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QS met OECD Secretary General

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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.
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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).

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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”.
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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.

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(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)

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Application Open for UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks

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QS, as the compiler of one of the world’s top 3 most influential World University Ranking, has a long tradition working closely with global intergovernmental organisations, such as UNESCO.

On 16 and 17th May, 2011, UNESCO together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank organized the ‘Global Forum on Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education: Uses and Misuses’ at its Paris Headquarters when Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit was invited to speak on the QS World University Ranking.

Inspired by the Forum, a book “Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education: Uses and Misuses” brings together all key opinion leaders on universities rankings worldwide to reflect the wide range of views that exist in the higher education community was published. Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit is invited to contribute Chapter 3 in Part One: Methodological Consideration explaining how QS World University Rankings have been developed over 10 years. This book is launched on Friday 28 June 2013, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, as the first of a series of studies to consider trends in education today and challenges for tomorrow.

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In addition, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, was previously invited to sit on the Education Committee of UNESCO UK National Commission 2010-2011, to discuss a wide range of global policies on education, including being recommended by UNESCO UK National Commission to represent the UK to contribute to the policy formation of World Bank Education Strategy 2020 Learning For All.

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QS would like to draw the attention of UK higher education leaders about this exciting opportunity to get involved in UNESCO UK National Commission. If you are a high education leader outside UK, please check the website of UNESCO on opportunities available in your own country. Hope you would find this information useful.

1. UNESCO:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a UN Specialized Agency which contributes to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, culture, sciences, and communication.

2. The UK National Commission for UNESCO:

The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) is the main organisation in UK to discuss and coordinate all UNESCO-related policies and activities on education, culture, the sciences and communication. It works in partnership with all relevant UK Government and civil society.

3. UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks:

In 1992, UNESCO established chairs and UNITWIN Networks to advance research, training and programme development in UNESCO’s fields of competence.

Currently, there are 819 UNESCO Chairs and 68 UNITWIN Networks established worldwide including over 854 institutions in 134 countries.

In the UK, there are 13 UNESCO Chairs and three UNITWIN Networks established in the UK.

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4. Applications:

The UK National Commission for UNESCO is calling for applications for the 2015 intake of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks.

5. Deadlines:
Outline proposals is 29 January 2015
Full proposals is 12 March 2015.

6. How to apply

All UK higher education institutions wishing to apply for the UNESCO Chairs or UNITWIN Networks Programmes must submit their application through the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC). All proposals will be evaluated by the UKNC through a two-stage peer-review process.

7. Useful links

8. More information

For more information, please contact Andrea Blick at the UK National Commission for UNESCO at ablick@unesco.org.uk / 020 7766 3491

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Shantou University-A Rising Star with Great Potential

Between 24-26th December, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director of QS Intelligence Unit was invited to visit Shantou University, the only university funded by Sir Li Ka-shing, the richest  person in Asia( based on 2014 Bloomberg Billionaires Index), with a net worth of $31.9 billion.

(Sir Li Ka-Shing spoke at the annual graduation ceremony of Shantou University)

 

Here is an update of her visit.

I have envisaged many times in dreams to visit Shantou University. When I actually visited it, I would certainly say it is far beyond any expectation, although in a different way.

I have been a big fan of Sir Li Ka-shing since the first time I read about his story, but not by how successful he is as a business leader, but by all the great virtues he has demonstrated throughout his career as a kind and humble man. I got to know Shantou University when I was watching a documentary of Li, when 1/4 of the documentary was talking about the tremendous efforts made by all stakeholders to create Shantou University in 1981 and develop it into one of the most enterprising and emerging university in Shantou, a less-well developed coastal area of Southeast China.

Shantou was one of the original Special Economic Zones of the People’s Republic of China established in 1981, but did not blossom in the same manner that cities such as ShenzhenXiamen and Zhuhai did.  I guess when Shantou University was first created, Li Ka-Shing would expect Shantou University to seize the great opportunity of the newly established Special Economic Zone and develop quickly. However, the overall economic development in Shantou has not been that quick as expected. This also impact on the development of the university.

(A picture of Shantou Special Economic Zone)

Read more

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QS Invited to attend lectures featuring 2 Top Chinese Universities Presidents

On 27th November, 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, was invited to attend 2 lectures at Oxford University.

This lecture featuring speeches by the presidents of two leading universities in China, Prof. Peng Long, President of Beijing Foreign Studies University and Prof. Zhang Jie, President of Shanghai Jiaotong University.

(A photo of St Anne College, Oxford University)

 

The event took place at St Anne’s College, Oxford University. Being one of Oxford’s largest colleges, with some 420 undergraduates and 250 graduates, St Anne’s College aims to “prepare the students for the globally connected society of the future“. Maybe, there could not be a better place in Oxford to host those two distinguished Presidents of Chinese leading Universities.

There are about 100 Chinese students and staff who are studying/working at Oxford who attended the lectures. Besides leading Chinese media organisations based in the UK, QS is only external organisations invited to this interesting event.

Founded in 1941, the Beijing Foreign Studies University  is the first foreign language university and offering the most language programs in the China. It is a small and specialised university, with only 7,000 registered students(5,000 are full-time undergraduates, 1,000 graduate students, and 1,000  overseas students). However, being the top Chinese universities specialised in foreign language cultivation(teaching 58 languages). By 2020, BFSU plans to teach 70 languages, with the ultimate goal of 90. With 80,000 alumni, more than 400 graduates become ambassadors, 1000 graduates become counsellors and therefore BFSU is dubbed the “diplomat’s cradle” of China.

The event started with President Peng Long talking on “The Chinese Economic Transformation- Characteristics of the Third Waves of Chinese Economic Reform”. President Peng is a known expert in China on International Finance and Stock Investment. He is also the Vice Chairman of China Association of International Trade, which is the professional body for experts in China on international trade.

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(President Peng Long, Beijing Foreign Studies University spoke on  “The Chinese Economic Transformation- Characteristics of the Third Waves of Chinese Economic Reform” at Oxford University)

 

He was very charismatic, he started his speech with a joke, “although I was responsible for one of the most prestigious Chinese universities on foreign language studies, I myself is not good at speaking English. I was too nervous last night to fall asleep because I was so busy practising my speech in English. I was much more relieved that I was told earlier that I could speak Chinese”, everyone in the lecture broke into laughters. President Peng, gave a very brave and frank speech to the audience, on his understanding of all the major economic reforms since the foundation of the PRC, especially the opening-up of the 1978, as well as the latest proposal of the Central Chinese Government to upgrade its industrial structure to be more innovation and knowledge driven. The audience was very impressed by his speech, some of the current Oxford students even start to ask questions to the President about how to become a staff of the university when they finished their studies at Oxford!

 

The ranking of BFSU in QS World University Ranking 2012 Arts and Humanity was 177,BRICS 2014 rankings was 87

 

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director enjoyed an interesting conservation with Prof. Peng Long, BFSU President on the international strategy. President Peng was surprised to find that Dr. Christina Yan Zhang was from Nanjing-a city where he had been working for a long time during his academic career. He extended an invitation to Dr. Christina Yan Zhang and asked her to visit him and other senior leaders of Beijing Foreign Studies University when she was in Beijing again. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang accepted the invite and wish President Peng every success in his role leading the university to an unprecedented new height.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, enjoyed an interesting discussion with Prof. Peng Long, President, Beijing Foreign Studies University on the international strategy.)

The second speaker of the day is Prof. Zhang Jie, the President of Shanghai Jiaotong University, a top 5 Chinese university(based on QS World University Ranking )who gave a speech on “University Governance: the people-oriented incentives system ”.  Dr. Christina Yan Zhang also enjoyed a great conversation with Prof. Zhang Jie, who kindly agreed to meet her and Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit the following day in London despite packed timetable flying back home in China.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, as an invited VIP guest that night, was introduced to Prof. Zhang Jie, President, Shanghai Jiaotong University, one of the top Chinese mainland universities.)

All the VIPs guests invited took a group photo together with 2 universities presidents and promised to stay in touch for future collaborations.mmexport1418208673871

 

 

 

 

 

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Dealing with social media: follow the leaders

Times are changing, and so do the ways universities communicate their activities to the world.

Although traditional channels still matter, Twitter, Facebook and other services are key features in any serious communication strategy. But, how are universities doing in social media? To answer this question –or, properly speaking, to satisfy our own curiosity- we extracted some basic Twitter metrics for the top 10 institutions in the 2013 QS World University Rankings (QSWUR). Here we present the results.

As displayed in the charts below, Harvard University, the second best in the 2013 QSWUR, is showing the way in social media (or, at least, on Twitter). Its main account (@harvard) had 273,101 followers on 27/09/2013, easily the highest amount in this group. Stanford University (@stanford), the 7th best university in the world according to the 2013 QSWUR, is the second best here with roughly half of Harvard’s followers. University of Oxford (@UniofOxford), 6th in the QSWUR, comes third in terms of Twitter popularity with almost 90,400 followers. This is better than University of Cambridge’s (@Cambridge_Uni) 70,525.

It is true, however, that institutions have different sizes and, for this reason, we adjusted these numbers to a “per capita” basis.  We took the total number of Twitter followers and then divided it by the sum of faculty staff and students for each institution. Using this figure, Harvard is still the leading university with over 11 followers per capita, while Stanford keeps the second position with 7. On the other hand, Oxford falls to the 7th place, holding less than 4 followers per person. Inversely, Princeton (@princeton) achieves the third best ratio (6.7).

Interestingly, British universities perform lower than most American peers in this group. In fact, the University of Chicago (@uchicago) is the only US institution performing at the bottom of this group with less than 1 follower per capita. This suggests that top universities hailing from the United States are doing a better job in the social media area.

Of course, this is only a superficial approach to the topic and much more research and analysis would be needed in order to reach conclusive results. In the meantime, it would be interesting to know your views: Are universities paying enough attention to social media? Is there any particularly successful case you are aware of? Do you think your institution is following a sound social media strategy?

Important: the figures presented in this article were extracted on 27/09/2013.

Latin America, an under explored territory for global education.

Latin America may not be considered a first choice by international students for academic exchange, and global universities do not seem to consider this part of the world as a priority for the development of exchange partnerships.  Why this is the case leads one to ask the following:  is there a global understanding of the Latin American educational systems, quality of their programs or administration processes, or is it merely a matter of location? Perhaps, Latin America is seen more as a holiday hotspot rather than a strategic choice to strengthen career prospects.

There are some interesting facts about the region. Public expenditure in education is significant in Cuba and Bolivia where it makes up 9.1% and 6.1% of their national budget respectively. These represent higher proportions than in the  USA (5.3%), UK (5.6%), and France (5.7%) in the same year of reference. Furthermore, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil and Paraguay all invest at least 4% in education. Mexico, in particular, has made major and consistent investments in education during recent years; their proportion of GDP in 2005 was 5.5%.

In most cases, universities that profile in the QS World RankingTM Top 400 are based in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. For example, UNAM, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Universidad Austral,  Universidad de Sao Paulo, UNICAMP and Universidad de Chile.

As indicated by the Chilean journal America Economia in their annual ranking for business schools in the region, there are highly qualified and recognised business schools for almost every country of the region among others, (see table below), that foster exchange programs with well known universities particularly in Europe and USA, such as ESADE in Spain, HEC in France, HHL in Germany and any others in the USA as Arizona State University, Tulane University, University of Texas at Austin among others.

Country University
Colombia Universidad de los Andes
Costa Rica INCAE
Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC)
Brazil Fundação Getulio Vargas
México Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)
Venezuela Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administracion
Argentina IAE

 
Latin-America’s largest populations are mainly concentrated in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, representing 70% of the region, with 396.5 million inhabitants. Despite the world economic crisis over the last year, the region has experienced an important growth of 4% GDP on average, with Peru, Panama and Argentina growing at 9.9%, 9.2% and 6.8% respectively.

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world as mother tongue, after Chinese, by 329 million people in 44 countries and these figures will likely increase as there are already around 14 million students around the world learning Spanish as a second language by 2008**. This number will also rapidly increase since, in 2010, Brazil – one of the most populated and market oriented countries in the region – made Spanish a compulsory language to learn in classrooms from the age of 7. It is expected that in just a few short years an additional 41 million Brazilians under 17 will be able to read and speak Spanish. In the United States, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by over 34 million people aged 5 or older, representing over 12% of the population.  In states such as New Mexico, California and Texas more than 30% of the population speaks Spanish***. Read more