Identified outdoors of Scotland because the SQA Superior Diploma, this system mirrors the core rules and parts of the SQA HND program delivered to college students domestically in its design, content material and evaluation requirements.
Utilized by most college students for superior entry to second or third 12 months of an undergraduate, worldwide diploma, historically Chinese language college students have seen the SQA Superior Diploma as a pathway to check within the UK.
At the moment, there are 104 SQA centres outdoors of the UK – throughout South Asia and the Center East – and SQA is now working to get by means of the regulatory course of in Vietnam too.
With growing curiosity from the Americas too, growth is anticipated.
Aisling Kelly, worldwide regional supervisor at SQA, tells The PIE that though there have been considerations that the Covid pandemic would trigger numbers of enrolled college students to dive, the other has been true, with the pliability of this system offering Chinese language college students – and their dad and mom – with a way of “consolation”.
Its attraction is broadening, she provides. Locations such because the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are additionally turning into well-liked.
“Nearly all of our college students wish to do a world diploma, and our Superior Diploma affords a less expensive method for them to do it,” confirms Gillian Hepburn, head of worldwide, SQA.
“The chance to remain in your house nation for the primary two years after which have that articulation… it’s an actual end-to-end resolution and it widens that entry.”
Roughly 60% of scholars graduating with the Superior Diploma in China will articulate on to some form of a pathway to larger schooling, whereas round 40% keep in China for a pathway on to a different diploma or grasp’s, says SQA’s regional supervisor Kelly, including that solely a really low quantity go instantly into employment.
As for the topics of examine, there are 15 frameworks out there for Chinese language college students, with enterprise and monetary companies being the preferred – that has been the case for 20 years.
“Greater than ever it’s actually costly to go abroad to check for 3 years whereas that is widening that chance out to households and learners,” provides Hepburn, who says the qualification appeals to households that “couldn’t probably” contemplate funding throughout three years.
Profitable agent, James Jing Wang, CEO, Beijing L&J Training Know-how, tells The PIE that the Superior Diploma grew to become more and more well-liked amongst graduates of worldwide excessive colleges throughout the pandemic, fuelled by their ambition to proceed a worldwide schooling, however apprehensive concerning the well being and security risks that got here with learning overseas right now.
Wang provides this system offers college students the chance to attain a steadiness someplace between a conventional schooling and one which provides them worldwide scope.
“Whole tuition charges for the three+1 program is roughly 50% cheaper than learning complete undergraduate program overseas,” Wang tells The PIE, highlighting larger residing prices within the UK in comparison with China.
His company alone offers service to roughly 500 college students learning the top-up program per 12 months within the UK.
In late 2019, when Wang noticed excessive demand from Superior Diploma graduates in search of additional post-graduate examine within the UK, he took the chance to lease a property which might turn into the company’s Birmingham-based workplace within the UK, to higher assist serve Chinese language college students discovering lodging and post-graduate packages upon graduating from the pathway program.
The workplace formally opened in September 2022, after being delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Every year, SQA hosts an occasion in China with the deans and heads of centres to evaluate the standard of the Superior Diploma, with the intention of addressing any points which have arisen over the course of the 12 months.
Six years in the past, SQA listened to suggestions from development companions about college students’ English proficiency and an English language entry requirement was launched.
“No matter we put in place needed to complement our Diploma-to-Diploma development pathway,” explains Kelly. “So in 2020, in partnership with PSI companies, we launched Expertise for English assessments on behalf of the Residence Workplace.”
In keeping with SQA, it has developed and high quality assures the assessments which it says offers a “complete resolution” for worldwide prospects seeking to present English language assist for his or her college students.
SQA has 50+ development companions, with pathways for Superior Diploma college students mapped and agreed with establishments, however college students usually are not restricted to those establishments and might apply to any college that may settle for an Superior Diploma.
The physique can also be eager to spotlight that it’s not competing with universities for college students, and it’s as a substitute focusing on a distinct subset of the market – learners who might assume they can’t afford to have a world examine expertise.
We imagine that anybody who can afford to go for 3 years, straight to college, will nonetheless proceed to do this
“We imagine that anybody who can afford to go for 3 years, straight to college, will nonetheless proceed to do this,” says Hepburn.
But, SQA is rolling out its exercise elsewhere on the earth and its spokespeople spotlight that SQA centres opening in new areas could possibly be helpful to universities’ personal recruitment methods.
“The markets we try to maneuver into will align with the markets the schools themselves are enthusiastic about when it comes to recruitment,” asserts Hepburn.
One profitable alumni of the Superior Diploma program confirmed its broad potential.
“This can be a good possibility for individuals who don’t need to examine abroad for an extended interval,” says Shelley Liu, a scholar who achieved an Superior Diploma at Xiamen College in China. “It will likely be an excellent transition for individuals who haven’t any expertise of learning overseas.”
Liu went on to check an undergraduate diploma in accounting, adopted by a grasp’s diploma on the College of Washington.
Mags Hutchinson, worldwide articulation supervisor, SQA, concludes, “We’ve had actually optimistic suggestions concerning the calibre of scholar and the way they’ve gone on to graduate and progress even additional.”