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Higher Education World 2016: Edu Data Summit

QS is on a permanent mission to ensure informed choices are made about higher education. This month, it took this commitment to a new level by holding the first Edu Data Summit, intended to look at all the ways in which big data is informing universities and improving the student experience.

Held in London on June 8-10, the Summit brought in almost 200 people from across the globe to talk about how the big data is impacting upon education. They included a host of fascinating speakers, led by initial keynote speaker Rafael Reif, President of MIT, who opened the event by video link.

Far from being a gleam on some futurologist’s horizon scan, the data wave has already hit academic life. Part of the reason is the growth in student use of connected devices. When people wrote essays on paper, it was hard to tell how they did it. Now a wealth of data is available on how they work, how long it takes them to do things, and where they work and spend time. Allied to the non-stop collection of data on topics such as seminar absence, this has allowed universities to create new tools that predict student failure, and allow potentially failing students to get timely help.

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Higher Education World June 2016: QS University Rankings (EECA)

Improved data collection has enabled QS to expand its unique ranking of universities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) from 150 to 200 institutions. But there is still remarkable stability at the top.

A total of 24 countries are represented in the 2016 edition of the ranking. Once again, Russia has by far the largest representation, its universities taking almost a third of the places. Among the 63 Russian universities in the ranking, five reached the top 20 and 11 the top 50.

For the first time, the top three EECA universities are all Russian. Lomonosov Moscow State University retains the lead it has held in all three editions of the ranking, with Novosibirsk State University still in second place. Saint-Petersburg State University, which has moved up four places in two years, has overtaken the Charles University, in Prague, to complete the clean sweep.

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Higher Education World 2016: QS University Rankings: Arab Region

Saudi Arabia continues to dominate the QS ranking of universities in the Arab Region, with 19 of the top 100 universities in the latest edition, including three of the top four.

Sustained investment in higher education has helped Saudi universities to repeat the successes seen in the first official ranking, published in 2015. But the full list remains surprisingly diverse, with 15 of the 21 members of the Arab League represented in the region’s top 100.

Although this is the same number as last year, there has been some movement even in the countries represented, with two Algerian universities appearing for the first time. The University of Tlemcen has come straight into the ranking in the 71-80 band, while the Université des Sciences et de la Technologie Houari-Boumediene features between 91 and 100.

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Higher Education World June 2016: QS University Rankings: Asia

This year’s QS analysis of Asia’s top universities looks similar to the 2015 edition, especially in the topmost positions. But there are a number of key changes to the indicators we use and the weights we assign to them.

One major change is to increase the weight given to our survey of employer opinion from last year’s 10 per cent to 20 per cent now. Because our academic survey is still weighted at 30 per cent, this means that the two surveys account between them for half of each university’s possible score. This increased emphasis on employer opinion is consistent with growing interest in graduate employability around the world, including in Asia.

In addition, we have introduced a new measure into the Asian rankings this year, one that is already used in our other regional rankings around the world. This is the percentage of academic staff with a PhD, weighted at 5 per cent in this year’s ranking.

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Higher Education World June 2016: QS University Rankings: Latin America

The Latin American ranking is perhaps the most eagerly awaited of the four regional comparisons published by QS. Over six editions, competition has become intense and media interest in the results exceptionally strong.

One reason is the diversity of the ranking: seven countries are represented in the latest top 20, a record number that confirms the continuing growth in high-quality provision throughout the region. The top three universities are unchanged since 2015 and there are no new entrants to the top 10. But, with universities from 20 countries among the top 300 in the region, there is more interest than ever in the ranking as a whole.

Universidade de São Paulo (USP) maintains its accustomed position at the head of the ranking, outperforming its city neighbour Unicamp (Universidade Estadual De Campinas) and Santiago’s Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) has become the nearest challenger to the top three, moving up two places since last year.

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Higher Education World – June 2016: Foreword

This edition of Higher Education World is by far the largest we have produced – an indication of the enhanced level of QS publications and events over the last month.

The four regional rankings – for universities in the Arab region, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America – always excite interest. They provide opportunities for universities that are yet to feature in world rankings to shine internationally, as well as reflecting the priorities of each region. We examine the results from all four separately.

Another well-established exercise, which has had a lower profile in previous years, is QS’s comparison of the higher education systems of whole nations. Martin Ince looks at the 2016 System Strength evaluation to see whether the success of top universities is a guide to overall national performance.

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QS HE System Strength Rankings

US ranked world’s best national system for higher education provision

QS’s new ranking assesses nations providing best environment for university success

London, 18th May 2016: QS Quacquarelli Symonds, global higher education analysts, have today released the 2016 instalment of the Higher Education System Strength (HESS) rankings. The ranking, which aims to identify the best national environments for higher education institutions, sees four European nations among the world’s top 10. The United States’ higher education system ranks in first place, ahead of the United Kingdom’s and Germany’s. France (6th) and the Netherlands (7th) join them among the top 10.

The rankings represent a new attempt to use university rankings performance alongside other metrics to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a country’s higher education environment. In doing so, they aim to assist governmental bodies charged with improving their nation’s higher education system to benchmark against competitor nations.

Other key results include:

  • The United States leads the 2016 instalment, with Canada (5th) the other top-10 North American nation;
  • Three of the world’s top 10 are Asian – China (8th), South Korea (9th), and Japan (10th);
  • The Latin American nation with the strongest higher education environment is Argentina (18th); it is the only Latin American nation placing within the top 20;
  • Africa’s best-performing nation is South Africa, in 30th;
  • 50 countries are ranked this year across six continents;
  • Europe is more featured than any other continent, with 22 of its nations providing a top-50 higher education institution.

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Market Insight Service

The Market Insight Service by the QS Intelligence Unit

A few months after launching the Market Insight Service, the QS Intelligence Unit interviewed Dasha Karzunina, International Research Liaison, about its benefits for institutions around the world.

How would you describe this new service?

D.K.: The Market Insight Service is essentially a way for universities to access tailored information on a particular challenge, concern or a topic of interest to help them figure out how they should progress towards a resolution. Whilst the main element of this service is the focus groups which lead to qualitative research outcomes, we also offer surveys to provide quantitative elements and back up our findings.

What kind of topic can be covered by the focus groups?

D.K.:  For example, if an institution wants to start a new programme and they want to know whether or not it will appeal to a particular group of students, we could run a focus group with students matching these criteria. This would not only allow us to see what type of program they would be interested but also to find out why they wouldn’t be interested in and what perceived barriers exist. For example, one of our clients, the University of Sydney wanted to recruit more students from India. They felt they needed to reconnect with the region and gain additional information about the motivations of Indian students. With policies and governments changing, students’ expectations get influenced and universities need to be on top of these things when trying to recruit international students. By running focus groups, we helped them understand how they and their country were positioned in the market and what current students were actually looking for. This data can help inform the marketing strategy and implement some key changes into the communication processes.

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Making university-industry collaborations work

In the popular post Busting five myths of university-industry collaboration the key points are that collaborations work when the research addresses a particular need in industry and there is effective communication between all stakeholders.
To address the needs of national economic development, university-industry collaborations are vital. According to research carried out by Science|Business Innovation Board AISBL, a Belgian not-for-profit scientific association, these collaborations need to move from specific projects to strategic relationships. But how do you make a shift from project focused to strategic focus?

Here are nine key learning points suggested in the report, to help your institution achieve this shift:

1. University leadership is vital

2. Built-in flexibility works best in long-term strategic partnership

3. Develop the strategy based on a shared vision

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Indian Students Are Increasingly Struggling To Stand Out

As part of our quest for more qualitative research about international students’ motivations, we visited one of the key student recruitment markets – India. Did we learn something new about the way Indian students select universities abroad? Certainly. Did we confirm some of the stereotypes that already existed? Somewhat.

Let’s start with a stereotype that we have found some evidence for…

1. Indian students’ parents are actively involved in their educational and career choices.

Although this is still the case, it would seem the attitude here is shifting. A number of students have told us that their parents will actively and sometimes inevitably give them advice on what to study and which countries/universities to target. What’s unclear is just how much influence this actually has on their decisions. When we probed students further on this topic, they would often say that they feel they have to consider their family’s views even if they don’t always agree or feel they have the most relevant experience to be providing advice on the matter but would then seek advice from elsewhere.

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