HE News Brief 2.11.10

by Abby Chau

  • A fiscal crisis in Mexico is threatening the existence of 33 public universities. The estimated $35bn financial turmoil, caused by a pension shortfall is deemed critical for ten universities, including the Autonomous University of Mexico State, the University of Veracruz, and the Autonomous University of Morelos. The government is now proposing to double the years of service required for professors and administrators to take part in retirement schemes from 20-25 years, to 40 years. The powerful teachers’ unions have already taken to the streets in mass protest.
    Full Story: The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • As the government is looking to announce plans to raise university tuition fees later on this week, the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu) issued a report saying that 8.9% of the 2009 graduate class, or 21,000 students, were still unemployed in January 2010. The last time the graduate unemployment level reached such a high was in 1993.  The findings also found that IT graduates were hardest hit, with a 16% unemployment rate. This is in contrast to approximately 10% of unemployed graduates who read media studies, engineering, or architecture.  Students with law and geography degrees fared the best, with a 6.2% and 7.4% jobless rate.
    Full Story: BBC

  • Measuring 17 countries, Canadian research firm Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) has published the ranking results of the most affordable and accessible higher education systems.  The Global Higher Education Rankings 2010: Affordability and accessibility in comparative perspective looks at Australia, France, Mexico, Portugal, Estonia, Japan, and others. Surprising results include the United States coming in at 12th for affordability but 4th for accessibility which indicates that lower costs is not the only factor to accessibility in higher education. Finland comes out on top, ranking 1st in both categories.
    Full Story: University World News 
  • As Lord Browne’s recommendations ripple across England’s universities, student unions, and parliament, the one method of survival that seems to echo among strategists is internationalization. The United States established their first offshore campus in 1955 when John Hopkins University settled in Italy. In 1986, the first American university was established in China. Now there are 78 American universities abroad.  But in contrast, the first British offshore campus was set up in 2000 by the University of Nottingham in Malaysia. By 2006, Britain has established 13 international campuses. With tuition fees likely to rise to £7,000, England’s universities will have to get creative.
    Full Story: Economist

  • The University Quality Assurance International Board (UQAIB) is stepping up their audits of foreign universities in Dubai. Previously, foreign campuses were allowed to set up in the Dubai Free Zone with little or no scrutiny and with substantial tax benefits. But with the economy tanking and some foreign campuses failing, Dubai has started to implement stricter rules. The UQAIB recently found that the Universal Empire Institute of Medical Sciences, the Mahatma Gandhi University and the International Institute for Technology and Management have not met requirements.  Some foreign campuses are now looking into neighbouring educational free zones where rules and regulations are less strict.
    Full Story: Gulf News
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