Newsletter issue: June 2014

Anna Esaki-Smith
Editorial Director
Education Intelligence, British Council

Dear colleagues,


It's officially summer, which to many students means internships. We recently conducted a focus group of university students from Hong Kong, those studying at home and those in the UK, about the importance of internships. Considering today's competitive marketplace, we were not surprised to find uniform agreement that having such experience was key to building a successful resume, in an environment where employers seek graduates with evidence of personal initiative, basic interpersonal skills and discipline.


I'm sure many of you will agree that a summer spent waiting tables at a restaurant or working as a lifeguard at a town pool might offer young people the same opportunity to develop and mature into employable graduates. Corporate employers we have spoken to say they would certainly appreciate those efforts, but when they are recruiting, how would students with those experiences compare with others bearing glossy internships at multinational corporations and investment banks?


On a not entirely unrelated note, we offer a new Partnership Access report this month, Dual degrees: Trends, opportunities and challenges, focusing on a growing trend. While institutions may pursue this route as a step in their internationalisation agendas, it's not inconceivable that students find degrees that offer options in a multitude of countries to be yet another way to chalk up global experience even while still at the undergraduate level.


Best regards,  

Anna Esaki-Smith

Editorial Director

Education Intelligence, British Council  

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Spotlight - the latest news and views 


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New research: Revelations and realities 


Up close and personal with... 


Did you know? 

Spotlight - the latest news and views 

Ten fast facts about Japan 


Every month, the Education Intelligence newsletter features a market from our Country Brief series, and provides ten firm facts from the most current report. Last issue we featured "Ten fast facts about Pakistan," which was among the most-popular items in the newsletter. This time we get the lowdown on Japan.


News alerts  

China now the world's third most popular study destination 


A report from the US-based Institute of International Education's Project Atlas notes that China hosted nearly 330,000 foreign students in 2012, with only the US and UK home to larger international student populations in higher education.


Global push to reduce dropout rates 


With the significant expansion of tertiary education in recent decades, it is inevitable that dropout students grow to be a distinctive group in future. As a result, dropout rates have become a cause for concern as governments around the world look at ways to improve university retention.


Explosive growth of social video opens new channel for student recruiters 


Social video is one of the newest means (but not new) for students to find out more information about their higher education options. Meanwhile, student recruiters have another channel which allows them to connect with their prospective audience.


Asia: Does university R&D really create economic growth? 


David Matthews, from Times Higher Education, elaborates on the findings in a United Nations report on Asian higher education which has questioned whether investment in university research leads to economic growth.


New research: Revelations and realities 

New Ghana and Mexico Country Brief reports now available 


The Briefs, refreshed yearly to ensure they are up-to-date and reliable, provide a window onto a country's education system, and a wider view of society and the influences impacting the higher education sector. Content includes macro-economic and socio-economic indicators, educational expenditure, analyses of GDP, disposable income and employment by sector. 

Partnership Access - Dual degrees: Trends, opportunities, and challenges 


One of the most rapidly growing phenomena of transnational education is the international joint or dual degree, offered to students by two or more institutions in different countries. Amid the increasing popularity of dual degrees, especially at the master's level, this report gives educators, academics, policy makers and students an edge in understanding the opportunities and risks involved when considering such programmes. A case study profiling a new degree which spans institutions in three continents is also featured.


up close and personal with...Andréa Edwards 

Education Intelligence grills luminaries from the international higher education world in our regular feature, Up close and personal. This month we talk with Andréa Edwards, Director International Development and Mobility at the University of Birmingham, who explains the upside of jetlag and confesses to being a Fantasy Football connoisseur.

What is your favourite conference and why?
There are now so many conferences on internationalisation that it's difficult to decide on which ones to attend. This year I thought the Going Global Conference was particularly useful for Birmingham because we chaired a session on Brazil. I had a poster session with our strategic US partner, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I also had the opportunity to catch up with our many Brazilian partners, during a dinner we hosted for them. The setting in Miami helped as well of course! I also went to the US International Educators conference for the first time this year in Washington, and particularly liked the format as it had a lot of interactive roundtable sessions. However, I am slightly hesitant to recommend it more widely, as one of the nice things about it was the size!
What is your current country of interest and why?
I lead on our engagement in Brazil, and with the World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016, it couldn't be a more exciting time to be involved. We have an office in Brazil and are working with the Ministry of Sport on the development of sports policy and legacies of mega-sporting events. There is a famous saying, 'Brazil is not for amateurs,' and that's certainly true. It takes a lot of work and a long-term vision, but the genuine partnerships we are developing also make it an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding place to work.
What is your greatest challenge?
We currently have four strategic priority regions (China, Brazil, India and the US) with two more to be announced, which keep the International Relations team very busy. A key challenge is to maximise engagement and opportunities within each region, whilst continuing to drive forward a coordinated global engagement strategy that aligns priorities across the regions, wherever possible.
What keeps you up at night?
Nothing really, as I usually sleep pretty well by the time my head hits the pillow. However, I could say that frequently being in different time zones means that I am up working while others in the UK are fast asleep.
What's your guilty pleasure?
A Caipirinha de maracujá after a long day's work, although some may be surprised to learn that I am a Fantasy Football expert, having won the University of Birmingham's professional services league for three years running!

did you know? 

...that Colombian students typically head to OECD countries for international study, with Spain and the US being the most popular destinations, due to geographical and cultural proximity.


Find out more from our brand new Country Brief 2014