HE News Brief 25.1.11

by Abby Chau

  • Approximately 15,000 protestors descended on the Parliament in Hague to demonstrate against a proposed multi-billion austerity plan, which include plans to slash university budgets and increased fees for some students. A policy aimed at students who take longer to graduate is causing a commotion. Under the new proposal, students who take longer than 4 years to complete their three year undergraduate degrees will have to pay an extra $4,000 per year in fees. Starting from 2012, the government is hoping to save $501 million each year from this initiative.
    Full Story: Businessweek
    More: Edmonton Journal  
  • A survey of over 6,000 students at 62 institutions and 20 junior colleges showed that graduate employment rates in Japan has hit a new low since records began in 1996. 68.8% of Japanese university students found a job before graduation, which represents a 4.3% decline from the previous year. Those graduating in the field of science and engineering had the largest hurdle, with job offers dropping 7.3 percentage to 71.3 %. In response, the Japanese  government has announced new incentives for companies who employ graduates as well as plans for more career fairs.
    Full Story: Japan Today
    More: BBC News
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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
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California Higher Education: a system in peril

by Abby Chau


They were told that there’s no low-hanging fruit. Just one month before the crucial Californian budget deadline at the end of June, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told his constituents, who once enjoyed the status of ranking 8th in the world for their economic prowess, that they were essentially broke and that cuts to the state budget would be long and deep.   Schwarzenegger exclaimed, “California no longer has low-hanging fruit. As a matter of fact, we don’t have any medium-hanging fruit. We also don’t have high-hanging fruit. We literally have to take the ladder from the tree and shake the whole tree.”

With house foreclosures and record unemployment plaguing the Golden State, recession-vulnerable public expenditures like welfare programmes and higher education are on the chopping block. The Daily Californian reported that in January of this year, Schwarzenegger planned on suspending the new competitive Cal Grant awards and cutting the budget on educational enrolment growth. With the proverbial knife slashing educational expenditures, many people don’t remember that back in 2004 and in the name of a fiscal crisis, Schwarzenegger, along with the help of then UC President Robert Dynes and California State University Chancellor Charles Reed, was quick to cut the purse strings of public education in favour of privatisation by signing the Higher Education Compact.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “the compact substantially cut base public funding for higher education, required both UC and Cal State to impose large and rapid tuition increases as a permanent source of operating revenues, and committed our universities (in the compact’s own words) to ‘continue to seek additional private resources and maximize other fund sources available to the University to support basic programs.’ Read more