EECA post

Emerging Europe and Central Asia Ranking – The Significance?

In December 2014, QS published the first edition of the Emerging Europe and Central Asia (otherwise known as EECA) regional ranking. New? Definitely. Interesting? Certainly. Unexpected? Not at all.

I, myself, come from Eastern Europe and so have first-hand experience of education in that region. Whilst I haven’t studied at a university there, I received primary and best part of my secondary education there. I therefore know that there are very few parts of the world as thorough and as methodical in their teaching philosophy as the educators from Emerging Europe and Central Asia. If there’s one thing this says about them is that these nations take education very seriously and have a thing or two to share with the rest of the world. Read more

moneygrad

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]

Read more

Higher education Romania

The challenges of the Romanian research system

After 1989, Romanian society moved from communism to building a democratic and market based economy, aiming to reintegrate in the European family through its political, economic, social and cultural system. In this transition process, the higher education was considered to have a specific role in creating a research and innovation system at the European level. At present, Romania is considered a modest innovator by the European Commission and at the same time an efficiency-driven country, as opposed to other EU countries that are either in the transition process or are already in the innovation-driven phase. Read more

library-488678_1920

Lingua Franca Nova I: English-Taught Programmes on the Rise in Mainland Europe

According to a study published by the Academic Cooperation Association, written by Bernd Wächter and Friedhelm Maiworm, the number of English-Taught Programmes (ETPs) at universities in non-English-speaking European countries has more than tripled between 2007 and 2014. Perhaps just as remarkably, they have increased tenfold since 2001.

Data and correspondence show that the rise in ETPs and English as a Method of Instruction (EMI) is set to continue not just in Europe, but around the world – what does this mean for higher education, and academia as a whole?

Read more

shutterstock_274578584

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:

Read more

ibmwatson

IBM Watson partners with top universities through its cognitive computing academic initiative

IBM Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM’s DeepQA project by a research team which was led by principal investigator David Ferrucci[i] IBM Watson first appeared the game show Jeopardy! competing and winning against the two of the most successful contestants on the show, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

In 2011 IBM announced it was collaborating with eight leading technology universities to advance the question answering technology of Watson. These universities were[ii]:

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • University at Albany
  • University of Trento (Italy)
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst

IBM intended to market the DeepQA software to large corporations with a very high price[iii] in the millions of dollars, which was expected to decrease as the technology improved.  However in 2013, it was reported that there were three companies who were working with IBM to create apps embedded with Watson technology[iv]. In November of that year, IBM announced it would make Watson’s API available to software application providers, enabling them to build apps and services that are embedded with Watson’s capabilities[v].

There are several ways universities can get involved with Watson – from full semester courses with unprecedented access to Watson, to weekend Hackathons and Case Competitions. All designed so that students can engage with cognitive services, access IBM resources, and broaden portfolios[vi].

On 15th January 2015 IBM announced the first winner of its Watson University Competition which is part of the company’s partnership with top universities through its cognitive computing academic initiative. The winning team of student entrepreneurs, which in this case were from the University of Texas at Austin, receive $100,000 in total in seed funding to help launch a business based on their Watson app, which offers the promise of improved citizen services.

 

[i] http://researcher.watson.ibm.com/researcher/view_group.php?id=2099

[ii] http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/33636.wss

[iii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watson_%28computer%29#cite_note-nytmag-11

[iv] https://www.internetretailer.com/2013/12/03/ibms-watson-computer-helps-shoppers-new-app

[v] http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

[vi] http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibmwatson/academic.html

india v china

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.

India growth

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).

 

Jim O'Neille_副本

QS Meet MR. BRIC Jim O’Neill

On 11th March 2015, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Jim O’Neill, ex Chairman Goldman Sachs Asset Management, father of the term “BRIC”. They enjoyed an interesting discussion on the QS BRICS University Ranking.
oneillgrowthmapstitchmi-resize-600x338

About the Conference
This is the 3rd year of the annual China Business Conference, oragnised by the China-Britain Business Council. This year, it attracts 500 participants, most of leading business leaders who are working on the Chinese market. More than 40 topical speakers have been invited from McKinsey, Alibaba, Arup, UK and PRC Government, Oxford University, just to name a few. The event was supported by CBI, London & Partners, British Chambers of Commerce, Commercial Section of the Chinese Embassy, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, The UK Chinese Business Association.
CBBC conference

Key topics cover:
Education, Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Healthcare
Liveable Cities
The Chinese Consumer
China Outbound
Visiting Britain – The Experiential Economy
Advanced Manufacturing

goldman sachs
Jim O’Neill on the Chinese Economy
Jim O’Neill is previously the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He is one of the world’s most famous economists, who is best known for coining the term BRIC, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China—the four rapidly developing countries that have come to symbolise the shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies.

Jim gave a keynote speech titled “Growth & China: Quality vs Quantity”. He seems to be very optimistic about the Chinese economy.

He argued that the slightly slowed Chinese economy is not a bad thing that might have concerned some. Instead, he argue that the Chinese economy currently stands at 7% GDP growth annually is mainly because “the Chinese government want its economy to slow down”. “The Chinese government is pursuing quality as opposed to quantity of growth”.

The Chinese economy has already slowed down in the past decade. However,”China’s economic growth hasn’t slowed as much as I predicted for the whole decade – yet.” And “China is the only BRIC not to disappoint”.

“Economically, at 7% growth, China creates another India every 2 years, another UK every 1 year, and another South Africa every 3 months”.

Talking about the role of the Chinese economy in the world, he pointed out that “the world economy in past 20 years has not slowed down that much than expected was directly a result of the strength of the Chinese economy”.

In conclusion, he proposes that he is very looking forward to 2016 when China would be hosting the G20 and he is keen to talk to policies makers in China to assist the sustainable development of its economy and hence the global economy.

can-the-ecbs-latest-stress-tests-prevent-another-round-of-banking-failures-659x380
Jim O’Neill and QS BRICS University Ranking
It was not the first time Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director of QS Intelligence Unit met Jim O’Neill. They met quite a few times before at various events. For example, 30th September 2014 Lecture with Gerard Lyons and Jim O’Neill, The New Economic and Political World Order: Challenges and Opportunities on 30th September 2014 at the 48 Group Club event.

Before his keynote speech at China-Britain Business Council China Business Conference, Jim O’Neill and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang had a discussion about the QS BRICS University Ranking.

Jim O’Neill was surprised that it was the Russian, rather than the Chinese government who sponsored the BRICS Universities Ranking! Obviously, Mr. BRICs believed that China was the one that performed best among the BRICS countries and ideally, they would be the one to sponsor a regional rankings like this.

Jim O’Neill was very pleased to read the QS BRICS University Rankings and happily took a photo holding the ranking supplyment with Dr. Christina Yan Zhang.
Jim 1
(On 30th September 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Jim O’Neill at a 48 Group Club event with Gerard Lyons spoke on The New Economic and Political World Order: Challenges and Opportunities)

fft99_mf2830162

QS met OECD Secretary General

48058957Groupe OCDE 2011x600

On 23th Febuary, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, was invited to an event where Angel Gurría Secretary-General of OECD was giving a City Lecture hosted by Official Monetary and Financial Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum(OMFIF) The Livery Hall of London, UK.

OECD
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was founded after WWII, in 1948 to run the US-financed Marshall Plan for reconstruction of Europe. Since 1961 when the new OECD Convention was implemented, OECD has grown to become an influential international economic organisation of 34 countries, supporting economic progress and world trade. Through close working partnership with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, OECD actively engage 40 countries that account for 80% of world trade and investment.

Angel spent about half an hour talking about his view on efficient measures to attract global investments to bring about stronger, fairer and greener economic growth around the world. He had quoted a lot of figures in his speech to highlight the importance of productivity in boosting long term economic growth around the world.

Productivity Freeway Exit Sign

He stressed many times in his speech the reasons that many countries in the world now start to experience slow growth economy- It is mainly because of productivity issue in the labour force-not since the financial crisis in 2008 , but long before that.

To order to enhance productivity, education is positioned at the centre, to support innovation, entrepreneurship, skills of labour markets, research, knowledge transfer. He used the example of Greece to highlight the issue of how low productivity has impacted on its economy.
public-school-tightrope

The OECD Secretary General believed that now it would be the right time to encourage countries to develop a knowledge-driven economy, with more investments to strengthened infrastructure and better finance to support SMEs are all important to enhance productivity of countries, and hence boost long term economic growth.

On infrastructure, he said that measures should be developed to encourage more private sector to actively participate in infrastructure investment through the Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

giurria

Questions to the OECD Secretary General
As always, I was the first to raise the hand to ask the VIP speaker a question. I did think about asking him a question on education related question. But since he had spent so much time talking about the importance of productivity and the role of education in supporting. It might sound a bit repetitive in doing that. Therefore, I said: “Mr. Secretary General, you know it is now Chinese New Year now. While people around the world are celebrating Chinese New Year, many policies makers around the world are also discussing the Chinese Economy, which has grown into a ‘New Normal’stage, with slightly slower but healthy economic growth as proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. What is your view on the Chinese Economy with the ‘New Normal’growth, and how would that impact on our discussion today-global investments to support a stronger, fairer and greener growth”.

Clearly, the OECD Secretary General is very optimistic about the Chinese economy. He said that “The Chinese Economy with an annual growth rate of 7% is sustainable”. He thought the Chinese government is obviously very modest about their own economic forecast-“When President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese Economy would maintain about 7%, that is probably means the Chinese economy would remained at about 7.5% growth a year”. “They always tend to low-down the economic growth. That is very smart.If you end up 7.2%a year, you could say you over-shot the proper target”. China’s GDP grew at 7.4% last year”. “At such a growth rate, It does not let you lose any credibility. This is especially useful if you moderate the speed of growth. I think 7% growth is sustained and is good, which is normal, which is proper.I think anyone who thought they would be able to sustain 11% growth every year is not sustainble”. In conclusion, he said, “The current Chinese economy is stronger, fairer and greener growth”.
0023ae606e6615a5d00348

QS Discussion
After the lecture, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang had enjoyed a interesting discussion with Angel Gurría Secretary-General of OECD on potential opportunities for OECD to work with QS on education related projects. Mr Secretary-General of OECD was very interested in what QS have been doing on the World University Ranking. He was very happy to be given the QS World University Ranking 10 Years Anniversary Book and a supplement of the QS World University Honoured. The Secretary General said he would like to ask Andreas Schleicher – Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at OECD to get in touch and explore opportunities working together.

20150223_144203_ OECD
(Angel Gurría Secretary-General of OECD took a photo with Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, holding both QS World University Ranking 2014 Supplement and QS World University Ranking 10 Years Anniversary Book, as a special recognition of the great work QS has been doing in the world of higher education)

(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.