As we count down the final days of the year, let’s take a moment to look back over 2015 with our third annual review of the most-popular items on ICEF Monitor.
We certainly saw a lot of growth this year, and, as always, a number of important market trends taking shape. The following review features 12 of our most-read posts along with a few other bonus items for good measure.
The big picture
Everybody can use a good high-level market summary and so we put together our “State of international mobility in 2015” feature last month. During the year, we also looked more specifically at language travel and the continuing growth in the sector in particular. Keep these handy for those moments when you need to stand back and look at the global marketplace from 10,000 feet up.
And while you’re up there, make sure to fold in some of the latest thinking on the most important macro trends with “Global economic power projected to shift to Asia and emerging economies by 2050” and “Four trends that are shaping the future of global student mobility.”
Immigration is one the most important policy levers in international education and also a reliably hot topic for Monitor readers. We started the year with a look at how Australia is stepping up scrutiny in its student visa system. But by mid-year Australia was also moving to balance strengthened visa controls with streamlined processing.
Canada drew a lot of attention this year as well with the introduction of its Express Entry system, a new process by which foreigners, including international students, would be selected for immigration. The story underscored the importance of post-study work and immigration prospects in determining the attractiveness of a study destination – a point that was more than driven home by the UK’s announcement in July that it would remove work rights for non-EU further education students (among other restrictive measures).
China continues to be a major driver of global mobility growth, with 11% year-over-year growth in 2014 alone. But the Chinese market is showing signs of change too, including a shift toward a greater emphasis on undergraduate studies.
Demand in India, meanwhile, continues to surge. Indian outbound kept pace with China in 2014, and, for some receiving markets (notably the US), Indian student numbers have become an increasingly important factor in building international enrolment.
Going through changes
A number of markets initiated big changes in 2015 that drew attention from around the world, including the following:
- In March, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education outlined plans to merge or close up to 52 of the country’s public and private universities;
- In June, the Japanese government asked the country’s universities to take “active steps to abolish [social science and humanities departments] or to convert them to serve areas that better meet society’s needs”;
- The British government announced new English language testing procedures for student visa applicants;
- Finnish universities continued to struggle with austerity budgets this year and the Finnish government continued its on-again-off-again flirtation with the idea of introducing differential fees for students from outside the European Economic Area;
- Malaysia also released a landmark blueprint for education (for additional background, please see our November interview with Education Malaysia);
- In terms of emerging markets, this year we’ve seen notable signs of development in Cuba, Myanmar, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, and Egypt.
Online lights up
Last year, the big story was mobile. But 2015 felt like a different sort of tipping point in terms of the role of online channels in international recruitment. Driven in part by the widespread adoption of social platforms and mobile devices, we continued to see more research evidence this year as to the importance of digital marketing.
As always, thank you for reading along with us this year. Whether online or education agents or emerging markets or new policies, one thing is clear: we can all count on a lot more change, challenge, and opportunity in international education in 2016!