Iran, with its young and highly literate population, constitutes one of the main higher education markets in the Middle East region. Having now developed a highly comprehensive higher education sector, a result of the efforts to advance the higher education system following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, it is of no surprise that more than four million Iranians are currently enrolled in higher education institutions in Iran. Regardless of these developments, however, meeting the increasing demand for tertiary education has been a challenge leading to a large number of Iranians pursuing tertiary education opportunities overseas. This has created a vast and promising market for student importing countries, which has proved to be too difficult for international student recruiters to penetrate due to international sanctions imposed on Iran and local economic problems coupled with certain restrictions imposed internally by the ruling authorities. Despite the challenges of not being politically recognised as legitimate except by Turkey, North Cyprus has been one of the most popular destinations for Iranian students particularly in the last decade. Relative to its size, North Cyprus has proved to be one of the most internationalised higher education system in the world with more than 30,000 international students from more than 100 different countries and more significantly, Iranian students constitute one of the largest cohort. This chapter explores the student recruitment process from Iran with a specific focus on the external and internal challenges faced by the students as well as by the recruiters. North Cyprus is particularly evaluated as a case study to present how some challenges may have been overcome and student flow can be achieved even to a country that has been struggling against the externalities of international political non-recognition.
Ezel, C. (2021), "Recruiting Educational Tourists from Countries Under International Sanctions: The Case of Iranian Education Market", Shneikat, B., Cobanoglu, C. and Tanova, C. (Ed.) Global Perspectives on Recruiting International Students: Challenges and Opportunities, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 111-124. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83982-518-720211007
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