It’s Hard To Find Good Help These Days…

A.K.A. Skilling Up Vietnam: Preparing The Workforce for A Modern Market Economy

This is a chronic problem that receives ongoing and extensive coverage in the media here.  Follow these links to read a recent article about this World Bank report and download all 138 pp. of it.  Below is an infographic that pretty much sums it up.

Source:  The World Bank
Source: The World Bank

Vietnam Among Top Emerging Markets for International Student Recruitment

This article, written by Rahul Choudaha, director of research and advisory services at World Education Services (WES) in New York, identified four emerging international student recruitment markets, including Vietnam.  It’s based on a WES research report  (PDF), entitled Beyond More of the Same: The Top Four Emerging Markets for International Student Recruitment,  that “aims to address the information needs of higher education institutions by systematically identifying key emerging markets and offering near-term strategies to successfully nurture them.”

Dr. Choudaha notes that

International student recruitment has become increasingly competitive as institutional budgets continue to shrink. More than ever, higher education institutions are expected to recruit quality students in a short period of time.
Most institutions rely on traditional source countries to achieve this goal, as penetrating an existing market for enrolment growth is a less costly route in terms of effort, expenditure and time.
As a result, students from China, India and South Korea are overrepresented on campuses. On some, Chinese students make up over half of the non-domestic student population. This is the case at the University of Iowa, where Chinese students comprised more than 70% of international undergraduates in 2011.
There is increasing pressure on institutions to attract international students from a broader range of countries, as they look to diversify their student bodies.

The research was based on a two-round Delphi survey – a mixed method forecasting technique based on the anonymity and expertise of participants.

The report  identifies four emerging markets for international student recruitment, including Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Vietnam:

High recruitment potential is attributable to Vietnam’s growing middle-class and strong study abroad interest. Vietnamese students are the third largest body of international students at American community colleges. Institutions of higher education that identify and reach Vietnamese students with the financial means to study in the US should enjoy a good deal of recruiting success in the coming years.

The Value of Education by the Numbers

If you glance at the top ten sending countries and rank them by students and GDP (PPP), Vietnam jumps off the page.  It ranks 8th among sending countries, according to Open Doors 2012 and the latest SEVIS quarterly updates, but 43rd in GDP.  The closest country, Saudi Arabia, 4th among places of origin, ranks 24th.  All of the other countries are in the top 20 in GDP.  This tells you – with a gigantic exclamation point – that Vietnamese parents are spending enormous sums of money on overseas study in proportion to per capita income.  In a phrase, education is important and parents are putting their money where their priorities and values are.   

To read the article and/or report follow these links:

A diverse student body means a stronger university  (University World News, October 2012, Issue No: 246)

WES Research Report

Mapping international student segments with recruitment channels

Reposted from DrEducation, a blog by Dr. Rahul Choudaha, Director of Research and Advisory Services at World Education Services (WES), New York—a non-profit with more than 35 years of experience in international education and research.  While Vietnam was not included in this study (i.e., the main focus was on China and India), it does have relevance for Vietnam.  I’ll discuss this in a future post. 


International students seeking to attend an American higher education institution differ by academic preparedness and financial resources, and these differences impact their preferences and information-seeking behavior during college search, according to a new report from World Education Services (WES)–a New York-based non-profit with over 35 years of experience in international education research and credential evaluation.

The publication, Not All International Students Are the Same: Understanding Segments, Mapping Behavior, presents findings from a survey of international students in the process of applying to U.S. colleges and universities. The survey, which was administered from October 2011 to March 2012, received responses from nearly 1,600 prospective international students from 115 countries.

The report identified four distinct international student segments based on academic preparedness and financial resources:  Strivers, Strugglers, Explorers and Highfliers.

Strivers form the traditional segment of students coming to the U.S. They are highly prepared for academic work and expect to receive financial aid from their host institution. In contrast, Explorers form an emerging segment of students who can cover tuition fees but are not fully prepared for college-level coursework, indicating their need for academic support, particularly in English language training.

Highfliers are the most sought after as they are academically prepared and financially able. However, their attraction to a narrow circle of top-ranked institutions makes it difficult for lower ranked institutions to compete for them. Strugglers are less selective about their college choice, but they require additional pre- and post-enrollment assistance and have less access to financial resources.

The study found that just one-sixth of the survey respondents reported that they had used an recruitment agent during their college search. Student segments with lower academic preparedness—Explorers and Strugglers—were found to be more likely to use agent services.

Source: World Education Services

International Student Mobility Research Report

“…the road ahead for most U.S. institutions of higher education will not be smooth as many institutions grapple with challenges in meeting recruitment goals with limited time and tight budgets.”

This report, recently released by World Education Services, provides some useful information about enrollment trends among international students.  One of the key points is that While China and India are still too big to ignore, there are other emerging countries worth paying attention to, including Saudi Arabia, Vietnam (my bold), Mexico, and Brazil. Recruitment to these countries should also be cultivated not only for campus diversity purposes, but also as a de-risking strategy.

 The report also notes that…

Enrollment growth at the Bachelor’s level is set to outstrip growth at the Master’s and Doctoral levels. Since international students studying at the Bachelor’s level are typically funded by their families, as opposed to financial aid, and provide a longer stream of revenue (four years) versus Master’s programs (two years), some public institutions are viewing this trend as a solution to current fiscal challenges.

Growth in international student enrollment is not restricted to large states like California and New York; non-traditional destinations, including Montana, Oregon and Colorado, are also witnessing significant growth due to more aggressive institutional outreach efforts and state policy reforms that allow for the enrollment of more international students in public institutions.

Undergraduate enrollment among US-bound Vietnamese students increased from about two-thirds to three-quarters in the 2010/11 academic year.  60% of those were enrolled at a community college, the first step in the 2+2 equation (i.e., transfer to a four-year school to complete the bachelor’s degree). 

While California, Texas and Washington play host to over half of all Vietnamese students, there are also significant numbers headed to other non-traditional destinations such as West Virginia.  In an increasingly competitive market and growing but still limited numbers of students, “aggressive institutional outreach efforts” and a long-term strategy are essential to creating pipelines of Vietnamese students to more schools. 

You can download the entire report here.

Higher Education in East Asia (World Bank)

Where Does the Path to Higher Education Lead? 

East Asian countries need to make the leap from middle-income to high-income countries, and higher education will be key. The forthcoming flagship report explores higher education in East Asia and the changes needed to make this happen. This site features studies that underpin the report, focusing on: Skills, Innovation, and Inclusiveness.

From the Introduction: 

More than 2,000 years ago, one of the first and most renowned universities in the world, Nalanda University, was established in India. This great regional center of learning hosted some 10,000 students at one time and attracted scholars from as far away as Greece, China, and Persia.

In Asia today, governments know that education remains critical to fostering long-term growth, reducing poverty and inequality, and advancing social and economic development. They know that, as the world advances rapidly toward a knowledge economy, higher-level skills will be essential to their national development. Students and their families also know that improving their capacities is essential to their future, which is why enrollments in institutions of higher learning in East Asia and the Pacific have skyrocketed and now exceed 30% of global enrollment.

What they may not realize, however, is that higher education systems are not keeping up with the changing skills that will be needed by the region’s labor markets. Education levels and technological capacity are not where they need to be to take advantage of the benefits that a global marketplace is bringing. The World Bank’s analysis shows that, without structural shifts in higher education, lower to middle-income East Asian countries may hit a “glass ceiling” of development. And other challenges remain. It’s not a given, for example, that jobs will be available for many graduates, that students will have the creative thinking skills that are in demand, that teaching practices will be up to par, or that educational institutions will have enough flexibility to cope with an environment of tighter budgets and diminishing public funds.

New Dissertation: An Analysis of the Community College Concept in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

If you have an interest in Vietnamese community colleges, a fairly recent phenomenon in Vietnam’s postsecondary education system, you’ll want to get  a copy of a new Ph.D. dissertation entitled An Analysis of the Community College Concept in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam by Cindy Epperson.  Dr. Epperson is Professor of Sociology and Global Studies/International Partnerships Coordinator at St. Louis Community College-Meramec in St. Louis, MO, USA.  Her dissertation is available as a free download

 (Vietnam’s Ministry of Education & Training, Hanoi)

In an e-mail to me and others, Dr. Epperson said that her goal “is to share the story of the Vietnamese community college model with others and encourage the cycle of research along with the development in social capital for my brothers and sisters in Viet Nam community colleges and higher education. “