19th April 2011
- Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, has caused ripples among the academic and financial community in the US when he suggested that higher education will be the next bubble. According to Thiel, higher education is like the housing bubble in that they both represent the holy grail of a secure future. In addition higher education tuition fees are skyrocketing, students debts are out of control, and the benefits of a degree is called into question which are all ingredients for a crash. Whether you agree with him or not, Thiel sure knows how to generate publicity – he has started a 20 under 20 program which gives talented (read technologically gifted) kids $100,000 over two years to pursue entrepreneurship rather than higher education.
Full Story: The Economist
More: Tech Crunch
- In order to meet the shortfall, some English universities are planning to increase their international student numbers by almost 100 percent. By 2014-15, Durham University wants to increase its number of international students by 97% while other institutions are planning similar significant increases. Many institutions’ forecast for years to come reveal monetary losses on home students, even as tuition fees are set to increase to £9,000 in 2012. Many are saying projections of international student percentages are unrealistic when you consider that the government plans on curtailing foreign students, and also the UK as a popular destination is somewhat losing its cache.
Full Story: Times Higher Education
- Denmark’s Ministry of Science has released figures showing that there has been a 33% decrease in European students attending universities in Denmark between 2010 and 2011. Students from Sweden and Norway in particular have seen a significant drop in numbers.
Full Story: Copenhagen Post
- The Colombia government’s plan to restructure its higher education system has drawn the wrath of some critics who say the proposal would privatise higher education. The proposals seek to augment the percentage of GDP spent on higher education, open the market for private investment by for-profit companies, and increase the number of students by 6 million in 2014.The government’s plans are based on higher education reforms made in Brazil in the 90s. Some are critical of the proposal, saying that the system in Brazil has not been successful because completion rates are low and tuition costs have skyrocketed.
Full Story: The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Russia has recently announced it will ease its policy on visiting foreign academics. The law, approved by the parliament will permit foreign experts to be teachers at Russian colleges and universities. Previously only foreigners who have been invited by an institution may enter the country to do such a role. This move comes as part of Russia’s plan to enhance its research output and exchanges.
Full Story: RIA Novosti
More: University World News
12th April 2011
- A report produced by the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne says the number of indigenous students and academics in higher education is too low. Australia’s indigenous community accounts for 2.4 percent of the population. Now the University of Sydney and University of Queensland have moved toward addressing this issue by appointing deputy and pro vice chancellors to target indigenous participation. As a matter of priority, Steven Larken, pro vice chancellor at Charles Darwin University, says that increasing indigenous leadership and participation is now attached to performance measurement, which is of course linked to university financing.
Full Story: New York Times
- A series of suicides on the KAIST campus has forced President Suh Nam-pyo to change a controversial policy which tied student performance to the amount of scholarship they are allotted. The policy, instituted by President Suh in 2006, is being blamed for intense competition, which some are saying, may have contributed to the tragedies that unfolded on the campus.
Full Story: JoongAng Daily
More: Wall Street Journal
- Poland has the highest rate of student enrolment in private institutions in all of Europe. Before the collapse of communism, there was one private institution but now more than a third of Poland’s students attend private institutions. For years public and private institutions lived in relative harmony but as potential student rates are shrinking, competition between the two systems are set to increase. To buoy rivalry even further, private institutions are seeking subsidies from the state, and are trying to make tuition fees compulsory at public institutions. Some are saying competition is healthy for both private and public institutions as it will promote institutional diversity and excellence.
Full Story: Guardian
- According to this report, highly educated academics from Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda used to flood Kenyan universities, now the trend has reversed and Kenya is losing its star academics and pupils to these Africa countries. For example some estimate that at the St Augustine University in Tanzania, a quarter of its teaching staff are Kenyan. In addition, Kenyan students are also flocking to these countries – in some Ugandan universities, particularly in law courses, the majority of students are Kenyan. Salary and tuition fees share the burden of the blame but some are saying Kenya’s rigid higher education system is also part of the problem.
Full Story: Daily Nation
- The first ever QS Subject Rankings – Engineering & Technology has just been released. MIT topped the list in the Computer Science & Information Systems field, followed by Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. The subject rankings is based on several indicators including Academic and Employer Reputation, as well as citations per paper.
Full Story: The Australian
5th April 2011
- As university ranking tables proliferate worldwide, Latin America is following suit as countries like Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Peru and Mexico have developed their own national rankings. Brazil has developed the National System of Higher Education Evaluation which the Ministry of Education utilises in order to accredit colleges and programs as well as to penalise institutions who are not performing to standards. Colombia’s ranking Boletín Científico Sapiens Research is skewed toward scientific indicators. And Chile has also begun to publish rankings based on governmental statistics. Gregory Elacqua, director of the Public Policy Institute at Diego Portales University, says that institutions respond to the findings and react to boost performance in the various indicators. As domestic rankings expand, some are asking whether a Latin America rankings, soon to be published by Quacquarelli Symonds Limited, will be able to tackle the different higher education systems that exist across borders.
Full Story: Chronicle of Higher Education
- Now that it’s been confirmed that English universities like Aston, Essex, Lancaster, Loughborough, and Sussex have joined Oxford, Cambridge, and UCL to charge the maximum tuition fee of £9,000, many are questioning whether the government had it wrong. It’s reported that the parliament is looking to cut student numbers as a way to deal with the larger than expected student loans the Treasury will now have to issue. Universities minister David Willetts admitted that Office of Fair Access does not have the right to regulate the amount institutions are charging. Shadow minister Gareth Thomas said that if institutions charged an average of £8,000, then more cuts in the tune of £430 million will be needed, which is equivalent of cutting student places by 5%.
Full Story: Guardian
More: BBC News
- Czech’s Institute for Information in Education has announced that its foreign students number has quadruple in the last four years. 17% of foreign students study in technical fields, whilst a third are registered in economic sciences.
Full Story: Prague Daily News
- A major report by Britain’s Royal Society called Knowledge, Networks and Nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century has addressed the red hot issue of shifting scientific dominance, namely from the west to the east. Apart from China, India, and Brazil, other countries are generating a buzz as discourse of scientific superpowers extend to other developing countries. According to the study, Turkey is rivalling China on scientific performance and spends more yearly on research and development than Denmark, Finland, or Norway. Iran has pledged a 15-year plan to enhance its knowledge base to include scientific and technological development. And Tunisia is also establishing research facilities in its institutions, albeit no one yet knows how its recent political upheavals will factor into its development.
Full Story: University World News