Governments fail to track impact of international schemes

Thursday 01 May 2014

Link to research: http://bit.ly/1jzPzd1

Governments fail to track the impact and value of high cost international scholarship schemes

Countries that are spending vast sums of money on scholarships to send students abroad are failing to monitor the impact and benefits of their schemes, an international study of 11 countries led by the British Council and DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service, has found.

It is estimated that over half the world’s countries now provide a total of more than 180 nationally funded outward mobility scholarship programmes, sending hundreds of thousands of students abroad each year at a cost of around $35,000 (£20,800) per student.

But while most countries take steps to protect their investment by requiring scholarship holders to return home to work for a number of years, very few routinely monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of their scholarships schemes.

Michael Peak, British Council Education Research Manager said “The British Council welcomes all activities to support and facilitate international student mobility, something which is of great value to universities and to individuals who can use the skills, knowledge, friendships and connections forged through their international experience for the benefit of their home country.

“Our research highlighted many missed opportunities though where national governments invest in supporting their talented students to study internationally, but don’t engage with them on their return home.  We believe that these national scholarship programmes will only fully maximise their impact when they are designed to meet specific objectives, and when the experience of returning students is fully tapped.”

DAAD president Professor Margret Wintermantel said “With this report we want to broaden our understanding of the policies, scope, mechanisms, drivers and benefits of international student mobility schemes across different countries. It is very gratifying to note that many countries have recognized the importance of international academic exchange to support their national science and higher education systems and have launched funding programmes.

“International student mobility is a crucial aspect of the internationalization of higher education, enriching the lives of ambitious and talented young people. But we risk missing a great opportunity if we do not analyse the impact of mobility measures more consistently and learn from each other’s’ experiences and learn from the experience of other countries.”

A report on the findings says it appears that most sponsoring governments have little grasp of the tangible benefits of their schemes, beyond the number of students involved.

The report, The rationale for sponsoring students to undertake international study: an assessment of national student mobility scholarship programmes, is due to be debated at the British Council’s annual Going Global conference for leaders of international higher education, being held in Miami from April 29 to May 1.

The study also found that sponsoring governments appear to be failing to provide support for students when they return home, to help them re-adjust to the conditions of the domestic employment market and society.

The research, led by the British Council and DAAD working with Boston College CIHE and GO Group, draws on data gathered by experts in the 11 countries studied: Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. It examines the motivations behind national scholarship programmes, the number and size of schemes, how they are funded and administered, and how students are selected. It aims to help inform policy-makers and higher education leaders looking to develop scholarship programmes and other initiatives to encourage outward student mobility.

Notes to Editor

The report The rationale for sponsoring students to undertake international study: an assessment of national student mobility scholarship programmes is available here http://bit.ly/1jzPzd1

The research will be presented and analysed at the British Council’s annual ‘Going Global’ conference for leaders of international higher education, in Miami, at 09:00 local time on Thursday 1 May.

The session ‘Why send students away?’ will be chaired by Michael Peak, Research Manager, Education and Society, British Council, and the panellists will be Prof. Philip Altbach, Director, Center for International Higher Education, Boston College, USA; Dr Nina Lemmens, Director, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), USA; Gani Saktaganovich Nygymetov, President, JSC Center for International Programs, Kazakhstan; and Prof. Zhou Zuoyu, Vice President, Xinjiang Normal University, China

For Interviews please contact Tim Sowula at tim.sowula@britishcouncil.org or +447771 718 135

About Going Global

·         The British Council’s ‘Going Global’ conference is the leading annual global event for leaders of international education

·         The conference brings the global experts to share the latest thinking on the issues that really matter for the future of higher education around the world.

·         More than 1,000 leaders in higher education, business and government will gather in Miami Beach from April 29 – May 1. This is the first time the conference has been held in the Americas. Over 70 countries will be represented by a delegation including 125 university presidents, vice-chancellors, pro vice-chancellors, and government ministers.

·         The 2014 conference theme is ‘Inclusion, Innovation, and Impact’

·         Nine pieces of new research will be presented at this year’s conference

·         The British Council’s work keeps the UK at the heart of the international HE landscape and central to its development - and Going Global is a vital part of this strategy

·         Follow the conference on twitter @hegoingglobal

Going Global media contact details

In London, Tim Sowula, tim.sowula@britishcouncil.org or +44 207 389 4871 / +44 7771 718 135

In Washington DC, Alex Dimsdale, alexandra.dimsdale@britishcouncil.org or +1 202 258 0384

In Mexico City, Daniel Chavez Heras, Daniel.ChavezHeras@britishcouncil.org or +52 (55) 52631981

In Rio, Ana Signorini, ana.signorini@britishcouncil.org +55 21 2172 5202

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publically-funded grant provides less than 25 per cent of our turnover which last year was £781 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.