ALTO reveals Covid-19 trend barometer

The tool allows education providers to record their in-person arrival data on a weekly basis, and receive an immediate report about global industry and national benchmarks.

Initially open to ALTO school and school association members, the platform is now open to all education providers. It currently has 45 users, many with multiple locations.

“The main drive for ALTO to essentially pay for this platform and make it accessible to the whole industry for free is to be able to analyse the full cycle of the pandemic with tangible data,” said Reka Lenart ALTO association manager.

“So when arrival numbers come back to 2019 levels, we close the platform and will be able to see the stages of recovery. This is the first global disruption of this scale the international education industry experienced, but it may not be the last and any information that can help us prepare for the next is gold.”

Data from the association has previously indicated booking expectations in various study destinations have “consistently reduced” during the Covid-19, and early on in the pandemic research suggested recovery would be gradual.

Initial data from the barometer indicates that student arrival numbers sunk by 33% in March – 2019 to 2020 – while in April 2020 85% fewer students arrived compared to the same month in 2019.

Educators in France, Germany, Ireland, Malta and the UK recorded 94-100% decrease in student arrival numbers in April 2020, while providers in Canada, Australia and South Africa recorded drops of 80%, 59% and 49%, respectively.

“Looking at the chart brings back painful memories, 2020 started out with an insignificant drop of 3% less student arrivals recorded in January compared to 2019, followed by a 7% drop when we compare February 2019 to 2020,” said director at Academia United and project champion Selim Dervish.

“This might have been a sign from Asia, that we didn’t yet comprehend and unfortunately due to the limited data we collect we can’t be sure. It’s only an educated guess from knowing what we know now.”

“The fully encrypted platform was designed to make sure that users’ data is not visible to anyone”

The platform only features on-site students, and does not cover online courses.

“This is a fully encrypted platform, it was designed to make sure that users’ data is not visible to anyone, including the main admin,” Lenart added.

After detailing arrivals figures from January 2019 to date, education providers can continue updating their records very quickly on a weekly basis and identify whether their statistics follow or differ from the international or their country’s chart line, she continued.

“They can see the international student arrivals figures changing live on their dashboard and they can contribute to a platform that is designed to help and support the industry they’re part of.”

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