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Quite an unusual gift will be given to all the undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (about 4,500 of them) at autumn 2014: USD 100…worth of bitcoins. Bitcoin is a virtual currency using a peer-to-peer network to make payments. Currently* one bitcoin can be bought for USD 653 according to Coinbase.
There has been an upward growing trend in the number of prospective students searching and applying for business and management related courses here in the UK. In light of this, QS has partnered up with local institutions to offer a comprehensive directory containing detailed information on more than 5,000 courses spanning the higher education spectrum.
QScourses.com enables prospective students, globally, to search for business-related courses offered by UK universities and business schools. The platform also offers a free student support service that guides prospective students through the application process, helping them to identify programs that match their background and requirements, as well as assisting universities in their search for finding quality students to fill their programs.
To find out more about QScourses.com, contact Anca Bratu.
Pearson have published their Global Index of Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment for 2014. The Index ranks countries based on cognitive skills (PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS scores in Reading, Maths and Science) and educational attainment (literacy and graduation rates). Heading up the 2014 ranking are the Asian educational powerhouse countries of South Korea, Japan and Singapore. It has been widely reported in the British press that the United Kingdom was ranked second in Europe – at 6th place, only behind Finland (5th place). Britain’s high performance seems to be the result of strong attainment rates, in particular, tertiary education attainment.
More than 300 academics and administrators from 40 countries attended the biggest-ever Middle East and Africa Professional Leaders in Education (QS-MAPLE) conference in Abu Dhabi this month. The proceedings were streamed live to 30 countries.
Over 100 of the delegates stayed on for a separate consultation the following day on plans for a new QS ranking of universities in the Arab World. Debate centred on whether the ranking should cover only Arab countries or the whole of the Middle East. But there were a number of proposals on the measures to be used in the exercise and for sources of data to ensure the widest possible coverage of research in Arabic.
The session, which took place at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, followed two days of discussion and networking in the main conference. The university, founded in 2007 with a strong research brief, was one of the two main sponsors of QS-MAPLE, with the Abu Dhabi Education Council.
Among the plenary speakers was Professor Sultan Orabi, Secretary General of the Association of Arab Universities, who appealed for stronger investment in the region’s higher education systems and more autonomy for its universities. He said that talented academics were often denied promotion in favour of longer-serving colleagues and paid too little to prevent them joining the brain drain.
Almost a third of qualified graduates were leaving for Western countries, he said, half of them trained doctors. Instability in the region since the ‘Arab Spring’ had accelerated the process. Universities could only reach their full potential with political stability and better salaries and incentives.
The conference saw the award of two scholarships to two students from Khalifa University. Derek Bastienne, who is studying aerospace engineering, and Abdul Rahman, an undergraduate in mechanical engineering, received $6,000 from the QS Education Trust. The trust uses the surplus from delegates’ fees at QS conferences for scholarships and other philanthropic activities.
There was also a new series of QS Asia Creative Awards for university website and marketing materials, won by Dar Al-Hekma University, in Saudi Arabia; Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore, and the University of Newcastle, Australia. At the same session, the University of Malaya was awarded 5 QS Stars, University of Malaysia Perlis 3 Stars; and the University of Babylon, in Iraq, 2 Stars.
Next year’s conference will be in May 2015 in Doha, with Qatar University as the host institution. Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa will have their own conference in Rwanda later in the year.
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, accepted the first copy of the new QS Asian Rankings when he received a personal briefing on international higher education at his official residence in New Delhi this week. Read more
Japan’s universities will be the big winners in prime minister Shinzo Abe’s push to globalise the nation’s economy and society, according to his remarks at a Mayday meeting of British and Japanese universities that formed a significant part of his recent visit to the UK.
He told a conference of university leaders from the UK and Japan that “the number of foreign students at a university will define its success,” a big statement from the leader of a nation whose institutions are consistently towards the lower end of the rankings on criteria measuring their appeal to international staff and students.
In an address to the event at University College, London, Abe said that while “19 universities in the QS World University Ranking” were represented at the meeting, he was disappointed that fewer Japanese students are studying abroad than a decade earlier. He said that he wanted Japanese employers to value international experience more highly, and added that the government might put money into “a stimulus” for Japanese students to study abroad.
An increase in the number of Japanese students spending part of their academic career abroad would improve Japan’s standing in the QS Asian University Rankings, which use both incoming and outgoing exchange students as a measure of universities’ global appeal. In the new AUR, Tokyo is the top Japanese institution, in 10th place, with Kyoto and Osaka at 12 and 13, modest positions for such a rich and populous nation.
It is notable in these rankings that Tokyo and Kyoto rank 107 and 116 respectively in Asia for inbound exchange students, and 170 and 196 for outbound exchange. Osaka does a little better at 73 for inbound exchange and 49 for outbound.
Horishi Matsumoto, president of Kyoto University, told the conference that the university aims to double all its internationally-centred rankings scores by 2020. As well as exchange students, this would include overseas faculty and overseas students taking full degrees. Tokyo and Kyoto are 159 and 103 in Asia respectively for international faculty, and 57 and 66 for students. This means that there is plenty of scope for improvement.
As one sign of the inward-looking nature of Japanese academe, it has recently been a big news story in Japan that Kyoto might consider a non-Japanese replacement for Matsumoto, who is close to retirement.
UK universities at the meeting vied for supremacy in their claims for the age and depth of their Japanese connections. In the 1860s, UCL itself educated the Choshu 5, a leading group of émigré students who later became the nation’s first prime minister and foreign minister and founded its mint, railway system and industry ministry. More recently, participants learned, Edinburgh has educated two Japanese princesses, while Oxford has made room for three Japanese princes and princesses. As Andrew Hamilton, vice chancellor of the University of Oxford, explained, this means that his university has educated more members of Japanese royal family than of the British one.
By Martin Ince
The IREG-7 conference in London, organised by QS and its partner organisations, is now only a few weeks away. It will be held at University College London, the fourth-ranked institution in the World University Rankings.
The theme for this conference is Employability and Academic Rankings, although there will be sessions on a full range of rankings topics.
To help us think about the link between university rankings and graduate employability in the global market, we have a distinguished panel of speakers from employers including Airbus, Siemens and others. Contributors from universities, and external observers from bodies such as the World Bank, will look at employability and skills as a new measure of higher education performance. This issue has emerged in recent year as a major concern for universities around the world.
There are also to be strong sessions on current and future rankings systems, globally and increasingly regionally, for example in the Middle East and the BRICS nations. An especially strong set of presentations will look at developments in Russia and Eastern Europe. In addition, the QS Asian University Rankings for 2014 will be released on May 13, immediately before the opening of the conference.
Discussions surrounding Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have increased with an international momentum attracting both proponents and opponents. Perceived as a response to an ever digital and highly connected world, MOOCS are a platform for thousands of courses offered by world class institutions. This global platform continues to grow in popularity expanding far beyond the US. Multilingual platforms are now available in China and France, while Latin American and Middle Eastern initiatives are underway.
MOOCS, however, are still in their infancy and yet to glean global recognition from recruiters.
In order to measure employers’ perspectives, QS Intelligence Unit canvassed recruiters and their position on MOOCs in the annual QS Global Employer Survey.
Recruiters were asked whether they were familiar with MOOCs and of the 4,654 employers who responded, 71% said that they were not.
Perhaps what was most interesting was the regional distribution of responses. The highest proportions of recruiters with awareness or familiarity of MOOCS were based in Eastern Europe and US & Canada, from Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States. Latin America and Western Europe evidenced the greatest proportion of graduate recruiters who were unaware of MOOCs. A greater proportion of recruiters from Africa & Middle East displayed a familiarity in comparison to their Asia Pacific counterparts.
A regional breakdown is presented below:
Those sectors to which respondents responded positively were Consulting (24%), closely followed by Technology (22%) and Industry (17%).
Tracking a quickly evolving initiative such as MOOCs would be essential for higher education sectors and potential students alike. We at QS will continue to monitor the evolution of this phenomenon with the aim of maintaining a pulse on the market.