While the future is difficult to predict with any degree of certainty, forecasting mechanisms continue to be popular in the international education sector. Retaining confidence in your chosen measurement and conviction is your hypothesis is the greatest challenge as unexpected factors which fall outside the parameters of your defined criteria can undo the robustness of forecasting models. Economic and demographic data provide the best foundation upon which to base analysis and how these two drivers merge can oftentimes indicate the direction of international higher education’s future growth. However, as the natural unpredictability of human interaction arises, when mathematics cannot account for all possibilities, models of this kind are revealed to be less than airtight. Further investigation has shown that other factors outside of an increase in population with the capacity to fund overseas education will impact trends that emerge.
The Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies describes Megatrends as great forces in societal development that will affect all areas of general human growth and progress in years to come. These long term driving forces, or Megatrends, have great importance now and there is confidence they will have great importance in the future. Apply this conceptual strategy of future planning to the world’s international education industry and what Megatrends can we identify?
Since our first attempts at developing an international higher education forecasting model we have been refining the list of core drivers that we believe will have a profound effect on the direction and growth of international higher education in the future. Although not an exhaustive or complete list, we have identified seven Megatrends.
- Demographic shift
- Economic dynamics
- Changes to political conditions
- Growth in education provision
- Digital technology
- Global workforce demands
- Cultural impact