Session highlights

There will be pressure on skills in the future, but not just on graduates. It will affect staff, and everyone. We have to change the way we work as well.” Sophia Kassapi, University of Patras, Greece

  • The British Council’s Head of Education Research Michael Peak revealed the results of a short research project carried out in May and June this year, which surveyed students and leaders about the future of tertiary education. Students said they wanted to see more hybrid experiences, as well as more inclusivity and changes to the tuition fee structure. Leaders said they thought the student voice would get stronger, and the private sector would have an increased role. They also thought institutions would be expected to be contribute more to the “global good”. 
  • Does the move to digital online learning disadvantage third world countries? Guest speaker Ajith Kumar Vadakki Veetil of Skyline University Nigeria said that he sees it as “an opportunity” to get access to the best minds at the best institutions around the world. However, he added that there should be more effort worldwide to make tuition more affordable, to make sure people can access these resources. 

Session summary

International tertiary education today is being shaped in many ways by the global pandemic, and many institutions and education systems are planning how to adapt, to recover and build back better in the next few years.   

But its also important to consider:

  1. How will international tertiary education look 15 years from now? 
  2. How many of the shifts which have been forced through by the pandemic will sustain and reshape how we operate over the longer term? 
  3. Aside from the pandemic, what forces are driving change in international tertiary education? 

If we all start to consider how the longer-term future is likely to shape, then we will be more prepared for it when it comes (and we may be better positioned to influence the direction of travel).  The British Council has taken some initial steps to explore potential futures of international tertiary education by consulting with institutional leaders, and with current international students and recent graduates.   

This session is the first opportunity to see the initial horizon scan and presentation of trends likely to impact international TE over the next 15 years.  The main contributor to this session is you, as this is a completely open forum to share your thoughts and contribute to this foresight study.


  • Liz Dempsey PhD, Senior Advisor, Higher Education, Cultural Engagement, British Council, UK
  • Michael Peak, Head of Education Research, Cultural Engagement, British Council, UK