The advantage of having local staff on the ground in around 30 markets round the globe is that we can pick up some useful information on how the education market is developing, and how we can support UK universities and colleges in getting involved in projects which will support that strategic direction. Below are some nuggets we picked up over the last few weeks.
A report issued by the Portuguese government at the end of January showed that there was a 12% increase in non-EU international students last year, continuing a recent trend which has seen international student numbers increase by 75% over the past 5 years. Most are coming from ex-Portuguese colonies – Brazil Angola and Mozambique. There has also been a substantial increase in students coming from the EU, particularly Italy and Poland. This increase in the international student market has seen some substantial international investment (including from Collegiate) and we are working with a growing number of UK university clients on the development of a two-year Masters programme (1 year in Portugal on in the UK).
We are also seeing increased interest from Portuguese Polytechnics who deliver both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees looking for UK partners for dual degree programmes. Areas of interest include Engineering, Business and Creative Industries.
Interest is growing in the support UK universities and colleges can offer to both Community Colleges and the private sector in the development and delivery of apprenticeships.
President Trump signed an executive order in June 2016 accelerating the development of apprenticeship provision and empowering a range of organisations including community colleges, universities, trade unions, trade associations and private companies to develop and deliver provision.
We have several UK colleges and universities in discussions with community colleges about supporting them in the development of relevant provision (consultancy, curriculum development, employer engagement and training). We also have some of our university clients in direct discussions with US companies about developing and delivering provision for them.
We are also in discussions with the American Association of Community Colleges about developing programmes that will allow for community colleges to offer articulation pathways to UK universities who are on the Federal funding list.
We continue to see interest from a range of Czech universities looking to form double degree programmes with UK universities, these vary from leading state universities through to private universities. The laws in the Czech Republic mean that degree programmes delivered in Czech are free or very low cost, however there are no restrictions on the pricing of degree programmes taught in English, and as a result Czech universities are now looking to target non-EU students (particularly from the CIS markets). We have a few Czech universities looking for partners for this and for the development of joint research projects.
Both the Latvian and Lithuanian governments are actively trying to encourage UK universities to consider them as the base for an EU campus post-BREXIT. They are also actively supporting the development of joint faculties between state universities and UK universities. We are working on many of these projects now, including supporting the development of two joint faculties, and the creation of a strategic partnership between a state university and a UK university which would allow the UK institution to open a branch campus within the existing infrastructure.
We have also been asked to support in the development of a major new project to create an IT education centre in one of the Baltic States. This has government support, but more importantly, the support of several global companies. The aim is to create a centre capable of hosting 3,000 students.
Lithuania has also announced a very generous funding to encourage international universities to partner with local universities. Funding of up to 3 million euro is available to Lithuanian universities looking to establish a joint research centre with an international partner. We already have one client in discussions.
We have been approached by the Ukrainian government to help them understand potential opportunities for encouraging UK universities to engage with universities in Ukraine. I will be meeting with the Ministry in Kiev in mid-February and will report back in the next Newsletter.
We are also in discussions with universities in Italy, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden and Bulgaria around their strategies and will report back next month on these markets.