The international schools market is booming. Places like China and the UAE are known for their strong market presence, but a recent PIE article explains that a number of other countries are emerging as increasingly popular study destinations. Here are three of them:
International student numbers in Malaysia grew from 45,000 in 2007 to reach nearly 173,000 by the end of 2016. Situated between Singapore and Thailand, and with strong cultural links to China, it’s become an attractive choice for internationally mobile students.
But Sirat at Universiti Sains Malaysia says the country “is not in the same league” as places like the UK, US and Australia, all known for being world-leading destinations for overseas students.
In fact, he claimed that “post-graduation opportunities for international students in Malaysia are not attractive at all [...] but if other countries are making it difficult for students from the Middle East and North Africa region to study abroad, Malaysia is the next best option for them.”
Russia is implementing its own internationalisation strategy; its 5-100 Russian Academic Excellence Project aims to boost the prestige of its higher education institutions. The ‘5-100’ name comes from its goal of getting five universities into the top 100 list as ranked by QS, THE or the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities.
“The vast majority of international students in Russia are from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, the former Soviet Union, and the Russians are happy to have them,” Philip Altback, founding director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College told The PIE.
He added that the Russian government, together with many top universities, has been pushing hard to internationalise in general and attract international students. And it seems the effort is paying off: international student numbers have quadrupled since 2001/02, reaching 283,000. Project Atlas also called Russia the fastest growing major higher education sector between 2014 and 2016.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans last year to attract around 350,000 overseas students, while the country’s Council of Higher Education (YOK) wants to grow the number to 200,000 by 2022, from the current 125,138.
Syrian and Azerbaijani students are the most common nationalities attending Turkey’s international schools. But while “turmoil in the Middle East can generate student demand for study in Turkey,” tensions between Turkey and other countries could hinder growth, stressed Mehmut Ugur, professor of economics and institutions at the University of Greenwich.
Ugur believes that key stakeholders in the country are pushing towards countries in central Asia and Africa where “demand is increasing.”
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