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John Wood, Navitas, University Programs Division

JW: We predominantly offer pathways into degrees at universities. However, we do deliver full degrees on behalf of three universities in Kenya and Sri Lanka. Regarding our pathways, this may sound like an exaggeration but if you take our colleges collectively, we definitely have the potential for students to enter into almost all the ranges of degrees a university can offer.

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"There's a need for a government communications campaign to rectify what’s out there as misconception"

In essence, our pathways, diplomas or university transfer programmes, depending on which jurisdiction you’re in, enable students to go into a vast range of courses. Our most popular diplomas tend to be business and commerce, but so too are engineering and health sciences.

“Our most popular diplomas tend to be business and commerce, but so too are engineering and health sciences”

The PIE: Do you think the pathway market will grow as much as some predict?

JW: Yes. My view is we’re an embryonic industry. It’s akin to those first cotton textile mills in mid-18th century Britain which started the industrial revolution, to use an analogy from economic history! We’re only just beginning.

Why do I say that? There is going to be demand for students to leave a range of key source countries for English-speaking destinations – Canada, Australia, the UK, the US, New Zealand – and there is no question in my mind that that demand will continue to grow. You sit that alongside the demographics of South Asia, the Middle East and China, and you can see how demand is going to grow very strongly.

The PIE: In your end of year results, growth in Asia and North America balanced out poorer performance in your biggest market, Australia. Will delivery outside Australia become increasingly important in the long term?

JW: Absolutely. Why? Because of the demand in the US from international students who want to go there. Britain is still up there as a very important and high quality study destination. Our operations in Singapore and Canada are also doing well. So we see these balancing our Australian operations, though we see Australia continuing to be a very strong destination too.

“There’s much work to be done but we do expect we’ll see improvement”

The PIE: The UK government wants to open up HE to quality private providers. Would Navitas be interested in running a private university one day?

JW: No! We do manage degrees abroad, but our model is very much about working in partnership with universities. We certainly welcome competition, but do we want to establish a private university in the UK? No.

The PIE: What can we expect from Navitas in FY2013? 

JW: We expect an improvement from our results in FY2012. There’s much work to be done but we do expect we’ll see improvements.

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