HE News Brief 16.11.10

by Abby Chau

  • Ranking-related news this past week includes musings across the pond regarding university rankings and their foothold in higher education. The French government has just published a new rankings based on 43,000 graduate students surveyed from 63 of the country’s 83 institutions. Paris-XI, Lyon I, and Rennes I ranked the highest, respectively. The findings come at a time when President Sarkozy is ramping up his government’s pledge to grant the country’s universities more autonomy. Some praise the findings, saying that the rankings show that universities must develop career services to help graduates find jobs. Critics of the rankings are dismayed by what they see as yet another exercise to try to homogenise a disparate and unique higher education university system. Some universities like Jussieu, based in Paris, and Dauphine refused to participate in the rankings.
    Full Story: New York Times
    More: New York Times

  • Indian Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal and UK’s universities minister David Willets have recently announced that higher education expenditure will grow annually by 13% in the next decade. Since the 1950s, the number of institutions in India have dramatically augmented, from 28 to 504. Still despite this enormous boom, the country is still 800 universities short to accommodate the growing middle class who are now eyeing higher education as a means to a fruitful future. In 1981, the average Indian household was spending 1.46% on education, now that number has risen to 7.5%.
    Full Story: University World News
    More: Livemint

  • The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has just released their Comparative Study of Mexican Universities which compares the country’s 15 most elite private institutions to 43 of their well established public universities. UNAM used a variety of indicators to assess performance including full-time professors with PhDs, patent production, and research output. But co-director of the project Imanol Ordorika Sacristan does not want this exercise to be seen as yet another university ranking. According to Sacristan, their intent was to provide something different, as he views traditional rankings are biased against non-English speaking countries. The study also seeks to illuminate the differences and similarities between public and private institutions in Mexico as the latter are currently being showered by government financial support.
    Full Story: Chronicle of Higher Education

  • The Institute of International Education in the US has recently published Open Doors: Report on International Educational Exchange, a study of international trends in higher education. The report’s findings show that for the first time, China has overtaken India as the number one export of students to the states. The growth of Chinese students studying in the US has grown dramatically, in 2008-09, there were 98,235 and last year a reported 127,628 Chinese students were state side. This represents a 30% increase in the last few years. Saudi Arabia students studying in the US have also grown substantially; in the last few years the number has seen a 25% increase, from 12,661 in 2008-09 to 15,810 in 2009-10.
    Full Story: Washington Post

  • Last week the Conservative headquarters in London was rocked by student protests that turned violent as 50,000 people marched through Westminster to decry the tuition fee increases and budget cuts that are planned for England’s higher education system. The protest was largely peaceful  however a small minority participated in damaging property. The London Met called the scene an embarrassment as not enough officers were on duty to mitigate the situation. Parliament is set to vote on lifting the tuition cap to £9,000, with the new fees set to start in 2012. Budget cuts of 40% in higher education has already been announced. More protests are planned, starting on the 24th November, with many saying that this is just a drop in the ocean.
    Full Story: BBC
    More: Guardian