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The current economic and political situation in Greece has made its mark on every aspect of Greek society. Education could not be an exception to the rule. According to the published data on the 2014 budget, funding for the Ministry of Education for the coming year stands at a total of 4.587.329.000 Euros, down by 8.1%, corresponding to a net reduction of 400 million Euros.
Out of this budget, 876.873.000 Euros are allotted to Tertiary education and approximately less than 30% of it is investments in infrastructure, equipment and research. The numbers are significantly reduced from 2012; total funds were one billion Euros and earmarked funding for investments and research was higher by 40%.
The QS Applicant Survey 2014 is one of the largest surveys of its kind. It gives valuable insights about the thoughts and aspirations of applicants pursuing an MBA or postgraduate degree. It is compiled by QS, the world’s leading higher and business education specialists, and distributed globally to over 10,000 potential applicants that register for the various QS education fairs held around the world. The results depict a clear picture of the status, attitudes, goals and ambitions of applicants, and how they, and the employment and education markets for young professionals, are changing.
The 2014 survey acquired over 9,000 responses across Masters, MBA, PhD and EMBA applicants. Preliminary results draw interesting comparisons among applicants from Western Europe and US & Canada. 39% of survey respondents are interested in Masters Programs, 62% were drawn towards the MBA programs and 16% of respondents registered an interest in the Executive MBA programs.
75% of the applicants from the US & Canada intend to apply for MBA programs. This is in line with the traditional popularity of MBA programs among American students. On the other hand, MBA programs attract 46% of the Western Europe applicant pool. Executive MBAs are more attractive to candidates from Western Europe, with 20% of the applicants indicating an interest in the program. This observation is another example of the rising popularity of Executive MBA Programs. They offer flexibility with increasing travel opportunities. However, traditional Masters Programs still hold their ground in Western Europe, the proportion of applicants is marginally higher than the MBA.
The gender trends in both regions are equally varied. The chart above presents the current expectations for male and female applicants. There’s a wider gender gap among Western European applicants in comparison to their American and Canadian counterparts.
Once the survey is closed later this year, final results would be interesting to examine. In today’s quick changing environment, trends can change quickly.
Local versus Global Endowment
Shaw’s education endowment is managed through the Shaw Foundation Hong Kong Limited, the Sir Run Run Shaw Charitable Trust, and Shaw Prize Foundation Limited. It supports the local education of the Chinese in mainland China, and through The Sir Run Run Shaw Scholarship Program for Graduate Studies, hundreds of Chinese and other Asian students have been supported to pursuit postgraduate study overseas in the US and UK, at universities including Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge and Oxford.
Possible Actions for national policy makers:
When education institutions think about endowment, alumni fundraising is often their first thought. After all, why should one contribute to the development of an educational institution if one has never been educated there and benefited from this life-changing opportunity?
However, we also know that the sciences are without borders. The Brazilian Government “Sciences Without Borders” scholarship scheme is intended to send 101,000 Brazilian to study STEM subjects and the creative industries at top universities around the world.
Recognising that science knows no frontiers, when he was at his 90s, Shaw established the Shaw Prize, to recognise outstanding achievements in Astronomy, Life Science and Medicine, and Mathematical Sciences. While astronomers regularly receive the Nobel Prize for physics, and there is a Nobel prize for physiology and medicine, there is none for maths. Since its foundation of 2004, 54 leading scientists from around the world have received this prestigious prize, and seven of them later won the Nobel Prize. The total prize amounts to HK$240 million (£19 million). Due to its growing influence and prestige, the Shaw Prize has been nicknamed the Nobel of the East.
Possible Actions for national policy makers:
Some of these subjects are hot topics for us all nowadays, including Environmental Science, Earth and Marine Science (the subject of the Vetlesen Prize), which helps to address global warming and pollution; and all the engineering and technology related subjects. We now appreciate that 3D printing, invented in 1984, only became global headline news in 2013, and other new subjects are emerging all the time. If a billionaire really wants to spare a few million dollars per year to help the world to become a better place collectively, finding the right discipline to award won’t be that difficult.
Sir Run Run Shaw, the Hong Kong media mogul died on 7th Jan 2013 at the age of 106. In the 48 hours after the news about his death, there were more than 500 pieces of news in English on the subject, and 3,500 in Chinese. Most western media associated the legacy of Sir Shaw with his success in the entertainment industry, especially his work in introducing Kung Fu movies to the west. But instead of adopting this approach, most of the Chinese media featured detailed discussion of his philanthropic activities in the education sector.
According to the official statement from the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, Shaw has donated more than $ 4.75 billion HK dollars (370 million GBP) since 1985 to create more than 6013 education projects covering 31 provinces and cities throughout mainland China. This endowment, benefited tens of millions of students from primary school to university. If we also include the figure of his donation to the healthcare in mainland China, it is a staggering total of more than $ 10 billion HK Dollars (785 million GBP)
On 7th January 2013, a picture demonstrated the distribution of Sir Run Run Shaw Buildings around China become a media sensation in mainland China, it is said that a search for his name in Baidu map, the Chinese google, there are more than 30,000 education, hospital and research buildings in mainland China that are named after him. This picture was named by the Chinese netizens as the picture that “Touched the heart of China”. On day after his death, there are more than 2.5 million results of weibo discussion on “The Sir Run Run Shaw Buildings” in Sina Weibo, the Chinese twitter. A current trend is for people to take photos of the lecture halls, and libraries donated by and named after Shaw, where they have spent years studying. The idea is to show their respect to this philanthropist, who is widely considered as PRC’s greatest private contributor to the education sector ever.
What could the rest of the world learn from the role of Sir Run Run Shaw in his philanthropic activities in the education sector?
A search for “Yifu”, the Chinese name of Sir Run Run Shaw in Baidu, there are more than 30,000 results. A picture that is considered “Touched the Heart of China”.
The Sir Run Run Shaw Foundation will only consider fundraising proposal recommended by a selected pool of experts employed by the Ministry of Education in the PRC. Also higher education institutions which submit proposal for endowment are required to commit to fundraise three times the funds donated by the foundation. So once a university submits a proposal to the foundation, it will already have official backup from the municipal or provincial governments who will be committing to finance the rest of the project to make the submission eligible, or alternatively, the institutions themselves will need to finance the rest.
For example, in 1986, Sir Shaw donated HK$110 million to 11 Chinese universities. Each of those 11 Chinese universities either gets another HK$30 million from its municipal or provincial government, or manages to finance the rest itself.
Possible Actions for national policy makers:
Universities are widely considered to be the phase of education with the biggest potential returns for individual venture capitalists, investors or entrepreneurs. The majority of fund receiving by the education sector goes to higher education, rather than to schools or further education.
However, further education has played a crucial role in the upgrading of some of society’s most deprived communities. For example, it is a central part of the European Commission’s life-long learning agenda.
In the case of Shaw, 80 per cent of his endowment went to schools, special schools and technical institutions, and only 20 per cent to universities.
Possible Actions for national policies makers:
Please click here to read Part 2 of this article.
Université Paris-Dauphine, one of France top 20 best universities according to the 2013 QS World University Rankings® – ranked globally at 358 – has announced in early December 2013 it will launch a degree in London. The institution will enrol students that will complete a Bachelor’s degree in Economy and Management with classes of approximately 30 students. Université Paris-Dauphine is aiming at enrolling in majority students coming from international French high schools such as the reknown independent school Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in London.
The degree will start operating in September 2014, based in the Institut Français in South Kensington, right next to the primary and secondary French high school, Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, that enrols about 4,000 pupils aged 3 to 18.
Can you think of any activity on Earth whose budget is growing by 75 per cent in the current economic climate? Meet Horizon 2020, the European Union’s research programme. It is the successor to the previous seven Framework programmes for research, and runs from 2014 to 2020.
Its importance for anyone concerned with universities is simple. Horizon 2020 has a budget of €77 billion, about $104 billion. That is about twice the budget of the National Science Foundation, the biggest general research funder in the US, for the same period (although the specialist US funder of medical research, the National Institutes of Health, is rather larger). Another comparison might be with national research spending in Europe. The UK is one of Europe’s biggest research powers. Its seven research councils invest about £3 billion a year, or about €3.6 billion. The European Commission will be spending about €13 billion a year under Horizon 2020.
And of course, this major emerging player will coexist alongside the existing national systems for funding research. As many European nations already back their researchers strongly by world standards, the result could be that Europe’s science is surprisingly well-supported.
One issue with all European funding, as Eurosceptic commentators like to point out, is that it tends to be used on politically-determined pet projects, not on things that really matter. Doubtless this criticism will be laid at the door of Horizon 2020, perhaps correctly in some cases. However, most of the money will find its way to universities and small business, via broad programmes in areas such as climate change and innovative manufacturing. These headings leave scope for academics to get support for important basic and applied research, and for international cooperation, always a priority where EU funds are being spent.
More importantly for Europe’s top universities, about €13 billion of the money will be spent by the European Research Council, a body set up specifically to make EU researchers compete on a continental scale. The ERC was intended as a European version of the NSF, to help ensure that Europe’s top researchers are of world standard. It looks for top research irrespective of the nation in which it occurs.
Most ERC funding is already going to elite institutions, reinforcing the effects of national programmes to strengthen a limited group of research-intensive universities. A look at the results for top continental European universities in the current World University Rankings suggests that institutions such as the Technical University of Munich and Heidelberg University tend to lag on our measure of cited papers per faculty member. As highly-cited papers are one outcome that the ERC wants from the research it supports, its funding may serve to strengthen this area of comparative weakness in future years.
The City of Light is still the world’s best place to be a student. Paris has won the QS Best Student Cities ranking for 2014 with 417 points from a possible 500, just two more than London.
The QS Best Student Cities ranking measures cities with at least two world ranked universities, on a range of criteria. It looks at how highly-ranked its universities are, how international its student body is, at its quality of life, at its affordability, and at how enthusiastic employers are about hiring the graduates from its institutions. We collect data on 98 cities, and publish the top 50.
This is the second time we have analysed student cities in this way, and Paris and London have been first and second both times. While London has the largest number of world-ranked universities and a more international student community, Paris is a lot more affordable as a place to study.
Employers, we find, are keen on both Paris and London, but their favourite destination is Singapore. The island state is third in this ranking, partly because of its high standard of living as well as its recruiter-friendliness. Next are Sydney, with a very high standard of living, and Melbourne, top worldwide for the size and diversity of its student body. The rest of the top 10 include one more Asian entry, from Hong Kong, two from continental Europe, Zurich and Munich, and two from North America. These are the Boston/Cambridge conurbation, home to Harvard, MIT and other top institutions, and Montreal.
Of the five measures used to draw up this ranking, three come from the data used in the main QS World University Rankings. The institution rankings score comes from the number of ranked institutions in each city, their average position, and the standing of the top-rated university. The student mix measure is based on the percentage of students in the city’s population and the share of them from overseas. And the employer activity measure makes use of the exclusive QS survey of national and global employers to discover the cities from which they most like to recruit.
Of the other two measures we use, quality of living comes from a world survey carried out by Mercer, the global business information specialists, and data from GaWC, a world city survey produced by Loughborough University in the UK. Vienna is the winner on this measure.
Finally, our affordability indicator combines two things a potential student needs to know. The first is the average level of tuition fees, and this is weighted especially highly in the calculation. Then we add three lower-weighted elements to capture the essentials of student life: Mercer’s city cost of living index; the Economist Intelligence Unit’s celebrated Big Mac index, reflecting perhaps the reality of student consumption; and the price of an iPad, collected in cities around the world by Commsec, part of Commonwealth Bank in Australia. It turns out that Argentina has the world’s priciest iPads, despite which Buenos Aires, 33 in our table, is by no means one of the dearest of our top 50 cities. Malaysia is the cheapest place to buy one, and partly as a result, Kuala Lumpur is indeed the lowest-cost student city in the table.
This ranking does contain some surprises, such as the absence of Cambridge (UK), which is home to only one ranked university. And while some of the top 10 succeed partly through having a large number of good universities (Paris, London, Boston and Hong Kong among them), Munich, Zurich and Singapore have only two each, both regarded very highly. The table also shows that while Munich and Zurich both enjoy high living standards, Munich is far more affordable.
London, 20th November, 2013: The interesting thing about the 2nd QS Best Student Cities, for me, someone who was “Made in China” is that: Chinese cities are also named as two of the top 50 cities in the world for students.
The results, released today, see Hong Kong is ranked 7th among all Chinese cities, and the second highest-ranked Asian city. Beijing is named as Mainland China’s top-ranked city at 18th; while Shanghai ranks at 35th.