Study abroad provides higher education students and teachers with fresh perspectives on matters of education and life in general.
Global perspectives in learning, living, teaching, and leading
International education has seen a tremendous growth in the last 50 years. The beginnings of its expansion started in the 1950s when the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) was founded in the United States. Shortly after, the Comparative Education Society of Europe (CESE) was also established. A couple of decades later, the concept of internationalization in the education sector emerged from the West, making its way to other developing countries. Several studies on internationalization have been done since then.
Today, the international education sector continues to grow rapidly. In a December 2019 report published by research firm MarketsandMarkets, it stated that “the global education and learning analytics market size is estimated to grow from USD 3.1 billion in 2019 to USD 8.2 billion by 2024.”
A paper from the University of Chicago titled “Endogenous Skill-Biased Technology Adoption: Evidence from China’s College Enrollment Expansion Program” sheds light on this progress by highlighting China’s strides in particular. In 1998, the Chinese government expressed that it planned to expand its higher education sector. After 10 years, it increased its tertiary enrolment from one million students to six million students. By 2018, it enjoyed a 50 percent growth in tertiary enrolment. The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has affected these projections. However, some details in the MarketsandMarkets study remain to be relevant, especially for educational institutions seeking growth in a post-Covid environment.
“The education and learning analytics industry is multiplying with the rising need for data-driven decisions for improving the quality of education and the growing adoption of advanced technologies across the education sector,” the study stated.
Education Technology: A global trend
The National Center on Education and the Economy archived a report from The Financial Times in April 2020, which reported how the pandemic led to a boom for online education technology (Edtech) companies. Edtech companies’ share prices doubled. “Online learning is the future and if there was no virus, that realization would have taken another few years but this has accelerated the process,” shared Ai English executive director Li Kang.
The pandemic only proved that education technology is at a prime time in history. Edtech is no longer an option for higher education institutions (HEIs) to improve their services; it has become essential to their survival. New education platforms are also available online, including ones that cover enrollment management which enhance the enrollment cycle for HEIs from recruitment to alumni fundraising.
At the height of internationalization and the dawning of Edtech implementation (both grand, welcome developments in the global education sector) HEIs need to probe deeper into the nucleus of learning: the student/teacher dynamic within and without the campus.
With the proper standards and practices in place, HEIs around the world could address the modern learning crisis in the midst of the massive rise and success of international education and Edtech platforms.
Whether done online or offline, education is a two-way process. As defined by Britannica, education is “concerned with methods of teaching and learning in schools or school-like environments as opposed to various non formal and informal means of socialization.” Students enrol in an institution where they are expected to follow a stair-step process to greater learning. The students are taught by certified teachers, who are experts in their own right at specific subjects. A curriculum is followed. A set program duration is defined, and students are expected to have an understanding of these subjects within that set time.
A peer-reviewed article in 2016 by Chetanath Gautam et. al gives some insight to some of the challenges in learning from students’ perspectives. The study enumerated the following socio-economic/cultural challenges: language, jobs and finances, transportation, adjustment and cultural assimilation, cultural and religious encounters, and double identities.
While these may not be the case in online classes, it can be presumed that onsite classes will soon be back to normal post-Covid. When these do come back, one way HEIs can contribute to their students’ overall learning experience is by developing its students services office.
According to a definition by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the student services concept “is used to describe the divisions or departments which provide services and student support in higher education. Its purpose is to ensure the students’ growth and development during the academic experience.”
The rise of student services is generally seen as a Western phenomenon. From the early days of formal education, when most experiences were exclusively shared between a student and teacher (including disciplinary action), modern developments in higher education led to more progress and therefore, exposed students to more variables outside the classroom which may affect their education.
Apart from this, there is an increase of extra-curricular activities. The push for internationalization encouraged culturally diverse campuses. Faculty leadership roles were expanded and university or college presidents were no longer in charge of matters pertaining to discipline.
“‘The Student Personnel Point of View,’ a report issued by the American Council on Education in 1937 and revised in 1949, serves as a foundation document for student affairs,” said educator Maureen E. Wilson in an article. “It was developed on a philosophy stressing the importance of educating the whole student.”
Education is not learning. It is the system where learning takes place. Effective learning is closely related to one’s standard of living in and outside the campus.
While HEIs place measures ensuring that their students are in their best states to advance themselves through learning, teachers are the singular force that fuels these bright minds in the classroom. They are responsible for the delivery of the subject matter, making sure students leave their classes more enlightened than the day before.
It is assuring then that according to the Global Education Census Report 2018 by Cambridge Assessment International Education, 71 percent of teachers globally consider teaching as a rewarding profession.
In the same report, it also stated that 24 percent of teachers have had previous careers in a wide range of fields which include but are not limited to marketing and journalism to nursing and engineering. This fact highlights the cycle of education which benefits society as a whole: learners contribute to society, then some, becoming educators themselves later, play a role in shaping the minds and career paths of new learners. It is fitting of how English writer, philosopher and theologian G.K. Chesterton once defined education as “simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”
In the context of leadership, international education plays a huge role in it. A 2015 survey by the British Council revealed that almost half (46 percent) of global leaders both in the public and private sector have had experience in studying or working outside their home country. The survey had 1,709 leaders in 30 countries as its respondents.
According to Our World in Data survey, “there will be almost no one without formal education and there will be more than seven billion minds who will have received at least secondary education” by the year 2100.
In international education, students, teachers and institutions may have a different set of goals, but they are all interconnected by a common result: a global society with enlightened, educated members. Edtech is driving higher education faster toward this end goal, and it’s best for HEIs to be reminded not to forget about the wellness of its students and teachers in the course of this race.
International Education and Development: Histories, Parallels, Crossroads (2014). International Development Policy. Retrieved from https://journals.openedition.org/poldev/1767#tocto1n3.
Education and Learning Analytics Market by Application, Component, Deployment, End User And Region – Global Forecast to 2024 (2019, December). MarketsandMarkets. Retrieved from https://www.reportlinker.com/p05839708/Education-and-Learning-Analytics-Market-by-Application-Component-Deployment-End-User-And-Region-Global-Forecast-to.html?utm_source=GNW.
Feng, S. (2018, December 19) Endogenous skill-biased technology adoption: Evidence from China’s college enrollment expansion program. University of Chicago. Retrieved from http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Feng_Xia_2018_endogenous-skill-biased-tech-adoption.pdf.
COVID-19 Education Response. UNESCO. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse/globalcoalition.
Asia Edtech Start-ups Booming amid Coronavirus school closures (2021). National Center on Education and the Economy. Retrieved from https://ncee.org/what-we-do/center-on-international-education-benchmarking/international-ed-news-archive-april-may/.
Student recruitment made easier, faster, simpler. MSM Unify. Retrieved from https://msmunify.com/.
The Education Crisis: Being in School Is Not the Same as Learning (2019, January 22). The World Bank. Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2019/01/22/pass-or-fail-how-can-the-world-do-its-homework.
Education. Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/education.
Gautam, C. et. al. (2016, January 9) Challenges for Global Learners: A Qualitative Study of the Concerns and Difficulties of International Students. Journal of International Students. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1094884.pdf.
Ciobanu, A. (2013, October 10) The Role of Student Services in the Improving of Student Experience in Higher Education. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042813027857.
Wilson, M. Student Services. State University. Retrieved from https://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2464/Student-Services.html.
Global Education Census Survey Report (2018). Cambridge International. Retrieved from https://www.cambridgeinternational.org/Images/514611-global-education-census-survey-report.pdf.
Jaschik, S. (2015, June 1) Social Sciences Produce Leaders. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/06/01/survey-examines-higher-education-backgrounds-leaders-worldwide.
Roser, M. (2020) The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it. Our World in Data. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/a-history-of-global-living-conditions-in-5-charts#education.