Arturo Segura, Regional Director, Latin America at Navitas

With over 12 years of experience in international relations and partnerships, Arturo Segura is currently the Regional Director of Latin America at Navitas. Arturo’s professional portfolio includes strategic planning, research, domestic and international student recruitment and admissions, academic and non-academic support programs for undergraduate and graduate students, the development of multi-level collaborations, and student and faculty mobility. Having demonstrated exceptional creativity and innovation practices, Arturo has held multiple leadership positions in the public and private sectors. Arturo has contributed to developing university-wide strategic plans related to international education and the internationalization of research. He has also led consultancy and internal reviews for governments and institutions in Canada, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and the Netherlands. Arturo holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of Regina) with a double major in Economics and Society and in French, a Master of International Trade (University of Saskatchewan), and a Master of World Literature and Cultures (University of Ottawa).


Around four years after the pandemic, its effects are still felt around the globe in the education sector: elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary. Research demonstrates that students of all ages were impacted in multiple ways, affecting their development, which resulted in graduating with gaps of almost one year. These gaps could be categorized into two main areas: academic and social. However, it’s important to remember that despite these challenges, students have shown remarkable resilience and potential for success.

As the pandemic unfolded, each government and institution was responsible for their approach to mitigate the risks of propagating the diseases among their academic community. These approaches included the closure of schools and the transition from traditional ways of learning to online platforms and techniques. According to McKinsey and The Economist, our learners around the world were impacted by school closures (fully or partially closed):

  • 30 weeks in Europe and Central Asia
  • 34 weeks in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 40 weeks in North America
  • 41 weeks in East Asia and the Pacific
  • 41 weeks in the Middle East and North Africa
  • 77 weeks in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 84 weeks in South Asia

Hence, if a high school student from Latin America is interested in studying at a European university, their European classmates will have had 47 weeks of more education and learning than them, creating challenges for both the students and the faculty members. Moreover, the percentage of courses delivered in person or via a different mode of delivery varied from region to region. Furthermore, focusing on our students from Latin America, only around 5% of the teaching delivery was in-person, compared to almost 45% in Europe, according to McKinsey. McKinsey highlights that students around the world are graduating with a learning delay that is quantified as 3.6 months in Europe and Central Asia, 4.3 months in North America, 6.2 months in Sub-Saharan Africa, 6.4 months in the Middle East and North Africa, 6.6 months in East Asia and the Pacific, 11.7 months in Latin America and the Caribbean, and a substantial 12.4 months in South Asia. These statistics demonstrate the severity of the educational setbacks experienced by students across the globe, mainly as this learning delay also refers to other types of gaps/setbacks.

Students around the world are being affected by their professional development. For instance, high school students were not able to gain professional experience by working on their academic breaks; university students were deprived of their internships and volunteering opportunities – even some students graduated without being able to perform their practicums due to the closures and restrictions caused by the coronavirus. Students’ social interactions were limited, which also created a gap in the development of their interpersonal skills.

Personal well-being was also affected by the pandemic. Living in isolation from society for almost two years also affected the mental well-being of our students. A study conducted in India by Chaudhary et al. (2021) highlighted that learners reported worsening mental health due to the coronavirus: 71% of students aged 15 to 18 reported any negative impact, and 14% reported a significant negative impact. Furthermore, in a recent survey by Gallup and Meta, where they interviewed 1,000 individuals older than 15 years old from 142 countries, it was reported by the youth that one out of four participants felt very alone. More than one billion students worldwide were affected by the coronavirus.

The culmination of the COVID-19 global pandemic’s impact on education is a staggering achievement gap that spans continents and regions. So, how can we respond to these needs and ensure that students can succeed when entering college or university? One solution can be pre-university programs.

A pre-university or pre-college program, often referred to as a foundation or pathway program, prepares students to complete an undergraduate degree successfully. These types of programs are typically for international students. However, some institutions are now offering them to their domestic students. In the United Kingdom, Anglia Ruskin University College offers a comprehensive undergraduate pathway for both local and international students, providing ongoing guidance, support, and the knowledge and skills needed to transition from high school to university smoothly.

Pre-college programs focus on providing students with a more controlled learning environment, such as smaller classes with professors and lecturers who understand that students are transitioning to a new academic system. Additional academic support including tutoring on mathematics, sciences, English, and more. Social programming to immerse students into the new culture of the country of studies to ensure a smooth transition. Mental health support with appropriate counsellors and staff members. These programs are designed to provide a supportive and nurturing environment, ensuring that students feel confident and prepared for their university journey.

It is crucial to do our due diligence when applying to a pre-college program. We need to ensure that they are accredited, that they have a partnership, or that the pre-program is offered by the college or university itself. Currently, around the world, preference is being given to programs linked to a university. For example, in Canada, the majority of their international study permit allocations for pre-college programs were linked to public universities. Furthermore, it is important to note that there exist multiple educational providers of pre-university colleges, including Global University Systems, INTO University Partnerships, Kaplan International, Navitas, and Study Group. Understanding the universities they represent, their academic and research strengths, their awards and scholarship programs, and their non-academic and career services will empower you in the process of selecting your program of study.

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