HE News Brief 16.8.11

by Abby Chau

  • RANKINGS: Publication of the Academic Ranking of World Universities
  • LATIN AMERICA: Alba member states looking to harmonise higher education
  • SOUTH KOREA: Auditing of institutions to ascertain whether they are fit for foreign students
  • EAST AFRICA: Plans for harmonising of higher education
  • LATIN AMERICA: Region increasing study abroad programmes
  • The Academic Ranking of World Universities, published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, have recently been released. The ranking famously takes into account Nobel prizes and Fields medals, as well as research output in mainly scientific journals.  US institutions dominate the top ten, with Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Stanford rounding out the top three spots. The only non-US university in the top ten is Oxford and Cambridge. In terms of performance in Asia, the University of Tokyo takes 21st position and Kyoto University places at 27th.
    Full Story:  Shanghai Daily
  • Members of Alba, otherwise known as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, has announced an initiative to harmonise higher education so that member states may work together in order to boost its universities and knowledge economy. Member states include Venezuela (Alba was founded by president Hugo Chávez), Ecuador, Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. Venezuelan vice-minister Ruben Reinoso says that goals include standardising curriculum as well as establishing benchmarks.  However the initiative has also been met with cynicism as some have pointed out that any higher education policy should not have a political agenda and many accuse Alba of having socialist and anti-US leanings.
    Full Story:  University World News
  • Universities in Korea are undergoing a major restructuring and auditing process in part to ascertain whether degree programmes are fit for foreign students. The government is looking to stop underperforming programmes from receiving funds from international students. The auditing will commence in September and comprises of 13 professionals who will determine whether the universities are properly managed.  If institutions receive the green light, then they may join the Global Korea Scholarship, which provides foreign students with government financial support.
    Full Story:  Korean Herald
    More: Korea Times
  • East Africa countries including Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Burundi are commencing plans to harmonise its higher education system which will include a standardising a fee system, facilitating student mobility, and easing credit transfers. Education minister Jessical Alupo says that the initiative is in its infant stage but when the process is complete, the academic calendar in East Africa will also be aligned.  Between the five countries, there are 70 institutions in question which needs to undergo a harmonisation process which may, according to some, prove difficult, particularly in terms of setting fees and negotiating the amount of years it would take for a student to matriculate.
    Full Story:  New Vision
  • A new programme, Science without Borders, is taking Latin America by storm. The programme is an initiative which seeks to send more Latin American students abroad in order to study in science, engineering, and technical fields. The idea is that the students will be allowed to gain valuable skills abroad and return to contribute to the knowledge economy. The Brazilian government is pledging to give 75,000 scholarships by 2014, and countries like Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and El Salvador are following suit. The Chilean government is offering 30,000 scholarships and the Colombia government is sending more students abroad this year than they have in the past 18 years combined. Money made from commodities such as soy beans, sugar, copper, and iron ore is being used to fund the initiatives.
    Full Story:  Chronicle of Higher Education




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