Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF

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Beyond student recruiting: agents’ roles as counsellors

How do international student recruiters prepare young people for their studies overseas?

As parent and student expectations continue to increase, the role of student recruitment agencies has changed and evolved beyond the admissions process to include additional services surrounding the visa and travel process, as well as the counselling process.

Today we sit down with Director & CEO Pushpinder Bhatia of PAC Asia Services, an agency based in New Delhi, India that helps foreign students throughout the various stages in their international education attainment.

Mr Bhatia shares best practices and techniques that have led his agency to achieve a high visa success rate, such as documentation and background checks and profiling of students. His agency also focuses heavily on pre-departure briefings, including mock visa interviews and tips regarding how to adjust culturally, socially and academically.

Traveling and living in a foreign country is not always easy even for the most seasoned of pros, and for students who are shy or coming from rural areas, it can be an overwhelming experience. Mr Bhatia shares a personal anecdote of one such student, showcasing how agents today operate not just as recruiters, but also as trusted counsellors.

Access to education

The second half of our interview turns the focus on India’s access to education. Predictions abound as to the future of India, such as:

  • By 2020, China and India combined will produce 40% of global graduates.
  • By 2030, the number of college-age Indians is estimated to reach 400 million.
  • By 2050, India’s population will swell to 1.6 billion people; it is on track to overtake China in 2028.

With a growing youth population and an under-supply of university places to satisfy demand, India is on a mission to redress the discrepancy between its economic potential and its education system. A number of reforms are underway, foreign branch campuses are now allowed to operate there, the vocational sector is getting a boost, and funding has been earmarked to improve the quality and standards of education.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are also active locally, and Mr Bhatia discusses the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on both individuals and communities in India, and shares one such example with us regarding his work with Round Table India.

For more information on the Indian market, we recommend our recent article on the current and potential effects of the rupee’s fall on Indian students’ intentions to study abroad, as well as the international education market as a whole.

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