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27 Sep, 2007

The Growing Market For Overseas Education

The number of tertiary students enrolled outside their country of citizenship has grown from 0.61 million worldwide in 1975 to 2.73 million in 2005, mirroring the growing globalisation of economies and societies, according to a report issued by the Paris-based Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.

In this dispatch:

1. THE GROWING MARKET FOR OVERSEAS EDUCATION: The number of tertiary students enrolled outside their country of citizenship has grown from 0.61 million worldwide in 1975 to 2.73 million in 2005, mirroring the growing globalisation of economies and societies, according to a report issued by the Paris-based Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.

2. LIBERALISING AVIATION MEANS NEW CHALLENGES FOR AVIATION AUTHORITIES: The growing financial and regulatory liberalisation of the airline industry is now requiring governments to ensure adequate protection for consumers and prevent anti-competitive market practices, according to a report by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.



The number of tertiary students enrolled outside their country of citizenship has grown from 0.61 million worldwide in 1975 to 2.73 million in 2005, mirroring the growing globalisation of economies and societies, according to a report issued by the Paris-based Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development. Of these 2.73 million tertiary students, 2.30 million (or 84%) were studying in the OECD area, a 4.9% increase in total foreign enrolments worldwide over 2004. In the OECD area, the growth was 4.6% in foreign student numbers. Since 2000, the number of foreign tertiary students enrolled in the OECD area and worldwide increased by 49% and 50%, respectively. This amounts to an 8.2 and 8.4% annual increase on average.

Entitled “Education at a Glance 2007,” the OECD’s annual round-up of data and analysis on education was released earlier this month, providing a comparable and up-to-date array of indicators on education systems in the OECD’s 30 member countries and in a number of partner economies. It will provide a tremendous resource for analysing the rapidly growing student travel market.

The report says that freely circulating capital, goods and services – along with greater openness of labour markets – have increased the demand for new kinds of education in OECD countries. Higher education is playing an important role in broadening the horizons of students and allowing them to better understand the multiplicity of languages, cultures and business methods in the world. Several OECD governments – especially in the European Union (EU) countries – have set up student mobility schemes to foster intercultural contacts and build social networks for the future.

“The long term trend towards greater internationalisation of education is likely to have a growing impact on countries’ balances of payments as a result of tuition fee revenues and domestic consumption of international students,” the report says. The cross-border electronic delivery of flexible educational programmes and campuses abroad are also relevant to the trade dimension, although no comparable data exist yet.

The report says that other driving factors include decreasing transportation costs, the spread of new technologies, and faster, cheaper communication which have resulted in a growing interdependence of economies and societies in the 1980s and even more so in the 1990s. This tendency was particularly strong in the high technology sector and labour market.

Financial pressure on education systems has been an added factor. “In some countries, foreign students were actively recruited as tertiary institutions increasingly relied upon financial revenues from foreign tuition fees to operate their activities,” the report says. In the past few years, the rise of the knowledge economy and global competition for skills provided a new driver for the internationalisation of education systems in many OECD countries, whereby the recruitment of foreign students is part of a broader strategy to recruit highly skilled immigrants. Edited excerpts from the report:

MAJOR DESTINATIONS OF FOREIGN STUDENTS: In 2005, only four countries hosted the majority of foreign students enrolled outside of their country of citizenship: the United States received 22% of the total of all foreign students worldwide, followed by the United Kingdom (12%), Germany (10%) and France (9%). Altogether, these four major destinations account for 52% of all tertiary students pursuing their studies abroad. Significant numbers of foreign students were enrolled in Australia (6%), Japan (5%), Canada (3%), New Zealand (3%) and the partner economy the Russian Federation (3%).

The report says that the US saw a significant drop as a preferred destination of foreign students, from 26.1 to 21.6% of the global intake. Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom saw a lesser decline, with their market shares dropping by about one-half of a percentage point over the five year period scrutinised. In contrast, the market shares of France, New Zealand and the partner economies South Africa and the Russian Federation expanded by 1 percentage point or more. The growth in market position was most impressive for New Zealand (2.1%), thereby positioning the country among the big players in the international education market.

These trends are the result of proactive marketing policies in the Asia-Pacific region to a more passive approach in the traditionally dominant United States. The United States foreign student intake was also affected by the tightening of the conditions of entry for international students in the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001.

PROFILE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Asian students form the largest group of international students enrolled in countries reporting data to the OECD or the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, with 48.9% of the total in all reporting destinations (47.4% of the total in OECD countries, and 57.3% of the total in partner economies). The Asian group is followed by Europeans (24.9%), in particular citizens of the European Union (16.9%). Students from Africa account for 11.0% of all international students, while those from North America account for only 3.7%. Finally, students from South America represent 5.7% of the total. Altogether, 32.0% of international students enrolled in the OECD area originate from another OECD country.

This predominance of students from Asia is most notable in Australia, Greece, Japan, Korea and New Zealand, where more than 76% of their international or foreign students originate from Asia. Students from Japan and Korea comprise the largest groups of international students enrolled in the OECD, at 2.9 and 4.5% of the total respectively, followed by students from France and Germany at 2.1% and 2.9% respectively.

From the non-OECD countries, students from China represent by far the largest group (16.7%) of all international students enrolled in the OECD area (not including an additional 1.4% from Hong Kong, China). Their destination of choice is the US, followed closely by Japan, with 22.8% and 20.6% of all international Chinese students enrolled in each of those two countries respectively. Students from China are followed by those from India (6.2%), Morocco (1.9%), Malaysia (1.9%) and the Russian Federation (1.4%). A significant number of Asians also come from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.

LANGUAGE FACTORS: Countries whose language of instruction is widely spoken and read (e.g. English, French, German and Russian) dominate in the destinations of foreign students. A notable exception is Japan, which despite a less widespread language of instruction enrols large numbers of foreign students – where 94.2% of its foreign students are from Asia.

The dominance of English-speaking destinations may be largely attributable to the fact that students intending to study abroad are most likely to have learnt English in their home country, and/or wish to improve their English language skills through immersion and study abroad, the report says. The rapid increase in foreign enrolments in Australia, Ireland and, most importantly, New Zealand between 2000 and 2005 can to some extent be attributed to similar linguistic considerations. An increasing number of institutions in non-English-speaking countries now offer courses in English. This trend is especially noticeable in Nordic countries.

IMPACT OF TUITION FEES AND COST OF LIVING: The trade benefits of international education are all the more important as countries charge the full cost of education to their international students. Several countries in the Asia-Pacific region have actually made international education an explicit part of their socio-economic development strategies and have initiated policies to attract international students on a revenue-generating or at least self-financing basis.

Australia and New Zealand have adopted differentiated tuition fees for international students. In Japan and Korea, although tuition fees are the same for domestic and international students, foreign enrolments also grew at a robust pace between 2000 and 2005 despite high levels of tuition fees. This pattern highlights that tuition costs do not necessarily discourage prospective international students as long as the quality of education provided and its likely returns for individuals make the investment worthwhile.

Cost considerations are important, especially for students originating from developing countries. The comparatively low progress of foreign enrolments in the United Kingdom and the United States between 2000 and 2005 and the deterioration of its market share on the international education market over the same period may be attributed to the comparatively high level of tuition fees charged to international students in the context of fierce competition from other primarily English-speaking destinations offering similar educational opportunities at a lower cost.

Other important considerations relate to the academic reputation of particular institutions or programmes, the flexibility of programmes with respect to counting time spent abroad towards degree requirements, the limitations of tertiary education provision in the home country, restrictive university admission policies at home, geographical, trade or historical links between countries, future job opportunities, cultural aspirations, and government policies to facilitate credit transfer between home and host institutions.

The transparency and flexibility of courses and degree requirements also count. In the recent years, several OECD countries have softened their immigration policies to encourage the temporary or permanent immigration of their international students. As a result, immigration considerations may also guide the directions of some international students choosing between alternative educational opportunities abroad. Migrant networks also play a role, as illustrated by the concentration of students of Portuguese citizenship in France, students from Turkey in Germany or from Mexico in the United States.

BENEFITS FOR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS: A culturally and linguistically diverse student body compels educational institutions to offer programmes that stand out among competitors, further contributing to the development of a highly reactive, client-driven quality tertiary education. Foreign students can also help institutions to reach the critical mass needed to diversify the range of educational programmes offered as well as increase their financial resources. Given these advantages, institutions might favour the enrolment of international students, thereby restricting access to domestic students. Yet there is limited evidence of such a phenomenon, with the exception of some prestigious, highly demanded programmes of elite institutions, the report says.

Click here to get a full copy of the free publication: http://www.oecd.org/document/30/0,3343,en_2649_39263294_39251550_1_1_1_1,00.html



Washington, DC | September 25, 2007 | www.adc.org | Professor Adam Habib, a South African national who is a prominent human rights activist and world renowned scholar of democracy, governance, and social movements, is being barred from entry into the US without explanation. Habib’s numerous attempts to secure an explanation and another US visa, and attempts on his behalf by the South African Foreign Affairs Department, the South African Foreign Minister and the South African Ambassador the US, to rectify the situation have failed. Habib continues to be invited by numerous US organizations to speak, including the Massachusetts chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), yet, Habib is unable to attend.

In an attempt to rectify the situation, ADC has joined a lawsuit filed today in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of organizations who have invited Professor Habib to speak in the near future, including ADC, American Sociological Association (ASA), the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights (BCPR). The lawsuit, which names Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as defendants, seeks the immediate processing of Habib’s pending visa application and a declaration that his exclusion without explanation since October 2006 violates the First Amendment rights of US organizations, citizens, and residents.

Caline Jarudi, Executive Director for the Massachusetts Chapter of ADC, said, “ADC is deeply concerned by the pattern of denying visas to those who are critical of US policies. This reminds us of similar incidents, like the case of Tariq Ramadan, another leading scholar barred from the US. We need to remember the values of freedom of expression and of speech for which our country stands and how these cases are negatively impacting dialogue in the US and the image of our nation overseas.”

Until October 2006, Habib frequently visited the US to study, lecture, attend board meetings, conferences and the like. He also lived in New York City for three years while working to obtain his Ph.D. Habib regularly speaks out against injustice both in South Africa and elsewhere, his vocal criticism of apartheid landed him in jail for two weeks in June 1986 under state of emergency legislation imposed by the apartheid regime.

It should be noted that Professor Habib is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation, and Advancement at the University of Johannesburg and since 2002 has been named one of the 300 most influential opinion makers in South Africa by the Financial Mail, one of South Africa’s major newspapers. He has repeatedly condemned terrorism, but urged governments to respond to the threat of terrorism with policies that are consistent with human rights and the rule of law. He has also been critical of the war in Iraq, the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and the US government practice of rendition (sending detainees to countries known to torture suspects).

However, on October 21, 2006, he arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport to commence a week of meetings with the World Bank; National Institutes of Health; the National Science Foundation; the United Nations Democracy Fund; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only to be refused entry to the US. His visa was also revoked by Customs and Border Protection without explanation.

He was detained for seven hours and interrogated about his political views, until armed guards escorted him back to the plane and was deported back to South Africa. The State Department later revoked the visas of Habib’s wife and two small children also without explanation.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to combat racial stereotyping and to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.




17 September 2007 -In a continuing demonstration of Israel’s arbitrary denial of entry policy, and disregard for the Palestinian population’s right to practice their religion and worship freely, Father Faris Khaleifat, priest of Ramallah’s Greek Catholic Melkite Church was barred entry to the West Bank on Friday, 14 September.

Father Faris, a holder of both Vatican and Jordanian passports, commented: “For the past six years, I have been traveling regularly between the West Bank and Jordan on church affairs without any problems whatsoever.” Just one week ago, Father Faris traveled to Amman for several days and returned without incident. However, on Friday, his multiple entry visa as a clergyman serving in the oPt, valid until February 2008, was canceled by Israeli authorities at the Al Sheikh Hussein Bridge without explanation and he was forced to return to Jordan. His de facto deportation has left the Ramallah parish without its sole clergyman.

Father Faris is one of thousands of foreign passport holders who have been denied entry by the Israeli Authorities over the past several years. The priest’s case is just one of numerous incidents of entry denial documented by the Campaign in recent months, demonstrating that Israel’s regulation of entry into the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) by foreign nationals remains arbitrary, abusive and internationally unlawful. Even clergymen are not immune. Israel continues to abuse its control over entry, presence and residency in the oPt in a manner damaging family life, businesses and the religious and social institutions serving the occupied population.

The Campaign calls on third states, religious leaders and congregations worldwide to protest Israel’s actions harming the Greek Catholic Church and to demand a clear, transparent and lawful policy for all foreign nationals wishing to enter the oPt.



The growing financial and regulatory liberalisation of the airline industry is now presenting governments with a different set of challenges — ensuring adequate protection for consumers and preventing anti-competitive market practices by the airlines. A report presented by the International Civil Aviation Organisation to the 36th General Assembly held this week in Montréal says that since the mid-1990s, the aviation industry has undergone major regulatory and industry changes.

Major regulatory changes include the liberalisation of international air transport, including bilateral and regional liberalisation, air service negotiations involving a group of States, multilateral initiatives, national liberalisation policies, competition and consumer protection policies. As of July 2007, 131 bilateral “open skies” agreements have been reportedly concluded, involving 91 States (and territories), with the United States being one of the partners in 77 cases.

At the same time, the airlines have had to respond to the more competitive marketplace via alliances, mergers and acquisitions, privatisation, new business models, product distribution, consolidation and cross-border equity investments to exploit network-based economies of scale and scope. As of July 2007, among 1,030 airlines, it is estimated that 71 airlines had shareholdings in foreign airlines while 286 airlines had equities owned by foreign investors in various degrees.

“For airports and air navigation services providers, the anticipated demand growth and the new types of traffic generated in large part by liberalisation increase their business opportunities but require significant investments in an efficient and timely manner.” All these developments “have presented some new challenges to regulatory authorities,” the report says.

At the regulatory level, the question of how to maintain and promote fair competition in air transport is increasingly becoming an issue. The report says that about 90 States now have competition laws of some sort with a number of bilateral antitrust enforcement cooperation agreements particularly between developed countries.

“The use of competition laws for the air transport sector has occurred not only with more frequency but also has encompassed a variety of issues, ranging from abuse of dominant position such as capacity dumping and predatory pricing, collusive behaviours including price-fixing, inter-airline coordination and alliances, consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, vertical business relationships in product distribution, to State aid.”

One of the fundamental problems is how to distinguish between unfair and normal competitive behaviours, leading states to analyse and develop standards on a case by case basis. The report cites two notable developments in competition laws at the regional level.

First, the European Commission now has the power to extend the Commission’s competition law authority to agreements between Community airlines and third country airlines, and protect Community airlines against subsidisation and predatory pricing practices of third country airlines.

Second, regional groupings such as the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community have adopted a competition regulation specifically for the air transport sector for common application to the three regions. The Arab Civil Aviation Commission also adopted aviation-specific competition rules in 2006.

Governments are also having to seriously take up the protection of consumer interests which covers air passenger rights and the contractual relationship between airlines and their users. “There may exist some instances where competition does not necessarily guarantee a minimum level of service levels that customers can expect, mainly because of the lack of information available to them and their weak negotiating position. Certain elements might not even be a matter of competition between airlines,” the report says.

Realising that their ability to respond to consumer protection issues may be limited, a number of States have asked the industry to develop voluntary commitments (non-legally binding self-regulation) and/or to take some direct regulatory measures that address consumer interest issues such as denied boarding compensation, flight cancellations and access for incapacitated passengers.

Among the voluntary commitments developed by industry groups are the Airline Customer Service Commitment by the Air Transport Association (ATA) and its member airlines in 1999; the Airline Passenger Service Commitment and the Airport Voluntary Commitment on Air Passenger Service by members of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC); and a Global Customer Services Framework by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2000.

In the United States, some airlines made their voluntary commitments in 2007 to better respond to weather emergencies resulting in lengthy ground delays aboard aircraft. Although most States apply general consumer protection laws/rules to airlines’ commercial practices, aviation-specific rules/regulations are emerging, the ICAO report says.

For example, the US Department of Transportation has adopted rules on misleading price advertising, airline oversales, baggage liability limit, a report on consumer-related statistics, and passengers with disabilities. China, Colombia and Thailand also have specific rules on certain aspects of air passenger rights.

The EU has strengthened air passenger rights by adopting a regulation establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights. The EU also has a regulation concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

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