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Integrating North American Credit Models into Asian and Middle Eastern Educational Systemsby@manit
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Integrating North American Credit Models into Asian and Middle Eastern Educational Systems

by Manit KaushalJune 19th, 2024
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The purpose of this article is to synthesize and expand upon the role of educational technology (ed-tech) in enhancing global education systems. The article summaries my understandings of new government changes made towards education, market dynamics, financial frameworks, and cultural factors to adapt new ed-tech companies such as UPI Study.
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Article’s Purpose:

The purpose of this article is to synthesize and expand upon the knowledge I have gained throughout the term regarding the role of ed-tech in enhancing global education systems via study abroad opportunities and the adoption of the North American credit model in Asia and the Middle East.


The article summaries my understanding of new government changes made toward education, market dynamics, financial frameworks, and cultural factors to adapt new ed-tech companies such as UPI Study (who are introducing college credit courses like Advance Placement Tests offered by CollegeBoard) to meet local needs and assess there scalability in these regions, which, in turn, would support the goal to democratize the expansion North American credit courses in these regions, drawing parallels with similar successful implementations like those by the College Board in the US or IB (International Baccalaureate) in the UK.

Methodology & Findings:

I have used a comprehensive approach in reviewing and comprising academic study, fieldwork, and industry insights. Starting with my review of exploring existing studies on adopting the American credit model through scholarly articles and policy reviews. I continued my research with different case studies, planning to implement a Choice-based Credit system and its impact on educational advances in my target countries to help me understand government and market support for a young company like mine.


I consolidate interaction with industry experts from class, research presented in other papers, and students' presentations on their hometowns. I also focus on conversations with government bodies about accreditation and the startup support ecosystem, followed by applying frameworks like SWOT/PEST-I analysis to identify the factors affecting global ed-tech adoption.

Recommendations:

For educational companies -- the recommendations would be to build a strategic framework for expanding their courses in countries that are open to implementing a based Credit System, requiring working with government officials to ensure alignment of the new curriculum with local standards and secure accreditation. Then, there would be utilizing advanced technologies like AI and blockchain to improve the learning experience.


Basically, building partnerships with local institutions is going to be a crucial factor for scalability, along with monitoring of new policies and training for educators for effectiveness. By strategically following the above recommendations, UPI Study can drive educational innovation in these countries.

Introduction

The purpose of this article is to synthesize and expand upon the role of educational technology (ed-tech) in enhancing global education systems via study-abroad opportunities and the adoption of the North American credit model in Asia and the Middle East.


My knowledge is derived from my experiences with UPI Study, the company I co-founded, which offers accredited online college-level courses to international students, aiming to make higher education more accessible and affordable.


Today, there are over a million consultancy businesses where the focus has always been on students coming from regions like the Middle East, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines, who wish to study abroad. Often, many of these students would take college credit courses via International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, or UPI Study courses to polish their profile for top colleges and to help them save on tuition and graduate earlier.


Alongside my research, it has come to notice after discussions with government employees of educational ministries of various countries that many Middle Eastern and Asian countries are also trying to move toward implementing a choice-based credit system like North American universities and education model.


With this new upcoming education model, it presents an opportunity for a new business market to not only offer college credit-like courses but also integrate with local universities to provide a similar service for locals to their own universities to graduate faster, hence, expanding the market presence and providing new educational pathways.


The evolving education policies in these regions still aren’t well known, and within this article, I aim to list my findings and provide strategic recommendations for the development of a new market and expansion of ed-tech business offerings.


The focus of this article grew to also research the general benefits of ed-tech, such as personalized learning and increased accessibility - this was followed by getting more understanding of the specific educational systems, cultural nuances, and regulatory environments in the target regions.

Key Learnings and Insights

Some of the topics that were researched were AI in Education, Data Privacy, Cultural insights, Choice-Based Credit Systems, Emerging Market Dynamics, Technological Integration, Collaborative Platforms, some Sustainable Practices, and a few hybrid learning models. These topics will help with the understanding of the ed-tech landscape and its implications for global education systems has deepened significantly throughout the semester.

(Image 1: https://www.javatpoint.com/cbcs-full-form)


For beginning AI in Education has very well-known potential moving forward for third-world countries. The "JRC Digital Economy Working Paper," for instance, talks about how AI can customize instruction to each student's specific needs, which makes learning more flexible and interesting. Trying out different AI tools has shown promise for enhancing education by making it more suitable and successful for students.


For instance, AI is applied in adaptive learning platforms such as DreamBox and Knewton to personalize educational material according to how well students are doing and their method of learning (Hampson). Another example is Chegg - they saw a 9% decline in revenue.


However, they are seeing growth coming back after introducing AI to their software. With AI and tech, the second most important thing was that the most common question to raise was data privacy. The growth of ed-tech companies in the last decade in general has highlighted the ethical considerations and user concerns surrounding data use in the industry. It is very important to find a balance between using data for better learning and making sure users trust us.


Knowing these things well is key to creating an ed-tech platform that is both responsible and helpful. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, along with similar rules from other places, highlights the need for safeguarding student information (West).


One more research topic that new ed-tech businesses will need to cover is cultural insights. Learning from student interviews, such as from Bangalore and Vietnam helped me dig deeper into understanding these places' startup systems and cultural movements. Such information is essential when creating a market entry strategy that considers different cultures too.


For instance, comprehending the educational goals and cultural traditions of students from Vietnam or India can guide a company in forming and marketing. In Vietnam, there is a strong emphasis on academic excellence and educational attainment, which aligns well with UPI's high-quality course offerings (Pham). This is where the following most important research came in: the introduction of the choice-based Credit System. A significant learning was understanding how countries in Asia and the Middle East are moving towards implementing a choice-based credit system.


Similar to the American education model, this system opens up new markets and opportunities for businesses like UPI Study, College Board, and younger startups. It changes the admission cycle and demands changes in how educational content is arranged and presented. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 from India shows this shift towards a flexible, multi-disciplinary education system that matches with worldwide standards (Ministry of Education, India).


In the developing Market Dynamics, nations such as Vietnam and Indonesia are experiencing significant investments in startups and technology industries. The increasing economies in these areas create chances for new ed-tech firms to flourish to help the government plan a successful integration of CBCS. For example, the Vietnam National Innovation Center and rules such as Decision No: 844/QD-TTg - these set aside money for startup projects.


This shows that there is robust backing from the government towards innovation and reforms in education (Nguyen). Similarly, Indonesia's approach is also motivated and called "Making Indonesia 4.0" - where the initiative aims to position the country as a global player in the digital economy, which includes significant investments in education technology (Ministry of Industry, Indonesia).


Technological integration is also increasing, especially with the rise of AI, data privacy, and blockchain development. Advanced technologies such as blockchain and AI are important for enhancing the learning experience and ensuring secure as well as transparent credit transfers. As per studies, Blockchain can be and is being utilized to safeguard academic records, which makes it simpler for students to shift credits from one institution to another.


For instance, the University of Nicosia in Cyprus is employing blockchain for giving and validating academic certificates, which ensures genuineness while lessening fraud risk (Grech). This presents the opportunity to welcome more Collaborative Platforms where Ed-tech solutions promoting cooperation between students, educators, and educational establishments worldwide are gaining significance.


These platforms assist in developing a unified and cooperative learning atmosphere. Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams are very crucial for better communication and teamwork in learning environments, particularly with the COVID-19 situation (Gonzalez).


Therefore, the introduction of hybrid learning models is gaining momentum in the Western world and is starting to happen more often in Eastern countries too. Mixing online with face-to-face education gives students a variety of flexible choices that are easy to reach. This combination model is very flexible and can adapt to different learning needs and choices, it can help make education more inclusive.


The mix of both traditional and online methods has already been tried out in places like the University of Phoenix or Southern New Hampshire University. This method allows students to handle their studies along with other responsibilities (Lederman).


This invite of growth of technologies invites the use of Sustainable Practices alongside the data and privacy rules, which were discussed above. Hence, it is particularly important as sustainability becomes a critical factor in the development and implementation of growth of educational technologies. For example, the growth of energy-efficient data centers and marketing more use of digital textbooks over printed text materials can instantly reduce the carbon footprint in educational institutions (Johnson).


These key learnings were researched because of the Global Study Trends that exist now. The growth in learning overseas appears to be increasing every year for the past two decades. More and more students from Canada, India, and the Philippines, as well as different European countries, are looking for study opportunities outside their home nations. This trend shows a demand for accessible and reasonably priced routes for recognized classes & credits.


To support this, the Institute of International Education reports that the quantity of international students in the United States has more than doubled since 2000, growing to over 1 million during the 2019-2020 academic year (IIE).

Underlying Forces Shaping Recent Events

Considering the rise in education policies, it can be said that certain Forces are Shaping Recent Events. For instance, we have utilized PEST-I Analysis of Ed-Tech in Asia and the Middle East. Here, the political situation is becoming more encouraging towards changes in education and technological advancements across many countries within these regions. Governments view education as key to economic progress.


They are creating rules that back this up. An example is Vietnam, where the government has started things such as a National Innovation Center and Decision No: 844/QD-TTg. These actions give big money for startup projects and help make good conditions for education and technology progress (Nguyen). Likewise, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 of India highlights the use of technology in education while encouraging flexibility within its choice-based credit system that matches with worldwide norms (Ministry of Education, India).


Secondly, the ed-tech sector is growing economically. Basically, economic growth from countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, and India provides fresh opportunities for this area. These economies are developing fast, with substantial investments being made in technology and education (World Bank).


In Vietnam's economy, for instance, there has been a large amount of venture capital attracted especially towards areas such as digital payments or retail; this suggests that there exists an environment strong enough to support educational solutions driven by tech (World Bank). Another important factor in the growing middle class in these areas is that they are creating more demand for higher education and studying overseas, making a profitable market for study abroad services (Lowy Institute).


(Image 2: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/digital-education-market-7751828.html)



Third, the Social dynamics in these regions are also supportive of ed-tech. There is a growing population of young people who are comfortable with technology and have access to high-speed internet and smartphones. Because of this, using digital learning solutions becomes very possible.


For example, in Vietnam, there are more than 64 million people who use the internet, and many smartphone users, creating a ready market for online education (Nguyen). Additionally, the role of culture is significant. In Vietnam, there's a deep respect for knowledge and learning that motivates the need for creative educational answers (Pham).


For the technology progress and current situation, AI might be utilized for personalized learning times but it and blockchain can also keep academic records safe and help in moving credits between schools. These are vital for creating educational solutions that work well with many types of students (Hampson).


The existence of prosperous tech startups shows a growing industry for fresh endeavors in these growing countries. For instance, Vietnam has shown that it holds potential for growth and creativity with firms such as Sky Mavis or VNPay (Nguyen). These existing players establish a competitive yet cooperative atmosphere, providing room for alliances and intellectual exchange.

Next, the question arises about the trends that seem to shape the future and even influence the Underlying Forces mentioned above. One of the most liked trends is the Increasing Popularity of Studying Abroad: In the last 20 years, there has been a large rise in students who want to study outside their home country.


Places like Canada, the US, and Australia along with many European countries have become favorites for students from India as well as the Philippines and Vietnam to the Middle East too! This pattern highlights the need for accessible and economical routes in international education, like the recognized courses from UPI Study (IIE).


Now, may the trend be of study abroad or local learning, we can see that Personalized Learning has grown a lot in the last three years because of COVID-19. It got more popular after AI was launched. The use of AI is ready to change personalized learning in education. AI-based tools can examine data of students, adjusting education content, and create personalized learning experiences to increase student participation.


This method is effective for improving learning results as it concentrates on individual requirements and choices (Johnson). Not only this, but the Blockchain for education and it basically guarantees transparency and belief in academic transactions which is very important for online courses to be seen as real and accepted. If companies like UPI Study start using blockchain, it can increase the trustworthiness and acceptance of the courses too. The University of Nicosia's way of giving out diplomas through blockchain shows how powerful this technology can be in education (Grech).


Another trend that has been popular in the last 2 years, not only in the West but also in the East, is - Collaborative Platforms. The importance of ed-tech solutions that encourage cooperation between students, educators, and institutions is growing. These platforms make learning more interactive and combined where knowledge sharing and solving problems together are promoted, bringing more business together.


Educational collaboration tools, such as Slack, Trello, and Zoom have become very important. These tools are vital for collaboration in education, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when learning from home became standard (Gonzalez). The company Chegg made partnerships with Tinder, Calm, Perzi and Doordash. Many other prime examples like these also exist. The other trend that was mentioned before is the major one of growing hybrid learning models. Institutions such as Harvard University and MIT have shown how successful this method can be by combining online coursework with physical interactions (Lederman).


Then comes the important factor of local partnerships and study consultants to enter and grow in the market, basically, it is important to cooperate with nearby universities, tuition centers, and study consultants. These alliances often give useful information about local education requirements and likes, help in getting recognized by authorities, and improve efforts for recruiting students.


Working together with study consultants who greatly influence students' decisions on their educational path could boost their position in the market for any company even more. Consultants usually maintain strong ties with schools and universities, serving as a crucial connection between students and higher education establishments (Pham).

Key Takeaways for Entering the Industry

  1. It is very important to form good relationships with local educational institutions and government organizations to get accreditation and be in line with local standards. These partnerships may help enter the market easily and boost the credibility of your offering. For example, cooperating with government agencies could assist in managing regulatory conditions and obtaining approvals (Nguyen). Also, when we conform the educational content and platforms to the customs and likings of local cultures, it boosts user involvement and adoption.


    The comprehension of cultural subtleties, along with their inclusion in course design and delivery, is crucial for thriving in varied markets. For instance, making alterations in course materials so as to mirror local settings and principles can render learning more pertinent and identifiable for students (Pham).

  2. The use of AI and blockchain is very important for making learning better and also ensuring the safe transfer of credits. These technologies can make educational solutions more scalable, efficient, and dependable. After discussions with some professionals who work with the accreditors, some have even started requesting the correct use of AI to be put in place. It's possible to create adaptive learning systems driven by AI that offer students personalized education paths, which result in improved outcomes (Hampson).


    Maintaining a lead in industry trends and always finding new solutions to match the changing requirements of students and educators is very important. This involves checking out fresh technological improvements, teaching methods, and business structures to stay competitive and appropriate. For instance, the use of virtual reality and augmented reality in educational platforms can provide engaging learning experiences (Gonzalez).

  3. To keep user trust, having high ethical standards when using data and being transparent in all operations is important. This includes following rules about the privacy of data and encouraging good practices with data. Making sure that student information is safe and used properly helps keep the respect and image of educational places (West).


    Furthermore, involving local study consultants and tuition centers can enhance student recruitment. These partners know the education system in their area well, and they can offer important assistance in directing students toward your product. Utilizing their connections and knowledge will help UPI Study reach out more successfully and assist many students (Pham).

Conclusion, Open Questions, and Areas of Further Research

Some main conclusions about how ed-tech can improve global education systems and study abroad chances. One is that using advanced technologies like AI and blockchain in education has a big impact on learning results as well as administrative effectiveness. Another important understanding is the need for cultural adjustment; educational answers should match the local environment to work properly.


Additionally, it is very important to form strategic alliances with nearby establishments and governmental organizations. This can greatly help manage regulatory environments and gain trustworthiness. These understandings will direct the tactical growth of future ed-tech companies who are looking to break into offering CBCS credit courses into fresh markets, making certain our services remain suitable and effective.


There are still some important matters and ongoing questions that need to be addressed. One big issue which I see is the difference in rules and regulations from country to country, which could make it difficult for UPI to expand our operations globally - we may have to set up a different office in each country to abide by the local rules or something else, hence, it is an open-ended discussion for now.


There is also uncertainty about how much time ed-tech solutions will last and what effect they might have on usual educational systems. What we need to ask is how technology can improve existing educational systems instead of causing disruption. The question about the adoption of AI and its effects should be more open-ended, like how do we know if personalized learning experiences with AI are working well? These areas require more study and ongoing observation to build powerful methods to handle the issues.


Startups would need to research more into the cultural components of molding user acceptance and involvement with ed-tech platforms. Will the solution be the previously discussed strategic move to collaborate in companies and work together? Also, the recommendation is to study the lasting influence of the North American credit model on worldwide education systems and student movement: Are other remaining Eastern countries still willing to implement it, or is the like-ability of this model to stay in place for 40 years at least or to explore the possibility of change within ten years

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