test 4

What’s the impact of globalisation on student choices and universities?

Whether a prospective student is looking to study maths or Chinese with German, one factor they will need to consider is how well the degree they select will develop their international outlook.

Of course there will always be careers one can pursue upon graduating that are within organisations operating locally, rather than nationally or internationally. Equally, one could pursue a career in academia or performing arts for example, which doesn’t seem to demand international outlook as a primary skill. However, if an organisation is expanding due to its success, it will likely want to reach out internationally at some point. Equally, if it’s a well-regarded institution, it is likely to already be concerned with internationalisation and have a culturally-diverse staff and student body. And if one does become an actor, they will likely want to be globally-renowned one day?

Why is this happening? Globalisation. Here’s a definition from the Financial Times:

A process by which national and regional economies, societies and cultures have become integrated through the global network of trade, communication, immigration and transportation.

Where’s the evidence this is happening? It’s all around us. Just how far we have come in international trade, student mobility and even tourism in the past few decades is phenomenal. And yes, perhaps, we cannot predict with complete certainty that this trend will continue but, unless the World War III breaks out, I think we are pretty safe to assume.

Moreover, whilst global trade may be somewhat more sensitive to political circumstances, student mobility numbers are continuously going up. This naturally puts pressure on universities to become more creative in attracting international students. UNESCO provides some insight on this in their article ‘Trends in International Student Mobility’:

”Although student mobility is expected to grow, institutions have to compete hard for talented and self-funded students.”

As is documented in this paper, countries such as the US, UK, Australia and Canada have had a steady growth in numbers of international students and they are currently considered to be the higher education leaders of the world.

An article from the Guardian supports this by providing the top 10 places for international students:
test image_001

If we look at World Trade Organisation’s statistics as evidence for globalisation, we can easily note that the export and import in the world’s most economically-developed countries keeps growing too.

This is yet again affirmed in the ‘Education at a Glance 2011’ paper released by the OECD:

We can see from the above graph that the number of international students is steadily growing and this is evidence of globalisation in itself.

There are figures from the World Tourism Organisation to say that the youth today travel more, spend more and reach much further destinations. This is also true for those that going away for work experience, study or volunteering.

It seems to me that the variety of different data available on this today allow us to reach one and the same conclusion – developing one’s international outlook is a necessity in the 21st century.


QS met OECD Secretary General

48058957Groupe OCDE 2011x600

On 23th Febuary, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, was invited to an event where Angel Gurría Secretary-General of OECD was giving a City Lecture hosted by Official Monetary and Financial Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum(OMFIF) The Livery Hall of London, UK.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was founded after WWII, in 1948 to run the US-financed Marshall Plan for reconstruction of Europe. Since 1961 when the new OECD Convention was implemented, OECD has grown to become an influential international economic organisation of 34 countries, supporting economic progress and world trade. Through close working partnership with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, OECD actively engage 40 countries that account for 80% of world trade and investment.

Angel spent about half an hour talking about his view on efficient measures to attract global investments to bring about stronger, fairer and greener economic growth around the world. He had quoted a lot of figures in his speech to highlight the importance of productivity in boosting long term economic growth around the world.

Productivity Freeway Exit Sign

He stressed many times in his speech the reasons that many countries in the world now start to experience slow growth economy- It is mainly because of productivity issue in the labour force-not since the financial crisis in 2008 , but long before that.

To order to enhance productivity, education is positioned at the centre, to support innovation, entrepreneurship, skills of labour markets, research, knowledge transfer. He used the example of Greece to highlight the issue of how low productivity has impacted on its economy.

The OECD Secretary General believed that now it would be the right time to encourage countries to develop a knowledge-driven economy, with more investments to strengthened infrastructure and better finance to support SMEs are all important to enhance productivity of countries, and hence boost long term economic growth.

On infrastructure, he said that measures should be developed to encourage more private sector to actively participate in infrastructure investment through the Public Private Partnerships (PPP).


Questions to the OECD Secretary General
As always, I was the first to raise the hand to ask the VIP speaker a question. I did think about asking him a question on education related question. But since he had spent so much time talking about the importance of productivity and the role of education in supporting. It might sound a bit repetitive in doing that. Therefore, I said: “Mr. Secretary General, you know it is now Chinese New Year now. While people around the world are celebrating Chinese New Year, many policies makers around the world are also discussing the Chinese Economy, which has grown into a ‘New Normal’stage, with slightly slower but healthy economic growth as proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. What is your view on the Chinese Economy with the ‘New Normal’growth, and how would that impact on our discussion today-global investments to support a stronger, fairer and greener growth”.

Clearly, the OECD Secretary General is very optimistic about the Chinese economy. He said that “The Chinese Economy with an annual growth rate of 7% is sustainable”. He thought the Chinese government is obviously very modest about their own economic forecast-“When President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese Economy would maintain about 7%, that is probably means the Chinese economy would remained at about 7.5% growth a year”. “They always tend to low-down the economic growth. That is very smart.If you end up 7.2%a year, you could say you over-shot the proper target”. China’s GDP grew at 7.4% last year”. “At such a growth rate, It does not let you lose any credibility. This is especially useful if you moderate the speed of growth. I think 7% growth is sustained and is good, which is normal, which is proper.I think anyone who thought they would be able to sustain 11% growth every year is not sustainble”. In conclusion, he said, “The current Chinese economy is stronger, fairer and greener growth”.

QS Discussion
After the lecture, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang had enjoyed a interesting discussion with Angel Gurría Secretary-General of OECD on potential opportunities for OECD to work with QS on education related projects. Mr Secretary-General of OECD was very interested in what QS have been doing on the World University Ranking. He was very happy to be given the QS World University Ranking 10 Years Anniversary Book and a supplement of the QS World University Honoured. The Secretary General said he would like to ask Andreas Schleicher – Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at OECD to get in touch and explore opportunities working together.

20150223_144203_ OECD
(Angel Gurría Secretary-General of OECD took a photo with Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, holding both QS World University Ranking 2014 Supplement and QS World University Ranking 10 Years Anniversary Book, as a special recognition of the great work QS has been doing in the world of higher education)


Application Open for UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks


QS, as the compiler of one of the world’s top 3 most influential World University Ranking, has a long tradition working closely with global intergovernmental organisations, such as UNESCO.

On 16 and 17th May, 2011, UNESCO together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank organized the ‘Global Forum on Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education: Uses and Misuses’ at its Paris Headquarters when Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit was invited to speak on the QS World University Ranking.

Inspired by the Forum, a book “Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education: Uses and Misuses” brings together all key opinion leaders on universities rankings worldwide to reflect the wide range of views that exist in the higher education community was published. Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit is invited to contribute Chapter 3 in Part One: Methodological Consideration explaining how QS World University Rankings have been developed over 10 years. This book is launched on Friday 28 June 2013, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, as the first of a series of studies to consider trends in education today and challenges for tomorrow.


In addition, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, was previously invited to sit on the Education Committee of UNESCO UK National Commission 2010-2011, to discuss a wide range of global policies on education, including being recommended by UNESCO UK National Commission to represent the UK to contribute to the policy formation of World Bank Education Strategy 2020 Learning For All.


QS would like to draw the attention of UK higher education leaders about this exciting opportunity to get involved in UNESCO UK National Commission. If you are a high education leader outside UK, please check the website of UNESCO on opportunities available in your own country. Hope you would find this information useful.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a UN Specialized Agency which contributes to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, culture, sciences, and communication.

2. The UK National Commission for UNESCO:

The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) is the main organisation in UK to discuss and coordinate all UNESCO-related policies and activities on education, culture, the sciences and communication. It works in partnership with all relevant UK Government and civil society.

3. UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks:

In 1992, UNESCO established chairs and UNITWIN Networks to advance research, training and programme development in UNESCO’s fields of competence.

Currently, there are 819 UNESCO Chairs and 68 UNITWIN Networks established worldwide including over 854 institutions in 134 countries.

In the UK, there are 13 UNESCO Chairs and three UNITWIN Networks established in the UK.

Education for all banner2-719x329

4. Applications:

The UK National Commission for UNESCO is calling for applications for the 2015 intake of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks.

5. Deadlines:
Outline proposals is 29 January 2015
Full proposals is 12 March 2015.

6. How to apply

All UK higher education institutions wishing to apply for the UNESCO Chairs or UNITWIN Networks Programmes must submit their application through the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC). All proposals will be evaluated by the UKNC through a two-stage peer-review process.

7. Useful links

8. More information

For more information, please contact Andrea Blick at the UK National Commission for UNESCO at / 020 7766 3491



The impact of mobile researchers

The OECD recently published the “Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard: Innovation for Growth 2013“. This report confirms that internationalisation and quality scientific knowledge have a positive correlation.

The charts below clearly show that those researchers ‘daring’ to cross the national borders have a higher impact than the rest of them. According to the publication “on average, the research impact of scientists who move affiliations across national boundaries is nearly 20% higher than that of those who never move abroad.” Interestingly, the impact gap between “stayers” and “outflows” is much higher among emerging economies (such as Brazil, Russia, India and China) than in more developed countries.

The OECD data suggests that those countries trying to catch up with leading research nations need to increase their international academic mobility. We are used to fear the “brain drain” but, paradoxically, it may be the key to foster innovation and improve research quality.

2012/13 QS World University Rankings

HE News Brief 10.12.2012

  • US: “downward mobility” in HE is pose major challenge
  • UK: HEFCE analysis of strategically important and vulnerable subjects (SIVS)
  • Africa: Open access to address the developmental challenges
  • US:Tertiary education declining in value for money

An integral part of the American Dream is under threat – as “downward mobility” seems to be threatening the education system in the United States.The idea of going to college – and the expectation that the next generation will be better educated and more prosperous than its predecessor – has been hard-wired into the ambitions of the middle classes in the United States.But there are deep-seated worries about whether this upward mobility is going into reverse.Andreas Schleicher, special adviser on education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says the US is now the only major economy in the world where the younger generation is not going to be better educated than the older.

Full Story: BBC

HEFCE came up with a 10 year analysis of the number of students at various levels of higher education in UK and also diced this data by subjects. This will help the understanding of strategically important and vulnerable subjects (SIVS) and to identify where a subject might be at risk.There has been a considerable improvement in the flow of graduates in 3 of the subjects since 2005 – maths, physics and chemistry – but through the next phase will also address the variable patterns in Engineering and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL). At UG level, growth in international numbers has continued in the last three years, and at 20 %, outpaced the growth in home student numbers, which increased by just 6%.In some areas of PG research (i.e., biosciences, and chemical engineering)
international numbers have fallen while home numbers have grown.

Full Story: HEFCE

Africa still at the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index and its research output still less than 1% of the global total. But what is also true is that Africans are doing something about it. Since October 2010, when Stellenbosch University became the first African higher education institution to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, the number of signatories on the continent has grown to 28 – in just two years. The Berlin Declaration dates from 2003 and is regarded as a milestone of the open access movement.It promotes unrestricted access to scientific knowledge and cultural heritage, and more than 400 institutions worldwide have already signed it. The growth of open access on the continent signifies that Africa is ready to lead itself and its sciences deeper into the 21st century.Clearly, Africa has aspirations to grow its share in global knowledge production. And open access is an important tool for realising this aspiration. Knowledge production is important because it drives development, and open access accelerates that drive.

In worldwide rankings more than half of the top 100 universities, and eight of the top ten, are American. The scientific output of American institutions is unparalleled. They produce most of the world’s Nobel laureates and scientific papers. Moreover college graduates, on average, still earn far more and receive better benefits than those who do not have a degree.Nonetheless, there is growing anxiety in America about higher education. A degree has always been considered the key to a good job. But rising fees and increasing student debt, combined with shrinking financial and educational returns, are undermining at least the perception that university is a good investment.Concern springs from a number of things: steep rises in fees, increases in the levels of debt of both students and universities, and the declining quality of graduates.

Full Story: The Economist


world map black

HE News Brief 03.12.2012

  • Chile: OECD advises a tighter scrutiny of university accreditation
  • UK: 10 new universities formed, focus is humanities
  • South East Asia: Greater Mekong region to emulate ERASMUS & Bologna processes
  • India: Waking up to international student recruitment

Read more


International Student Numbers On The Rise, says OECD

More than 4 million students are studying abroad for the first time, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD’s estimate of the number of international students only reached 3 million in 2005. But the new edition of its Education at a Glance compendium of statistics puts the total at 4.1 million in 2010.

The report said that international student numbers had doubled since 2005. The proportion of international students had also grown in 15 of the 18 OECD nations, the exceptions being Norway, New Zealand and the United States.

Read more


2012/13 World University Rankings: More students than ever studying abroad

One of the most notable trends in the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings is the massive increase in the number of international students in the world’s highest ranked universities. The total figure has increased by 10 percent at the top 100 universities. This is the biggest rise in the history of the rankings.

And it’s not just the top 100 either. On average, universities in the top 700 now play host to nearly 4% more international students. And when you consider that a record 72 countries are represented, you can really see that, quite simply, more students are studying in more countries.

The rankings can only cover a fraction of the world’s universities, however. For a fuller picture we can look at data released by the OECD (an international trade and research organization), which reveals that in 2010 4.1 million students were studying abroad. This is a rise of 0.4 million since 2009, and truly stunning increase of 99% since 2000. It is predicted that the figure could rise to seven million by 2020. Read more

OECD: international student number rises to 3.7 million

The OECD – or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to give it its full name – has this week released its annual report on the state of education across the world, focusing on its 34 member nations. Education at a Glance 2011 contains a massive range of statistics, which show things like to what level adults in a given nation have studied, and how much each one invests in education as a percentage of its GDP.

This year’s report contains figures from 2009, as the data for years beyond that has not yet been gathered.

So, what do we now know? Well, here’s the big one: in 2009, 3.7 million tertiary students were enrolled in an institution outside of their home country. That’s up from 3.4 million in 2008, and an increase of 77% since 2000. The growth of students studying abroad, pertinently, outstripped the overall figures for higher education enrolment (6.4% as compared to 3.3%, in case you were wondering).

The report goes into more detail than it is possible to go into here (if you want to look at it in more detail, click here, ‘Who studies abroad and where’ is section C3), but here are a few of the most significant findings. It’s worth noting that statistics are not necessarily available for every nation in the world.

•    The countries which play host to the most international students in absolute terms are the United States (the destination for 18% of international students, though they only account for 3.5% of its total student population) to the United Kingdom (10%), Australia (7%), Germany (7%), and France (7%). Canada (5%), Japan (4%), Russia (4%), and Spain (2%) are also popular destinations.

•    Since 2000, the US’s market share has fallen by five percentage points, Germany’s by two and the United Kingdom’s by one.  Russia, and Australia and New Zealand both increased their share by two points – however, given what we know about what’s happened since 2009, we can expect Australia’s share to fall in years to come

•    The countries where international students account for the highest percentage of the total are Australia (21.5%), the United Kingdom (15.3%), Austria (15.1%), Switzerland (14.9%) and New Zealand (14.6%).

•    In absolute terms, China accounts for the largest percentage of students studying abroad (17%), followed by India (6%), Korea (4%), Germany (3%), France, and Russia (both 2%).

•    International students account for a sizeable proportion of those enrolled in advanced research programs in Switzerland (47%), the United Kingdom (43%), New Zealand (35%), the United States (28%) and Australia (26%). The equivalent figures for Austria, Belgium, Canada, Iceland and Sweden are all also above 20%.

•    The English language seems to be a big factor in attracting students, which has seen many non-Anglophone countries offer courses in the language.