Newsletter issue: Summer 2015


Anna Esaki-Smith
Editorial Director
Education Intelligence British Council

Dear colleagues:


Summer has arrived but before your holiday begins, Education Intelligence offers a fresh roster of research reports we hope you find interesting. At the British Council's Going Global conference in London earlier this month, we launched Broadening Horizons: The value of the overseas experience, our annual examination of how UK and US student perceive the drivers and barriers to study abroad. This year we surveyed nearly 7,500 UK and US students, and found that respondents were more motivated by the opportunity for travel and adventure when it came to overseas study than by career-related factors. Please take a look for some fascinating findings.


Our latest in our Inside Guide series is on Chile, a high-income country that is bolstered by an established middle class that values education, but at the same time must contend with uneven income distribution and quality education access. Earlier, we had examined Chile's English language learning environment in a comprehensive report that was part of a seven-country regional overview, the highlights of which are available in an informative and concise "flipbook" you can download here. And lastly, we have two new Student Insight reports, one on Pakistan and the other on Turkey, in our signature series that examines the influencing factors at play when in-country students consider overseas study.


Happy summer!


Best regards,

Anna Esaki-Smith

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New research: Revelations and realities 


Spotlight - the latest news and views 


News alerts  


Up close and personal with ... 


Did you know? 

New research: Revelations and realities 

Free report - Broadening Horizons 2015: The value of the overseas experience 


Broadening Horizons is our yearly examination of how UK and US students perceive the drivers and barriers to overseas study. In our third annual report, we surveyed 2,856 UK students and 4,625 US students and found that both groups largely consider travel and adventure to be the greatest motivators for overseas study, with less consideration of the professional skills that can be gained by international experiences. This research provides insight into student awareness of government-sponsored study abroad programmes, information sources used when considering overseas study options, and the perceived value of study abroad.

Student Insight: Pakistan and Turkey 


Since 2011, Education Intelligence has produced more than 20 Student Insight reports which offer invaluable support to institutions planning their international student recruitment strategies. Now Pakistan and Turkey have been added to the series, with both reports examining the influences and motivations impacting the decision-making of students when considering study abroad. This research is based on our global Student Insight survey, which has garnered responses from 190,000 students from more than 100 countries.


Sector report - Further education and skills: Bulgaria 


Bulgaria's government recognises the importance of workforce development, with an eye towards improving employability through the development of competencies and skills. This report provides an overview of government policy and the institutional framework for skills delivery, with intelligence on market size, structure, and the quality and scale of vocational education and training (VET) services currently available in Bulgaria.


Updated Country Briefs 


The Country Brief series is one of the most popular offerings in the Education Intelligence research portfolio, and is refreshed annually to ensure accuracy and reliability. In addition to providing a window into a country's education system, Country Briefs present a wider view of society and examine factors influencing international education. Content includes macro-economic and socio-economic indicators, educational expenditure, analyses of local education systems and education demands.


There will be a total of 42 new reports in the 2015 series. Reports covering Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam are now available.


Spotlight - the latest news and views 

Ten fast facts about Saudi Arabia 


Brazil was in the spotlight for last month's newsletter - this time we take a look a country which is 95 per cent desert, and home to Islam's holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina.


'World's top universities - through student eyes'  


"Though Student Eyes" is a research study conducted by StudyPortals and the British Council. The research investigated how the world's best 1,000 universities responded to prospective international students when they made enrolment enquiries. As part of the research, international student researchers conducted a mystery-shopping exercise which presented specialised insights into how potential students are likely to view information provided by higher education institutions.


This latest research also gives further insight into international students' attitudes towards universities, and identifies how institutions can improve the way they target, inform and communicate with prospective students.


News alerts  

Governments and educators in Kenya struggling to keep pace with demand for higher education 


The number of students in Kenya's universities is soaring, up 28 per cent in 2014 compared to 2013. But, contrary to expectations, the government has cut funding by six per cent for the upcoming fiscal year, adjusting its higher education spending to US$588 million compared to the US$627.2 million allotted in 2014 - 2015.


Authorities shut down a global network of fake universities 


A global network of universities that was duping students out of money for worthless degrees appears to have been shut down.


Japan: desire to study abroad fuelled by domestic career ambitions 


More than two thirds of undergraduate students in Japan have some interest in studying abroad, new research has suggested.


Iraq policy of sending students abroad begins to bear fruit at home 


The Guardian reports that the Higher Committee for Education Development (HCED) scheme, which is helping to create a new professional class, is starting to pay off.


Up close and personal with ... Cristina Michelini 

Cristina has been a PhD student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University's School of Hotel and Tourism Management since August 2014. Her research examines the learning outcomes of travel experiences and the relation between international higher education and tourism. She earned her MSc degree at Erasmus Mundus European Master in Tourism Management, a programme that allowed her to study in Denmark, Slovenia and Spain over a two-year period. Although her international experiences may have shaped her research interests, in our interview she tells us about the influence of dance, time management and multitasking.


What is your favourite conference and why?
Firstly, as a tourism student I have enjoyed attending travel trade shows such as ITB Berlin and WTM London, rather than conferences. These were a breath of fresh air whenever I felt my education was keeping me too focused on the academic perspective of tourism and somewhat detached from its reality. Secondly, I was pleased to attend the Inaugural International Conference on Service Learning in Hong Kong. Here I had the chance to learn about the challenges faced by higher education when introducing social responsibility to the curriculum.


What is your current country of interest and why?
Definitely Hong Kong! I see how Hong Kong can be home to international students, allowing them to learn about Asian culture, experience diversity and easily travel to other parts of Asia. I am fortunate to be living in Hong Kong during a period of significant change in both higher education and tourism. An insider perspective on a territory that intends to become an international education hub, whilst being recognised as a major tourist destination, is a springboard for international students to experience Asia, and will definitely provide valuable insights for my research.
What is your greatest challenge?
Strangely enough, notwithstanding previous experience, my greatest challenge is still getting used to a new place. The time difference between Hong Kong and my home country of Italy, and the small living spaces here are definitely two of the more difficult things to overcome. The second biggest challenge is my PhD, a lifestyle that requires impeccable time management and multitasking skills, which are not always impeccable.
What keeps you up at night?
For most people it's a baby, a relationship or a job. For me, it's simply my PhD!
What's your guilty pleasure?
It's a pleasure I do not feel guilty about at all. In my free time I dance! I have danced since I was eight years old and have tried several styles, with my favourite being ballet. When I move to a new place, it is sometimes difficult to find schools where I can practice, and so to compensate, I often buy tickets for a musical, a ballet or any dance performance in a local theatre.

Did you know? 

...that the higher education sector in Ghana consists of nine public universities, ten polytechnics, 77 public colleges and specialist training institutes, as well as two distance learning institutions? And the sector is still expanding. In its 2015 budget, the government announced that construction of both the University of Health and Allied Sciences and University of Energy and Natural Resources will continue, and that a new university in the Eastern region will also be built.


Find out more from our Country Brief series.