said, "In July, the Home Secretary announced how we will strengthen border controls with identity technology and double enforcement in the UK [by 2009/2010]. But all of these measures cost money and we think that it is right to consider who should pay for them." The consultation paper, which specifically invites comments from small- and medium-sized businesses, proposes that one way to recover the costs of the new visa scheme would be to "charge sponsors an annual registration fee plus a small charge for every certificate of sponsorship they issue". This cost may or may not be passed on to students.
At the Association of British Language Schools (ABLS), which represents mainly small, private providers of education, Diana Lowe said that additional costs were already envisaged by members for extra registrar-related duties required under the new immigration system. "Member schools will, of course, cooperate and play their part in order to make this new system viable and be pragmatic about the need to absorb any extra costs," she commented. "But it would seem unfair [for schools] to also be required to pay a registration fee [for sponsorship]."
UK and NZ are top destinations for Chinese
According to figures released to coincide with the China Education Expo 2006 in October, the UK and New Zealand are currently the preferred destinations for Chinese students. The UK was said to be educating 60,000 Chinese students, while 30,000 were in New Zealand. The Ministry of Education in China said that in 2005, 118,500 Chinese students were studying overseas overall. Non-English speaking destinations, such as France, Korea and Italy, as well as the USA, were also reported to be rising in popularity as measures are taken in these countries to enhance visa issuance.
Zong Wa, Director of CEAIE, which organised the education expo, commented that more Chinese students were leaving for undergraduate studies overseas now, rather than postgraduate studies, and this trend would continue. An official at the British Embassy explained that being able to work after graduating in the UK was an incentive for students, and he said that the quality of students' visa applications was improving. At the EduFrance office in Beijing, Pierre Yang commented that 6,800 students went to study in France in 2005 a rapid increase in enrolments since 1998.
Zhang Xinsheng, Vice-Minister of Education, said that the number of Chinese studying abroad in 2010 is estimated to reach 200,000. Of these, 10,000 students will be state-sponsored.
American Council on Education forecasts
US slide but global growth
Global growth in international student mobility has been documented in a recent report by the American Council on Education (ACE), which also highlights the USA's sliding share of the market over a five-year period from 1999 to 2004.
International student enrolment in the USA peaked in 2002/03 but has declined since then, and shows the weakest growth among the top six host countries: the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Australia and Japan. "Students, who have come to the United States in the past, are now going elsewhere," announced Madeleine Green, ACE Vice-President for International Initiatives.
The ACE report identifies recruitment strategies employed by some of the USA's competitor countries and underlines those countries, Japan and France, experiencing the strongest growth rates in international enrolment.
Overall, the international student market for higher education is up 56 per cent from 1999, according to the report, which used sources including the Council of Graduate Schools, IIE and Unesco to compile the data. From 1.68 million students, the market has grown to 2.5 million students in 2004, and 7.2 million international students are predicted to be on the move by 2025.
Students in Germany under tighter scrutiny
Reports in the German press suggest international students in the country may be expected to report regularly to local government offices during their stay. The move is being discussed after two failed terrorist attacks on German trains in July, thought to have been carried out by Lebanese students.
A government spokesperson said talks on the subject are "already very advanced" and new rules may also take into account visits and immigration of family members, the duration of residence permits and more careful checking of student applications and their guarantors.
Volker Beck, from the Green Party, warned, "It must remain clear that Germany wants young students from abroad. That is decisive for our exports and for Germany as an academic centre."