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QS Enrolment Solutions’ New Research Reveals Opportunities For European Universities To Celebrate, Measure and Communicate Teaching Quality

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European universities must harness the opportunities presented by international students’ expectations, according to a new report from QS Enrolment Solutions, the student recruitment and retention solutions company. The unique survey spoke to 67,172 prospective international students, 28,838 of whom were considering studying in the following European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Spain, the Czech Republic and Latvia. The report argues that for Europe to maintain its status as a leading destination for Higher Education it must place greater emphasis on digital delivery and look at new ways to evaluate the quality of teaching at universities.

The Harnessing Opportunities in Global Higher Education report by QS Enrolment Solutions launched today (10 May 2018) is the sixth annual International Student Survey (ISS) by QS Enrolment Solutions – the largest of its kind – surveyed students from 191 countries who plan to study abroad.

Celebrating, measuring and communicating the quality of teaching

Teaching quality is of the utmost importance for prospective international students choosing between different institutions:

  • The biggest indicator of teaching quality for international students is the university’s teaching staff, followed by having up-to-date technology.
  • According to the international students surveyed, the top indicator of a good quality lecturer is that academic staff are passionate about the subject they teach, followed by them having ‘real-world’ experience extending beyond academia. The third biggest indicator of teaching quality in a lecturer is receiving positive reviews from students.

International students are increasingly looking to country-wide measurement schemes as a way of judging teaching quality, like the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in the UK:

  • Among prospective international students, 68% claimed an equivalent of the TEF in other countries would increase the likelihood of them studying there, showing how much they value the ability to easily compare teaching quality between numerous institutions.
  • Many prospective international students believe that performance in country-wide measurement schemes, such as the TEF, are a bigger indicator of teaching quality than performing well in some forms of rankings and league tables.

Andy Nicol, Managing Director of QS Enrolment Solutions said: “European Universities should continue to develop strategic approaches to international student recruitment, harnessing the opportunities available within the global Higher Education market. Our research has found that academic staff are one of universities’ biggest assets in recruiting international students. To effectively attract international students, universities should highlight the passion their staff have for the subjects they teach, and how their ‘real-world’ experience can prepare prospective students for their career post-university.

“The emphasis that international students place on teaching quality, and the measurement of it, presents policymakers and higher education markets across Europe with the opportunity to consider the possibility of introducing country-wide measurement schemes to evaluate teaching quality in any given country. In doing so, European markets may open themselves up to large groups of prospective students for whom teaching quality is their top priority.”

Harnessing the opportunities presented by international students’ expectations of the future of Higher Education

International students expect universities of the future to offer a very different experience to the universities of today where they envisage that the Higher Education sector will place far greater emphasis on digital delivery with most lectures being online. Those surveyed also said they see a positive future for the sector with more institutions and more people going to university. The top five characteristics selected when asked about how the sector could look in 10 years’ time were:

  1. Most lectures will be online
  2. Students will be able to get a qualification from any university regardless of which country they live in
  3. More people will go to university
  4. Universities will be part of continuous learning
  5. There will be more universities

Patrick Whitfield, Director of UK & Europe at QS Enrolment Solutions: “As the changing political and socio-economic dynamics influence the views of potential applicants, universities should continue to listen closely to international students. Institutions that listen, adapt and differentiate their offer, while developing strategic approaches to international student recruitment, will harness the opportunities available within the global Higher Education market.”

To download the full report visit http://www.internationalstudentsurvey.com/2018/ or follow QS Enrolment Solutions @QSEnrolmentS and #ISS2018

- ENDS -

Note to Editors:

  1. With offices in Australia, Malaysia and the UK, QS Enrolment Solutions (formerly known as Hobsons Solutions) is a global market leader in research and understanding of international and domestic students. Each year we deal with hundreds of thousands of students globally, giving us a unique insight into the student recruitment market. Our research, strategy, enquiry, admissions and enrolment services mean we have hands-on experience of the obstacles and opportunities within specific countries and regions, helping clients mitigate risk, benefit from our existing relationships, and build sustainable recruitment strategies in an increasingly complex marketplace.
  2. The International Student Survey 2018 was conducted by QS Enrolment Solutions from November 2017 to March 2018. The International Student Survey is the world’s largest survey of pre-enrolment for international and EU students.
  3. QS Enrolment Solutions partnered with 63 universities from around the world to survey their prospective student database. The survey sampled 67,172 prospective international students globally, with 191 nationalities represented. The size of the data set along with the number and quality of the responses has enabled very robust student segmentation and insight into the influences of international student’s decision-making processes, how they engage with universities, and what they expect from universities in the lead up to making their final decision.
  4. This EU report focuses on the responses provided by 28,838 prospective international students who identified that they are considering studying in the following European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Spain, the Czech Republic and Latvia.
  5. Additional regional reports have been produced as part of this series, including reports focusing on the UK, and Australia & New Zealand, as well as a global report.
  6. QS Enrolment Solutions formerly operated under the name Hobsons Solutions. On 6 October 2017, QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd announced the acquisition of the Hobsons Solutions business, the leading provider of international enrolment management solutions to universities worldwide. The acquisition will allow QS, a leading and trusted brand in higher education research and student information services, to build on its global product offering and realise data and service synergies with the Hobsons Solutions portfolio. For more on the acquisition, see here: http://www.qs.com/faq-items/qs-acquisition_2017/.

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