Where will they go? Student Destinations – Global Agent Survey

The latest survey of international recruitment agent views

Given that I am currently at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus on a brief visit I thought I would focus on an international story. ICEF (an international market intelligence outfit) and i-graduate have just published their 2012 global survey of international student recruitment agents’ views on destination countries. The headline figures are probably what you would expectwith the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand all showing well. But there are two particularly interesting points in this table and the commentary with it:

Year-over-year, the most remarkable change among leading destination countries can be found in Canada. Since 2008, Canada has risen fully 15 percentage points in its perceived attractiveness among education agents. Compare that to the US (a gain of 5 percentage points since 2008), the UK (a loss of 7 percentage points), Australia (a loss of 1 percentage point), and New Zealand (a gain of 3 percentage points). In 2008, Canada was tied with Australia in third place; in 2012, it is tied with the UK in second. Asian agents in particular registered a great surge in how attractive they consider Canada.

The first is the rise and rise of Canada as a destination. It is really impressive and this perceived attractiveness has, I believe, been confirmed in international student recruitment data. The second is the UK’s decline over the past five years but its stability in the most recent two years when the government’s significantly anti-immigration stance has been most pronounced. The fear must be though that this will get worse in future as the impact of visa restrictions and the reputational fall-out from the London Met debacle bites.

It will be really interesting to see how this plays out in future.

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New Zealand “winning the educational rankings war”

New Zealand claims to be top of the world in higher education

Some new year cheer from what is undoubtedly the most entertaining interpretation of league table data for some time from Education New Zealand:

In the global battle to attract international students, academic rankings have become an important tool and one of the main factors used to help students decide where they want to study. New Zealand’s consistently high quality of education has given this country the edge when it comes to staying ahead of the pack.
“University rankings have always been a bit controversial as they tend to favour older, larger universities,” says Education New Zealand’s Chief Executive Robert Stevens. “Given New Zealand’s small size, we are thrilled that our universities continue to put us on top of the academic world.”

Stevens is referring to the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities released by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. It is one of the most used rankings in the world, and this year has featured five of New Zealand’s eight universities in its “Top 500” list.

Universities in the rest of the world clearly don’t measure up:

“No other country has 63% of its universities included on that list. We are absolutely leading the pack,” says Robert Stevens. The only country that came close to matching New Zealand’s performance was the Netherlands, with 61% of their universities on the list. Australia had 43% of their universities make the list, and the UK had 35%. The US, despite dominating the Top 100, had only 8% of their total number of universities feature on the rankings. The New Zealand universities which featured on the rankings were: University of Auckland, University of Otago, Massey University, University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington.

Everyone else should probably just give up now.