The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been spreading at pace across regions around the world, and the level of concern within the education sector is growing.
It started with recruitment and agent fairs being cancelled, schooling and exams being postponed, and widespread disruption during the crucial recruitment period for international students. Subsequently, what we first saw in China has now extended to other regions in the world with schools and universities closing in Ireland, Northern Italy and across MENA, and major events like APAIE and South by SouthWest being cancelled.
With travel restrictions and border controls being implemented, and the future of other regions currently unknown, the risks to international student mobility and recruitment are reaching a critical point.
But out of a crisis, can come opportunity.
At the time of writing, the outbreak in Europe is developing at the same pace as seen in China. Taking China’s lead, reassuring your prospective students that your institution is taking learning online to minimise the disruption caused by physical doors closing, is a smart move.
In a 2018 report by Times Higher Education, 200 leaders of prominent global universities in 2018, – from 45 countries across six continents – were emphatic on one point: online higher education would never match the real thing. Although 63 per cent expected established universities to be offering full degrees online by 2030, only 24 per cent thought that the electronic versions would be more popular than traditional campus-based degrees.
But in a recent poll by Student Hut on how students are feeling about COVID-19 and their education, half indicate that they want their university or college to offer online alternatives in place of in-person classes by September 2020. And one in four prospective 2020 undergraduate students are considering an online course provider instead of a traditional course with in-person delivery.
Driven by the unique conditions that COVID-19 has created and the challenges facing the education system by this coronavirus outbreak, the future might just have become the present. Online providers, or those institutions that can be agile enough to offer an online alternative, might be the ones who find themselves in the best position possible by the end of the 2020 recruitment cycle.
We caught up with our Industry expert, Kaja, head of biddable media, to find out her top tips for online course promotion, to ensure that your students and prospective students know you’re still open for business ahead of the new academic year: