HE News Brief 22.10.12
By Abby Chau
- KENYA: New rankings system causing a stir
- UNITED KINGDOM: Anonymous lecturer paints a troubling picture
- WORLD: New metrics for international rankings
- UNITED KINGDOM: Fallout from LMU’s license revocation
The announcement of a new ranking initiative has caused a stir in Kenya, where the state of higher education, some are saying, is in dire need of restructuring due to insufficient number of teaching staff and overcrowding. In order to revamp its universities, and to keep students from going abroad, the Commission for Higher Education (CHE), has plans to develop a ranking systems in order to set standards and evaluate institutions. Some of the indicators mentioned will be employer satisfaction, facilities, and student ratios. Currently institutions utilise Webometrics, an international ranking system which measures web presence, in order to gauge performance. Some critics however argue that a ranking system should consider the fallout for low ranking universities.
An anonymous lecturer interviewed by the BBC Wales has claimed that standards are dropped for international students and that British universities are lowering standards in order to recruit international students, who pay more tuition fees than domestic students. The lecturer, who wanted to keep his identity a secret, voiced his concern over the practices of internationalisation at all costs, and the lowering of quality which may be a consequence. It has been estimated that international students contribute £5 billion to the economy. As part of a wider investigation, BBC Wales have been allowed access and will examine sample dissertations from Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of Wales, Newport in the next few weeks.
The Washington Monthly’s ranking of US institutions, according to this article, utilises metrics which measure return investment which is a missing indicator in most international ranking systems. For instance, the Washington’s Monthly ranking system, which has been in existence since 2006 utilises actual graduation rates versus projected estimates, arguing that top institutions should have higher graduation rates. The other indicator which may merit attention is an index which measures the education of students against costs, providing a picture of return investment for parents and students who may not be able to afford the fees which tend to be associated with universities in traditional international ranking systems.
According to the latest statistics, when the London Metropolitan University’s license was revoked in August, it has lost half of its international students. Students were given a choice to stay at the institution until the end of the academic year, but only approximately 50% decided to stay at the university. Other institutions launched campaigns to recruit students from the university and the actual statistics of where international students, who decided not to stay with LMU, have decided to go to. LMU’s vice-chancellor Malcolm Gilles have attempted to calm fears that the university may falter, saying that the institution is dealing with the license revocation and all measures are being considered to make sure the university delivers a quality education.