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The value of strategic partnerships during the global pandemic and beyond

As we know, the world has changed with the global pandemic forcing a response to every challenge within every industry.

Photo: OIEG

"Key to these initiatives' success has been providing rapid, flexible, and high-quality solutions"

In the UK, revenue from education exports and TNE was worth £23.3 billion in 2018, an increase of 46.7% since 2010. Higher education contributed a staggering £16 billion of this figure.

The education sector, shown to be an essential part of economic growth for many countries including the UK, has not been spared during Covid-19.

“By uniting organisations who share a vision, offer their expertise, and communicate trustingly, we can accelerate developing opportunities”

Travel restrictions, social distancing measures on campus and the transition to virtual study have significantly affected schools, universities, staff, and students in many ways.

However, through innovation and partnerships, many organisations have adapted and played to their strengths to survive the pandemic’s impacts and build sustainable solutions that we did not know we needed until now.

These innovations are not merely a temporary solution during the pandemic but are highly beneficial for our society of today and tomorrow. The most important aspect of this all is to provide students worldwide with access to education.

Across the education sector partnerships during the pandemic have been pivotal, for example, with university research and development teams, government, and large healthcare organisations to tech companies working with providers to support the rapid move to online learning.

In May 2020, during the height of the global pandemic, Oxford International adapted by bringing together services such as English language teaching and its existing University Partnerships division.

With this collaboration, teams developed online education courses in partnership with UK universities such as the University of Greenwich, University of Strathclyde, Coventry University, University of Roehampton and more.

The success of these initiatives resulted in a new division for the group, OI Digital Institute. The new hub of online academic courses is designed for international students and universities to meet the demands of scale and high-quality online education.

By leveraging an existing partnerships model, Oxford International provided essential online English testing, online and in-country blended pre-sessional English language courses which enabled our university partners to maximise their recruitment. More than 5,000 students have completed their online education with Oxford International who will progress onto a degree at a UK university.

The University of Strathclyde highlighted the test’s global availability, competitive pricing and flexibility.

“The test process is administered clearly and supportively for students in stages, with a pre-test practice opportunity, the institution said, praising the “robust, secure, valid” test.

Looking forward, Oxford International has together with its partners, identified various areas in addition to English language teaching, where online products would offer valuable solutions.

One such area is postgraduate study, which requires an enhanced level of academic learning supported by robust quality practices. Oxford International now offers online both Pre-Master’s and Pre-PhD programs that equip students with English proficiency and academic skills.

On the Pre-PhD program, students gain independent research skills sufficient to enable the development of research objectives, detailed investigation, and successful project management.

The Pre-Masters program offers flexible entry points and length of studies based on student needs. Successful completion of this program would fulfil the academic requirements for securing a postgraduate study in the UK.

The key to these initiatives’ success has been providing rapid, flexible, and high-quality solutions tailored to each university and its unique set of challenges.

The ability to achieve this is through the value and strength of true partnership. By uniting organisations who share a vision, offer their expertise, and communicate trustingly, we can accelerate developing opportunities with our students’ future in mind.

“As the academic lead, I can say it was an absolute pleasure to work with such a professional and committed group of people – they believe in student-centred and educationally led solutions,” Professor John Fowler from Coventry University added.

About the author:

Linda Sandberg is Business Development Director for OI Digital Institute, a division operated by Oxford International Education Group. With more than 11 years’ experience of operations, sales and marketing within the education industry, Linda has gained extensive knowledge in various areas stretching from language teaching, secondary education, and higher education. Originally from Sweden and having lived both in Spain and in England, Linda has a good understanding of an international student’s needs. She is an advocate for the importance of high-quality service and is passionate about education and finding the right solution for her clients and their students.

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