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NEWSLETTEROECD – Not ‘abdicating’ higher education; plus country reports
This week we publish the second part of a Special Report, edited by Geoff Maslen, on the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2013 survey. In Commentary, Deborah Roseveare responds to last week’s article by Philip G Altbach, which accused the OECD and UNESCO of ‘abdicating’ higher education, and contends that the OECD has never been more engaged with the sector.
Qiang Zha and Xiaoyang Wang trace the transmogrification of the Chinese media’s coverage of higher education from being a propaganda arm of government to playing a watchdog role.
Ami Zusman investigates the phenomenal growth of ‘professional practice doctorates’ in the United States and finds that they raise unresolved questions, including around what a ‘doctorate’ should mean. Ulrich Grothus argues that academics and students who have been involved in exchanges need to speak out about Europe’s current crisis – and that the European Union needs to listen.
In World Blog, Grace Karram wonders whether government in Canada should intervene when higher education creates an oversupply of graduates in areas such as teaching, where most are employed by the public service.
In the Features section, Jane Marshall unpacks a new report by the French government’s Campus France agency looking at the international mobility of African students, and Nicola Jenvey probes what global rankings say about African business schools and qualifications. Alya Mishra reports that India has begun lobbying ranking agencies on how to boost the country’s position in international league tables.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Just a week after reports that the United Kingdom is considering imposing cash bonds on Indian students entering the country, France has announced a slew of measures, including easing certain visa rules, to attract Indian students to its higher education institutions.
When Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, was deposed as head of government last month by the man she had forced from office three years previously almost to the day, it not only gave Kevin Rudd a second shot as PM but also raised the hopes of the nation’s vice-chancellors. One of Rudd’s first decisions, following the palace coup and the resignations of half of Gillard’s former cabinet, was to put Senator Kim Carr in charge of higher education.
EGYPTAshraf Khaled and Karen MacGregor
As turmoil continued following the ousting by the military of Egypt’s first freely elected president, and some American universities opted to evacuate students, Gaber Nassar – a law professor and outspoken critic of Islamists – was chosen to lead the country’s top university.
An assistant professor at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Dr Nadim Mahassen, has published an unusual ranking of world universities. Mahassen’s system places 57 US universities in the top 100 but then drops rapidly down to England and Japan in equal second place with six each, France with five, Canada, Israel and Switzerland four, Australia and Germany two, and another 10 countries scoring one each.
A nationwide survey by the German Student Welfare Service has found that working-class children are still strongly underrepresented in higher education, with less than a quarter gaining access to university.
GLOBALIan R Dobson
Finland recently hosted the World Science Journalists’ Conference. About 800 delegates from 77 countries converged on the University of Helsinki for this biennial event, which was hosted by the World Federation of Science Journalists and the Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists.
Speaking at the University of Cape Town last week, United States President Barack Obama said there was no question that Africa was on the move – but it was not moving fast enough for children still languishing in poverty in forgotten townships.
Spiralling graduate unemployment in Nigeria is causing consternation in civil society and among captains of industry.
The vice-chancellor of Cameroon’s English-speaking University of Buea has declared that she is determined to soothe tensions on campus that have led to a series of violent strikes by students. Buea is one of two public English-speaking universities in the majority-Francophone country.
There are more than 380,000 mobile African students. Where do they choose to go? What higher education projects are China and other non-African countries doing on the continent? What is the state of Africa’s intra-regional student mobility? The French government’s Campus France agency answers these and many other questions in a new report.
Following the poor showing of Indian higher education institutions in three of the most quoted global rankings of universities, India has begun lobbying ranking agencies on how to improve the country’s position in international league tables.
The recently released Financial Times Business School Rankings survey has placed the spotlight on African business executive and master of business administration qualifications, revealing how the continent is faring internationally.
TURKEYAsli Igsiz, The Chronicle of Higher Education
In recent weeks, images from Turkey of tear gas and excessive police force, and stories about government investigations and accusations aimed at Gezi Park protesters, may have surprised many outside observers.
EDUCATION AT A GLANCE 2013
This is the second part of a Special Report on the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2013 global survey. This week’s articles, edited by Geoff Maslen, are based on a series of country reports produced by the OECD.
France scores well in its expenditure on higher education students, in the proportion of its population who are graduates and in the number of international students who choose to study there, according to the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2013. But the financial advantages a degree confers on employees are lower for French graduates than for their peers across the OECD, especially women.
UNITED KINGDOMGeoff Maslen
One problem with the OECD Education at a Glance reports is that, because of the time required to collect, collate and release the data on which their commentaries are based, the data can be seriously out of date. This is especially the case if there are more recent government changes in funding, rising tuition fees, and changes to the amount of student support available, which impact on family decisions to enrol an offspring at university.
The emphasis on education in Japan means it has a highly educated adult population, with 46% of 25- to 64-year-olds in 2011 having attained a higher education, says the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2013. This proportion is much larger than the OECD average of 32% and is the third highest among OECD countries, after Canada and Israel.
The OECD has praised Germany for its employment record during the economic crisis. But it still sees a need for the country to raise entry and graduation rates in higher education.
Valuable without a doubt though they are, reports such as the OECD’s Education at a Glance have two major drawbacks. They are based on previous years' data, which are out of date (how could it be otherwise), and they are often too late to affect government decisions made under the weight of real events – political, economic, social and cultural.
"The most significant feature of the tertiary education landscape in Australia is the large proportion of international students,” says the OECD report Education at a Glance 2013. The land down under is a key destination for students from around the world, hosting more than 6% of its foreign students.
NEW ZEALANDJohn Gerritsen
Low financial returns are not putting young New Zealanders off tertiary education. The latest OECD Education at a Glance report shows graduation rates from tertiary education are well above the OECD average but that the earnings premium from the extra study is lower.
In Poland, the likelihood of having a job is greatly enhanced by being a university graduate, according to the OECD report on the country. The report says 85% of 25- to 64-year-olds with a tertiary education were employed in 2011, compared to 66% of those with an upper secondary qualification – one of the biggest differences among the countries surveyed.
It is time for Canada’s government to intervene in regulating areas such as teaching, where the higher education market has created an oversupply of graduates.
The OECD agrees wholeheartedly that “higher education has never been more important to countries worldwide. Furthermore, academic institutions and systems are increasingly affected by global trends that require comparative analysis and international debate and can benefit from an analysis of ‘best practice’ worldwide.”
CHINAQiang Zha and Xiaoyang Wang
The way the Chinese media covers higher education has transformed in the past few decades, from being an arm of the state propaganda machine to acting as a watchdog of quality, activities, pressures and misconduct in the sector.
UNITED STATESAmi Zusman
In the past 15 years, new kinds of doctorate degrees have burst onto the American higher education scene, as they have elsewhere. ‘Professional practice doctorates’ are changing the requirements and expectations for becoming a professional and are raising policy questions about resources, access, outcomes and the meaning of a doctorate.
The European Union is in its worst crisis, but where are the views of academics and students who have been involved in Erasmus exchanges? They could contribute greatly to tackling the challenges thrown up by current economic problems.
Humans do, after all, replenish the neurons they lose over time and the belief that the ones we are born with are all we will ever have has been shown not to be the case. A landmark study has found that humans, like mice and rats, make new neurons throughout life, many in a region of the brain called the hippocampus – an area that plays an essential role in learning and in forming new memories.
In designing exits that function more effectively during evacuations of large buildings and sporting arenas, engineers have studied the movement of ants. Crowd safety is emerging as an important issue worldwide following numerous incidents in which crowd panic has resulted in injuries and death.
An international team of researchers has discovered the secret to why penguins, unlike most other birds, do not take to the skies. The findings emerged following studies of guillemots, which closely resemble penguins in diving and swimming behaviour yet are still able to fly.
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Determined to learn their way out of the Great Recession – or eager to rise above the deprivation of developing lands – unprecedented millions of people have enrolled in colleges and universities around the world in the past five years, write Justin Pope and Didi Tang for Associated Press.
The former president of Mexico’s Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla was gunned down last Tuesday night, reports the Latin American Herald Tribune. Samuel Malpica Uribe had reported corruption at the institution.
The university studies of 23-year-old Ye Myat Hein were interrupted in 2007 when he was imprisoned in connection with the pro-democracy Saffron Revolution. Today, more than a year after his release by Myanmar’s government as part of a mass amnesty, he is among more than a dozen would-be students who have been denied re-enrolment at the University of Yangon, write Lawi Weng and May Sitt Paing for The Irrawaddy.
When Sam Gu was admitted to college four years ago, his parents were ecstatic. His father, an electric welder, and his mother, a cleaner at a hotel in Gu’s hometown of Wuxi, a small city near Shanghai, hoped that their son would vault into the middle class, writes Gu Yongqiang for TIME.
Under the current system in China, a university president of the stature of Lin Jianhua of Zhejiang University is appointed – without much public input – by two departments: the organisation department of the central committee of the Communist Party of China and the Ministry of Education, reports Global Times.
Boston University is taking on the richest consumer electronics company on the planet, claiming Apple ripped off a computer engineering professor’s patented electronic semiconductor and stuffed it into the world’s most popular devices, writes Jessica van Sack for the Boston Herald.
The UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Higher Education Funding Council for England said last week that an initial £25 million (US$38 million) fund will distribute grants of between £500,000 and £3 million to universities and colleges to attract and support disadvantaged students into postgraduate study, writes John Morgan for Times Higher Education.
The UK's 100 ‘leading employers’ have 4.6% more jobs for new graduates than in 2012, High Fliers Research said. But its study of the 2013 graduate market said there were still on average 46 applicants for each position, writes Judith Burns for BBC News.
A fifth of students are unemployed six months after graduating from some British universities, figures show. Amid stiff competition for graduate jobs, they fail to get work despite studying for three years and building up debts, reports Sarah Harris for the Daily Mail.
A study has shown that undergraduates from poor families are forced to miss out on extra-curricular activities to take “mundane” term-time jobs amid a gulf in the quality of the university experience between rich and poor students, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
Data compiled by leader of the Welsh opposition Andrew RT Davies show that based on the potential tuition fee subsidy of £5,500, as much as £15.3 million (US$23 million) could be lost to the top five most popular universities alone, writes Gareth Evans for Wales Online.
Student credit card debt is exploding amid revelations that South African university students can legally acquire credit cards as long as they can prove that they receive a steady income of as little as R200 (US$20) a month from a parent or a guardian, writes Colleen Goko for BDlive.
Parents of students at Ugandan universities must prepare to dig deeper into their pockets as tuition and other fees are set to be hiked in a number of private and public universities, write Pascal Kwesiga and Innocent Anguyo for New Vision.
Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation has initiated a probe into World Peace University, which appears to have granted honorary degrees in exchange for money, a practice the ‘university’ insists is ethical and legal, reports the Bangkok Post.
Universities are to market themselves directly to students' mothers following a surge in the number of pushy parents intervening in the higher education admissions process, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
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