HE News Brief 5.10.10

by Abby Chau

  • Higher Education institutions in Costa Rica lived in harmony with the government for years, with hardly a dispute regarding budgets, an issue that vex many public sector relationships. But as the demand for higher education has increased as well as escalating costs, the once friendly relationship is beginning to unravel. HE leaders say they need a 8 percent rise in their budgets in order to ensure quality as well as to accommodate the growing demand. Some say that education in general, with only a 73% high school enrolment rate (which falls below El Salvador and Panama), has been deteriorating and needs immediate attention. The argument also extends to private vs. public HE institutions and whether the former can adequately address these crucial problems.
    Full Story: Tico Times
  • In 1950, according to the Chinese Ministry of Education, there were 20 international students studying in China – and they were all from the Soviet Union. In 2009, this has grown to 240,000 foreign students with representatives from 190 countries. However, the MOE also admits that most of the 240,000 foreign students are from Asia.The MOE has just released a plan to augment this figure to 500,000 by 2020 by administrating more English language courses, increasing the availability of scholarships, and easing visa applications. They hope to spread their reach and with mutual degree recognition agreements with 34 countries, China seems poised to extend their influence.
    Full Story: The Independent

  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would make the state’s higher education institutions more fiscally transparent. SB330 states that the public would be able to scrutinise campus foundations which are in charge of 1.6 billion dollars. Governor Schwarzenegger said he is against the bill because he was worried that anonymous donors would lose their privacy. This issue of transparency within campus foundations have been raised before, with critics saying that foundations can spend copious amounts without scrutiny. The most notable case is when CSU-Stanislaus hired Sarah Palin for a speaking engagement for a reportedly large sum of money. Both the UC and the CSU backed the veto.
    Full Story: San Francisco Chronicle
  • A new rankings of PhD programmes in the US has been published by the National Research Council. It’s been reported that this ranking has been 15 years in the making, with the last tables completed in 1995. The report looks not only to rank programmes as much as it seeks to understand trends in PhDs, which includes the percentage of minorities participating in post-graduate work as well as popularity of specific programmes such as Maths.
    Full Story: Washington Post
  • Saudi Arabia has issued another development plan which seeks to expand vocational training by 2014 and as well as sink 200 billion dollars into universities and schools in order to broaden participation. This year’s allocation for higher education alone is 36.5 billion dollars. They hope that by 2014, 1.7 million Saudis will be pursuing a HE degree, an increase of 50% from the current figure of 860,000.  However, despite the funds being splashed on obtaining these goals, developing the countries’ higher education system will prove a major feat. Firstly, the government is looking to push science, technical, engineering, and medical programmes in order to steer students away from the saturated humanities and social science degrees. But in order to do this, there must be jobs available after graduation. With a third of the countries’ private sector jobs taken up by foreign workers, the government is forced to set quotas for companies who must now employ a certain percentage of Saudis in their workforce.
    Full Story: Chronicle of Higher Education

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