Influence of age on university “performance”

by Ben Sowter

 

The world is changing. And fast.

Higher education is no exception. In Saudi Arabia there are 28 universities, 22 of which were founded after the turn of the millenia. Economies worldwide are turning to the ever enticing notion of creating a “knowledge economy”. I read somewhere that we have generated more written content since 2003 than the in the whole of human history until that point.

In that environment – whilst rankings such as ours may treat all institutions equally – the reality is that date of establishment clearly has a part to play in the current success profile of universities. In broad terms, universities over 100 years old, and perhaps those over 50, have already reached their “terminal velocity” – the combination of reputation, government funding, scale of operation, organisational culture, international mix and alumni profile have reached a degree of equilibrium which makes radical shifts in performance – as measured by rankings or otherwise – exceedingly difficult to impose.

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HE News Brief 01.2.11

by Abby Chau

  • The Ukraine Education Minister Dmitriy Tabachnyk recently criticised the higher education system as inefficient and that the 1000 universities in the country are too many for a population of 45 million. Tabachnyk said that institutions should be more regulated and mergers of smaller universities would help alleviate the problem. This announcement comes as students protested a new higher education law which would reduce the number of places at universities as well as a planned reduction of funding for student government.
    Full Story: RIA Novosti
    More: Interfax

  • Despite budget cuts and tuition fee hikes, the UK government is pressing on with their policy of tighter visa restrictions. Business schools are reacting to a plan that would disallow graduates from working in the country. Previously graduates were able to apply for a post-study visa which would allow them to work in the UK for up to two years. The government is planning to cancel the post-study visa in April 2011. In 2009, 38,000 visas were issued under this category. At the moment, the UK is the second most popular destination for international students. Policy makers in Europe are looking at positioning itself as a higher education destination as the UK falls out of favour with international students, and particularly, MBA graduates.
    Full Story: FT
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HE News Brief 6.12.10

by Abby Chau

  • The Bologna Process, a declaration of higher education cooperation between 47 countries, is still chugging along despite the controversies surrounding implementation and overall efficacy. Now on course to feel the brunt of new reforms are business schools, particularly those that previously offered five-year business degrees. 10,000 new programmes in economics and business are to be implemented and positioned as competition for an emerging Asian higher education market. Some are saying that countries like the US must start accepting three-year bachelor programmes in order to adjust to Bologna’s new three-year standardisation plan for an undergraduate degree, or they may be left behind as other countries like Australia are quickly adjusting their educational system to a changing European standard.
    Full Story: FT

  • As the UK economy has taken a substantial hit, many people, particularly in parliament are reiterating the need for universities to produce the next generation of entrepreneurs. Statistics from the Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education produced by HESA show that the percentage of graduates who categorise themselves as self-employed or entrepreneurs has jumped from 4,190 in 2002-03, to 6,120, in 2008-09. Buckinghamshire New University Vice chancellor Ruth Farwell says that league tables should include this statistic in their indicators as it would give students a clearer picture of which institution promotes enterprise and business acuity. UCL Professor Tim Barnes concurs and says that if the government was serious about developing students for the job market, then statistics such as this should be measured and recorded.
    Full Story: the Guardian Read more

Influence of rankings on student choice

by Ben Sowter

 

We received a comment to my post a few days ago regarding the general reality that the validity of rankings are assessed by most against the alignment of the results with the observers expectations. The comment expressed that rankings were “for academics” and that prospective students don’t pay a great deal of attention. IDP conduct annual research into the motivations of prospective international students. The detailed results of their research can be found on the following links:

2009: www.idp.com/pdf/AIEC_research_09.pdf

2010: www.idp.com/pdf/IDP%20Research%20AIEC.pdf

The 2009 work polled over 6000 prospective, current and recently graduated international students and found international ranking to be the most significant factor influencing choice of institution, with reputation in field, reputation of institution and employer recognition all featuring highly. The slide below is an excerpt from the 2009 presentation made at the AIEC Conference.

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Trends in student mobility

by Ina Chiriliuc

There has been a significant shift in the preference for study destinations. Students planning to pursue their courses abroad have started to consider new locations and this is only natural since the rather popular study destinations are very competitive, expensive and for many, a great distance away from home. The once obvious foreign destinations such as: United Kingdom, Germany and France have been losing inbound students in the last period, according to data in the “Education at a glance” 2010 Report, published by the Organisation for Economic and Co-Operation Development (OECD).

Considering that globally the number of foreign students has in the mean time increased, it is only obvious that there appeared a whole new range of booming destinations for studies. In a comparison of OECD’s “Education at a glance” reports for 2009 and 2010, there has been a remarkable growth in the number of inbound students to New Zealand, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Slovak Republic and the Russian Federation.

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HE News Brief 21.9.10

by Abby Chau

Here are this week’s news stories:

  • Up until a few years ago, Dubai appeared to be financially invincible, it boasted the tallest building in the world and even the SATC girls were paying homage to the city. But fast-forward a few years later, and the economic recession has hit the real estate sector and now many are worried that it will also affect Higher Education. George Mason University of Virginia in the UAE closed a few years ago and recently Michigan State University’s foreign branch in Dubai also shut down its operations. However the executive director of Higher Education Warren Fox, says that the forecast is actually encouraging – in 2004, four foreign campuses operated in the free zone and now the number is close to 30. Fox remains optimistic, saying that it can take a few years before foreign campuses can find an audience.
    Full Story: New York Times
     
  • Portugal is looking to revamp their higher education system, much in the same way vein as Asia’s institutions. Secretary of State for Higher Education Manuel Heitor says that in order for a country to compete in the economic realm, they must invest in HE. In the 80s, Portugal invested .4 percent of gdp in education, and in 2008, that figure jumped to 1.55 percent. After years of oppression, Portugal has slowly been rebuilding its infrastructure but now it has partnerships with Harvard Medical, MIT, University of Texas at Austin, and Carnegie Mellon.
    Full Story: Chronicle of Higher Education
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2010 QS World University Rankings® Video – Asia Pacific focussed

Nunzio Quacquarelli, Managing Director of QS Quacquarelli Symonds, gives a brief description of the QS World University Rankings®.

Ben Sowter, Head of the QS Intelligence Unit, gives an overview of the performances of Australian and Malaysian Universities.  

Martin Ince, convenor of the QS Academic Board, gives his views on the great performance of Korean Universities.

HE News Briefs 6.9.10

by Abby Chau

Here are this week’s news stories:

  • Imperial College is the latest UK universities to have a foreign branch now that it is teaming up with the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The goal is that by 2013, 50 students will be admitted with the intention of incrementally building the overall student body to 750. According to the FT, more foreign students get a UK university qualification studying in foreign branches than they do studying in Britain. British Ministers are also looking toward India as a lucrative region to set up more campuses. Estimates show that India needs 1,500 universities to accommodate demand; right now they only have 350.
    Full Story: FT
  • The current economic instability is largely to blame for the current higher education budget cuts. It looks like Business Schools are weathering the storm, particularly when it comes to constructing new shiny buildings to attract students.  Yale has plans to construct a 180 million building designed by the legendary Lord Norman Foster. Wealthy b-school alums are donating big bucks for elite universities like Chicago, Wharton, and MIT to lavish their business department with velvet seats.
    Full Story: Business Week
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HE News Brief 24.8.10

by Abby Chau

 

Here are this week’s news stories:

  • The glare on UK universities continue to mount as it was announced that over 150,000 potential students will not get a place at a university. Last year 130,000 would-be students were also disappointed. It seems as though, although worsening, this trend is not new. An article in the FT espouses the need for universities to be autonomous, as Whitehall still dictates the number of students who can study a specific subject at an institution.
    Full Story: FT
    More: Guardian
  • Asian countries, as oppose to their European and American peers, have well documented problems retaining the talents of young academics who often study abroad and take up residence in their host country. However there is hope that young and bright Indian professors will take a salary cut and return to their motherland. New opportunities in India as well as a chance to contribute to building their country’s higher education institutions, is a lure as western nations’ economic instability is making finding a job abroad a lot less likely. It is estimated that by 2020, 42 million 18-24 year olds will be competing for a place at a university and a 4.2 million lecturers will be needed to supply this demand.
    Full Story: University World News
  • Measuring student satisfaction has always been difficult but at the Inner Mongolia University of Science and Technology they are administering a student survey in the hope of discovering what students are thinking. In collaboration with Indiana University’s National Survey of Student Engagement and with the backing of Tsinghua University, they are joining 49 institutions this year who will look at results in order to drive up  students quality of life and teaching standards.
    Full Story: The Chronicle of Higher Education
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HE News Brief 19.7.10

by Abby Chau

 

A shake-up of England’s Higher Education system and Australian anxiety over international students – here are this week’s news stories:

  • News outlets have been furiously reporting Business Secretary Vince Cable’s announcement of a new vision for higher education.  Cable is proposing to Lord Browne, who will be reviewing the state of higher education in the autumn, that a new graduate tax should replace the current system of government loans in order to subsidize higher education. Under this new system, graduates with higher paying jobs will make more graduate contributions. These proposals have been widely panned, some arguing that not only will Conservatives reject such a plan but that such an initiative will further hamper social mobility.
    Full Story: BBC News
    More: Guardian
  • Angolan Minister of Higher Education Maria Cândida Teixeira announced that the country will be going through an aggressive review of their higher education institutions this year. Results of the audit will be published and institutions who perform poorly will be overhauled. Committing to this initiative with resources rather than mere rhetoric, Teixeira hired 42  new officials in order to achieve this target.
    Full Story: Angola Press
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