HE News Brief 1.3.11

by Abby Chau

  • A new report by the European University Association (EUA) has been published to address how institutions can look elsewhere to diversify their income.  The report is based on 150 responses from universities spanning 27 different countries and shows that although public funding accounts for 73% of budgets, institutions must get creative in order to remain competitive. Findings show that red tape and an inflexible structure can stronghold universities from seeking private funding.
    Full Story: Science Business
  • In less than a decade, South Korea has tripled its international faculty and is poised to make significant gains in its internationalisation program as heavy hitters like the United States and the UK slump into economic austerity. Currently 7% of South Korea’s faculty are foreign hires, compared to Japan’s, which has a longer history on the international stage, average of 5%. Last year the government approved a $752 million World Class University Project which, among other initiatives, earmarked funds to hire more foreign professors as a method to modernise its higher education system. However, many are saying that there are issues that still need to be ironed out, such as the fact that salaries for foreign professors are nearly double that of domestic faculty, and a recent survey by the Education Ministry found that international faculty average a stay of only four months before they decide to leave their post.
    Full Story: Chronicle of Higher Education Read more

An insight on the new South Korean university admission policy – will it work?

by Irene Jay-Shin


A new South Korean admissions policy which attempts to give consideration to an applicant’s extracurricular activities does not seem to be compatible with the general temperament of Korean society which may not accept variety and/or differences between individuals. The society sets a series of ‘correct’ answers for the lives of individuals e.g. a ‘proper’ age to get married, an ‘appropriate’ age to study in a university, expected roles for women and men, etc. These sets of answers do not enable the individuals to pursue their own lives; furthermore, they end up following a standard path followed by their seniors, believing that such a way would be right and correct.

The new South Korean admission policy will first affect the top universities. Eventually, the new policy might contribute to stereotyping once again a ‘right’ way to be successful in the Korean society, which is inflexible in accepting changes as described above. For example, people can be socially successful by becoming the graduates of top universities in Korea as alumni form strong social networks and may tend to recruit graduates from their own universities.

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HE News Brief 25.1.11

by Abby Chau

  • Approximately 15,000 protestors descended on the Parliament in Hague to demonstrate against a proposed multi-billion austerity plan, which include plans to slash university budgets and increased fees for some students. A policy aimed at students who take longer to graduate is causing a commotion. Under the new proposal, students who take longer than 4 years to complete their three year undergraduate degrees will have to pay an extra $4,000 per year in fees. Starting from 2012, the government is hoping to save $501 million each year from this initiative.
    Full Story: Businessweek
    More: Edmonton Journal  
  • A survey of over 6,000 students at 62 institutions and 20 junior colleges showed that graduate employment rates in Japan has hit a new low since records began in 1996. 68.8% of Japanese university students found a job before graduation, which represents a 4.3% decline from the previous year. Those graduating in the field of science and engineering had the largest hurdle, with job offers dropping 7.3 percentage to 71.3 %. In response, the Japanese  government has announced new incentives for companies who employ graduates as well as plans for more career fairs.
    Full Story: Japan Today
    More: BBC News
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Evaluating rankings – Perception is everything… or is it?

by Ben Sowter


In a recent article in Inside Higher Ed, Philip Altbach commenting on the latest set of rankings from THE said “Why do Bilkent University in Turkey and the Hong Kong Baptist University rank ahead of Michigan State University, the University of Stockholm, or Leiden University in Holland? Why is Alexandria University ranked at all in the top 200?  These anomalies, and others, simply do not pass the “smell test.” Let it be hoped that these, and no doubt other, problems can be worked out.”

I would like to explore this notion of a “smell test” a little further, as in reality, it seems to be the single factor that defines the global credibility of any of these evaluations in the eyes of their many observers worldwide.

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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 Brief 1.9.10

by Abby Chau

Here are this week’s news stories:

  • University rankings hits its zenith in autumn, with different league tables pronouncing their take on a world-class university. The Chronicle of Higher Education has devised a nifty chart to compare Rankings and sheds a bit of light on which indicators are predominantly used, and which ones are ignored.
    Full Story: Chronicle of Higher Education

  • In a shocking directive, the Ethiopian Ministry of Education decreed that there is to be a ban on distance learning programmes across the country.  Stating that distance learning is unnecessary at this point in the country’s higher educational development, the Ministry also said that quality assurance is a major priority. This will have a drastic effect on the estimated 64 private institutions in the country, as well as vocational education. Critics argue that this directive goes too far and does not offer solutions to the current problems facing higher education.  Others are worried about the impact on current students – St Mary’s University College for example currently enrolls 75% of its students in distance learning courses.
    Full Story: Addis Fortune Read more

HE News Brief 10.08.10

by Abby Chau


Here are this week’s news stories:

  • Scotland is opening satellite campuses in Hong Kong, Dubai, and Bangladesh. As the UK is facing a higher education squeeze, Scottish universities are doing what many of their peers are already doing, diving into the very lucrative international market. However Ruth Moir, Head of International Development, says that this move was not provoked by the recession but rather providing quality higher education is the main goal. As well as establishing a nursing college in India, there are plans to also set up a biofuel research centre in Hong Kong.
    Full Story: Guardian
  • He is considered a brilliant entrepreneur in some circles. Others just consider his empire the villain in the open source debate. Whether you hate him or love him, you can’t deny that Bill Gates is an influential man with more money than he knows to do with. So, when he proclaims that traditional higher education will be replaced by the web in five years, some will sit up and listen. Speaking at the Techonomy 2010 conference recently, Gates said high tuition costs and the accessibility of the internet will change the higher education landscape. These remarks come as the University of California, Berkeley plans to expand its online arm.
    Full Story: Tech Radar UK
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