Newsletter issue: June 2016

Anna Esaki-Smith
Editorial Director
Education Intelligence British Council
Dear colleagues:

Myanmar is an interesting market, having only recently opened up to foreign investment yet with an education system still largely unaligned to global demands. With a large working-age population and a local economy evolving to potentially compete internationally, there is a need which education providers may be able to address. This month, we've published a Student Insight Myanmar report examining the decision-making process of prospective students interested in overseas study with detailed information about the factors influencing their education environment. 

We also have new Country Briefs ready for download, one of them focusing on a different kind of interesting market: Taiwan. This country's population is generally wealthy and well-educated, but with a declining youth demographic and a skills mismatch noted by employers, there are moves to streamline the higher education sector and boost options by making vocational education free. Take a look at our Taiwan Country Brief for information about an attractive, but transitioning, market. 

Looking ahead, our fourth annual Broadening Horizons report will be published in July. This year, we look into the impacts of study abroad on returned UK students' career expectations, home campus experience and contributions to society. By tracking those outcomes, we can better inspire students interested in overseas study to take that first step.

Best regards,

Anna Esaki-Smith
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Revelations & realities: new research 
Country Brief 2016

For our worldwide audience and stakeholders working across diverse roles with a range of responsibilities within the international education sector, Country Briefs are refreshed annually to ensure they are up-to-date and reliable. In addition to providing a window into a country's education system, a Country Brief also presents a wider view of society and examines factors influencing international education. There will be a total of 42 new reports in the 2016 series. Twelve new reports covering Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam are now available

Student Insight Myanmar 2016

More than 200,000 students from over 100 countries have responded to our Student Insight survey on the most influential factors impacting their decision to study abroad. Country-specific Student Insight reports examine what influences prospective students when considering destination and institution options, motivations, and the information sources used throughout the decision-making process. Now, an all-new Myanmar report has been added to the series. 
News alerts
Here are our top picks from the news on international higher education
Has the 'massification' of higher education reinforced inequality?

Getting a university education has been equated with a chance for a better life, with tertiary participation rates booming in most regions of the world. However, a study suggests that mass higher education has increased the dominance of the middle class rather than provided more opportunities for the less privileged. Has the advent of 'high-participation systems' actually reinforced existing inequalities?

A 'one-year' MBA rises in the rankings

INSEAD's MBA becomes the first "one-year" programme to top the list of the world's best business school courses according to the 2016 Financial Times Global MBA, with the school's class of 2012 nearly doubling their pre-MBA remuneration. In addition, this year the Renmin University of China Business School is a new entrant, coming in 43rd.

Increased use of agents by US universities

Nearly half of US colleges are directly or indirectly using international agents to help boost student recruitment, and around a third of institutions not currently using agents are considering the option, according to a study. In 2013, a ban on the use of commissioned international education agents was repealed and this study drew on data provided by 131 US institutions on their agent use. 
Spotlight - the latest news and views 
Ten fast facts about Kenya

With a rapidly expanding youth population, a diverse culture with many ethnic groups and languages, and increasing government spending in education, Kenya has a lot to offer as a key emerging market for student mobility. Read more about a rapidly evolving market that had 400,000 students enrolled in tertiary programmes in 2015, up from just 195,300 in 2010.
Robert Ness
Robert Ness is Director of the British Council Hong Kong. He joined the British Council in 1981 and has worked in a range of posts and locations, mainly responsible for English, education and the arts/creative industries. Prior to his arrival to Hong Kong in 2012, his postings took him to Colombia, Portugal, Cyprus, South Africa, Austria and the UK. He will move later this summer to become Director Tunisia and Cluster Lead for the Maghreb.
What do you like best about your job?
The British Council is a people's organisation so I obviously and inevitably enjoy meeting a whole new range of new interesting people, currently in Hong Kong and the Maghreb. If I were working in a school or university in the UK or Edinburgh, I would have interesting access to people but never the opportunity that I've had in the ten-odd countries in which I've lived, learned and had a great time. If I were to have a favourite posting, it would be South Africa - it is a spectacular country, to be sure. But I was there from 1992 to 1997, during the transition to democracy and the election of Nelson Mandela. That made it a special time. There was optimism in the air, we were witnessing historical change and many people were excited and committed to it.
What is your current country of interest and why?
My obvious priority is Hong Kong, which is already very familiar with many aspects of UK, from higher education to the arts. Our job is to refresh and perhaps enhance some of those views and opinions. For example, there's still a little bit of Big Ben and top hats kind of mentality. Certainly, some images are perfectly justified, but that is only one aspect of the UK. It's true, there is punting on the River Cam and cream tea at the Ritz, but our job is to engage people more with the modern UK in all its diversity and complexity.

What is your greatest challenge?
Part of our challenge is where can we best focus. What we are constantly asking ourselves of the many things we could be doing, what are the handful that can make a difference? Over the last year, to take an area like higher education, where we are very well known - we have tried to expand that, by highlighting study opportunities in Scotland, for example. Take the arts - we've had a photographic exhibition of Nick Danziger's work, the Inside Heatherwick Studio project, and the Antony Gormley Event Horizon public art installation. In terms of bringing people in, we have had successes.
What keeps you up at night?
Generally, I sleep soundly. I have no existential concerns, and I'm enthused about my coming move to Tunisia. Admittedly, the huge challenge in moving is coming to terms with an area I'm not all that familiar with and that is experiencing change, and one which the world has all sorts of expectations and intentions which might present some real challenges. How do I personally get up to speed quickly enough to make a difference?  If I were to be kept up at night, that's the kind of thing that would.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Spending far too long in my study at home, when I set out to do some work, being diverted to watching YouTube 1960s rock and roll music clips of the Animals, the Kinks, and the rest! In fact, last night, I was going through my old vinyl collection and stumbled upon the Quadrophenia double album. Pete Townsend wrote it after Tommy with the idea of yet another concept album - remember those? - and it turned into a movie with the slightly grimy feel of the early sixties, post-war UK. I'm no doubt looking at all this through a nostalgia-tinted haze, but I don't really feel 'guilty' about my YouTube confession because that was when UK rock came into its own.

...that Malaysia currently spends only around 1.1 per cent of GDP on research and development and a proposed Science Act aims to raise that to at least two per cent by 2020?

Find out more from our report, Country Brief - Malaysia 2016

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