- Brazil: Multi-Billion Dollar HE Industry
- Germany: New Research Reforms
- Norway: Fresh Look at the HE Policy
- Japan: Universities to focus on English
Many people outside of academic circles have never heard about Brazil’s universities and the important role they play in the country’s success story through education, thought leadership, and technological innovation. In April, Brazil’s two largest private tertiary education companies announced a merger to create the world’s biggest for-profit operator by market capitalization, valued at about $6 billion, with 1 million students. Kroton Educacional, part-owned by US-based private equity Advent International, will pay $2.48B for rival Anhanguera Educacional Participacoes, part controlled by BlackRock from the US. The deal demonstrates the highly lucrative potential of private higher education and is set to enrichen the dealmakers.
The influential German Council for Humanities and Science (Wissenschaftsrat) is discussing a reform of the German university sector that, if implemented, would affect innovation systems in Europe and beyond.At stake is whether or not the German university sector should be transformed into a three-class system – the good, the very good and the elite. This is likely to attract ambitious academics from English-speaking countries, as Germany’s plan also includes more courses taught, and research conducted, in English. It could have a huge effect on other national science systems, as German universities shop around for highly qualified academics, scientists and science managers who are unhappy with their working environments in countries where research and science budgets have been slashed over recent years.
The Socialist Left’s (SV) Kristin Halvorsen calls for a new whitepaper ten years after a major Norwegian higher education reform.Mrs Halvorsen told Aftenposten the main reason for her suggestion was the government had expected that more students would have finished their higher education in due time, “even though the [previous] reform has functioned well in many areas”.Among the things the minister also wants to look into is how relevant the country’s higher education is for the Norwegian job market needs.Arne Turmo of the Norwegian Confederation of Enterprise (NHO) is positive to a new whitepaper, but is uncertain which measures the minister would take as a result of it.The NHO has been a driving force for fewer and better possibilities in higher education to improve the quality of studies.According to him, there are over 1,900 Masters’ programmes in Norway, an increase of 50 since 2011.”We feel that this is too many – both considering needs and quality,” stated Mr Turmo.
About 30 Japanese universities will teach in English, under reforms advocated by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s education reform panel. The Japan Times has reported that Toshiaki Endo, head of the panel, will push to have some of its proposals included in the LDP’s campaign pledges for July’s upper house election.The university proposal is part of a suite of policies to bolster English language levels, adopted by the panel in April.The 30 universities would enter student exchange partnerships with overseas colleges, and would conduct more than half of their lectures in English.The government would support another 100 universities to develop “special education programs for practical English”, the newspaper reported.