StudyPortals presents view on the future of international education

International student mobility will continue to grow but the ‘where and how’ will change, with new destinations and new delivery models taking over, and partnerships between institutions becoming crucial, a new report by StudyPortals argues.

The cause for these changes lies in eight ‘megatrends’ that the report predicts will rock the global higher education sector.

Together with the boom in English-medium programmes in Europe and Asia, the ambitions of world-class universities in emerging countries and the evolution of transnational education models, will ‘shift the nature and direction of internationally mobile students’.

The popularity of UK and US will remain high, but other destinations will advance further.

Demographic shifts, such as ageing populations and urbanisation, and labour shifts, such as automation, will require education models to change.

At the same time, public spending on higher education is shrinking. And while stricter immigration policies will restrict access to high-income countries, a growth of the middle class in emerging markets will create an imbalance in the supply and demand of higher education worldwide.

How can institutions face up to the challenge and improve their global engagement? The report identifies four archetypes.

The defenders are institutions investing in traditional study abroad experiences– usually in Anglophone countries such as the UK or Australia.

Some institutions in these countries are already changing, choosing to take their programmes to their students via transnational education models instead. They are the adapters, who choose programme mobility over student mobility.

Traditional destinations are challenged by the emergence of English-medium programmes in Europe and Asia, the challengers.

And finally, the innovators, institutions that have completely transformed programmes and deliver them through networks– and focus on lifelong learning.

“It will still be a prized asset, having an international experience as part of education – but that will be initiated by a global college network. This will allow us to see a global college network where institutions partner in sophisticated ways to bring value to one another,” said Harvard University visiting scientist and former Plymouth University vice chancellor Wendy Purcell.

Indeed, partnerships will be the crucial in the future of international education.