Transport and Telecommunication Institute (Riga, Latvia) and the University of the West of England (Bristol, UK) have announced a strategic partnership. Higher education institutions have started an academic and scientific collaboration that includes the development of double degree programmes. The first of these programmes is expected to open for students this Autumn. Partnership launch ceremony that took place at TSI on June 19th was attended by the guests of honour — the British Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Mr. Keith Shannon, the Minister of Economics of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Jānis Vitenbergs, and “Accenture Latvia” Country Managing Director and IT Education Foundation Chairman of the Board, Mr. Maksims Jegorovs.
On 11 May 2020, Transport and Telecommunication Institute (“TSI”) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of the West of England (“UWE”). The document has marked the beginning of strong cooperation between the universities in the field of joint academic activities, scientific research, and internationalization. The Faculty of Computer Science and Telecommunication of TSI and the Faculty of Environment and Technology of UWE are working together to offer students a number of double degree higher education programmes that will be delivered at TSI in Riga. The first programme to be offered is “Computer Science and Software Development”. The programme is currently undergoing the validation process in the UK. It is planned that the programme will accept first students in the upcoming, 2020/2021 academic year.
The British partners have commended the quality, academic personnel, and resources of the current TSI programme “Computer Sciences”, and have offered the specialization that is their strong suit – “Artificial Intelligence and Entrepreneurship”, UWE Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Environment and Technology Paul Olomolaiye informed at the press conference dedicated to the partnership launch. His Latvian colleague, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science at TSI Mihails Savrasovs emphasized: “Together with partners from UWE we have developed a new specialization of our programme that includes the “hottest” topics in the IT. Students will start to study specialized courses as early as in their second year. This programme will produce IT experts that will be demanded in Latvia, Europe and worldwide”.
There are over 30 thousand students that study at UWE in Bristol, and about 7 thousand more are enrolled in the UWE programmes that are delivered by partner universities across the world. That’s a tradition of majority of the British universities, and TSI will become a full-fledged member of this international community. “The United Kingdom is a global leader in science and innovation. Four out of five British universities offer overseas higher education programmes in 225 locations worldwide, delivering higher education to around 750,000 students”, the British Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Mr. Keith Shannon told at the press conference, “With this partnership Riga will strengthen its place among the cities offering world class education and research opportunities. This is the first strategic partnership between a British university and university in the Baltic States on such a scale. It will firmly place higher education and research and innovation as a key area of collaboration between the United Kingdom and Latvia for decades to come”.
The Minister of Economics of the Republic of Latvia Jānis Vitenbergs stated: “This is a historic moment. The higher education system of the United Kingdom doesn’t need an introduction. Latvian students and colleagues have gained an opportunity to learn from the best of the best. In the last ten years, the IT industry in Latvia has developed rapidly, many international companies have come to Latvia and many of our own were born. All of them are saying as one that in order to continue the development we need new specialists, educated minds. TSI and UWE partnership will make this goal more attainable. In the last three months of the pandemic crisis, we have seen that without IT solutions it would be impossible to govern the state and run many companies, so the demand for IT experts will only grow”.
To ensure the development of the IT sector and meet the demand of other sectors for IT specialists Latvia needs 3000 IT graduates each year, Maksims Jegorovs, “Accenture Latvia” Country Managing Director and IT Education Foundation Chairman of the Board, reckons. This demand isn’t being met as yet. “Industry has not been growing at the rate that it could have. We have all felt in these past months: people with technical education and similar complex skills can find ways for society to survive and function. But we have to lay a foundation for this growth, that’s why I wish luck to TSI and UWE in their collaboration. Latvia has the opportunity to position itself as a country where people can acquire world class education in order to have a successful career in the IT industry. To increase the number of high-level information technology graduates in Latvia, IT Education Foundation created the Baltic IT Society (BITS) – IT education platform to help universities in Latvia attract foreign students to their programs. Strategic partnerships and double degree programmes are very important part of this process, as well as the support from state leaders and the industry”, Mr. Jegorovs says.
Both TSI and UWE have study programmes in the fields of Computer Science, Aviation, Electronics and Robotics. TSI Rector Juris Kanels hopes that gradually the collaboration will involve all these areas. “The programmes will be adapted for Latvia’s conditions but will include quality standards, level, experience, and knowledge of the United Kingdom, specifically of the University of the West of England in Bristol. UWE representatives will conduct constant quality control, give their evaluation and recommendations. We are certain that these engineering field programmes will be the best in Latvia and the wider region. By creating high-quality modern internationally competitive study programmes TSI will attain its main goal –to prepare new competent world class specialists”, Mr. Kanels explained.
“Partnership with a strong British university (UWE) is a part of our new five-year strategy in which one of the most important to TSI directions is tied with international cooperation. Our goal is to become the leading private technical university in the Baltic Sea Region. Cooperation with such an esteemed British university that has the biggest Robotics centre in Western Europe and academic programmes aimed at collaboration with such industrial giants as Airbus will help us to develop our portfolio of academic programmes and research projects, to invite international students from all around the globe to TSI, as well as grant new opportunities to local students: academic exchange and studies at a British university without leaving Latvia”, TSI Chairwoman prof. Irina Yatskiv adds.
Transport and Telecommunication Institute was established in 1999 and is now the largest university-type accredited non-state technical higher education institution in the Republic of Latvia. TSI has established itself as a private university widely known for its academic and scientific work in the STEM field. TSI provides academic and professional programmes in Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunication, Transport and Logistics, Aviation Transport and Management and offers study programmes including degree awards at Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral levels. TSI provides extensive research and consultancy services to its business and community partners.
The University of the West of England is a modern and dynamic University, based near Bristol with the new state-of-the-art learning spaces and world class teaching facilities. The University is well known for its links to leading global companies such as Airbus, and for the quality of its research. The University has over 30,000 students and more than 600 courses covering a wide range of subject areas. It is one of the largest and best-known universities in the UK. The University was awarded TEF gold status in the latest Government rankings for higher education providers, which is the highest rating in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) 2018.
Transport and Telecommunication Institute (Riga, Latvia) and the University of the West of England (Bristol, UK) will hold a press conference on Friday, 19 June, 2020 to announce a strategic partnership, which will become one of the most significant UK university partnerships in Central and Eastern Europe encompassing double degree programmes and academic and research collaboration across a range of subject areas, starting with Computer Science and Aviation.
On 11 May 2020 Transport and Telecommunication Institute (“TSI”) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of the West of England (“UWE”) with the purpose of fostering between the institutions academic cooperation and exchanges and the development of double degree programmes across a range of academic areas including Computer Science and Aviation.
Transport and Telecommunication Institute (Republic of Latvia) and the University of West of England (United Kingdom) have signed an MoU to establish a deep and broad partnership that will encompass joint academic delivery, joint research and internationalisation of the curriculum and student experience. The Faculty of Computer Science and Telecommunication of TSI and the Faculty of Environment and Technology of UWE have agreed to join their efforts in the fields of Computer Science and Aviation and to collaborate to enhance the academic and research opportunities for their respective students and staff.
The Minister of Economics of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Jānis Vitenbergs emphasised the value of the established collaboration saying: ‘’I am very pleased with the increased presence of one of the leading universities of the United Kingdom here in Latvia and with the strategic partnership established between Transport and Telecommunication Institute and the University of the West of England. It as a partnership that the Ministry of Economics fully supports and aligns with our ambitions of becoming the IT higher education centre of excellence in the Baltics. I congratulate both sides and look forward to the rewarding outcomes of this partnership.”
The partnership between TSI and UWE will eventually result in the development of the double degree programmes to be delivered in Latvia. It will allow students to gain two internationally recognised degrees – one from TSI and the other from UWE. The collaboration between the two Universities will attract international students globally and will produce graduates equipped to meet the needs and challenges of employers in Latvia and wider Region.
The British Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Mr Keith Shannon highlighted the importance of the collaboration saying: “I warmly welcome this exciting partnership between TSI and UWE and the enhanced study and research opportunities it will bring. It’s a great example of the UK higher education and scientific sector’s commitment to collaboration with international partners on education, research, science and technology initiatives.”
Both institutions will initially join their strengths in Computer Science, Robotics and Aviation to make a significant contribution to the national research priorities, contribute to the need of industry and launch innovative degree programmes. They plan to expand the partnership to include other subject areas including Engineering and Logistics.
“Strategic partnerships are increasingly becoming a vital element of education. TSI has played a key role in the process of economic development in Latvia as both a source of new knowledge and an educator of IT graduates. Latvia has the opportunity to position itself as a country where people can acquire world class education in order to have a successful career in the IT industry. To increase the number of high-level information technology graduates in Latvia, IT Education Foundation created the Baltic IT Society (BITS) – IT education platform to help universities in Latvia attract foreign students to their programs. BITS platform compiles the best IT study programs in different universities of Latvia,” said Maksims Jegorovs, IT Education Foundation Chairman of the Board and Accenture Lead in Latvia.
Transport and Telecommunication Institute was established in 1999 and is now the largest university-type accredited non-state technical higher education institution in the Republic of Latvia. TSI has established itself as a well-known private STEM University. TSI provides academic and professional programmes in Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunication, Transport and Logistics, Aviation Transport and Management and offers study programmes including degree awards at Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral levels. TSI provides extensive research and consultancy services to its business and community partners. It has embarked on a transformational strategy to internationalise its curriculum and research and has an aim of becoming the leading private technical university in the Baltic Sea Region.
The University of the West of England is a modern and dynamic University, based near Bristol with the new state-of-the-art learning spaces and world class teaching facilities. The University is well known for its links to leading global companies such as Airbus, and for the quality of its research. The University has over 30,000 students and more than 600 courses covering a wide range of subject areas it is one of the largest and best-known universities in the UK. The University was awarded TEF gold status in the latest Government rankings for higher education providers, which is the highest rating in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) 2018.
CCG is delighted to announce that we will be sponsoring leading Point to Point and National Hunt Jockey Ross Wilson. Ross is from Peebles where CCG is based, and has had almost 400 rides under both codes over the past few years. Last year he was second in the Northern Point to Point Championship, and is aiming to go one better this year. He is now based in Malton North Yorkshire, and rides out for some of the UK’s leading Point to Point and National Hunt trainers.
Charles Cormack Chairman of CCG said “We are really thrilled to be sponsoring Ross this year, he is from Peebles, and is one of the up and coming riders in Point to Point. All the team will be cheering him on, and we hope to take some of our clients to the races to see him in action. We will make sure we keep people up to date with his progress through the year via our social media.
Europe (EU) continues to be our busiest market, and we are now working across 15 member states. Our focus is on the development of TNE, and we are seeing strong demand from Universities in Central and Eastern Europe for franchised/validated programmes for delivery in-country. These universities (mainly but not exclusively private) are using the development of dual degree programmes as part of their international recruitment strategies. We are also getting the European universities to commit to reasonable numbers (we have finalised 5 programmes in the past few months with initial commitments to over 100 students in year one, with good growth potential).
In Western Europe the demand is more for the traditional mobility model of dual degree (2+2, 1+1) and the universities are using this as a way of improving their offering to local and international students. We are getting commitments to reasonable numbers (Masters 20-40, UG 30-50).
We are also seeing interest from State universities in Central and Eastern Europe for the development of more strategic research partnerships. Universities in the region (Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland) are keen to develop these relationships as part of their strategies and Government policy for improving their international rankings. The development of research activity and the combination of their access to funding with UK research expertise are seen as a potentially strong solution.
Demand for Capacity Building
We are also seeing significant interest from European universities and educational institutions for support in capacity building. A number of newer EU member states are utilizing devolved EU structural funding to support capacity building in universities, colleges and schools.
We are currently focusing on markets where we know this funding is being released, for example Lithuania has committed over £1million per university to cover staff development, curriculum development and leaderships development, as well a pot of 200 million for school development. Croatia is providing a budget of around £30 million to support a number (circa 40) of vocational schools to become “Centres of Excellence”. Latvia will also be supporting this activity over the next couple of years.
We see this as an excellent opportunity for UK universities to get involved in providing support and expertise to European partners. We have already had three clients in market delivering this work, and we believe there is scope for increased participation.
Project 3000 Update
Project 3000 is an exciting project we have been developing with Accenture and the Latvian Ministry of Economy. The idea is driven by the tech sector in Latvia, and the wider Baltic region, which requires a significant increase in the pool of highly skilled staff (the region hosts a number of global players who have significant development teams, e.g. Accenture, Barclays, Western Union, Nasdaq, Evolution Gaming etc. and a very strong local tech start up environment).
The aim is to use the development of a number of strategic TNE relationships between UK and Latvian Universities to drive an increase of 2,000 international students a year to the country to study Computer Science related subjects.
We were delighted to bring a senior group from Latvia, including the Deputy State Secretary of Economy, the Vice Rectors of the University of Latvia and Riga Technical Universities, senior industry professionals and representatives of the Latvian Embassy to the UK to visit 9 of our clients in December.
The selection of the UK partner universities is due to take place in the first quarter of 2019.
We continue to work on behalf of a number of universities and colleges in developing projects in the USA. We are currently focusing on two specific areas, one is the development of articulation agreements with community colleges allowing students to come to the UK following the completion of their Associate Degree to complete their Undergraduate Degree in the UK. Whilst still early days the early signs are very positive, and Community Colleges seem keen to establish such pathways with UK universities and provide international opportunities to their students as a mean to compete and differentiate themselves from local competitors.
The other area we are focusing on is the development of the US Apprenticeship market. We believe that this will offer significant opportunities for UK Universities and Colleges to become involved in supporting institutions who are looking to develop and add to their current apprenticeship provision.
We have developed an innovative model, which is based around understanding the provision offered by our UK clients to multinational companies, and then mapping that against the local offices in the US of those companies and community colleges. This allows us to focus the opportunity much more effectively.
We have started to focus our activity in the market and have been actively engaged in scoping the Canadian market for TNE partnerships. Our discussions with Canadian institutions have confirmed the keen interest in developing articulations to UK programmes (at undergraduate and graduate levels), the interest in UK programmes offered in-country and interest in offering Dual Degrees both by Universities and Colleges.
Many institutions are developing their international strategies and developing their international partnerships, realising the importance of recruiting international students as well as offering their domestic students international opportunities. There are significant opportunities for UK universities to engage with Canadian institutions across the spectrum of public and private institutions and across a range of TNE models. Some institutions are also interested in acquiring content, either for face to face or on-line delivery.
We continue to focus much of our activity on the Ukraine and will be taking a group of ten UK universities to Kiev in early February for a two-day event sponsored by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and aimed at forging both TNE and Capacity Building partnerships with Ukrainian universities. UK universities participating in the mission include Queen’s University Belfast, Reading, Northumbria, Glyndwr, Greenwich and UCLan. Advance HE will also be attending to talk about capacity building. We are still happy to include other universities if this market is of interest.
In parallel, we are developing a project with the Ministry of Education in Ukraine which will be focused on improving the quality of vocational education. We believe this will mean opportunities for both UK Universities and Colleges interested in offering training and consultancy to Ukrainian technical schools.
We have been working hard on developing contacts and understanding of the Georgian market, Georgia is making a concerted effort to develop itself as a destination for international students and is largely unexplored by UK universities. We have already managed to get a range of discussions going between UK clients and a number of universities in Georgia.
We are now starting some exploratory work in Azerbaijan and will report further on this in the next newsletter.
Brazil, Mexico and South Africa
We have started to develop our activity in these markets, this has involved using our local partner company to assist with on the ground support and setting up a series of initial calls with members of the senior management teams of universities in their markets.
We are already well advanced with this activity in Brazil and have identified a number of potential opportunities for collaboration with leading local private universities on franchise/validated dual degree relationships, and possible partnership on the role-out of Micro-Hubs.
We will be offering our clients a market overview interactive webinar which will involve our local teams over the next few months.
New Markets for CCG
We conducted a survey of clients earlier in the year to highlight markets where they would like CCG to be present and where we could support them with market entry and partnership development. Three countries were highlighted: Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, and we are delighted to announce we are now working on developing these markets through our local teams. Indeed we have already initiated discussions between a UK university and a leading private university on the development of franchised degree provision. We shall be sending out brief market introductions to our clients and to those interested in these markets over the next couple of months.
CCG Appoints Aziz Boussofiane as Associate Director
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Aziz Boussofiane as Associate Director. Many of you may have come across Aziz in his role of Director of International Partnerships at the University of Hertfordshire, a post he held for many years and where he was responsible for developing TNE partnerships in many markets including Malaysia, Singapore, Cyprus, Trinidad and Canada. Aziz is not only heading up our activities in Canada but will also be working with all our clients on the development of partnerships across other markets.
CCG forms A Strategic Partnership with M Square Media
We are delighted to announce our new strategic partnership with M Square Media http://msquaremedia.com/. MSM is a leading Canadian company specialising in international marketing business solutions to support universities and colleges grow their brand internationally, support the development of regional or global offices and grow international student recruitment, particularly from South Asia and Africa. MSM has currently 16 Canadian partners, 3 in the US, 1 in Ireland and 1 in the UK. This strategic partnership allows us to introduce our clients to a company that has built a strong reputation in developing and delivering student recruitment solutions.
CCG to Help Develop a National Student Retention Pilot for Lithuania
CCG and its sister company Retinent www.retinent.org have been approached by senior politicians and university leaders in Lithuania to assist with the development of a national student retention programme. Lithuania has a growing student retention problem and is keen to develop a national strategy of support and tools that universities can use to address this issue. CCG will be looking to tap into the expertise of its UK university clients to help develop the project. There will be an initial visit to Lithuania to present ideas and tools to the Lithuanian Parliament Education Committee as well as University and College leaders in March. We are keen to speak to clients who would like to be involved in this project.
Canada is fast becoming an international education powerhouse. It has now overtaken the UK as the most attractive English-speaking country for EU students, according to a recent study that highlight the damaging impact of the BREXIT vote on the UK university sector. It also now ranks as the 4th most popular destination in the world for international students, with almost 500,000 international students enrolled in 2017, which was a 20% increase over the 2016 numbers.
Part of the reason for this phenomenal success is that the Canadian government is, unlike our own, is unequivocal in their belief in the value of international students. They accept that they offer the country a huge opportunity, and indeed 51% of all international students in Canada intend to apply for permanent residency.
A number of UK universities have already secured partnerships with Canadian universities, with around 5515 students in Canada enrolled on TNE type courses with UK universities, however we believe there is scope for more and larger projects.
We are going to be focusing on supporting our clients on developing partnerships with two different types of university, the first are those universities who are not able to offer Masters Courses, presenting an opportunity for the franchising of Masters Courses , and the second group are Community Colleges, who can offer Associate Degree’s but who would be interested in franchising Top Up programmes, also allowing their students to stay for an extra year and get their UG degree.
On top of this there are also good opportunities for the development of 1+1 dual award arrangements at a PG level, and dual awards that combine in Canada franchise and UK delivery.
Some thoughts on the German market in 2018
This month we have asked our partner in Germany, David Scrimgeour, to give his overview of the German Higher Education market, as we believe there are some interesting opportunities for UK universities and colleges to explore. However, it is important to note that Germany takes a more focused effort than some other European markets (but the rewards are potentially greater) and it is important to have a clear idea of the strategy you are going to follow and be prepared to make the necessary investment to make the market a success.
If you would like to have a conversation about the market let us know and we can arrange a call.
Higher Education in Germany
There are three types of higher education institutions in Germany:
- Universities – offer strong theoretical and academically-oriented degree programmes and a broad range of disciplines. Some universities have specialised in certain subject areas e.g. technical topics, medicine and education.
- Universities of applied sciences – Instruction is strongly practice-oriented. The course work provides the theoretical background and also prepares students for the real-world requirements of professional life. Internships and practical semesters form an integral part of the degree programmes.
- Colleges of art, film and music – offer instruction in Fine Arts, Acting, Dance, Industrial and Fashion Design, Graphic Art, Instrumental Music and Singing. Students enrolled at colleges for modern media are trained to become directors, camera operators, screenwriters and film and television professionals.
There are 427 state accredited institutions in c.180 towns and cities around Germany. Together these offer a total of over 18,000 degree programmes. In the winter semester 2014/2015, almost 2.7 million students were enrolled at state-accredited institutions of higher education in Germany:
- 7 million students at 107 universities
- 930,000 students at 246 universities of applied sciences
- 35,000 students at 52 colleges of art, film and music
- 2,500 at 16 colleges of theology
- 25,000 at six universities of education
(Source: Federal Statistical Office)
English language courses – Around 900 accredited courses are offered in English and this trend is increasing. The purpose is to further develop German students’ command of English and their international experience as well as to attract foreign students to study in Germany. However, at the moment only 130 of these are bachelor degrees.
Online education – Distance learning in various forms is increasing but there remains some scepticism about this approach. There are around 100 degree courses available in English at German universities with online elements. The private universities and some new online service providers are focusing more on this area and there have been a number of start-ups and also recent international acquisitions by US groups reflecting this development.
Refugees – The university sector is responding to the refugee crisis by offering courses specifically targeted at non-German speakers and those who cannot prove their prior qualifications. In total 80 universities already have programmes to assist. German universities dealt with about 50,000 additional students in Autumn 2016, not only from Syria, but also from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. The German Ministry of Education and Research allocated €100 million for the next four years to help German universities integrate refugee students.
There are 135 private universities – most of them universities of applied sciences (see above) – in Germany whose degrees are certified by state agencies. Around 7% of students in Germany attend a private university and although private universities charge tuition fees this trend is increasing. The main drivers for this growth are the internationalisation of the education sector together with the demand from both German students and companies for more relevant HE and FE courses.
The private education sector is growing at a fast pace in the area of business studies in particular. Private universities now offer 60% of all business administration courses available in Germany. Over half of all part-time Bachelor students are enrolled at a private university.
There is a wide variety of focus, business models and ownership structures. A number of the larger groups and universities provide degree courses in English and have highly developed international networks, mainly for student exchanges. Some universities are targeting foreign students which, in turn, generate a requirement for English-language courses, particularly at Bachelor level.
Further education – Companies in Germany are engaging with private universities more readily than with the public universities although it remains a demanding and fragmented market. The growing demand for further education – “Weiterbildung” – is increasing the need for DL solutions. Some universities are specialised in this and others have not yet begun to tackle it. Nevertheless the private education sector is much more active than the public in developing distance learning solutions for FE students.
There are interesting opportunities for cooperation across Germany’s HE and FE sectors and private universities provide more immediate access for foreign institutions interested to explore Europe’s largest market. The areas of interest include joint degrees, cross-licensing of courses, teaching partnerships and the development of online education solutions.
The main modes of market entry are partnership, joint venture or acquisition. As a first step market research is necessary to identify the German target organisations which match to the strategy for business development in the German market.
If you would like to have a chat about this, please let me know by emailing Charles@consultcormack.com