HE News Briefs 19.4.11

by Abby Chau


  • GLOBAL: Peter Thiel predicts the next bubble will be higher education
  • UK: Institutions are looking to international students in order to plug the gap in their budgets
  • DENMARK: Universities are losing more mobile students from the EU
  • COLOMBIA: Protests erupt because of government’s new proposals to reform higher education
  • RUSSIA: New law eases policy on international faculty

  • Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, has caused ripples among the academic and financial community in the US when he suggested that higher education will be the next bubble. According to Thiel, higher education is like the housing bubble in that they both represent the holy grail of a secure future. In addition higher education tuition fees are skyrocketing, students debts are out of control, and the benefits of a degree is called into question which are all ingredients for a crash. Whether you agree with him or not, Thiel sure knows how to generate publicity – he has started a 20 under 20 program which gives talented (read technologically gifted) kids $100,000 over two years to pursue entrepreneurship rather than higher education.
    Full Story: The Economist
    More: Tech Crunch
  • In order to meet the shortfall, some English universities are planning to increase their international student numbers by almost 100 percent. By 2014-15, Durham University wants to increase its number of international students by 97% while other institutions are planning similar significant increases.  Many institutions’ forecast for years to come reveal monetary losses on home students, even as tuition fees are set to increase to £9,000 in 2012.  Many are saying projections of international student percentages are unrealistic when you consider that the government plans on curtailing foreign students, and also the UK as a popular destination is somewhat losing its cache.
    Full Story:  Times Higher Education
    More: Guardian
  • Denmark’s Ministry of Science has released figures showing that there has been a 33% decrease in European students attending universities in Denmark between 2010 and 2011. Students from Sweden and Norway in particular have seen a significant drop in numbers.
    Full Story:  Copenhagen Post
  • The Colombia government’s plan to restructure its higher education system has drawn the wrath of some critics who say the proposal would privatise higher education. The proposals seek to augment the percentage of GDP spent on higher education, open the market for private investment by for-profit companies, and increase the number of students by 6 million in 2014. The government’s plans are based on higher education reforms made in Brazil in the 90s. Some are critical of the proposal, saying that the system in Brazil has not been successful because completion rates are low and tuition costs have skyrocketed.
    Full Story:  The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Russia has recently announced it will ease its policy on visiting foreign academics. The law, approved by the parliament will permit foreign experts to be teachers at Russian colleges and universities. Previously only foreigners who have been invited by an institution may enter the country to do such a role. This move comes as part of Russia’s plan to enhance its research output and exchanges.
    Full Story:  RIA Novosti
    More: University World News
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