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  • 9 Feb 2020 3:26 PM | Anonymous

    A Chinese investment company, Global Education Technologies, has acquired a majority stake in two sizable education agency businesses – iae China and the Global Education Alliance, both international student recruitment companies with significant presences in China.

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    About Catherine Morris
    Catherine Allison Morris is a freelance journalist and trade communications specialist who has worked with IIE, and previously for higher ed trade publication, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.

    At the time of the merger, both companies were sending approximately 6,000 students

    iae China was previously part of iae Holdings, Inc. is a global student recruitment and marketing consultancy consulting students from China, India, Korea and other countries around the world on education provision overseas.

    “The two companies are currently operating separate businesses, but later on will be merging the missions”

    Hong Kong-based GEA likewise provides overseas study counselling to students, placement and visa services, among other benefits to students.

    According to Mark Lucas, director of group administration and business development at iae Holdings, at the time of the merger, both companies were sending approximately 6,000 students overseas.

    Global Education Technologies will now be combining the business of GEA – focused in the south – and iae China – focused in the north – although both overlap in terms of operations in central China.

    “Under the new holding company, the two companies are currently operating separate businesses, but later on will be merging the missions, marketing support and training,” Lucas told The PIE News.

    “We are now full partners in [a] Taiwan and Toronto office,” he added, “and have added Mongolia and Hong Kong to our active offices via GET.”

    He explained that GEA CEO, Freeman Yeung, has been involved with iae Global since 2008. He operated iae Hong Kong for several years before setting up GEA.

    “GET will be heard more of over the next year or two,” Lucas added, explaining that GET plans to target student markets in China, Taiwan, Mongolia and Hong Kong.

    Lucas said that currently, iae China sends about 40% of its students to Australia and another 25-30% to the UK. The US, Canada and other European nations make up the rest.

    “Our numbers to Australia are still very strong… directly from GET and via our Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland offices,” Lucas noted.

    “UK was very good from China in 2019. [There were] 3,000 [students] from GET out of a combined 15,000 from iae China and GEA. We are focusing more on Canada higher education this year as well.”

    Though the number of Chinese students choosing to study in the US has more or less stagnated, according to the most recent Open Doors report, Lucas said he sees the greatest potential for growth in the US and Canada.

    Lucas also brushed off qualms about the cost of higher education in the US, saying that while universities in Australia might be cheaper, the cost of living in cities like Sydney can make that difference negligible overall.

    “The lesser-known schools [in the US] are also more likely to offer scholarships and discounts,” he added.

  • 9 Feb 2020 3:21 PM | Anonymous

    International students who remain in Canada earn between 17% and 38% less than Canadian graduates one year after graduation, a report has found. However, the salary gap appears to narrow over time as international graduates remain in the country.

    Five years after graduation, business, management and public administration international masters graduates were earning on average $37,800 less than Canadian counterparts. Photo: pexels/ Buro Millennial
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    About Viggo Stacey
    Viggo has previously worked in teaching in Germany and Turkey, until his change of career in 2017. Known as 'Sitting-Vig' to his friends, in his free time he is normally watching a film as he attempts to watch more films than anyone else.

    International students may be disadvantaged due to not having the same work rights

    “The most commonly cited challenges of respondents when approaching the labour market were that they lacked work experience”

    According to the Labour Market Information Council’s ‘How Much Do They Make?’ report, international students graduating in 2010 and finding work in Canada earned 21% – on average CAD$9,000 – less than Canadian graduates one year following graduation.

    However, the earnings differential shrinks over time, to reach 9% ($5,300) after five years, according to the report.

    The difference in earnings is by far the greatest at the master’s level, where international graduates earn $25,700 (or 38%) less than Canadian graduates in the first year, with this gap narrowing to $16,800 (or 20%) five years after graduation.

    A 2019 Statistics Canada report also found that international graduates earn less than Canadian peers with similar educational background six years after graduation.

    But when field of study is taken into account, there were some surprising findings.

    Analysing all college and university graduates from publicly-funded Canadian post-secondary institutions from 2010-2014, the LMIC report noted that international graduates of mathematics, computer and information sciences, and health and related fields masters courses tended to earn more than Canadian graduates.

    After five years following graduation, maths and information technology international masters graduates earned 7.8% more ($5,800), while health graduates were earning 6.0% more ($4,600).

    This was starkly contrasted to business, management and public administration, and education masters graduates, who were earning 35.5% ($37,800) and 40.0% ($32,400) less than Canadian graduates.

    International student and graduate employability is becoming an increasingly important issue within the Canadian sector, according to Larissa Bezo CBIE president and chief executive officer.

    Students from overseas may be disadvantaged due to not having the same work rights as their Canadian counterparts while they study, she explained.

    “International students may be less likely than Canadian students to combine school and work because of the work restrictions imposed by their study work permits which determine how much time a student can commit to working while studying,” she told The PIE News.

    A 2018 CBIE survey found that 57% of the students surveyed were unemployed, with 56% claiming they were having difficulty finding work.

    “The most commonly cited challenges of respondents when approaching the labour market were that they lacked work experience, followed by not finding appropriate jobs for their skill sets, and finally struggling to fit employment into their study schedule,” Bezo said.

    “International student and graduate employability is becoming an increasingly important issue”

    “At present, there is considerable effort being undertaken by Canadian post-secondary institutions to ensure that they have support and mechanisms in place to help international students achieve successful employability outcomes,” she added.

    International students can join co-op programs available within their institutions that allow them to gain valuable paid work experience while completing their degrees in Canada, according to the CBIE president.

    Those co-op opportunities can also encompass international opportunities in some instances, she said.

    “CBIE will be administering the next wave of its international student survey in 2020 and looks forward to gaining further insights into barriers and opportunities related to international student and graduate employability later this year.”

  • 9 Feb 2020 3:19 PM | Anonymous

    Agencies and language schools in China have advised of the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on their business, with counselling and lessons shifting online and organisations looking to defer bookings.

    In the initial stages of the outbreak the Chinese government suspended outbound group travel and a number of national airlines halted or reduced services. Earlier this week, we reported that some destinations – including Australia, the USA and New Zealand – have suspended entry to those coming from or transiting through China.

    In China itself some cities remain in lockdown, the Chinese New Year holiday period was extended, and restrictions on movement were introduced in an effort to contain the virus, effectively curtailing the face-to-face agency business.

    The novel coronavirus has impacted on day-to-day business in China.

    Jon Santangelo, Spokesperson for Chinese agency association BOSSA, told StudyTravel Magazine, “Agencies nationwide are conducting business online for the next one-to-two weeks, with counsellors consulting their students from home.” He added that BOSSA’s agent expo, the Beijing International Education Exhibition, has been postponed from March 19th to May 29th as a result of the situation.

    Jack Fei , Manager at JM Education Group in Shenzhen, commented, “Because the coronavirus outbreak was during the Chinese spring festival, we have to give a notice of unlimited extension of holiday until the government notifies the company to reopen. Everything stops. The companies and the students are preparing for their next steps so as to minimise the loss when the coronavirus is gone.”

    In terms of impact on students and bookings, Jack advised, “Most students started their study in January or they didn’t come back to China in the holiday. A few students were affected and had to cancel or change study plans; some students who plan to study in Australia are still waiting for the issue’s development, and are hoping to catch up with the March intake, subject to final information from the university or school.”

    Jack said currently the focus was to minimise the students’ losses. “We hope in the near future that schools and universities will consider helping agents recover from the disaster.”

    Ying Wu at Global Pathway advised that some winter camps for the UK have been cancelled. Looking ahead at future issues, she added, "IELTS cancelled all their China exams in February, we may face a shortening preparation time for university applications."

    Chinese language schools in mainland China have also had to pause classes and temporarily change operations.

    Jasmine Bian, President of Mandarin House , which has centres in Shanghai and Beijing, told StudyTravel Magazine that all physical classes have been suspended. “Our partners and students have been kind enough to let us defer their bookings, so we have had no cancellations so far.”

    In terms of logistics, she said that staff have been working from home, staying motivated by regular remote meetings and training, and that online classes have been arranged upon request. “Teachers and students are happy with their e-learning programmes,” she said.  

    Max Hobbs, Marketing Manager at LTL Mandarin School , also present in Beijing and Shanghai, said, “Of course, there has been an instant impact on enquiries, which are normally around the peak in January for us. All we can do is follow government legislation and stay in contact with our students and potential students as much as possible to reassure everyone of the situation.

    “Many are happy to postpone to another point in the year, many are also happy to move classes online, and a smaller percentage prefer to cancel, which we completely understand. Either way, we are trying to find a solution for every person, as every person is different.”

    BOSSA spoke about its concerns over the treatment of Chinese students.

    He continued, “Luckily for us, we also have a basis in Taipei (Taiwan) and a new one in Singapore, which allows us to appease people who are really against coming to the mainland.”

    Another concern for Chinese agents is the welfare of students that are already overseas, advised Jon. “Several reports of verbal and physical attacks on Chinese international students are most disconcerting to BOSSA and its agents. Hosting schools and universities need to communicate awareness of challenges which may arise and offer subsequent supportive actions to their students."

    This week, Universities UK and the UK Council for International Students (UKCISA) issued a joint statement expressing concern for students and stressing that any incidents of racsim will not be tolerated. 

    Jon continued, “Agents should be assured that their current students are safe and that prospective students will be given care and support in any crisis or challenge which affects them. BOSSA’s leadership is on high alert and in close contact with agent members on happenings abroad.”

    Max reflected that the period of major disruption is also an opportunity. “For us, it’s all about communication and making sure we find a solution for every single current and prospective student. This is where top-class customer service really has a chance to shine through, and we hope to do just that.”

    Jasmine added, “Things are under control, and we hope it will be over soon.”


    By Matthew Knott  

    News Editor

  • 9 Feb 2020 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    Canada has announced an express visa pilot scheme for prospective international students from Nigeria seeking study at the country’s universities and colleges.

    Prospective students from Nigeria can use a secure financial verification system, MyBank, to show that they have sufficient funds for their studies in Canada. Photo: Flickr
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    About Viggo Stacey
    Viggo has previously worked in teaching in Germany and Turkey, until his change of career in 2017. Known as 'Sitting-Vig' to his friends, in his free time he is normally watching a film as he attempts to watch more films than anyone else.

    The initiative was introduced at the EduCanada fairs in Abuja and Lagos in January 2020

    The Nigeria Student Express initiative is aimed at improving processing time for study permit applicants in the African country – with a turnaround of approximately 20 days.

    In 2019, Nigeria made 12,000 study permit applications to the country and saw 81% of potential students turned down, the third-highest rate on the African continent.

    “I see this [initiative] as a real game-changer for Canadian universities”

    A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada told The PIE News that a specialized financial verification system will be used to ensure students have sufficient funds to study in Canada.

    Prospective students with a letter of admission at a Canadian designated learning institution may use NSE to “apply using a secure financial verification system, MyBank, to show that they have sufficient funds for their studies in Canada,” the spokesperson said.

    MyBank is available from principal commercial banks in Nigeria, they added.

    “Prospective students in Nigeria can apply online as soon as they have the required documents. As the initiative has just been launched, it is too early to tell how many students will choose this option. We will continue to evaluate the success of the pilot in the coming months.”

    Although details are still “being fleshed out”, it doesn’t appear that the initiative will have an additional cost, according to managing director of SJRENNIE Consulting, Stuart Rennie.

    “The focus is very much on trying to fast track quality applications,” Rennie noted.

    Along with the My Bank verification and an offer from a Canadian Institution, a faster turnaround will be based on students having an upfront medical certificate, IELTS and an international passport.

    Rennie has worked with Canadian institutions for a number of years, including Ottawa’s Carleton University working on undergraduate recruitment via leading international schools and agency networks across Ghana and Nigeria.

    “I see this [initiative] as a real game-changer for Canadian universities who are looking to increase their presence in Nigeria.

    “It will be interesting to see if this is also rolled out to other countries such as Ghana,” Rennie added.

    The initiative was introduced to students and parents at the EduCanada fairs in Abuja and Lagos in January 2020.

The BC Career Colleges Association was established in 1977 to promote and support post secondary schools, stakeholders, students and all interested parties involved in private post-secondary education and training in BC.

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