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Study says prospective int’l students face uncertainty

Rwandans who previously benefited from UK government’s Chevening scholarship programme pose for a group photo at a past event. / Photo: Net.

More than 50 per cent of the students who are seeking to pursue their studies in overseas universities are considering changing their plans by postponing their studies or studying in a different country, according to a new survey conducted by international student recruitment platform educations.com.

According to the survey, 53 per cent of international students still expect to be travelling abroad to study on campus in the future.

 

The survey was a result of the more than 2,700 responses from prospective and current international students that was collected from October 1, through 18.

 

The findings were compared to a previous survey conducted approximately seven months ago between March 16 and April 22.

 

The geographical breakdown of the prospective students surveyed in October was Asia (31.7 per cent), Africa (31.2 per cent), Europe (19.7 per cent), North America (8.4 per cent), South America (6.3 per cent) and Australasia (2.7 per cent).

In the new findings, the survey indicated that 78 per cent of prospective students surveyed this October plan to begin studying in the next two years, indicating a strong desire to study in future, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Only a very small percentage of prospective students (3.9 per cent plan to start their higher education in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, most students are considering alternative options such as postponing their studies (39 per cent) and studying in a different country (14 per cent).

Furthermore, the survey found out that the proportion of students who answer: “I don’t know yet”, has increased to 15 per cent in October from 10 per cent in March-April, highlighting increasing uncertainty about study plans.

Meanwhile, the percentage of prospective students who are willing to start their studies online but move to on-campus study at a later date has increased to 23 per cent in October from 16 per cent in March-April.

According to Enoch Niyonkuru, 1st year student at Trinity College, CT, in the United States, most students are currently studying online as they wait for the Covid-19 situation to ease.

“Like most of my colleagues, I am currently studying online but I will most probably travel in January to continue with the rest,” said Niyonkuru, adding, “Our academic year started in September this year, but the situation was not conducive for most of us to go”.

He gave an example of one of his friends who had travelled to Europe for studies, but had to travel back because of the ‘risky’ environment.

“A friend of mine recently came back after spending a few weeks in Europe for his studies,” said Niyonkuru, who is currently pursuing Application of Artificial Intelligence in Public Health said.

Like Niyonkuru, the survey indicated that about a third, (33.1 per cent) of prospective students are willing to study online until Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

“Apart from the Covid-19 situation, the main concerns are the current protests happening in some countries like the US, political volatility that has emerged due to the pandemic crisis among others”.

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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