HE News Brief 26.10.10

by Abby Chau

  • Dominating headlines in England is former BP boss Lord Browne’s recommendation for lifting the university tuition cap as well as chancellor George Osborne’s announcement that £81bn pounds will be cut from government spending. Universities Minister David Willetts recently signalled that a compromise with Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable will soon be announced, with fees raising to £6,000 or £7,000 instead. Ministers look poised to vote on this before Christmas, with the new fees, if they are approved, taking effect September 2012.  Wendy Piatt, director general for the Russell Group, which represents 20 of the country’s most elite universities, says that it will be a missed opportunity if institutions are not allowed to set their own tuition fees in order to guarantee quality and standards.
    Full Story: Independent
    More: Guardian

  • Jordan has announced that by 2014, 65% of their 120,000 public higher education students will get their tuition fee either funded fully by zero-interest loans or through a scholarship. The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Walid Maani said that the establishment of the Student Loan Bank at the end of the year will issue zero-interest loans, with banks issuing the loan and not the government. Students are expected to pay back the loan after graduation.. 40,000 students are expected to take advantage of the loans by 2014. The minister stated that allowing their students easy access to higher education will raise the profile of Jordanian universities.
    Full Story: Jordan Times
    More: Ammon News

  • Scotland’s Education secretary Michael Russell wants to tap into the “unlimited market” in China for English language instruction. On a trip to Beijing, he said that Scotland is well placed to deliver such services, and is hoping to increase the intake of Chinese students which currently stands at approximately 5,000. Russell met with the Chinese minister for education to discuss  partnerships in teacher education and developing PhD programmes. International students are charged a fee set by Scotland’s universities and as such are seen as a significant source of income. In 2009, international students contributed £419 million to the economy. The number of Chinese students at Glasgow University has increased by 40%. And with the announcement of massive budget cuts, Scotland’s strategy to keep their institutions afloat appears aimed at an internationalisation strategy.
    Full Story: Herald Scotland

  • The first conference of the Americas on International Education took place in Calgary recently with 700 representatives from universities. The topic of discussion was debate on whether a Bologna-like initiative should be created in the Americas. Representatives from Latin America argued that the US and Canada would not want to establish equitable programmes as South America is not, except perhaps for Brazil and Mexico, a worthy trading and economic partner. The conference was mainly focused on Canadian-Latin America relations, with few representatives from the US who is seen as dominating the internationalisation landscape.
    Full Story: The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • A few years ago, the King of Bhutan handed the power back to his people  by democratising the traditional country. Now sweeping changes to the educational system is scheduled that is ambitious at a time when most countries are scaling back public spending. With a $1bn budget, the Bhutan government plans on building an education city which will house 30 universities and 50,000 international students and will encompass 1000 acres of land situated on a prime location. Bhutan, a country known for its pristine beauty and dedication to preservation has also been gradually making waves economically, with a growth rate averaging 8% each year and an average per capita income that is the highest in South Asia.  Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley reiterated his country’s dedication toward a gross national happiness index rather than GDP, and has deemed education a main objective toward bringing his people contentment.
    Full Story: University World News
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