In late-April 2017 Levant Education Managing Director David Mitchell led a Higher Education mission to Iran, with a busy programme of high level meetings with experts and leaders from the Higher Education, Vocational Education and Language Education sectors.
Iran is one of the most important countries in the region for Higher Education and Research, producing (with Turkey and Israel) the bulk of research in the Middle East. 25% of Iranian research is co-authored internationally, with the favoured partners being from the USA, UK, Canada, Germany and France.
The mission included visits to the universities of Tehran, Sharif University, Shahid Beheshti, Shahid Rejaie, Islamic Azad University, The University of Applied Sciences & Technology (the largest public university in Iran, preparing nearly half a million students for the world of work), the National Oil Company and associate bodies, as well as private HE colleges, private High Schools and Language Training Institutes.
The busy schedule gave delegates a full and detailed entry into the education sector in Iran, which has seen exceptional growth in recent years owing to a youthful demographic. At the same time, economic growth and international re-engagement is driving demand for language and vocational / business training.
During the mission, the key themes became clear: access to international education and training, the need to upgrade/modernise education provision, access to international validation, accreditation and materials, and access to internationally recognised qualifications. Education providers at every level were keen to engage with partners abroad, and local demand is pushing providers to offer better and more internationally focussed programmes.
Meanwhile, with 50,000 Iranian students enrolling abroad every year, opportunities for international recruitment are multiplying as the US – usually the top destination for Iranian students – closes its borders to people from majority-Muslim countries.