HE News Briefs 27.9.11

by Abby Chau

  • AUSTRALIA: Visa restrictions have been lifted for international students
  • UNITED STATES: Admission officers feel pressure to look at students who can pay their own way
  • SAUDI ARABIA: The country has been building partnerships around the world but some warn caution
  • SPAIN: Finding it difficult to implement its second year plan for the Bologna Process
  • BRITAIN: Tuition fee hikes have made some consider other routes for students Read more

HE News Brief 6.12.10

by Abby Chau

  • The Bologna Process, a declaration of higher education cooperation between 47 countries, is still chugging along despite the controversies surrounding implementation and overall efficacy. Now on course to feel the brunt of new reforms are business schools, particularly those that previously offered five-year business degrees. 10,000 new programmes in economics and business are to be implemented and positioned as competition for an emerging Asian higher education market. Some are saying that countries like the US must start accepting three-year bachelor programmes in order to adjust to Bologna’s new three-year standardisation plan for an undergraduate degree, or they may be left behind as other countries like Australia are quickly adjusting their educational system to a changing European standard.
    Full Story: FT

  • As the UK economy has taken a substantial hit, many people, particularly in parliament are reiterating the need for universities to produce the next generation of entrepreneurs. Statistics from the Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education produced by HESA show that the percentage of graduates who categorise themselves as self-employed or entrepreneurs has jumped from 4,190 in 2002-03, to 6,120, in 2008-09. Buckinghamshire New University Vice chancellor Ruth Farwell says that league tables should include this statistic in their indicators as it would give students a clearer picture of which institution promotes enterprise and business acuity. UCL Professor Tim Barnes concurs and says that if the government was serious about developing students for the job market, then statistics such as this should be measured and recorded.
    Full Story: the Guardian Read more

HE News Brief 28.9.10

by Abby Chau

Here are this week’s news stories:

  • In 2005, the German government allowed universities to compete for extra funding by proving that they are top-notch in research, strategy, and quality of teaching. The universities that performed the best were designated  with the title of “elite university.” Aachen’s RWTH university for instance, did extremely well and have now seen their stock raised – as a response to this new standing they are offering companies the opportunity to set up research clusters on campus. The move is aimed to foster more collaboration between businesses and higher education. An estimated 10,000 people will be employed because of this initiative.
    Full Story: FT
  • The build-it-and-they-will-come philosophy hasn’t seemed to work when it comes to postgraduates studies in Japan. The number of professional graduate schools have soared since 2003 but students don’t seem to be interested in getting a postgraduate degree. The problem, says Kenichi Yoshida, a consultant at the Japan Research Institute, is that institutions don’t do their market research before initiating postgraduate programmes. In addition, there does not seem to be a system in the workplace which financially awards people like teachers for instance, who have postgraduate degrees. Some say there is also another factor which is the Japanese culture, and its supposed reluctance to single out individuals.
    Full Story: New York Times
    Read more

HE News Brief 13.9.10

by Abby Chau

Here are this week’s news stories:

  • The QS World University Rankings® published its top 200 global universities rankings, with Cambridge University taking the top spot, dethroning Harvard as the number one university in the world.
    Full Story: BBC News

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) published its annual Education at a Glance last week. The report addressed the question of whether Higher Education is indeed necessary by pointing out that graduates are more recession-proof and they contribute more in income taxes than people who do not have tertiary degrees. It also argues that the future job market will be changing to one of a more highly skilled labour force. In addition the report proclaimed a dire sentence for the UK,  with countries like Canada and Finland who are showing better graduation rates as well as spending more on Higher Education per GDP.
    Full Story:Guardian
    More: FT

  • US universities are eyeing up branches in India – but not the elite universities first purported when the new law allowing foreign branches to open shop in India was first proposed to much fanfare. The so-called Tier 2 universities such as Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Virginia Institute of Technology, and Georgia Institute of Technology have all expressed interest in setting up a branch in India. The law has not been official approved but the draft says that foreign campuses must leave 10.5 million dollars in deposit with the government, and teaching staff must have at least 20 years experience before they can be considered.
    Full Story: New York Times
    Read more

The Bologna Process: Trends 2010 – A decade of change in European Higher Education

by Abby Chau


The Bologna Process is pressing on with its agenda of enhanced student mobility, standardisation of degrees and credit transfer, as well as quality assurance in order to promote institutional competition amongst its 46 participating countries. But as new countries contemplate membership, it is important to evaluate what the last ten years have achieved under this ambitious implementation programme.

The European University Association recently published Trends 2010 which examines a decade of higher education in the context of Bologna and outlines their goal for the future. Here are a few highlights, taken directly from the 100 –page report.


–      Overall participation rates in higher education have increased by 25% on average between 1998 and 2006 – or as in Poland where enrolment increased by 90% during this period – albeit with significant differences across countries and across disciplines, with science and technology fields losing their attractiveness. (18)
–      A recent study revealed that the number of 10-14 year olds in the EU is expected to fall by 15% between 2000 and 2020, resulting in a drastic reduction of the school-going population (Eurydice 2009), with a potential domino effect on higher education. The professoriate in higher education is greying and the ‘baby boom’ generation is going into retirement. Because these trends are uneven within a country (causing rural brain drain in some) and across Europe, they may lead to an exacerbated ‘brain war’ for students and academic staff, within Europe, at a time when the global competition for talents is heating up and international ranking schemes are proliferating and forcing institutional leaders to rethink their positioning within the global higher education community (19).
–      The concept of academic freedom is changing – some say eroding – because academics are pressured to be successful in seeking funding for their research to match the research strategies and priorities of their institutions (22) Read more

HE News Brief 8.6.10

by Abby Chau


From a French higher education revolution to a growing American uneasiness about their ranking, here are this week’s news stories:

  • The second Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Higher Education was supposed to take place in April but due to the Icelandic ash cloud, it was postponed.  Stakeholders of this conference, from Southern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern States, seek to establish dialogues and agreements based on the 2007 Cairo Declaration which, akin to the Bologna Process, aims to harmonise higher education and promote knowledge sharing within member states. This editorial argues against the wholesale acceptance of Bologna and cautions against the so-called neoliberalism of internationalisation and privatisation.
    Full Story: Times of Malta
  • According to the Chronicle, France is allowing its 83 universities to become autonomous, cutting off traditional ties to the government.  In a major overhaul, Sarkozy also plans on investing billions of euros  into creating 10 regional “supercampuses” with the view to compete with American Ivy Leagues. The Chronicle posits that the poor performance of French universities in international league tables  has had a hand in ushering in this new system.
    Full Story: The Chronicle of Higher Education
          Read more

HE News Brief 25.5.10

by Abby Chau


From Bahrain’s educational overhaul to UK institutions going private, here are this week’s news stories:

  • With the help of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), Bahrain is planning an overhaul of its education system, with plans to finalise the project by the end of 2011. This project will focus on  infrastructure, quality of education, adult education, raising standards, internationalisation and forming a unified award system.
    Full Story: Gulf Daily News  
  • For-profit higher education companies saw their shares rise when news broke that Deputy Undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education Robert Shireman plans to step down in July. It is reported that Shireman is a major critic of for-profit higher education companies (see our 4.5.2010 news brief for more on this).
    Full Story: Reuters
    More: Wall Street Journal 
  • In line with the Bologna Process, Germany plans on investing two billion euros  over the next ten years to improve university teaching quality. The money will go toward employing more staff and professors, as well as mentor and tutor programmes. In addition, a new academy has been set up to oversee the Quality Pact for Teaching, which was created to make sure that Bologna is successfully implemented.
    Full Story: eGov monitor
         Read more

10th Anniversary of the Bologna Process

by Abby Chau


Ministers from 46 participating countries met in Budapest and Vienna in March to discuss the Bologna Process and to tout the European Higher Education Area. When Bologna was established in 1999, goals were set to firmly launch the EHEA in 2010 in order to harmonise and improve higher educational standards and qualifications in participating countries. The result, they hope, will promulgate and support academic and student mobility, improve student employability, ensure quality teaching standards, and to make institutions accountable for maintaining acceptable benchmarks.

Bologna’s vision for 2010, according to the Budapest-Vienna Declaration, is an “internationally competitive and attractive European Higher Education Area where higher education institutions, supported by strongly committed staff, can fulfil their diverse missions in the knowledge society; and where students benefiting from mobility with smooth and fair recognition of their qualifications, can find the best suited educational pathways.”

This may sound like a tall order, particularly as there are so many countries involved in the initiative (Kazakhstan recently signed up.). And indeed immediately after the 10 year anniversary, major protests broke out in Europe against Bologna, as disgruntled students raged against what they saw as the machinery of bureaucracy. Socialist Labour Party writer Tilman Ruster proclaims that, “the Bologna process and its consequences have led to the most powerful student protests in a long time. Lecture rooms were occupied, roads and train stations blocked, mass demonstrations carried out and much more.” Read more

HE News Brief 16.03.10

by Abby Chau


We thought we would start sharing a summary of what we have been reading and discussing each week. Here are a few items that generated a bit of buzz this week:

  • The parting of ways between Times Higher Education and QS is generating a substantial amount of traffic in the blogosphere.
    Full Story: University World News
    More: Inside Higher Education
  • An educational reform proposal in India that would allow foreign universities to set up shop in India. Some say this will help Indian students who want an education, others decry the proposal as only benefiting wealthy families who can afford it.
    Full Story: BBC News
    More: Telegraph UK
  • Dramatic rise of university management pay causing a stir as it was revealed that the highest-paid Vice Chancellor received an annual salary of £474,000.
    Full Story: Guardian News
    More: Universities are hiring managers at three times the rate of academics (Telegraph UK)
    Read more