Newsletter issue: July 2014

Anna Esaki-Smith
Editorial Director
Education Intelligence, British Council

Dear colleagues,


During July, even high-energy Hong Kong seems to quiet down and for those of us in town during the thick of summer, being able to easily hail a taxi at rush hour or grab a sandwich for lunch without much of a wait is a welcome luxury. Despite the more relaxed mood, however, the Education Intelligence team's work continues apace, with a line-up of timely research reports that we hope is of interest to you all.


First off, we have produced Student Insight Hot Topics: UK student views on overseas destinations which captures sentiment of UK students who indicate interest in overseas study. Research has noted an uptick in UK student interest to study abroad, and this report focuses on the challenges and perceptions that come into play when students consider international study opportunities.


We've released Further education and skills: Yemen, which provides an overview of government policy and the institutional framework for skills delivery, in a country whose population is predicted to more than triple by 2050.


Lastly, we have Parent perspectives: Sending Korean students abroad for school, a report based on primary British Council data, including a survey of Korean parents who indicated interest in their child studying abroad. In addition, we have a fresh batch of updated Country Briefs for your perusal.


Maybe not ideal for the beach, but we hope we've provided some thought-provoking summer reading!


Best regards,  

Anna Esaki-Smith

Editorial Director

Education Intelligence, British Council  

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quick links

New research: Revelations and realities 


News alerts  


Spotlight - the latest news and views 


Up close and personal with... 


Did you know? 

New research: Revelations and realities 

Parent perspectives: Sending Korean students abroad for school 


Based on primary British Council data, including a survey of Korean parents who indicated interest in their child studying abroad, this report examines preferences for study destination and host country, as well as parent priorities and considerations. Parents were asked their views on the relative importance of issues such as academic quality, safety, access to the university of choice, location of family and friends and tuition costs. Questions also focused on the support services students should have, and parents' concerns in relation to the school application and visa processes, the general study environment and how their children would adapt. The research identifies preferred information sources and perceived gaps in information. The report uses these findings to make some recommendations about marketing messages and methods.

New Country Brief 2014 reports are now available 


Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Taiwan are now available for purchase and download. Refreshed annually to ensure they are up-to-date and reliable, Country Briefs provide a window into 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. 

Student Insight Hot Topics: UK student views on overseas destinations 


Although in the past few students in the UK contemplated studying abroad, interest has been increasing. Research and mobility statistics have shown that a growing number of UK students are attracted to study abroad. However, taking advantage of international study opportunities involves challenges and this Student Insight Hot Topics report helps to provide understanding of the factors influencing UK students considering study abroad. The report includes the results of a self-completed online survey of 1,281 UK students regarding their preferences for study abroad destinations and the factors influencing their decision making, such as the prospect of rising student tuition fees, language and intercultural barriers. 

Further education and skills: Yemen 


The Yemeni government has recognised the importance of technical education and vocational training (TVET) in helping to drive the country's industrial and socio-economic development, and has initiated many efforts to support this category of further education. This special report provides an overview of government policy and the institutional framework for skills delivery and examines the market size, structure, and the quality and scale of TVET services currently available. Amid the anticipated increase in demand for educational services and employment opportunities in Yemen, this report highlights the prospects and challenges for UK training providers, suppliers and educators.


News alerts  

New research finds a younger international student 


The typical international student at a US high school is no longer an exchange student from Europe enrolling in a traditional semester or year-long cultural exchange program, but a student from Asia seeking an American high school diploma.


Contemplations about higher education marketing inspired by the 2014 Horizon Report 


A digital marketing agency has some key insights that will resonate with higher education marketers.


Higher education in India: An introspection 


The key to harnessing India's demographic dividend is education, but Indian higher education has a complex structure riddled with many contradictions. Neverthless, there are still a great many possibilities.


US seen as weak on global research collaboration 


Higher-education observers say that collaboration with researchers from other countries is far from common at universities in the US. It is a missed opportunity in an era when research and researchers alike increasingly cross borders, and at research universities in particular, campus efforts to internationalise may ring hollow if they do not have research at their core.


Spotlight - the latest news and views 

24/7 data access: international subscription offer from Education Intelligence  


Since it was established in 2011, Education Intelligence has provided data and analysis to higher education institutions and stakeholders worldwide to help them achieve their internationalisation goals. Now, with an exclusive one-year subscription, you can access our extensive research portfolio and premium data-mining tool, Interactive Access, at any time. A custom-designed data visualisation tool, Interactive Access provides country-specific information and enables users to compare demographic, economic and education data, as well as identify patterns and keep track of global education trends. Find out more about the tools and resources that could always be available to you.

Ten fast facts about United Arab Emirates 


Every month, the Education Intelligence newsletter features a market from our Country Brief series, and provides ten hard facts from the most current report. After profiling Japan in June, this month UAE is in the spotlight.

up close and personal with...David Akast 

Education Intelligence grills luminaries from the international higher education world in our regular feature, Up Close and Personal. This month we talk with the British Council's David Akast, Manager of BC Tests in East Asia, who tells us about trains and explains why he likes shovelling coal.


David Akast joined the British Council this year, having previously managed e-learning company Reallyenglish in Beijing and Shanghai. Although Hong Kong-based his role involves frequent travel as he works to develop a growth strategy for the British Council's new suite of computer-based language assessment solutions in the region. David worked in mainland China from 2002 to 2010 and studied Mandarin in Jinan, Shandong after completing his studies at the London School of Economics.

What is your favourite conference and why?
The one that I am most excited about is this year's New Directions symposium, supporting education reforms and internationalisation in Japan. This is the second New Directions event, and follows on from last year's highly successful symposium held at the National History Museum in Beijing. With academics attending from the UK and across Asia, New Directions aims to provide a forum for dialogue on language assessment policy and applied assessment systems.
What is your current country of interest and why?
Definitely the Philippines. The government's recognition that endemic corruption has been the greatest cause of poverty, has allowed them to build support for a reform agenda that appears to be building momentum. With a growing population, and an educated, English-speaking workforce, the Philippines saw GDP growth rates of 7.2 percent in 2013 - second only to China in Asia. In addition, Manila is now ranked third in the world for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) investment. Huge challenges remain while remittances make up 10 percent of GDP, but every time I have visited recently, there is a palpable sense that the Philippines is standing at a crossroads where good governance and sustainable growth are looking increasingly likely to be entrenched in the coming decade.
What is your greatest challenge?
Each British Council country operation has its own business focus and unique operational history, so the hardest thing about my role is trying to build a growth strategy that is applicable on the whole, to our teams across the region. Talent management and market research strategies are things that I need to identify on a country-by-country basis, and so it's difficult trying to develop this kind of insight while managing disparate teams.
What keeps you up at night?
The easy answer here would be to say my two young daughters, but they've been incredibly good sleepers since birth, so I'm more likely to be kept up thinking about work, and the need to balance the priorities and requirements of offices in twelve countries!
What's your guilty pleasure?
One that is about as geeky as it gets! Living in China allowed me to indulge in a childhood love of steam trains, and in 2004 I rode on one of the last mainline steam trains across Inner Mongolia. I even worked as a temporary fireman shovelling coal from the tender. Recently, I've followed up this trip with some articles about the last remaining narrow-gauge steam line in Sichuan, that is the first to be preserved as a heritage line. It is always incredible to think that the operation of mainline steam in China overlapped with the launch of the 432 km/h Maglev in Shanghai.

did you know? 

...that Singapore invested 2.6 percent of its GDP in R&D in 2013, and is currently pursuing a five-year plan for university-based research, worth US$12.8 billion over 2011-2015?


Find out more from our brand new Country Brief 2014