fbpx
Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
19th Feb 2020

Coronavirus update: Educators adjusting deadlines and programmes; agents provide their perspective

Editor’s note: Please see our earlier report for more comprehensive background and important context.

The scale of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to grow through mid-February with nearly 71,000 confirmed cases in China as of 16 February, and 1,770 deaths.

As the following BBC News graphic illustrates, however, there are still relatively few confirmed cases outside of China.

Confirmed Covid-19 cases outside of China as of 17 February. Note that the reported cases for Japan includes 355 cases on a cruise ship. Source: BBC News
Confirmed Covid-19 cases outside of China as of 17 February. Note that the reported cases for Japan includes 355 cases on a cruise ship. Source: BBC News

Many businesses and schools throughout China remain closed as authorities there work to stem the outbreak, and travel restrictions remain in place.

Sittings for preparatory exams in China, including IELTS and TOEFL tests, have been suspended through middle or late-March. US-based College Board announced this week that the March sitting of the SAT in China would also be suspended.

With schools closed, large numbers of Chinese students unable to return to their programmes abroad (notably those enrolled in Australia), testing suspended, and many agencies and offices closed as well, foreign institutions and schools are now making a number of adjustments as the outbreak appears poised to continue through early spring.

Some Canadian universities, for example, have extended their normal deadlines for English proficiency exam results. Others are allowing students to demonstrate their language skills via alternate language tests that can be taken online.

Meanwhile, both Chinese and foreign universities are making greater use of online instruction so that more students can continue their studies while campuses are closed. And the Chinese government has taken the extraordinary step of relaxing long-standing constraints to allow students better access to online course materials and learning platforms while travel restrictions remain in place.

The view from Chinese agencies

The Beijing Overseas Study Service Association (BOSSA) has released findings from a survey of 100 member agencies on the current and expected impacts of the outbreak.

The survey highlights that most agencies remain closed through the first half of February, with only 3% of respondents indicating the they have returned to work in their offices. The vast majority (83%) of staff and counsellors are working remotely, including providing student services online.

Two-thirds of respondents (66%) anticipate that the outbreak will lead to a decline in the number of Chinese students going abroad in 2020. And 83% said that the crisis will affect recruitment and preparation for summer camps this year. 

The most pressing concerns reported by respondents to the BOSSA survey are (1) that the outbreak persists to the point that normal business operations are disrupted over a longer period of time; and (2) that Chinese outbound mobility continues to be blocked by travel restrictions or other factors to the extent that fall 2020 enrolments are affected.  

This reflects the overarching perspective that has taken shape across the international education sector that the impact of the coronavirus will largely depend on how far the outbreak persists into 2020.

The overall view reflected in the survey, however, is that, while some students may need to defer their study plans this year, the coronavirus will not alter the demand for study abroad or the overall trend towards study overseas for Chinese students. The findings reinforce that students and families have a long-term view of planning for study abroad, and nearly two-thirds of responding agents (64%) said that students would not change their plans because of the outbreak.

For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • UK confirms Graduate Route will remain in place; plans “crackdown” on student visas and “rogue agents” Read More
  • Will the US host 2 million international students within the decade? Read More
  • Ghanaian students are intent on study abroad but currency woes present a challenge Read More

Most Popular

  • Canada’s foreign enrolment grew by more than 30% in 2022 Read More
  • Measuring cost of study and cost of living across study destinations Read More
  • Recruiting in the Emirates: Big goals, world-class education, and new scholarships Read More

Because you found this article interesting

UK confirms Graduate Route will remain in place; plans “crackdown” on student visas and “rogue agents” Ahead of a snap general election called for 4 July 2024, and after months of speculation, a joint...
Read more
Will the US host 2 million international students within the decade? A new analysis from international research firm HolonIQ sets out four future growth scenarios for foreign enrolment in...
Read more
Ghanaian students are intent on study abroad but currency woes present a challenge Ghana’s ascent as a key emerging student market is well illustrated by recent enrolment growth in leading destinations....
Read more
Survey of Japanese agents indicates significant recovery in outbound student numbers for 2023 The annual survey of The Japan Association of Overseas Studies (JAOS) has just been released. This year’s survey...
Read more
Data shows a decline in Nigerian student searches for study abroad; UK may be hardest-hit Nigeria has been one of the most important new sources of students for leading study destinations worldwide in...
Read more
ICEF Podcast: How policy interventions are impacting student planning for study abroad Listen in as ICEF’s Craig Riggs and Martijn van de Veen check in on how foreign exchange trends...
Read more
EU sets goal of sending at least 23% of university students and 12% of VET students abroad by 2030 Erasmus+, already the world’s largest student mobility programme, will play a significant role in a new goal set...
Read more
UK: Review finds no abuse of Graduate Route; recommends that current work rights remain in place for international students Following months of speculation, the UK’s Migratory Advisory Committee (MAC) has concluded its “rapid review” of the Graduate...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links