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The Current Trends in the Global Education Market

As early as 2017 (Weimer, 2017), national internationalization strategies aimed for a global education approach have been prevalent. Based on a report by the British Council, countries have dedicated strategies to increase the intake of international students in higher education institutions. The rationale for this is to meet a country’s skilled labor shortage through labor migration; more skilled laborers are linked to national prosperity and economic growth. 

Here are 11 countries identified in the report with their corresponding international student targets:

Source: British Council

Aside from “national internationalization strategies,” here are the other 9 trends in global education identified in the said British Council report:


  • Shifting global demographics – Countries with an aging population like Japan will benefit from the increase in foreign student intake if those students will be eventually integrated into the Japanese workforce.
  • Expansion of education for all – In 2015, the United Nations identified education as one of the “Sustainable Development Goals” for 2023. This fact may have also contributed to the rise of global education opportunities for foreign students through national strategies. 
  • Distribution of national funding – Public higher education institutions dependent on the national budget will gain additional funds from revenue generated from foreign student enrollments. 
  • Multi-sector cooperation – In the global education sector, private and public partnerships or strategic alliances have been increasing and is proven to be mutually beneficial for both institutions as well as international students.  
  • Educational technology – approaches to education such as online teaching and learning has been increasing since 2017. The value and appreciation for it also rose during the pandemic. Blended learning through digital and in-person means is seen as a continuing global trend for 2021 and beyond.
  • Demand for specific skills – The automation and digitalization of processes and services will increase the demand for IT professionals and the need to upskill individuals to be more competitive career-wise will be a trend in the global education market.
  • Brand and value – Based on the British Council study, students considered “quality of the course” as the most important aspect of an education. To address that concern, higher education institutions will ramp up their college management strategies.
  • Impact of English – most higher education institutions teach programs in the English language since it is considered as the lingua franca or common language. English as a medium of instruction for higher education institutions is still prevalent and is helpful for students planning to study abroad. 
  • Focus on the student experience – the trend to provide quality experience for students is seen to continue. A higher education institution’s capacity to provide pathways for an easier transition to study abroad will continue to be a competitive advantage. 

How the education market will change in the next five years

It is inferred that the global education market will focus on offering courses related to the IT industry. Automation of services will continue to grow and it is even projected that 73% of work can be fully automated today (Digital Marketing Institute, 2019).

Traditional courses that are offered in higher education institutions can be rethinked to match the demand of skills required by the workforce of the future. Resilience and an entrepreneurial spirit should be instilled in students to encourage them to adapt in an ever changing job market (Digital Marketing Institute, 2019).

An “agile” or quickly adaptable education is seen to be the future of global education (Schleicher, 2021) The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) identified “4 Scenarios for the Future of Schooling” in the next 20 years:

  • Schooling extended – individualized education through technology will augment traditional schooling.
  • Education outsourced – education will not be confined to traditional learning systems. Education from society through technology will be more apparent.
  • Schools as learning hubs -learning institutions will facilitate learning outside the “school walls”. Students will be more exposed to real-world issues and experiences.
  • Learn-as-you-go – education can become decentralized, through the advancement of technology, education can be received from various outlets not just learning institutions.

The current global education market is already similar to the scenarios projected by the OECD.

The global education market will continue to provide programs that are compatible with the needs of today’s workforce and industries. It can be deduced that in the next five years, the global education market will continue to evolve and additional programs will be developed for students to address future skill demands and market needs.

Cost and trends of education in the global education market today

In America, the average cost of tuition and fees at a public four-year institution for the academic year 2019 – 2020 is $7,730 (DePietro, 2020) while in Canada it is at CAD 6,610 (Varella, 2021, #) or around $5,467. This amount can be intimidating for local students as well as international students. 

To address concerns on costs, leading higher education institutions in the global education market  practice a mode of education delivery called pathways— higher education institutions in destination countries  forge articulation agreements with partner institutions in sending countries to offer a more affordable, accessible international education to students.

Through pathways, an international student can learn with a branch campus in their home country and eventually continue their education in a global campus if they qualify for it. This is thus a cost-effective way to provide globally competitive education. 

The global education market will continue to grow in terms of providing more ways to make education accessible and relevant to today’s needs. 


Crawfurd, L., & Hares, S. (2020, January 3). Review of the Decade: Ten Trends in Global Education. Center for Global Development. https://www.cgdev.org/blog/review-decade-ten-trends-global-education

DePietro, A. (2020, June 2). Impact Of Coronavirus (COVID-19) On College Tuition And Finances. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewdepietro/2020/06/02/impact-covid-19-tuition-finance/?sh=54c0add24b88

Digital Marketing Institute. (2019, September 19). What Are the Global Market Trends in Higher Education? Digital Marketing Institute. https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/what-is-the-global-market-trends-in-higher-education

Moschetti, V. (2019, April 01). Is Immigration the Cure for an Aging Population in Japan? LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/immigration-cure-aging-population-japan-valerie-moschetti

Schleicher, A. (2021, January 28). What will education look like in 20 years? Here are 4 scenarios. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/01/future-of-education-4-scenarios/

Varella, S. (2021, March 9). Average Canadian undergraduate tuition fees 2006-2020 Published by Simona Varrella, Mar 9, 2021 This statistic shows the average annual tuition fees for Canadian citizens in undergraduate programs in Canada from 2006 to 2020. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/542989/canadian-undergraduate-tuition-fees/

Weimer, L. (2017, July 26). 10 trends changing global higher education. European Association for Higher Education. https://www.eaie.org/blog/10-trends-changing-global-higher-education.html


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