|02 February 2014||Issue 0305||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NEWSLETTERGlobal mobility, quality of non-institutional higher education and human rights in China
This edition of University World News has a Special Report on the increasingly significant issue of student mobility. Our writers describe the situation in different regions and specific countries while Daniel Guhr and Nelson Furtado raise questions about the accuracy of the statistics provided by the various agencies.
In our News section, global editor Karen MacGregor reports from Washington on a proposal to create a global ‘quality platform’ to externally review higher education that occurs outside institutions, and Yojana Sharma discusses the imprisonment of a Chinese academic rights campaigner. Four years ago, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake – now Jane Marshall presents an update on how France is helping the island nation recover.
In World Blog this week, William Patrick Leonard discusses institutional mission statements which he describes as “compasses without needles” and in Commentary Jane Knight questions the limits to ‘soft power’ in higher education.
Geoff Maslen – Acting Global Editor
SPECIAL REPORT: Student mobility
In this special series on the topic of student mobility, University World News correspondents describe the flow of students away from and into different countries. They also highlight the marked contrast, in Western countries especially, between the number of foreigners they enrol and the far smaller proportion of their own students willing to go beyond their borders.
GLOBALDaniel Guhr and Nelson Furtado
While imbalances are a policy concern, another and in many ways more basic issue is the difficulty of properly accounting for student in- and out-flows. Often, different agencies are in charge of capturing data and, in the case of out-bound mobility, at times no systematic, central data collection exists. The largest obstacle to effectively mapping the balance of international student mobility is the inconsistency of data available on international students.
The increasing demand for higher education, coupled with the financial power of a growing middle class in Asia, has fuelled the trend for students to pursue an overseas university education. Asian countries themselves will increasingly play host to internationally mobile students, according to a just released report, The International Mobility of Students in Asia and the Pacific, from UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific regional bureau for education in Bangkok.
The Japanese government has launched an ambitious scheme to attract 300,000 international students to enrol in its universities, while also encouraging more of its students to go abroad to study.
Taiwan has started the year with a renewed drive to attract more overseas and mainland Chinese students. The government also wants the island state to become a higher education hub in East Asia by encouraging the establishment of branch campuses of overseas universities. The aim is to internationalise as well as to bring in foreign students and counter the effects of its own declining population in higher education.
EUROPEJan Petter Myklebust
The worldwide growth in international mobile students is hitting Europe especially hard, given that the various European countries are believed to host nearly half the world’s estimated five million mobile students. At the same time, the majority of foreign students, almost 90%, moving around Europe are Europeans and of these, three out of four are from the EU member states.
While Germany still figures among the top countries in terms of attracting overseas students, international mobility among German students themselves has not risen significantly in recent years. One causal factor could be the Bologna process reforms.
SCANDANAVIAJan Petter Myklebust
Over the decade from 2003-13, the number of students arriving in the Nordic countries seeking academic degrees increased by 53,000, creating a severe imbalance between degree seekers arriving and local students leaving to study elsewhere.
Next Sunday’s referendum on immigration could severely affect Swiss higher education and research. The international dimension of Swiss research has been an important factor in its success so far.
The Eurydice Network has published a feasibility report on creating a ‘mobility scoreboard’ aimed at boosting student mobility across Europe. Subtitled Conditions for learning abroad in Europe, the document covers 33 countries, including all 28 European Union member states.
UNITED STATESUWN journalists
An estimated 900,000 foreign students are expected to enrol in American higher education institutions this year with the big North American nation experiencing an astonishing 40+% increase in international student enrolments over the past decade. Indeed, 10 years ago, fewer than 600,000 foreigners were undertaking courses in US universities and colleges. Despite this huge jump in numbers, overseas students still comprise less than 4% of America’s 21 million higher education students.
Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science has set out a list of strict new requirements for foreign students applying to local universities. The list is divided into several fields of study: humanitarian, scientific, biomedical, engineering, technical and economic.
More than 230,000 international students were enrolled in Australian higher education institutions at the end of last year and, amazingly, more than 40% of them were from China. The extent to which China dominates the nation’s foreign student market also shows up when compared with the second largest source country, Malaysia, whose higher education students comprise a mere 7% of the total enrolled in universities.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
A global ‘quality platform’ to externally review higher education that occurs outside institutions – the new forms of provision expanding rapidly around the world that also include MOOCs – has been proposed by the International Quality Group of America’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
UNITED STATESKelly Field – The Chronicle of Higher Education
In a State of the Union address last Tuesday that centred on job growth and economic opportunity, United States President Barack Obama called on Congress to increase spending on scientific research, create more manufacturing ‘hubs’ on college campuses and expand job training programmes at community colleges.
Five law professors have condemned the charges against Chinese legal scholar and rights campaigner Xu Zhiyong, sentenced to four years in prison on 26 January for “gathering crowds to disrupt public order” at public parks, universities and shopping malls.
Four years after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, progress in rebuilding the Caribbean nation’s higher education and research system includes installation of a distance education network in 12 universities, a medical studies project and two doctoral colleges.
A scheme to invite top academics from foreign universities to collaborate with their counterparts in Japan and contribute to world-class innovative research is adding steam to a government plan to internationalise higher education and increase the number of foreign researchers, teachers and students at Japanese institutions.
A plan to boost the role of higher education, research and development activities in cultivating sustainable, innovative and knowledge-based societies throughout the Arab world has been launched.
SOUTH AFRICAMunyaradzi Makoni
Student protests broke out at universities across South Africa last week over unpaid fee loans from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme which caters for students from poor socio-economic backgrounds.
Two of Kenya’s big public universities – Kenyatta and Moi – have been granted approval to engage private investors in expanding their facilities. The permission is part of a larger government plan to draw on private capital to plug a growing infrastructure financing deficit.
EU-NORTH AFRICAWagdy Sawahel
A scheme to promote self-employment and entrepreneurship among young female university students in four North African countries and seven European and Mediterranean states was launched last month.
More than two million Australians, or 9% of the total population, are enrolled in formal study beyond the school years, and nearly eight million aged between 25 and 64 – representing 67% of the population – have a post-secondary qualification, up from 54% a decade ago. A report by the McCrindle Research organisation says 2014 marks the first year of 'Generation Z', those born since 1995 and now entering university.
The Institute of International Education created the Heiskell Awards in 2001 to promote and honour the most outstanding initiatives in international higher education. By recognising excellence and innovation, the institute says it hopes to support the more than 1,200 IIE Network members in their endeavours and to signal a new and important role for international education on campus.
GLOBALChristina Yan Zhang
Sir Run Run Shaw, who died on 7 January, donated billions to education. His death raises interesting questions about the potential for philanthropic involvement in higher education, including international higher education.
UNITED STATESWilliam Patrick Leonard
Mission statements encourage ‘mission creep’ because they don’t provide any economic context and spur ever-growing demands which are difficult to budget for in the current climate.
Soft power has become the buzzword in international higher education circles, but is it right to formulate higher education in power terms? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to frame it as being about mutual benefits rather than self-interest?
The ASEAN – Association of Southeast Asian Nations – states have made considerable progress towards integration and regional mobility, but challenges remain, particularly with respect to academic links and student mobility. Recent programmes show some promise, but issues like quality assurance still need to be surmounted.
Online education is very much in vogue, but learning online can undermine traditional skills such as the ability to concentrate on one issue rather than multitask, it can lead to more alienated, less connected individuals and it can undermine teaching. While online learning has its benefits, we should not overlook the advantages of small interactive classes.
HIGHER EDUCATION JOBS
Here is a small selection of higher education jobs currently advertised on the University World News Higher Education in Africa Recruitment – HEAR – site. Click here to view all jobs, or click on the links below to go straight to the ad.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: University of Cape Town in South Africa
Professor: Mathematics at Namibia University of Science and Technology
Professor: Accounting at Namibia University of Science and Technology
Senior Lecturer: Economics at Namibia University of Science and Technology
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The nation’s college and university endowments – often used to fund scholarships and professorships – had strong growth last year, according to a report released last week. That’s a bit of good news for higher education institutions under pressure to hold down tuition costs amid some enrolment declines, writes Kimberly Hefling for AP.
Nearly a third of university employees are looking to leave their current job, and a similar proportion feel insecure in their employment, an in-depth analysis of the sector suggests, writes Chris Parr for Times Higher Education.
Denis Rancourt has lost his bid to reclaim his job as a professor at the University of Ottawa. In a 32-page decision dated 27 January, arbitrator Claude Foisy concluded he had no reason to intervene in the university’s 2009 decision to fire Rancourt, then a tenured physics professor, for defying its orders to grade his students objectively, writes Don Butler for Ottawa Citizen.
Latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show an alarming 25% reduction in Indian students recruited to the UK. Some groups have blamed the government's reforms to post-study work opportunities, not to mention restrictions on part-time work during study. But it does a gross disservice to the complex ambitions and motivations of Indian students, and the attractiveness of the UK's higher education sector, to attribute such a big drop solely to the ability to work after study issue, writes Richard Everitt for the Guardian.
No scholar interested in promoting knowledge could argue against some kind of educational exchanges between China and the West. On the other hand, the architects of most of these exchanges – primarily academic administrators and trustees – have avoided asking tough moral questions about the repression of freedom of thought and expression in China, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that such repression is intensifying under the new regime, writes Thomas Cushman for The Conversation.
Education Secretary Mike Russell has claimed that 80% of university places in an independent Scotland will be taken up by “fee refugees” from the UK unless they can be charged for the cost of their tuition, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
Student demonstrations have become a daily occurrence at Egyptian universities. Reports estimate that a monthly average of 230 protests were staged on 24 campuses in the first part of the current academic year. By and large, student mobilisations have grown in recent months in response to the unprecedented, forceful suppression of civil rights expressed through traditional channels of political activism, writes Safa Joudeh for Al-Monitor.
A former head of the country’s higher education watchdog has been found guilty of academia’s greatest crime – plagiarism, writes Riazul Haq for The Express Tribune.
Up to 207 majors in 71 universities in Vietnam will not be allowed to enrol students in 2014 because of a lack of permanent lecturers, according to a dispatch signed by Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga, reports VietNamNet Bridge.
The French Ministry of Higher Education and Research is trying to bridge the gap between universities and the corporate world. But its latest venture, an advisory group on curriculum reform, headed by business leaders, is rubbing some academics up the wrong way, writes Clea Caulcutt for Times Higher Education.
Less than two weeks after Samsung Group announced an overhaul in its recruitment methods to focus on the quality of its hires rather than standardised test scores, the company said last week it shelved the plan because it would be hard to achieve a “social consensus” on such a radical shift, writes Lee Eun-Joo for Korea JoongAng Daily.
It was a wave of sorts and SP Kothari was part of it. The year was 1982, and Kothari, armed with a degree in chemical engineering from BITS Pilani and a management degree from IIM-Ahmedabad, felt the West calling, write Kala Vijayaraghavan and Rica Bhattacharyya for The Economic Times.
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