HE News Brief 23.11.10

by Abby Chau

  • The private vs. public institutions debate continues in the news this week, this time with an eye on Indonesia. The country has 3,000 private institutions, with the most famous, the Islamic University of Indonesia being the most prestigious as it has educated national leaders and industry hot shots. Currently there are 130 public institutions. However despite this, private institutions are still considered second rate next to public universities. A recent analysis made by the World Bank says that the key to improving the country’s higher education system is tied to strengthening private institutions. The Indonesian government has decided to use an accreditation system to put undergraduate programmes under scrutiny, in order to weed out institutions who are not performing to standard. Those institutions who do not measure up will be closed or forced to merge with other universities by 2012.
    Full Story: New York Times

  • California’s public universities are facing another fee hike starting next year. Undergraduate fees at the University of California system will now be $11,124, up from approximately nine thousand previously. Cal States will charge 15% more next year, with fees raising to almost five thousand dollars. The announcement of the fee hikes comes as a report by the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley says that California is now ranked among the bottom 10 states for accessibility and degree completion rates. The report also suggests fundamental changes to higher education such as creating an online learning system, recruiting more international students, creating a gap year programme, and developing polytechnics which would cater to Engineering and I.T focused students.
    Full Story: Los Angeles Times
    More: University World News

  • As Ireland’s financial crisis intensifies, institutions are ramping up its strategies to develop partnerships with industry. The Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative is a five year programme developed by Enterprise Ireland in 2007 in order to promote closer ties between higher education research output and the lucrative business of scientific inventions. Many institutions in Ireland, including the Dublin Institute of Technology and Trinity College Dublin are giving faculty and students incentives to develop patentable ideas. In 2008, Ireland  invested one billion euros into academic research and facilities, a dramatic increase from 1998, which was a mere 400 million euros. Some are worried that the current financial crisis will hamper the progress that Ireland’s made in the last few years.  However with an eye on industrial support, Ireland’s institutions may be poised for success.
    Full Story: Chronicle of Higher Education

  • A growing number of students did not receive a place at a university this year, according to a recent report released by UCAS on UK higher education. In 2009, 22% of students did not find a place. This year 28% or 162,000 students were unsuccessful. Lord Browne’s report stated that there was a shortfall that needed to be addressed of between 20-30,000 places. Students who do not find a place this year, will try again the next academic calendar which will prove to be chaotic as it is also the last year before the proposed fee hikes will take place. The report also announced that acceptance rates of students with less privileged backgrounds have slightly increased. However there is more work to be done as currently only 17% of students who received an education at a state school attend a Russell Group institution.
    Full Story: FT

  • During the QS APPLE (Asia-Pacific Professional Leaders in Education) Conference in Singapore, Hong Kong City University Professor Kevin Downing told attendees that Asian universities are starting to eclipse the US in ranking tables. As Asian universities move into league tables, US institutions are dropping out. Asia, unlike its European and North American counterparts, are investing in higher education. South Korea, which has made investments in higher education, has seen five institutions (previously there were two) enter the tables.
    Full Story: University World News

  • http://www.qs.com/intelligenceunit Ben Sowter

    Concerning the first story about private vs public institutions in Indonesia this is a problem in many countries. Since private institutions are often self-regulated the diversity in standards is vast and there is an inevitable pyramid with large numbers of poor institutions at the bottom that tarnish the collective reputation of privates, including those at the top of the pyramid which individually could be better quality than many publics. International standards and accreditations are worth pursuing for those leading privates as some of them may be better equipped to meet all the criteria and adapt of necessary than some of their public counterparts.