– by Harjiv Singh, Founder and CEO of BrainGain Global
The global experience economy continues to grow, and international student mobility will nearly double from 4.5 million students in 2016 to over 8 million by 2025, according to OECD figures.
International students currently spend over US$100 billion on education in four host countries – UK, US, Canada and Australia.
Foreign students worth £20b to UK economy
According to the Higher Education Policy Institute, international students are worth £20 billion to the UK economy, with about 230,000 students arriving each year for university courses – most of them postgraduates, with China and India the most common country of origin.
Clearly, there is a demographic gap between countries like UK, US, Canada, and Australia, where young college age populations are declining and where most of the leading universities are concentrated.
Most of the younger college age students in the next 20 years will come from countries like India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria.
Developing countries main drivers of global growth today
Emerging economies today are the primary drivers of global growth and consumerism and it is imperative to understand how this will affect the education industry.
India today has over 70% of its 1.3 billion people under the age of 35 and is struggling to keep pace with educating and skilling the nearly 1 million young people coming into its workforce each month for the next decade.
Providing an opportunity to this large cohort of young people by creating access to global higher education is nowadays the mission of edtech.
Technology and experiential programmes will help bridge this gap providing universities newer opportunities to connect directly with these global audiences.
Edtech facilitates exchange of information and knowledge
Applied to the education industry, technology can enable a better exchange of information and help reduce the divide between talents’ availability and international students’ mobility.
With SaaS growing in popularity and attracting more and more investors, SaaS marketplaces become the right platforms to give international students and young professionals an opportunity to explore leading global schools and universities across the world.
While there are counsellors and recruiters to help universities recruit international students, an expensive proposition, independent SaaS platforms can help universities generate revenue, bringing students to their campuses, while contributing to the global experience economy.
Edtech, in fact, will predominantly become a key factor to continue accelerating this market, addressing the global challenges related to the recruitment of talents and universities’ high-price joining fees.
Global experience economy growth an opportunity for universities
Universities have an opportunity to think beyond just degrees to create an experiential opportunity to inspire the youth in these emerging markets.
That will help mitigate their declining demographic but, more importantly, it will provide an opportunity to engage with a larger universe of students than is possible in full time programmes.
The tidal wave of offline experiences leading to personal fulfilment is already having extreme effects on the global economy and traditional business models.
Ultimately, the shift to a global experience economy has the power to promote inclusion and democratise happiness. It is imperative to acknowledge that this is also becoming a priority in international higher education.
As the forces of the Fourth Industrial Revolution accelerate and given that experiences enhance learning, increase social connection and transform the global economy, we need to design the experiences of the future in ways that reach a diverse range of individuals all over the world.
Pic: Simon Abrams