Today’s entry is by Professor Christine Ennew, Pro Vice Chancellor (Internationalisation/Science) and Professor of Marketing, University of Nottingham, UK. Professor Ennew has responsibility for Internationalisation and the Faculty of Science. She was formerly Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education and is also Professor of Marketing in the Business School.
I’ve run into Professor Ennew in various settings, and have always found her to be one of the most astute practitioner-analysts with respect to the globalization of higher education and research. This entry stands by itself, but also ties into some of our previous entries in GlobalHigherEd regarding branch campuses and the ‘export‘ of higher education services (to use GATS parlance). Prof. Ennew raises some important points regarding the impact of political decisions regarding inflows of international students and how problematic it is to assume the increased export of education services (via a branch campus) can compensate for reduced imports of foreign students. More importantly, these two forms of ‘internationalization’ at the institutional scale are vastly different, and enable universities (and societies, more broadly) to pursue substantially different objectives. They are linked strategies, but ‘apples and oranges’ with respect to dynamic and outcome.
For those of us who have long been active in developing educational and research provision outside the UK, it is heartening to learn that David Willets [Minister of State for Universities and Science] is keen to address the barriers to greater engagement by UK universities in overseas ventures. Developments such as international campuses (a major focus of recent discussions in the UK Government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) have the potential to bring genuine benefits to individual institutions and to the sector as a whole. They provide an opportunity to work with talented students and academics who might not otherwise have engaged with UK HE; they offer distinctive mobility opportunities for staff and students; they can provide novel research opportunities and they contribute to the global reputation of UK HE.
But we should be careful not to delude ourselves that this activity is an “export” in any substantive economic sense. One of the distinctive features of an “export” is the generation of a flow of income to the home country in return for the provision of a service to an overseas market. UK HE already has an outstanding record in exporting HE, through the stream of international students who arrive every year to study at UK Universities. These students generate significant export earnings through the fees that they pay (perhaps as much as £8bn annually) and provide an additional economic impact through their spending while studying in the UK. More significantly perhaps, they contribute to the diversity and quality of the student body and in the longer term they help to build positive and enduring relationships between the UK and a range of other countries across the world.
The international record of UK higher education is now seriously threatened by a damaging immigration policy which BIS has been unable to counter. And the consequence for the sector and the economy of a significant drop in internationally mobile students coming to study in the UK could be disastrous – both in terms of a loss of talent and a loss of income. More insidiously the idea that we can simply substitute new income from international campuses for lost income from internationally mobile students suggests that financial motives dominate our interest in internationalisation in higher education. That is not to suggest that export earnings do not matter. They do. But internationally mobile students studying on UK campuses bring so much more for the student experience on campus and to the longer term position of the UK in the world economy and we must not under-estimate these non-financial benefits from international student recruitment.
And, it would be misguided to think that the establishment of campuses overseas (however funded) could be a substitute for international students coming to study in the UK. The experience of the University of Nottingham with its campuses in Malaysia and China has been hugely positive and the benefits of campus development have been considerable. But net income isn’t one of them. International campuses receive their income within the country in which they operate and incur most of their costs in that same location. Financially they are substantially based in their host economy. Almost by definition then, there will be relatively low income flows back to the home country.
Done well and done properly, an international campus will be economically viable, certainly in the medium term and will deliver a range of other non-monetary benefits. But, expecting any resulting revenues to replace the lost income that will materialise if the Home Office ever gets close to its targets for reducing net migration to the UK is both unrealistic and dangerous. In the longer term interests of the UK economy and its world leading Universities, international campuses and internationally mobile students must be seen as complementary initiatives in internationalisation, not alternatives.
Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony was unexpectedly enjoyable. From the opening ring (courtesy of Bradley Wiggins) of a 27 ton bell, to the closing festivities, it conveyed a multilayered and multivalent sense of many aspects of what Britain is and isn’t (a point deftly made by the New Yorkerlate last night). As Boyle himself put it, ‘The Ceremony is an attempt to capture a picture of ourselves as a nation, where we have come from and where we want to be.”
I always watch the opening ceremonies of Olympics, partly because I conduct research, off and on, regarding the urban impacts of mega-events like the Olympics and World’s Fairs. This said the opening ceremony for the London Games resonated with me in a particular way because of experiences in Britain as a foreign student from 1992-1995, and then as a junior lecturer (1996-1997), both in Bristol in the South West of England.
What struck me? Well, the Olympic opening ceremony flagged the music, the landscapes (urban and rural), the family dynamics, the cultural politics, and the institutions (including the National Health Service, NHS) I encountered on a regular basis as a foreign student. Britain is relatively small so students can travel around easily and experience diverse geographies including the bustling global city of London (via a cheap shoppers’ express bus), deindustrialized parts of the Midland’s Black Country, and subtly different ‘rural idylls’ via train, car and foot. I lived in Bristol with my wife Janice, also a Canadian, and we have abundant memories of experiences in these diverse geographies, as well as with fellow students, advisors (in my case the superb duo of Nigel Thrift & Keith Bassett), quirky staff, and an astonishing range of Bristolians in the city. These positive experiences were all jolted back to life via segments of the opening ceremony last night.
Glimmers of quality British TV, cinema, literature, and radio were also abundant in the opening ceremony, though perhaps somewhat of a challenge to connect to for people with little understanding of Britain’s history and geographies. For example, a relatively small number of TV and radio stations (this is a pre-Sirius XM world), with quite a few high quality shows on them, kept us busy on many evenings after our first son was born (thank you, Saint Michael’s Hospital & the NHS). Many of these shows, or the actors and musicians evident in them (e.g., on Later with Jools Holland), were unique from a foreign students’ perspective, and I detected several of them in the multi-decade segment regarding family/music/technology in last night’s opening ceremony.
[for the life of me I can’t understand why the UK inflicts the wretched BBC Canada and BBC America on North Americans when there is so much more to offer]
British cities were also served by real bookstores (thank you, Blackwell’s Bookshop) during our stay and it was in these that we sourced our newborn son’s first picture books on top of all sorts of other books. The respect for literature, and the imagination, was also evident in the opening ceremony.
I also enjoyed the sense of seriousness, mixed with irreverence, in the ceremony. More specifically, it was the intermingling of moments of tribute (e.g., regarding World War I’s soldiers, the suffragette movement, the establishment of trade unions, national healthcare), humour (e.g., Rowan Atkinson (aka Mr Bean), James Bond and a skydiving Queen), and cultural production, that dredged up ever so many memories of good/quick humour, critical debate, biting satire, and thoughtful discourse, in my Britain circa 1992-1997.
Each experience abroad for a foreign student (and other family members in cases) generates a multitude of impacts, with only two being the degree acquired and the so-called ‘export earnings’ generated. Even terms like ‘soft power,’ a concept designed to capture a utilitarian and strategic dynamic, are not effective in helping shed light on the international student dynamic. While I am only drawing upon my own experiences here as a child of the Commonwealth, key stakeholders would be wise to remember that many aspects of international student mobility cannot be quantified, nor strategized about, yet they matter in quite significant if complicated ways.
Note: I asked HESA if they broke the data down further, and delineated undergraduate vs postgraduate numbers & percentages for non-EU domicile students. Their response included the following:
HESA finance data does not distinguish between undergraduate and postgraduate tuition fee income for non-EU students.
The HESA student data does show the numbers of non-EU students by level of study. Please see the fourth table in this release for a simple breakdown of student numbers by domicile and level: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/pr172.
While all of the sections are worth reading, I always find the data regarding international student mobility too hard to resist glancing at when the report first comes out. These six graphics, and associated highlights (all but the first extracted from the highlights version of Education at a Glance 2011) will give you a flavour of some of the noteworthy student mobility trends. Further details regarding mobility trends and patterns can be found in the full report (pp. 318-339).
How many students study abroad?
In 2009, almost 3.7 million tertiary students were enrolled outside their country of citizenship, representing an increase of more than 6% on the previous year.
Just over 77% of students worldwide who study abroad do so in OECD countries.
In absolute terms, the largest numbers of international students are from China, India and Korea. Asians account for 52% of all students studying abroad worldwide.
Where do students go to study abroad?
Six countries – Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States – hosted more than half of the world’s students who studied abroad in 2009.
The United States saw a significant drop as a preferred destination of foreign students between 2000 and 2009, falling from about 23% of the global market share to 18%.
The shares of foreign students who chose Australia and New Zealand as their destination grew by almost 2%, as did that in the Russian Federation, which has become an important new player on the international education market.
How many international students stay on in the host country?
Several OECD countries have eased their immigration policies to encourage the temporary or permanent immigration of international students, including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, New Zealand and Norway.
Many students move under a free-movement regime, such as the European Union, and do not need a residence permit to remain in their country of study.
On average, 25% of international students who did not renew their student permits changed their student status in the host country mainly for work-related reasons.
Other complementary reports released over the last month include:
The reworking of the global higher education landscape continues to generate a wide array of ripple effects at a range of scales (from the local through to the global). While not perfect, the OECD’s annual Education at a Glance 2011 does an excellent job providing much of the available data on these trends, and on a wide array of issues and phenomenon that help to shape these mobility outcomes. A comparative perspective, after all, helps to flag the place of individual countries’ in the broader and ever evolving landscape; a landscape that countries play a significant role in both constructing, and reacting to.
Editors’ note: our sincere thanks to Jason Baumgartner (Indiana University Bloomington), Julie Chambers (Institute of International Education) and Robert Gutierrez (Institute of International Education) for permitting us to post their NAFSA 2010 slideshow here. As our regular readers know, GlobalHigherEd has run a series of entries on this theme including:
Unanimously passed on December 16th 2009, the Bill now enables UNILA to formally announce itself as a university, instead of a fledging project under the banner of the Institute for Advanced Studies, with oversight by the University of Parana, in the Brazilian state of Parana.
UNILA is one of three regional integration universities launched by Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2006 to advance Brazil’s interests within the region and globally. The other two university projects are UNILAB – the Afro-Brazilian University of Integration, and UNIAM – the University of Amazonian Integration.
These Brazilian initiatives were the latest addition to a rapidly changing higher education landscape around the globe, and one that is set to continue in 2010 (as implied in a recent NY Times report about the implications of the collapse of Dubai’s overheated economy for branch campuses such as Michigan State University and Rochester Institute of Technology).
As Kris Olds wrote in his introduction to Coulter’s entry:
KAUST is a unique experiment in how to organize an institution to facilitate innovation in scientific knowledge production, a secure and efficient compound (hence Saudi Aramco’s involvement), a defacto sovereign wealth fund, a demonstration effect for new approaches to higher education in Saudi Arabia, and many other things (depending on standpoint).
So what do these initiatives have in common? Money aside (KAUST has an endowment of around US$11bn), but like KAUST, Brazil’s three new universities reflect a shared ambition: to use international higher education networks to advance cultural, political and economic projects.
However while KAUST is aimed at developing a world class national university in Saudi Arabia via the recruitment of global talent (academics and students), state of the art buildings and cutting edge development projects, UNILA, UNILAB and UNIAM are aimed at creating a ‘supranational’, ‘global’ and ‘regional’ university respectively, drawing upon staff and students from within the wider region, or from across south-south networks (UNILAB) – though each, as I will show below, have distinctive visions and territorial reaches with UNILAB the most global.
In August of 2009, I had the privilege of attending the official launch of UNILA. Close to the fabulous Iguacu Falls, in Foz, Parana, UNILA is being developed on a 43 hectare site granted by Itaipu Binacional, the bi-national energy company running the huge hydro-electric dam providing energy to Paraguay and the southern cone of Brazil.
The objectives of UNILA are to pursue inter-regional trans-disciplinary research and teaching in areas of joint interest of the MERCOSUL member countries (Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay) focusing, for example, upon use of natural resources, trans-border biodiversity, social sciences and linguistic research, international relations as well as relevant disciplines for strategic development.
Unlike KAUST, however, whose model is US-oriented (in becoming the MIT of the East, the ‘Stanford by the Seashore’), UNILA’s mission and approach to knowledge is shaped by a distinctive Latin American commitment. Each course has a Patron and a Founder.
The first Patrons have been chosen for being Latin American names who have left relevant academic-scientific contributions associated to a field of knowledge , while course founders have been appointed for the high academic prestige in their respective fields of knowledge as well as renowned international competence in their specialities.
10 Professorial Chairs have been appointed to UNILA. Each Chair has a mandate to develop courses in ways that are inspired by, and advance, the intellectual legacy of the Patron. For instance, in the area of science, technology and innovation, founding Chair, Hebe Vessuri, will draw inspiration from the patron Amilcar Herrerra (1920-1995) – an Argentinean geologist who valued inter-disciplinary knowledge and who have argued that the solution to problems lay not with science as progress, but in the interface with policy and politics.
These patrons are clearly not the organic intellectuals of the ruling classes. Many of these patrons, such as the Chilean writer Francisco Bilbao (1823-65), and Paraguay’s Augusto Roa Bastos (1917-2005), have spent years in exile.
The target student population for UNILA is 10,000 students enrolled in undergraduate and post-graduate programmes leading to MA and PhD degrees. Entrants will be required to sit a university entry examination that will be offered in two versions: one with a Portuguese language requirement for Brazilian citizens and a Spanish Language for the foreign candidates of eligible member countries. Lectures will be offered in both Portuguese and Spanish, as it is expected that half of the teaching staff will be from the regional member countries.
By way of contrast with UNILA, UNILAB is the most global in ambition. This unilateral Portuguese-speaking Afro-Brazilian University of Integration will have campuses in various Portuguese speaking countries (Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, Sâo Tomé and Príncipe, and East Timor). Expected to open for enrolment in the beginning of 2010, UNILAB is hailed as a political-pedagogic innovation project (see here for information on UNILAB developments).
The principal aim of UNILAB is to encourage and strengthen co-operation, partnerships, and cultural, educational and scientific exchanges between Brazil an member states of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) listed above. UNILAB will also focus on collaboration with the African countries of the CPLP, aiming to contribute to these nations’ socio-economic development, including reducing ‘brain drain’ problems currently experienced by African countries.
UNILAB is intended to become an integrated multi-campus institution with campuses in all the African member countries of the CPLP. Each of these campuses will also be integrated within the regions where they are located. Its main campus will be established in the city of Redenção in Brazil’s North-Eastern state of Ceará, approximately 60 kilometres from the city of Fortaleza. Redenção has been selected to host the main campus because it was the first municipality that had abolished slavery in Brazil, and because the region currently does not yet host a university. The main campus is also expected to function as an instrument for the strategic social-economic development of the North-East of Brazil.
We will not offer traditional programmes, but instead we will construct a common identity between the countries, that makes it possible to contribute to the social-economic development of each of the countries involved.
The third, more regional, initiative, Universidade Federal da Integração Amazônica, or UNIAM, will be established as a public multi-campus university, with a main campus in the Brazilian city of Santarém, and three satellite campuses in the cities Itaituba, Monte Alegre and Oriximiná, all located in Brazil’s state of Pará.
The main aim of UNIAM will be to encourage social-economic integration of the Amazon region, which includes not only parts of Brazil, but also areas of eight surrounding countries.
UNIAM’s main campus will be established in the Brazilian city of Santarém, and three satellite campuses in the cities Itaituba, Monte Alegre and Oriximiná, all located in Brazil’s state of Pará. The aim of the new institution will be to encourage social-economic integration of the Amazon region, which includes not only parts of Brazil, but also areas of eight surrounding countries.
While it is unclear at the moment when the new university will open for enrolment, by 2013 UNIAM is expected to offer 41 programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral levels. The Brazilian government will reportedly cover the US$107 million budget that will be needed to pay for the establishment and personnel costs of the new university until 2012.
Described by the Brazilian Ministry of Education as particular ‘political-pedagogic innovation projects’, these three new universities are intended to enhance national, regional and global integration, and demonstrate to the world that it may be possible to unite different countries through education.
These are fascinating initiatives likely to liven up the global higher education landscape in 2010. They reflect not only emerging regionalisms, but potential shifts in the sites and stakes of global and regional knowledge production and power.
Editor’s note: this contribution, by Christopher Ziguras examines the complex factors shaping ongoing debates, and recent crisis, about Indian students in Australia. Christopher Ziguras (pictured to the right) is Associate Professor of International Studies in the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT, Melbourne. His research focuses on international education policy, particularly related to higher education in the Asia Pacific region. Dr Ziguras teaches within the Global Studies discipline at RMIT University. He was a founding member of the Globalism Research Centre and has continued to be closely involved with the Centre since its establishment in 2002. He manages the Learning Cities program within RMIT’s Global Cities Research Institute, and established RMIT’s Research in International and Comparative Education (RICE) network in 2007. Our thanks to Chris for his illuminating contribution.
Eventually something had to give. The number of Indian students coming to study in Australia had been growing for several years at extraordinary rates, and nobody expected the bubble to last. But it was difficult to predict what would trigger the collapse.
In 2002 there was just over 11,000 Indian students in Australia, and by 2005 this number had grown to over 27,000. Australia is accustomed to such sudden surges in demand from particular countries, and this number was still a very small proportion of the total international student population of around 400,000 in 2005. However, by last year enrolments had grown even more rapidly up to nearly 100,00 students, and most of the growth was in private vocational colleges where enrolments of Indian students increased at a startling rate, from 2,600 to 47,400 in three years.
VET = Vocational Education and Training (postsecondary certificate and diploma programs from one to four semesters duration)
ELICOS = English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students
Higher Education = degree level and graduate programs
Other includes private higher education and public and private primary and secondary schools
(Data source: Australian Education International)
Up until around 2005 most Indian students seeking permanent residency in Australia undertook masters programs, usually in information technology and accounting. This was a perfectly rational response to the key planks of Australia’s skilled migration framework, which seeks to identify those occupations where graduates are in high demand in the labour market, and prioritises applicants with Australian tertiary qualifications, who in the past have been shown to been more successful in the labour market than migrants with overseas qualifications. So Indian students quite rightly reasoned, “I would like to live in Australia and Australia wants accounting graduates so I will do an accounting degree and stay on in Australia”. Enrolments of international students in programs that enabled students to obtain residence (subject to various other conditions), grew very rapidly. In 2004-05 three quarters Indian students graduating from Australian university programs obtained permanent residency.
The only problem with this had been that many international graduates in these areas of migration demand were not subsequently employed in the fields for which they had studied. Migration requirements were tightened to mandate higher levels of English proficiency and professional experience, and these had the effect of dampening demand somewhat for some university programs.
In 2005 the Australian government increased the number of points international graduates needed to obtain permanent residency, meaning that many international students had to undertake further studies in an area of migration demand that would provide extra points. A number of trades (including hairdressing) had been included on the occupations in demand list for some time, and soon after raising the number of points required cooking was added to the list of occupations for which extra points would be awarded. Private colleges responded quickly be developing new cooking and hairdressing programs that would give students enough points to get through. Some private colleges are very high quality institutions with a wide range of programs for local and international students, but there are low quality providers who cater almost exclusively to international students seeking fast and easy qualifications to support migration applications. By last year, 14,400 Indian students were studying in private colleges in programs grouped under the ‘food, hospitality and personal services’ classification, accounting more than a quarter of all students in these programs.
For several years many in the Australian international education industry have been warning that the rapid growth of private colleges providers focused on migration pathway programs posed serious threats to vulnerable students, who were sometimes willing to pay hefty fees and tolerate poor facilities and teaching in return for a piece of paper that would assist them to gain residency. There was also a concern that the actions of these colleges could bring the entire Australian education system into disrepute internationally. The industry group representing private educational institutions, the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, was the most outspoken voice calling for more active investigation and prosecution of substandard providers, recognising that the organisation’s members had most to lose from the actions of rogue providers.
Enrolments in migration oriented programs in private colleges continued to grow, with no sign of slowing, however, the numbers of students in certain programs was beginning to far exceed Australia’s workforce requirements in those occupations. The head of the Professional Hairdressers Association complained last year that private colleges were “bastardising the industry”, by taking in large numbers of international students intending to apply for permanent residency, very few of whom intended to work in the industry. This situation has been compounded by rising unemployment in Australia, as elsewhere. A significant tightening of the student migration policy appears inevitable, but would be devastating for tens of thousands of young people who had invested heavily in study in Australia only to return home with qualifications of very limited value in their home country after wasting much time and money chasing permanent residency.
Australia’s Indian student bubble appears now to have been popped, but by thugs rather than by government. After the terrible attacks on Indian international students, and the extensive media coverage in India, the number of Indian students coming to Australia is expected to drop dramatically.
Last year there were several cases of violent attacks on Indian taxi drivers, which led to highly publicised street protests. At around 3:00 am on 29 April 2008 a 23 year-old Indian international student, Jalvinder Singh, working as a taxi driver in Melbourne was stabbed by a passenger. The following night Indian taxi drivers staged a 24-hour protest blocking one of the city’s most prominent intersections, calling for improved security for drivers, including security screens to be installed in all taxis, and for improved security around suburban railway stations.
The state government agreed to phase in security screens and to fully investigate all attacks. A 45 year-old man was charged with attempted murder. On 18 May 2008 in Adelaide an Indian international student, Balraj Singh, driving a taxi was assaulted late at night by two 24 year-old men, who were subsequently charged with aggravated assault and robbery. Hundreds of taxi drivers staged protests in Adelaide, with similar demands to the Melbourne protests.
There has been a long history of violent attacks against taxi drivers in Australia, but what has changed is the ethnic composition of the workforce. A very large proportion of taxi drivers are now Indian, and the more experienced drivers, who are usually from more established migrant communities, tend to work day shifts while Indian students who study during the day and have less ability to pick and choose their shifts, are left to work night shifts, especially on weekends, which are notoriously dangerous. After the Adelaide attach the head of the Cab Drivers Association told local media, “We’ve got drivers out there that are not properly trained that the government refuses to recognise this – it’s a critical issue in inflaming these assaults. We are exploiting our immigrants by getting them to become cheap labour in the taxi industry…. I mean we should have the decency at least to train them properly, to skill them on what sort of situations they could face out there and we should have more interest in the work environment.” These attacks led to discussions between the Indian consul general, South Australian government and police, as well as taxi industry, and drivers’ representatives. However, while some branches of government were working hard to try to improve driver security, many international students driving taxis were in fear of immigration authorities who were carrying out inspections at taxi ranks to ensure that international students were not working more than the 20 hour limit imposed by student visas.
Last year the attacks seemed confined to taxi drivers, but in 2009 a series of serious assaults against Indian students in a one-month period in Melbourne and Sydney resulted in street protests in both cities and a media storm in India, with serious political repercussions in both countries. On 9 May Sourabh Sharma, 21, a hospitality management student was beaten up on a train by a group of teenagers. He was returning home in the evening after a shift at KFC. Four teenagers were charged over the assault. Security video footage of the attack, made public later in May, was broadcast extensively in Australia and India, showing a group of teenage boys who appeared to be of diverse racial backgrounds repeatedly punching and kicking Sourabh, who sustained a broken jaw and extensive bruising from the attack. On 25 May Baljinder Singh, 25, an Indian cookery student, was stabbed in the stomach in an attempted robbery while leaving a suburban railway station. The following day four Indian students were attacked when a birthday party at their home was gatecrashed by two teenage boys. One of the students, Sravan Kumar Theerthala, 25, who studied automotive technology in a private college, was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver by one of the intruders, putting him in a coma. A 17 year-old has been charged with attempted murder.
Photographs of Kumar and Singh, one unconscious in hospital with head bandaged and tubes protruding from his nose and mouth, the other on a hospital bed displaying a large bandaged stab wound, were shown prominently on Indian television and in newspapers. Television current affairs programs and newspaper editorials speculated about the root causes of this apparent “wave of racist attacks”. Was this caused by Australian resentment at India’s growing status in the world and the newfound affluence of Indians abroad, some asked. As stories of previous assaults on Indians in Australia emerged others asked whether the Australian media had been covering up these racist attacks.
The political response in India was fast and furious. On 29 May Australia’s High Commissioner to India was summoned to a meeting with Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, who urged Australia to ensure the events were not repeated. India’s High Commissioner to Australia travelled to Melbourne to convey her government’s concern to Victorian police, government and educational representatives. The Prime Ministers and the Foreign Ministers of the two countries discussed the issue with their counterparts, all expressing their abhorrence at the attacks. On 30 May Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan announced he would turn down an honorary doctorate from the Queensland University of Technology that he had previously agreed to accept. On 6 June Bollywood’s largest union, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees called on its members to stop filming in Australia, its leader proclaiming, “We prefer to call it a non-cooperation movement because we feel what is happening in Australia is painful and shameful. The Australian government is just not taking adequate steps to find the culprits”. This comes after a string of big-budget Bollywood films have been filmed and set in Australia in recent years.
In Australia, the response was quite different. Violent attacks by young men against other young men are not uncommon occurrences, and as around one in three people living in Melbourne and Sydney was born outside Australia it is very common for either the victim or perpetrator to be a foreigner. In Australia debate hinged on whether the attacks were racially motivated, that is whether some young men (of various ethnic backgrounds) were targeting Indian students, or whether Indian students were finding themselves in the wrong places at the wrong times. For example, one senior editor with the Australian newspaper criticized the Victorian government for downplaying the racist character of the attacks, while other articles in that newspaper have pointed to the diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds of the perpetrators of the attacks. While there are some young Anglo-Australian men who are xenophobic and who have mounted ugly demonstrations against the “invasion” of their suburbs by immigrants (most famously in Cronulla in Sydney), there has been little indication that these particular assaults were motivated by such white racist backlash, though some surely are. The “survival tips” put forward by an Indian graduate from an Adelaide university paint a frightening picture of the threat posed by violent white teenagers. The student’s advice, titled ‘Adopt their culture without compromising on yours’, concludes that “Mostly all matured Australians are quite friendly with a great sense of humour. The whole Australian community should not be judged just because of the behaviour and the manners of some of the most ill bred Aussie teenagers.”
A major incident in early June in Sydney highlighted the complexity of the racial issues. On 8 and 9 June Indian students staged large protests in a low-income neighbourhood where in recent years Indians have surpassed Lebanese as the largest ethnic group. The protests were sparked by an attack on an Indian student by a group of young men of Middle Eastern background. Indian students claimed that the police were not doing enough to protect them from Lebanese gangs. Indian protesters attacked three uninvolved Lebanese men and police brought in the reinforcements to control the crowd.
(Students at a Melbourne private college participate in the city’s ‘Harmony Walk’, held in response to attacks on Indian international students, photograph: Christopher Ziguras)
But why Indian students? Nearly half a million international students studied in Australia last year, but Indian students seem to be suffering the most from violent attacks. Some research has suggested that many of the Indian students who are attracted to vocational programs in private colleges are from less affluent backgrounds, and have lower levels of English language proficiency, compared with those who enrol in university programs. These students are able to obtain loans with which they can pass the financial means test to obtain a student visa to Australia, but they are understandably reluctant to draw down on those loans and instead seek to earn enough in Australia to pay their tuition fees and living expenses. Compared with other international students in Australia, students from India appear to be more dependent upon income from shift work, such as driving taxis, stacking supermarket shelves, and working in convenience stores and as security guards. They are more likely to be living in outer suburbs with cheaper housing, and therefore travelling late on trains more often, and in areas where street violence is more common. Gender is an issue too, as assaults against strangers on and around public transport are generally perpetrated by young men on other young men, the vast majority of Indian students are male whereas East and South East Asian students are evenly split by gender. As a result one would expect a greater rate of assaults against Indian students.
In a subsequent post I will discuss the responses of Australian federal and state governments, which have been diverse and ever-expanding. What started with a damage-control response to publicity about violence against students from India may well lead to significant changes in international education policy, with most attention being focused on some private colleges and their overseas agents, and many people asking how Australia’s major cities can better ensure the safety and security of the hundreds of thousands of young people from abroad who study in Australia each year.
Editor’s note: this guest entry was kindly prepared by Jason Baumgartner (pictured to the right) of Indiana University in the United States. Jason has worked for the Office of International Services at Indiana University since 1999. He is the lead software developer of the iOffice application suite, which is a comprehensive immigration case management solution to enable staff to proactively assist international students and scholars in maintaining their lawful stay without interruption. This software is utilized by international offices throughout the Indiana University system and is licensed to other universities throughout the country. He is a member of NAFSA. He developed the current algorithm and conducts the annual analysis (since 2000) for the NAFSA Economic Impact of International Students. He has a Master’s in Information Science from Indiana University.
As I’ve noted before, we welcome guest entries on this issue from people studying the issue in any country, be they government officials, academics, consultants, or graduate students. The issue of understanding the economic impact of foreign students is severely underdeveloped, with little reflection on how different analytical models (and associated assumptions) can generate very different findings. Our thanks to Jason Baumgartner for his help in moving thinking about this issue forward. Kris Olds
NAFSA’s annual economic impact statements estimates the amount of money international students bring to the United States to support their education and stay. For the 2007-2008 academic year it is estimated that international students contributed approximately $15.54 billion to the U.S. economy. The following graph outlines the growth of this economic impact over the last 30 years:
The economic impact is defined as the amount of money that international students collectively bring into the United States to pay for their education and to support themselves while they (and in some cases, their families) are here.
The methodology used to calculate the economic impact has been greatly refined over that last three decades with the current model in place since 2000. The current algorithm in use was developed by Jason Baumgartner and Lynn Schoch at Indiana University – Bloomington’s Office of International Services. The analysis of the dataset has been conducted each year since 2000 by Jason Baumgartner.
The goal of this economic impact formula is to use data already collected for other purposes to provide a reasonable estimate of the economic resources that international students import to the United States to support their education here each year. The following figure outlines the algorithm:
The data sets used for this analysis comes from the following two sources:
Peterson’s provides cost figures for tuition, living, and miscellaneous expenses at U.S. institutions for the academic year. In some prior years this information came from College Board.
The extensive data provided by these two sources (which collect it directly from surveys of the institutions involved) allow us to make our estimates sensitive to differences between institutions. However, there are still areas where our estimates and formulas could be improved. For example, we compute economic impact only for students reported in Open Doors. Universities that do not provide information to the Institute of International Education are not represented. Also, enrollment reports represent peak enrollment, and not necessarily enrollment levels throughout the year.
To estimate expenses we use tuition, fees, and living expenses estimates derived from Peterson’s data collected on surveys completed by institutions every year. We try to make our calculations sensitive not only to differing costs at institutions, but differing costs for ESL students, undergraduates, graduate students, and students on practical training as follows:
Undergraduates and English Language Programs: The number of undergraduate students at an institution is specified by Open Doors data. Peterson’s data provide undergraduate tuition and fee amounts, on-campus room and board amounts, and miscellaneous expenses. These categories are sometimes broken down into averages for international, out-of-state, flat rate, and in-state, students. When multiple averages are available, we choose averages in the order given above.
Graduate Students: The number of graduate students at an institution is specified by Open Doors data. Peterson’s data provide graduate tuition and fee amounts, on-campus room and board amounts, and miscellaneous expenses. If there are no differentiated graduate expenses provided by an institution in the Peterson’s data then the undergraduate expenses would be applied.
Students on Practical Training: We assume these students earn enough in their U.S. jobs to pay living and educational expenses for the year, and so import no funds for their support. Therefore, net economic impact of students in practical training is zero.
Economic impact of an international student equals tuition and fees, plus room and board, plus miscellaneous figured at 50 percent of room and board, less U.S. support. We assume that spring enrollment figures are the same as the fall figures reported, that all students are enrolled full time for two semesters or three quarters a year, and that students live on campus for the full year. The miscellaneous expenses, enumerated in Peterson’s data, average about 40 percent of room and board expenses. We use a 50 percent figure as an approximation that includes all extra expenses except for travel.
The amount of U.S. support given to international students is calculated to subtract from the expenses in order to establish a greater sense of the export dollars flowing into the U.S. economy. For this analysis the Open Doors survey is used; which asks schools to report the percentage of their students who are self-funded, the percentage who have U.S. source income, etc. The U.S. support percentage includes funding from a U.S. college or university, the U.S. Government, a U.S. private sponsor or current employment. For this analysis the percentages are calculated based upon the institution’s Carnegie classification and the academic career of the student. For example, this process will differentiate the level of support between undergraduates and graduates at a particular research institution while it also differentiates between a baccalaureate classified institution from an associate’s classified institution.
This model represents the export dollars brought in to each institution, state, and the overall U.S. economy that can be tracked over time. This provides a good measure for comparisons to other export data, such as data published by the Department of Commerce. This estimate also takes into account any U.S. funding or employment the international students may be receiving in an effort to best represent these export dollars flowing into the U.S. economy. This provides for an algorithm that identifies and estimates for this large U.S. export, provides a political argument for support of international education at both the national and university level, provides a trend of this data going back many years, and is very sound to hold up to the political nature of critiques of this statistical analysis.
There is no multiplier effect calculated within this analysis which may provide an even greater representation of the end result of these export dollars in terms of the additional revenue generated by the flow of these dollars throughout the overall U.S. economy. Instead this model focuses on core export dollars as a result of international students studying within the United States.
Vivek Wadhwa, Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University (‘Our Real Problem Is the Brain Drain’)
Norman Matloff, computer science professor, U.C. Davis (‘Suppressing Wages With Younger Workers’)
Guillermina Jasso, sociology professor, N.Y.U. (‘A Work Force in Motion’)
Ron Hira, public policy professor, Rochester Institute of Technology (‘Training Your Own Replacement’)
Mark Heesen, National Venture Capital Association (‘Why Reject Entrepreneurial Spirit?’)
John Miano, lawyer and computer programmer (‘Low Salaries, Low Skill’)
The debate has generated nearly 400 comments within day 1, and many (well some…) are worth reading to acquire a sense of the complexity of the issue and the often divergent viewpoints that exist. Recall that the outcome of such debates have huge implications for graduate education in US universities, as well as the associated processes of ‘brain circulation’, ‘brain drain’, ‘brain gain’, etc.
I should add that the New York Times has a truly excellent group of cartographers on staff (I am biased here…some have UW-Madison ties). The team has developed an associated interactive map (‘Immigration and Jobs: Where U.S. Workers Come From‘), and one of the many maps they produced is pasted in below.
The USA’s experience with the ongoing economic crisis has been generating some illuminating debates about the possible tightening of post-graduation options for foreign students (including in the STEM disciplines, as well as in Business). Today’s Washington Post, for example, includes an article titled ‘U.S. visa limits hit Indian workers: job offers rescinded or hard to come by‘. The article includes these two segments:
As the U.S. economy slows, highly skilled foreign professionals seeking work under various visa programs are finding it harder to get jobs. President Obama’s stimulus package stops U.S. companies, largely in banking and financial services, that take federal bailout money from hiring H-1B visa holders for two years if they have laid off American workers in the previous six months. The administration has vowed to tighten restrictions and step up oversight of all work visa applications.
The H-1B program brings in about 85,000 skilled foreign workers every year, ostensibly to fill jobs that U.S. workers cannot or will not do. But some companies in the science and technology fields, afraid of a backlash over hiring foreign professionals rather than American ones, are rescinding job offers. Analysts say it is part of a wave of mounting anger in the United States over work visas, especially at a time when more than half a million Americans are being laid off every month.
“Hiring H-1B visa holders has become as toxic as giving out corporate bonuses,” said Vivek Wadhwa, a Duke University professor and Harvard University research fellow.
During the past several months, the largest banks in the United States have announced 100,000 job cuts, [Bernard] Sanders said. Those same banks, which are receiving $150 billion in a taxpayer-funded bailout package, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions such as senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers and human resources specialists, Sanders said, citing an Associated Press review of visa applications that the banks filed with the Labor Department.
As the economy worsened last year and employees were laid off, the number of visas sought by the dozen banks in the AP analysis increased by nearly a third, from 3,258 in fiscal 2007 to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.
More than 5 million jobs have been lost since the U.S. economy fell into recession more than a year ago, according to the Labor Department.
But many immigration experts say shutting out the talent from abroad will only hurt U.S. competitiveness in the long run. “It’s really unfortunate because we will lose an entire generation of wonderful minds as a by-product,” Wadhwa said. “The next Google or Silicon Valley will be in Bangalore or Beijing.”
Nations such as Canada, Singapore and Australia have created “fast-track” immigration policies and incentives to attract foreign professionals.
As policymakers in Europe and Asia create incentives to attract talented immigrants, there is growing resentment towards foreign workers in the US, based on the mistaken view that they displace native-born workers. In fact, foreign-born scientists have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, billions of dollars of revenue and substantial wealth in the US, primarily in high-technology sectors.
It is natural that many immigrants wish to return home. And economies benefit from “brain circulation” and the global ties that highly skilled immigrants build with their home country counterparts. These “new Argonauts” have contributed to the emergence of dynamic new centres of entrepreneurship and innovation in developing regions from Taiwan and Israel to Bangalore and Shanghai.
But circulation is a two-way street. The survey suggests the US is losing the openness that made it a magnet for the most talented immigrants. The health of US universities depends on the economy. In coming years, even the greatest universities will be challenged as developing economies invest their own systems of higher education.
Will the economic problems facing US university budgets also be matched by a decline in interest in coming to US universities given (a) concern about the lack of opportunity to acquire employment in the US after graduation, and (b) the emergence of more tantalizing and/or accessible higher education opportunities in other countries?
And what is being done to indirectly open up higher education systems, and post-graduation employment opportunities, in non-US countries such that they can take advantage of the political and economic challenges being faced in the US? Take note, for example, of the service sector impact figures I just reported on in Australia (see ‘Making sense of the economic contribution of international students in Australia (up to 2008)‘) that undeniably play a role in advocacy and lobbying to keep Australian borders open to foreign students, especially from countries like China and India (that have historically streamed towards the US).
The possible decline of the US as a key student migration destination, and subsequent place of employment, might be good or bad depending on which perspective one adopts, yet it is clearly worth thinking about given the unsettling effects it would have upon the global higher education landscape.
As America and the world fall deeper into recession, it is important to break free of the rhetoric of the political debate and refocus on the fundamentals. One fundamental is that talent is always a scarce resource. There is not enough of it to go around, and every country needs more of it. Talent is also, in today’s world, highly mobile. Our economy is part of a global economy, and our job market is part of a global job market. In such a market, employers look for the talent they need wherever they can find it, and students and skilled workers look for the places to study and work that offer them the most opportunity.
To turn away individuals with skills that we need, who want to live and work in America, under the illusion that by doing so we are protecting our economy, is to deny ourselves a resource that we need to help pull us out of the recession and put our economy on a sound footing for the future. It will cost jobs, not save them.
The executive summary of the 35 page report notes, amongst other things, that:
Education services ranks as the third largest export category earner for the year 2007-08, behind coal and iron ore.
Each international student (including their friend and family visitors) contributes an average of $28,921 in value added to the Australian economy and generates 0.29 in full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. Overall, this sees international students, and the associated visitation from friends and family contribute $12.6 billion in value-added.
The share of education-related travel services has increased from around one per cent of total services exports in the early 1970’s to 27 per cent in 2007-08.
International student expenditure in Australia contributes to employment in the Australian economy. It is estimated to have generated just over 122,000 FTE positions in the Australian economy in 2007-08, with 33,482 of these being in the education sector. Total student related expenditure (spending by students and visiting friends and relatives) generates a total of 126,240 FTE positions.
I’ll paste in a sample of tables and graphs from the report below:
English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Other Awards Sectors (e.g., “bridging courses and studies that do not lead to formal qualifications”)
The development of capacity to assess the economic impact of foreign students is part and parcel of the denationalization and commercialization process. Capacity to analyze and hence constitute this new services sector – a fast growing ‘industry’ in the views of many stakeholders – is strikingly variable. In my view Australia and New Zealand have gone the furthest down this path, and it is therefore worth understanding how the Australasians approach this issue from an analytical (economic impact assessment) perspective.
It is also important to understand which institutions are emerging as key knowledge brokers regarding the economic contribution of international students. As the New Zealand (see ‘Measuring the economic impact of ‘export education’: insights from New Zealand‘) and Australian cases suggest, private consulting firms made up of economists (some of whom used to work for federal/national governments) are key actors. There is, thus, a symbiotic relationship between the state and the private sector when it comes to analyzing the evolving nature of the services sector of the economy; one becoming increasingly associated with, in policy and analytical senses, education institutions and development agendas.
In addition, as in this case, we see an association of private sector providers contracting out to have this report developed. The ACPET is “the national industry association for independent providers of post-compulsory education and training, for Australian and international students”, including:
Vocational Education and Training
English Language Courses
Senior Secondary Studies
The ACPET Mission is to:
Enhance quality, choice, innovation and diversity in Australian education and training for individual, national and global development. Work pro-actively and co-operatively with government, education and training providers, industry and community organisations, in order to ensure that vocational and higher education and training services provide choice and diversity, and well-targeted, appropriately delivered courses which are widely accessible and of high quality.
One proxy measure of ACPET’s make-up is its broad of directors, highlighting how non-university “post-compulsory education and training” actors are also becoming dependent upon foreign students in countries like Australia; a structural position that leads them to institutionalize and create an International Education Committee, which then coordinates the production of reports such as this via the expertise of Access Economics.
As noted in the introduction to a recent guest entry (‘Measuring the economic impact of ‘export education’: insights from New Zealand‘), we are in the early stages of seeking a series of national viewpoints on how countries approach the export earnings issue. We would be happy to entertain proposals for guest entries on this issue, regardless of how well formed your own country’s capacity is to make sense of the data that is (and is not) available.
Update: nanopolitan (‘Coal, iron ore, and education‘) makes the noteworthy point that “adjusted for population, Australia (21.7 million) hosts five times as many students as the USA (306.2 million)”. It might be worth adding that, according The Australian (‘Indian students boost the export economy‘, 2 April 2009) “Indian students now make up almost 18 per cent of Australia’s total foreign student population, the second largest group after China, which represents 23.5 per cent of the total foreign student body”.
Update 2: thanks to Brett for the links (see Comments) to two new news stories re. ‘Australian immigration launches probe on 20 colleges teaching international students for supply of fake education and work certificates necessary for the obtainment of permanent residency’.