HE News Brief 01.2.11

by Abby Chau

  • The Ukraine Education Minister Dmitriy Tabachnyk recently criticised the higher education system as inefficient and that the 1000 universities in the country are too many for a population of 45 million. Tabachnyk said that institutions should be more regulated and mergers of smaller universities would help alleviate the problem. This announcement comes as students protested a new higher education law which would reduce the number of places at universities as well as a planned reduction of funding for student government.
    Full Story: RIA Novosti
    More: Interfax

  • Despite budget cuts and tuition fee hikes, the UK government is pressing on with their policy of tighter visa restrictions. Business schools are reacting to a plan that would disallow graduates from working in the country. Previously graduates were able to apply for a post-study visa which would allow them to work in the UK for up to two years. The government is planning to cancel the post-study visa in April 2011. In 2009, 38,000 visas were issued under this category. At the moment, the UK is the second most popular destination for international students. Policy makers in Europe are looking at positioning itself as a higher education destination as the UK falls out of favour with international students, and particularly, MBA graduates.
    Full Story: FT
  • A new rankings of Australian universities purely based on research has recently been released. The ratings table was compiled by the Australian newspaper and utilises findings released by the Excellence in Research in Australia report which analyzes 41 higher education institutions. The Australian National University topped the charts, followed closely by the University of Melbourne. The results are more crucial to universities than meets the eye as the findings from the report will be used to allocate 1.5 billion dollars of research grants in 2012.
    Full Story: The Australian
  • Hong Kong is bracing itself for one of the largest transformations the country has seen in higher education. Starting in 2012, universities are planning to expand their undergraduate degrees from three to four years. Students will be in high school for a shorter period of time in order to make up for the extra year. This approach is an attempt to mirror universities in the states, which often requires a year of general studies as a prerequisite for graduation. 30,000 students will be affected by this and universities are working around the clock in order to expand facilities and recruit more professors.
    Full Story:  New York Times

  • Vietnamese universities may open their doors to foreign students in a controversial initiative which would exempt international students from sitting for entrance examinations. The hallmark of admissions, examinations are required for Vietnamese students who vie for places at universities. This proposal has caused an outcry by Vietnamese students who says that it is unfair that they must sit for exams while foreign students do not need to meet the requirement.
    Full Story: Viet Nam News

  • A new report by the Nacubo-Commonfund Study of Endowments has announced that in 2010, universities saw a slight return on their endowments, which marked the first time since 2007. In 2009, endowments dipped 18.7%. With shrinking endowments year on year, universities will find it difficult to weather through the financial instability currently plaguing many state budgets. For example, the median endowment in 2009 was 88 million dollars. In 2010, this dropped to under 73 million dollars. Coupled with budget cuts and stimulus money running out, universities will have a tough battle ahead.
    Full Story:  Chronicle of Higher Education
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