While 2023 celebrated artificial intelligence, 2024 will celebrate human intelligence, predicts ETS CEO, Amit Sevak. 

“In 2024, major paradigm shifts in how we learn and work will accelerate. Leadership, AI, skills and mindfulness will be the main drivers reshaping education around the world,” Sevak shared with The PIE.

Leadership will be key, as Sevak predicts that elections in the US, and around the world, will influence education policies for the rest of this decade.

Immigration policies will take centre stage, he told The PIE, and these policies will drive more students to Canada than the US among other dramatic shifts in global student flows.

In 2024, we can expect that university leaders will fret over funding, student unrest and the value of degrees, said Sevak.

In 2023, we saw examples from across the world of university leaders coming under fire for cuts being made, particularly to modern languages, as was the case in Aberdeen and in West Virginia, to name a few.

“Real leadership at all levels is our best hope for innovative solutions, better measurement and student success,” said Sevak.

“A new generation of mission-driven leaders will find purpose in fixing our education systems and building new systems,” he continued.

“Amidst conflict, disruption and change, ignited educators will provide learning spaces that create calmness, security and intention.

“From K-12 and higher ed to early career and workplace, the impacts of the emboldened education leaders, teachers and evangelists will be seen and felt by learners everywhere.”

Despite this emphasis on human intelligence and leadership, Sevak predicts AI will continue to explode across education.

“AI start-ups will be funded at higher rates. Many will seek access to student data to run their models. Cries of concern will grow louder on privacy, equity and fair use of AI. Regulators will be hard pressed to keep up. New research around the ethical use of AI in education, like those we launched at ETS this past year, will define new standards for its valid, fair and impactful use,” said Sevak.

“AI is here to stay and will move into every corner of education”

“The genie is out of the bottle. AI is here to stay and will move into every corner of education.”

For Lil Bremermann-Richard, CEO of Oxford International Education Group, thoughts of a new year lead to reflections on the value of the UK’s international students, and how new policies will play out in their favour, or not.

“International students bring vast cultural, social and economic benefits to the UK. Financially alone, a single year’s cohort of new international students adds almost £26 billion to the national economy, after deducting any costs associated with hosting students,” said Bremermann-Richard.

Throughout the year, many in the UK sector have questioned government rhetoric surrounding international students, arguing that policy changes being made are not in line with the value of the country’s international students.

It was announced that as of January 2024, international students on UK taught master’s courses will be banned from bringing family members with them as dependants.

It’s worth noting that others in the sector expressed a sense of relief at the news, in the hope that it eases pressures such as accommodation.

However, Bremermann-Richard told The PIE that limiting dependant visas will make it impossible for many students to study in the UK.

“If we are truly committed to attracting diverse talent, we need to take into consideration the financial costs that could be involved to secure care alternatives, or to travel back and forth,” said Bremermann-Richard.

“We also need to remember that students have lots of options; if presented with a choice of studying in the UK and leaving their dependants behind, or studying elsewhere, like Canada for example, with their family, many will choose the latter.

“This policy excludes a large pool of people from studying at our universities, to the detriment of the UK and our higher education sector.”

Ron Carson, chief marketing officer at Terra Dotta too shared his predictions for the new year with The PIE, anticipating that competition for international students will continue to grow – especially among US institutions.

Terra Dotta’s recent survey The State of Globalization in Higher Ed 2023 concurs with this increasingly competitive landscape – 41% of US international education professionals surveyed noticing heightened competition from other countries for international students.

“This same group reports that cost is the primary factor driving this competition, as studying in other countries is considered less expensive,” said Carson.

“As the enrolment cliff in the US approaches more US institutions will move to a data-driven approach to attract and retain international students as well as implement programs to support student success,” said Carson.

“Visibility across global programs will be key. More institutions will integrate their often siloed study abroad and international education departments in 2024.

“Transparent and easy-to-access data on the “global” view of global engagement at the institution will be helpful to leadership as they try to secure more international market share.”

In 2024, Carson predicts strong and growing demand internationally for quality virtual education that allows students to access top-tier institutions without physically traveling abroad.

He told The PIE that an increased presence of online learning could be a “game changer” for US institutions in addressing the cost issue as a barrier to study abroad.

“This, combined with a prediction for US international education policy changes and more schools adopting enhanced data driven programming, will be key to advancing international education in 2024.”



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