- India: Distance learning institutions are widening participation
- UK: Universities are fined record amounts for accepting too many students
- UK: British government have implemented stricter rules for student visas
- Rankings: Kenyan government to produce rankings
Open universities are proliferating in India. The Indira Gandhi National Open University has four million students, and an open university in Bihar which is one of the country’s most under educated regions, has seen an increase in enrolment of over 38,000 students in the last ten years. Many are saying that this is the answer to the country’s accessibility problems, where the population is growing by a rapid rate but there is a lack of universities to accommodate the growing number of students. Open universities educate approximately 15% of students, with many from poorer backgrounds. Some however are saying that open universities do not track drop-out rates and that the quality of courses should be carefully tracked so that outcomes can be closely examined.
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Universities are receiving hefty fines for recruiting more students than is allotted by the government. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) have fined between 20-25 universities, including the London Metropolitan University for almost six million pounds. The university recruited 1,550 students beyond the target. Applications for university grew in previous years because students are looking to avoid paying higher fees this autumn.
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The British government announced stricter rules on visas today. Graduates used to be able to stay in the country for two years under the post-work study visa, however the government has scrapped that scheme and instead is implementing restrictions that will allow, they say, for the best graduates to remain in the country. Under the new rules, graduates will be able to stay in the country after they have received an offer of employment with a minimum salary and from an employer who has been accredited by the border agency. The amount students must hold in funds to support themselves has also increased. Universities are concerned that these restrictions will harm the sector’s ability to attract international students, a scenario that some top destination countries had to face this year. The British government says that the move is intended to curb abuses which saw a record number of students remaining in the country in recent years.
[alert_blue]Full Story: The Chronicle of Higher Education[/alert_blue]
The Kenyan government announced it will rank its universities in a scheme to commence in April. The Higher Education Permanent Secretary Professor Crispus Kiamba says that the initiative will hopefully spark competition and the auditing will help to identify poor performing institutions. The rankings, the government hopes, will also help attract foreign students. A survey was sent to higher education experts, administrators, parents, and students to help them identify appropriate indicators to be utilised for the rankings exercise.
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