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China is an anomaly as traditional pick factors are returning post-Covid

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Navitas research shows that students in South and South-East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Europe consider cost and access to post-graduation employment rights to be the most important factors when choosing where to study.

However, students in China are still heavily affected by concerns about the pandemic.

Navitas admitted that concerns over Covid-19 have fallen from being the main influencing factor among Greater China students in its October 2021 survey, but it remains the most popular, coming in fifth place in the latest study.

“This remains a far greater concern than most other regions, where the impact of Covid-19 does not even make the top 10.” — research pointed out that the “key explanation” for this difference is China’s zero-covid policy.

Both international and domestic travel are “significantly restricted” and quarantine at centralized facilities is still required upon entry into the country.

“Higher-ranking universities are now much more accommodating”

A prime example of this in recent days was when flights and trains from the popular holiday destination of Sanya were canceled due to surge in cases of Covid-19.

Compared to other areas around the world, the return to normalcy among prospective Chinese students has been “slow and gradual,” the report continued, citing typical factors such as education quality, rankings and rising costs. But safety and security are still the number one priority.

“Although they appear unrelated, it would not be far-fetched to suggest a link between concerns about Covid-19 and the importance currently being placed on rating and quality-related factors,” said Navitas Regional Sales Director for Greater China Kim Eklund. .

“In order to face the risk of travel and the potential inability to return home for a long period of time, the student and his family would like a higher than usual return in terms of quality and prestige.”

Those who are willing and able to apply have a “chance opportunity” as, after the 2020 drop in student numbers, “higher-ranked universities are now much more accommodating to the reduced applicant pool,” she added.

“This is evident in the extended deadlines and reduced entry requirements that are often seen.”

Photo: Navitas

The study also found that students in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are most cost-sensitive when looking for post-graduation employment and migration opportunities. Students in Latin America, in turn, place the ability to work while studying as a top priority.

“[Students from LATAM] tend to place a high value on improving their English language skills and having a good experience while doing so,” noted Navitas Regional Sales Director for EMEAA Omid Hanari.

“Many of these students tend to have limited financial support from their families and therefore have to keep an eye on expenses as well as work part-time while studying to pay their way.”

“[Students from LATAM] generally attach great importance to improving their English language skills”

European students are expected to pay more attention to rankings and there is a “noticeable turnaround” in the quality of educational outcomes, he added.

Higher-income countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei share “some commonalities” with the Greater China region.

Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam have more in common with South Asia, “where opportunities to work while studying and opportunities for permanent migration figure prominently in the top five factors,” the report noted.

The results of Navitas’ May 2022 Agent Perception Survey “look similar to what we would have expected in pre-pandemic 2019,” said John Chu, Navitas’ head of ratings and analytics. explained.

Opportunities to work while studying may be an exception to the list of top five factors, he added, an influence that may not have been “as prominent in the past”.

“This may reflect concerns about inflation, weaker exchange rates and rising costs of living, as well as a marked lifting of restrictions on the ability to work during term time in Australia,” he concluded.

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