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In with the new and out with old? Or lessons learnt from the past? Remembering and Re-imagining Education

In light of the upcoming Re-imagine Education Awards, the innovative global competition launched last year by QS and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to find the world’s top higher education pedagogical innovation. I started reminiscing about my own university experience, and one particular course came to mind when I looked closely at Hybrid Learning. At QSIU, we are proud to have a team with a diverse skill set, a range of over 12 languages, and have come from various different universities from around the world. Below is an account of a few QSIU team members who share their own memorable experience of past pedagogical methods that have been particularly effective.

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The rise of student debts in the UK of the 2015 graduates following the increased fees

University students graduating from class 2015 are said to have the highest student debts in history according to the recent UK graduate career survey, by High Flyers Research. This is the first cohort of graduates that have had to pay the increased university fees of up to £9000 which has left many of them with average debt of more than £30,000. This is more than a £10,000 increase to the students who graduated in 2012. This figure will be even higher for medics who have to study five years, sometimes six depending on the university, which could potentially leave the students with debts that they can’t pay back or will be paying back for majority of their working life. This figure is lower than the predicted figure of £53,000 than that predicted in 2011 by The Push University Guide[i]. However the UK graduate career survey study also shows that more students are now likely to find jobs than in previous years. [ii]

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Why do students want to study abroad?

Studying abroad is a wonderful, professionally and personally enriching experience. It’s no wonder it’s becoming increasingly popular, with numbers going up from 2 to 4 million students in just the last decade. But what is it students are looking for overseas?

Just in March we interacted with over 500 students from Italy, France, Moscow and UK, with the intention to find out what they value in a university. We were particularly intrigued to see if there’ll be any variation by country.

This is what we found:

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India’s outbound student growth overtakes China for the first time

The first-ever Indian Students Mobility Report 2015, released by M.M Advisory Services reveals a renewed growth in the Indian student market, with student outflows surpassing China for the first time. The new report looks into Indian student mobility trends to the main English-speaking countries – the Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States. These account close to 85% of the total outbound student mobility from India.

China saw a growth rate of 8% in student numbers to the five English-speaking countries between 2013-14, India drew a higher growth rate at 10%. There were over 300,000 students from India in 2014, however this figure still lags behind China’s 650,000 Students. Nonetheless, growth in the Indian market is a welcome change to the slump experienced over the past 4-5 years. The report further estimates the international students market in India is currently valued over $4.5bn, strengthening its position in the student mobility market.

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Source: Indian Students Mobility Report

 

According to the firm, with the exception of the United Kingdom, every other country has seen more students go from India this year than previously. This could perhaps be attributed to the strict visa rules introduced in 2014.

The report, examining trends since 2005, was prepared using statistics and data from government departments in various receiving countries including the US’s Institute of International Education, the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

 

(c) Apple

UK: Watches banned from university exams

Remember when the Google Glass was developed? This was in 2011 and the main idea was to enable users to be connected to the Internet and use a camera with their glasses (although it is currently not developed enough to be available on the market). Last year you probably heard from another IT giant the future launch of the Apple Watch, a new device that will be connected to the Internet and capable of file storage. It is planned to be available on the market from April 2015 with a price starting at $349 (£223 and AU$40).

Last year, the University of London was already discussing about the smart watches potentially becoming a problem in the examination hall from 2015 and beyond, as academics were worried about cheating.

As a precautionary measure, several UK universities have now issued a ban for students during exams to wear a wrist watch, not only smart watches by any watches. It can now be read in City University London’s website: “Due to the introduction of smart watches, candidates are no longer permitted to wear any kind of wrist watch in an examination venue. Please ensure that your wrist watch is placed in your bag before the start of the examination. Anyone found wearing a wrist watch in the examination venue will be asked to remove it and to place it on the floor under their desk.” Are they right to do so? Of course, mobile phones and tablets are already forbidden during exams so why not watches too. An old wall clock will always be reliable.

This precautionary measure has generated some interest in the higher education news in the last few days as students will be ask to remove all wristwatches before taking an exam in selected universities. UK is not the only country taking measures to avoid cheating during examinations, for instance it can be read on Nanyang Technological University’s website that smart watches should not be brought in the examination hall.

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President of The Rockefeller Foundation Spoke at London

Rockfeller

The Rockefeller Foundation is a famous philanthropic organization and private foundation, established by John D. Rockefeller (“Senior”), the American business magnate, who co-founded the Standard Oil Company which has a major impact of the oil industry.

In addition to the big petroleum industry business Rochefeller started, he is also considered to have defined the structure of modern philanthropy through setting up the The Rockefeller Foundation in New York State May 14, 1913.

In the first year of its foundation, $35 million was made as a gift to the foundation, followed by another $65 million donation by John D. Rockefeller (“Senior”) . After 100 years develoment, The Rockefeller Foundation now has an endowment fund of $3.696 bn USD

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For more than 100 years, “to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world” has been advocated as the mission of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Nowadays, one of the key areas the Rockefeller Foundation focus is on “building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses”. This is discussed in greater details of the book “The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong”Resilience dividend

Dr. Judith Robin, is the author of this book, and also the first female President of the Rockefeller Foundation since 2005 . She was previously the first permanent female president of an Ivy League University in the USA-being the 7th President of the University of Pennsylvania(1994-2004), which is being ranked the world’s Top 13th by QS World University Ranking 2014/15.

Today, on the 19th January 2015, Juditch Robin, was interviewed by Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta on her book. NESTA. NESTA is formerly NESTA, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. There are about 200 delegates including senior leaders from the Cabinat Office, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for International Development, World Bank, leading UK think tanks and corporates such as Arup, Barclays, Burberry, as well as universities leaders. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit was also invited to this high profile event.
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NESTA is set up in 1998 through £250 million endowment fund established through an Act of the UK Parliament, with the mission to promote innovation capacity of the UK. Nesta was previously an executive non-departmental public body till 2012 when it was made into an independent charity.

There are indeed a lot of interesting points Judith Rodin put forward in her speech about efficient overall strategy to help individual, community, business, government of cities around the world to have more “Resilience”, as defined by a blog Judith wrote in 2014, as “the ability of people, communities and institutions to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back more rapidly from acute shocks and chronic stresses”.

For example, she put forward “Awareness, Redundancy / diversity, Integration, Self regulation, Adaptability as the 5 key characteristics of resilience. Some may argue that the whole idea is about “rebranding the art of city planning” in a new way, as suggested by Katherine Mathieson, Programmes Director for British Science Association.
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Also, $100 million has been allocated by the Rockefeller Foundation since 2013 to create the project 100 Resilient Cities-selecting 100 cities around the world to provide support to build urban resilience around the world. Maybe for QS, there could be an consideration to include how resilient a city is as part of the QS Best Students Cities Rankings next year?
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Judith also mentioned about the role education systems around the world could play in contributing to more resilient cities around the world. Her view on that is to educate students, to raise the awareness of such issue. Another part of role universities could play is on the research and innovation on the design and planning of infrastructure of cities, which would certainly have a major impact on how resilient cities could become when face unexpected catastrophy and disasters.

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit asked a question to Judith Robin at the event, on her view about efficient ways to have more bottom up approaches to get the general public to play a more active role on the grassrout level, so that such issue is no more just on top of the agenda of government and business leaders, but everyone. Judith replied highlighting the role NGO, local cities, communinity could play in organising more de-centralised approached in reaching out to the public.

After the forum, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, enjoyed an interesting chat with Dr. Judith Robin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation on the successful Wharton-QS Stars Awards: Reimagine Education which was launched in University of Pennsylvania in 2014. Interestingly, Judith Robin also knew Nunzio Quacquarelli, who founded QS when he was a MBA student at Wharton Business School and asked Dr. Christina Yan Zhang to send best regards to Nunzio Quacquarelli, the Wharton Alumni. Christina also had a brief discussion with Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, on future opportunties to collaborate on education related areas between QS and Nesta.

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UK Graduates poised to attract higher salaries

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A recent report published by High fliers Research Limited “The Graduate Market 2015” reveals an increase in graduate recruitment levels; it’s highest for a decade. The annual report, which surveys the country’s top 100 graduate employers, found that that the median starting salary for graduates will reach £30,000 for the first time this year, up from £29,000 for the past few years.

The study suggests that students leaving university this summer will find a buoyant graduate job market. Employers increased their graduate recruitment by 7.9 per cent in 2014, and will expand the available vacancies for university leavers by 8.1 per cent this year. The highest salaries in 2015 will be those on offer from investment banking (a median of £45,000), law (median of £40,000), banking & finance (median of £36,500) and oil and energy companies (median of £32,500). However, Aldi is said to be among the biggest payers outside the traditional firms, with starting wages of up to £42,000 on offer for trainee managers. Students preparing to enter the jobs market in 2015 are the first generation to pay £9,000-a-year tuition fees. While some argue that the high salaries are in place to enable students to pay back their student loans, the report said it was unlikely that starting salaries were raised as a response to the hike in fees but rather to compete with rival companies.

So how do graduates secure a place in these lucrative roles? The key to securing a top role is undertaking work placements at the firm in question, the study suggests. The survey evidences that a third of jobs are expected to be offered to graduates who have managed to do this. A greater proportion of the UK’s leading graduate recruiters are now offering paid work-experience programmes for students and recent graduates, with an unprecedented 13,049 available this year. Two-thirds have paid internships during the holidays for final-year students and half make industrial placements available as part of degree courses. There are also an increasing number of firms now offering placements for first-year undergraduates. Those with no work experience are unlikely to be successful applicants and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer through graduate programmes, half of the recruiters said.

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QS Directors met President of Shanghai Jiaotong University

On 28th November, 2014, QSIU Directors met Prof. Zhang Jie, the President of Shanghai Jiaotong University in London, during the UK trip of Prof. Zhang.

Prof. Zhang is the youngest President ever appointed to lead Shanghai Jiaotong University, an internationally known university, one of the top 5 in China, based on the QS World University Ranking.

 

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(Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit, President Zhang Jie, President of Shanghai Jiaotong University, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director of QS Intelligence Unit met on 28th November, 2014 in London, UK)

 

The meeting took place in Imperial Colleges London, a university President Zhang who also visited on the day. Mr. Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang,China Director, QSIU, met President Zhang, who was accompanied by a senior leader of the university.

It is the first time that any QSIU leaders meet President of Shanghai University. Therefore, President Zhang gave a brief introduction about the university’s history, its strategic focus and its dedication to internationalisation, innovation and cross-discipline research. President Zhang also discussed one of a recent article he was invited to contribute to Nature on 15th October 2014 on “Developing excellence: Chinese university reform in three steps“.

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(President Zhang Jie shared his views about Chinese universities reform, as part of the article he recently published on Nature.)

 

Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit congratulated President Zhang on his all the achievement Shanghai Jiaotong University have achieved under his leadership, and responded with a brief overview of the key areas of work QSIU covers to support international strategy of universities worldwide, especially The Wharton-QS Stars Awards 2014: Reimagine Education, which President Zhang was interested in submitting entries for next year’s intake.

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(Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit, talked about the Reimagine Higher Education Competitor to President Zhang Jie,of Shanghai Jiaotong University.)

The meeting lasted for about 1 hour, with President Zhang extended an invite for QS leaders to visit him again in Shanghai in the near future.

 

 

QS University Rankings:Asia 2013

Best Student Cities 2015

The QS Best Student Cities 2015 index was released today. Paris remains in top place, with a number of ranked universities and as a hub of employer activity. It also performed well on the Student Mix and Desirability indicators.

The Australian city of Melbourne, climbed up the ranking from fifth place to take second place, outperforming London who held this position last year. Melbourne has a number of ranked universities and scored the highest of any city for its diverse student mix. Being rated by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Ranking as on of the most liveable cities in the world, Melbourne scored well on the Desirability indicator. It also scored strongly on Employer Activity. Like the other Australian cities in the index, Melbourne scored less well on the Affordability indicator.

London slipped to third place, scoring lower than many other cities on Desirability and struggling on the Affordability indicator. London however holds its place in the top three due to the high concentration of top ranked universities, as the top city in the world on the Employer activity indicator and with a strong student mix.

Having studied in both Melbourne and London, I have found them both great cities to study and live in. There are things that I have loved about being a student in both of these cities that aren’t perhaps so easily captured by the indicators of the index. I loved Melbourne’s thriving arts scene, fantastic café-culture, and multi-ethnic character. London on the other hand is a bustling global hub of business and culture – home to some of the world’s greatest cultural institutions, with a fascinating history, eclectic nightlife, and a wonderful melange of diversity. This mix of experiences wonderfully enhanced the formal education I was receiving.

There are numerous factors that students consider when choosing where to study, and the QS Best Student Cities is one of the tools that students may use to help them find what’s most important to them. Check out the full results.

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2014 International Trends and Enrolment Patterns in UK

The latest report of the ‘Universities UK’s Higher education in focus’ published by Universities UK (UUK), revealed the most recent international student trends and enrolment patterns in UK Higher Education Institutions. Attracting prospective international students is of vital importance principally because international students are a strong income feed for UK universities in a time of post-crisis fiscal constraints and increasingly competitive funding frameworks: over 2012-2013, almost 12.1% of total UK university income was derived from non-EU student tuition fees. International students, furthermore, also bring economic benefits to local economies in UK cities, namely, 18% of all jobs generated by the higher education sector. Nonetheless, overall levels of non-EU student immigration to the UK has been falling since 2011. Although the trend in higher education enrolments have shown only a marginal decline, it is significant because the number of students seeking to study overseas is growing and the patterns and motives of student choices is gradually changing.

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Responses to UKK survey: Change in Number of new entrants in 2013-2014 compared to 2012-2013

Main trends highlighted in the UUK report:

  • By 2013 the number of overseas students arriving in the UK fell. Other main English-speaking destination countries, United States, Canada and Australia, have all witnessed an increase in the number of overseas applicants.
  • UK universities have reported a growth in overseas entrants for 2013-14, but Scotland showed an overall decline in all levels of study.
  • There is a clear split between a growth in students applying from the East Asia and Pacific region compared to the Indian subcontinent and parts of the Middle East like Saudi Arabia.
  • South-east Asian markets (China, Malaysia and Hong Kong) are growing but they follow different trends: the most demanded studies for Chinese students are in postgraduate studies in business and administration whereas Hong Kong students apply for undergraduate programs.

The report also stresses an important element that UK universities need to be specially attentive to. According to the 2014 NUS survey of international students already in the UK, the majority feel unwelcome, and a significant number would not recommend the UK as a study destination to their friends or relatives [1]. This negative word-of-mouth effect derived from the lived experiences of students might contribute further to the decline of the UK as a preferable study destination. More bad news in the report are the results from IDP international Student Buyer Behaviour Research 2013. In this study, the UK was rated as the worst destination among the Top 5 English-speaking destinations (US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) in terms of perceived graduate employment opportunities, and fourth in terms of student visa requirements/policies [2]. Finally QSIU Whitepaper on Globalization, Mobility and Rankings, adds that working on international cooperation can make border more accessible and it can impact upon immigration frameworks [3]. The reports paint a tense scenarios in a globalizing world where fluid movement is necessary, as with trade: the UK has seemingly less to offer to international students, and the postgraduate employment opportunities for non-EU graduates is likewise a key factor affecting the overall brand engagement and attractiveness of UK universities. Therefore, in order to secure a return to growth, the study recommends launching an international student growth strategy which would communicate a consistent message, namely, that the UK is a welcoming destination to international students and that post-study work opportunities exist independent of any net migration target.

[1] National Union of Students (NUS) http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/press-releases/international-students-feel-unwelcome-in-uk-as-immigration-bill-set-to-create-new-barriers-to-study/

[2] IDP International Student Buyer Behaviour Research 2013 http://www.uk.idp.com/PDF/101372_IDP_MEL_Buyer_210x595mm_Infographics_V04.pdf

[3] QS Intelligence Unit: Globalisation, Mobility & Rankings. September 2014.