WENR, October 2006: Europe
OECD Figures Show that the Number of International Students Worldwide is Nearing 3 Million
In the 2006 edition of its annual “Education at a Glance” report, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reported that between 2003 and 2004 the number of students obtaining tertiary education outside of their home counties grew by 8 percent to almost 3 million. Some of the other findings contained in the report include:
• The U.S., U.K., Germany and France host more than one half of all the world’s foreign students
• The six OECD countries with the highest international student enrollment as a percentage of their overall tertiary enrollments are Australia (17 percent), the U.K. (13 percent), Germany (13 percent), Switzerland (12 percent), Austria (11 percent) and Canada (9 percent)
• In absolute numbers, international students from France, Germany, Korea, and Japan represent the largest numbers of students from OECD countries studying abroad. India and China make up the largest number of international students from OECD partner countries
— Education at a Glance 2006 Executive Summary
French Business Schools Dominate MBA Rankings
French business schools dominated the 2006 Financial Times ranking of European master of management programs by taking seven of the top ten spots. Using graduate salary and job placement as major indicators of program quality, the Financial Times found HEC Paris to be the top program in Europe for the second consecutive year. HEC alumni typically earn US$79,200 annually by the time they are 27 years of age.
The rankings reviewed masters of management programs as opposed to masters of business administration (MBA), the major difference in the two programs being that pursuers of the former usually enter the postgraduate program directly after undergraduate completion whereas MBA students traditionally have prior experience in the business world. Market research shows that increasingly European businesses are recruiting master of management graduates while the MBA continues to be the degree of choice for business professionals in the United States.
Businesses across Europe are hiring top candidates out of the excellent French business programs, while the UK, Sweden and region-wide programs also cracked the top ten.
* France, UK, Germany, Spain and Italy
— The Financial Times
Sep. 11, 2006
3 Universities Awarded Elite Status
Three universities have been chosen by the German government in the first round of its excellence initiative, which has been designed to improve the country’s universities and make them more competitive internationally. The University of Karlsruhe, the Technical University of Munich, and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich will all receive a portion of the US$2.4-billion that will be awarded in total.
The priority funding scheme was inaugurated last year after much delay and opposition, and ten universities were shortlisted for elite designation before the final three were chosen (see February 2006 issue of WENR). As the funding scheme progresses, institutions will be awarded money based on their performance in three categories — as graduate schools, clusters of excellence, and elite institutions. Each win in the other two categories brings more financing as well. Karlsruhe’s elite application hinged on the establishment of a Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, which it plans to form by merging with a local research center, creating an institution with more than 8,000 scientists and an annual budget of $815-million.
In addition to the recognition and prestige of winning elite designation, each of the three universities will be awarded US$26-million each year. Universities will have another chance at the prizes next year, when the second half of the competition is completed and another group of finalists is announced. After that, the competition ends, and unsuccessful universities will have no further chance at the excellence-initiative financing.
In all 18 graduate schools, 17 centers of excellence, and three concepts for the future will together receive a total of around 175 million euros a year over four years. The full list of winners, including all of the graduate programs and excellence clusters that have been selected, may be viewed on the Web site of the German Research Foundation.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education
Oct. 16, 2006
Top Ten International Master’s Programs Announced
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Der Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Donors’ Association of German Science) have chosen what they believe to be Germany’s ten best international Master’s programs. Each of the programs will receive an award of 20,000 euros as well as the label “TOP 10 International Master’s Degree Courses made in Germany”.
The top ten:
• Freie Universität Berlin (with HU Berlin and Universität Potsdam): Master of Arts “Internationale Beziehungen”
• Freie Universität Berlin: East European Studies Online
• Universität Bonn: Agricultural Sciences and Resource Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ARTS)
• Universität Dortmund: Spatial Planning for Regions in Growing Economies (SPRING)
• Universität Freiburg: Master of Arts in Social Sciences
• Universität Göttingen: Internationaler Master “Molecular Biology” and “Neurosciences”
• Universität Jena: Internationaler Master “Deutsch als Fremdsprache”
• Hochschule Mannheim: Master of Science in Informationstechnik
• Hochschule Pforzheim: Master of Business Administration (MBA)
• Universität Weimar: Public Art and New Artistic Strategies
A full listing of international degree programs is available at www.daad.de/idp
— DAAD news release
Oct. 6, 2006
New Higher Education Minister Revokes University Licenses
Italy’s new minister of higher education Fabio Mussi has suspended indefinitely the recognition process for online universities, and has also withdrawn recognition of another institution in the southern region of Calabria. Mr. Mussi’s predecessor, Letzia Moratti, granted legal recognition to 14 new universities, 10 of which were online institutions, in the last two years before her center-right government was voted out in May.
Mr. Mussi’s actions followed remarks made by the president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, expressing concern about the “proliferation of university campuses in Italy,” calling the trend “something worrying, to be investigated immediately.”
The new minister has also proposed that the government double funding for existing research universities, while calling for the establishment of an independent agency to evaluate faculty hiring and the distribution of research funds to promote merit-based reward and to counter nepotism and cronyism among academic appointments and promotions.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education
Sept. 21, 2006
Commissioner Proposes Continent-Wide Qualifications Recognition
European Union Commissioner for Education and Training Jan Figel has proposed creating a European Qualifications Framework (EQF) to make it easier for EU citizens to pursue employment across national borders. The EQF would create a set of eight specific “learning outcomes” that document the individual abilities of EU workers crossing national borders for education and training. Previous qualifications merely stated duration of studies and type of institution attended, frequently creating confusion for employers and employees dealing with foreign credentials. According to Figel, the EQF will make differing national qualifications more understandable and applicable across Europe, thus creating greater worker mobility and boosting jobs and economic growth.
Foreign Student Enrollment Doubles
The number of foreign students in Malta has doubled over the past decade, rising from 30,000 in 1996 to 62,000 last year. The majority of international students in Malta are there earning credentials in English as a second language (ESL), an industry that provides US$125million and 1,800 jobs to the Maltese economy each year. Despite the fact that Malta’s education offerings in the field of ESL are meager when compared to larger competitors such as the United States, Australia and the UK, the small island nation has established itself internationally as a respected provider of ESL certification.
President of the Federation of English Language Schools in Malta (FELTOM) John Dimech attributes the success of the nation’s ESL programs to a commitment to quality assurance that began fifteen years ago with a petition to the government to monitor the developing ESL industry. In 1996, Malta became the first nation to institute government regulation of ESL education, a duty shared by the Ministry of Education, the University of Malta, FELTOM and an elected representative from all licensed ESL schools. FELTOM established a system of independent accreditation among its member schools this year and is lobbying the government to ease the student visa process and to actively promote the ESL education offered in Malta through both tourism and trade initiatives.
— The Times of Malta
Oct. 1, 2006
MIT Links with Portugal to launch major research and education initiative
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education have agreed plans to enter into a long-term collaboration to significantly expand research and education in engineering and management across many of Portugal’s top national universities, MIT revealed on its website. The agreement is worth 32m in public financing, and will be split over five years, starting with an investment of 4.5m and ending with a sum of 7.2m.
— Portugal News
October 14, 2006
Student Organization Protests Higher Education Reform
The Student Organization of Slovenia (SOS) is asking its government for a revision of legislation passed in July that would align the country’s higher education system with other European countries under the Bologna Process — a reform process which, among other things, requires signatory countries to standardize the length of first- and second-level degree programs to three and two years respectively.
SOS members have labeled as discriminatory the recent reforms, which regulate the ascribed education level of each degree. Under article 15 of the Higher Education Act, five-year university degrees earned before the introduction of the Bologna reforms would be equated to a graduate degree in the newly established classification of credentials, and degrees from vocational colleges would be recognized as equal to first-level university degrees. According to the student union, students beginning second-level studies under the new Bologna framework, but who graduated from a pre-Bologna undergraduate program, will finish their graduate studies with a qualification considered equal to their first qualification. Students have also raised concern over an article of the new act that assigns the administrative duties of the country’s higher education system to the Ministry of Higher Education and Science rather than an independent and impartial body as previously proposed by the legislation.
European Challenge to MIT in Troubled Water
Not so long ago, European leaders were heralding the European Institute of Technology as an EU rival to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, now the project looks like it may be in jeopardy.
Already the European Commission has had to scale down plans for the EIT after a cold response from business, academia and national capitals. The Commission had banked on getting a cash injection of €800m from business but the lukewarm response from Europe’s capitals and boardrooms mean the EIT’s €2.4bn budget for 2008-13 will come from existing EU funds, much of which is supposed to be targeted at Europe’s poorest regions and research budgets.
The commission has also been forced to pull back from an MIT style EIT with a central location to looser clusters or networks of academics and universities. No decision has yet been made on the institute’s location or which universities will be part of the network.
— The Parliament.com
The Higher Education Act passed for the first time this past June, was vetoed by the State Council, and was then eventually passed by lawmakers on July 11, 2006. An SOS signature campaign to halt the law this summer fell well short of the 40,000 signatures required to stall the new law.
— Slovenia Business Week
Sep. 9, 2006
Graduate Students Head to Netherlands and Sweden to Avoid University Fees
A recently introduced increase in fees for graduate studies in the United Kingdom is beginning to increase the appeal of overseas European study destinations for British graduate students. A small but savvy number of British students are pursuing master’s degrees in Sweden and the Netherlands, two European countries where higher education instruction is provided in English and with considerably lower costs. Rather than spending between US$9,000 and $25,000 on a graduate degree at home, students can attend a well-regarded university in Sweden without paying tuition and usually end up spending around half what they might normally spend on living expenses in the UK.
The Netherlands has become another enticing alternative, where master’s degrees normally start at around US$2,000 and many EU students are eligible for rebates on the resources they put toward higher education. Britain still attracts the highest number of European students annually, but as European higher education transitions from a public good to a private commodity an influx of EU citizens taking advantage of publicly subsidized higher education in neighboring nations seems likely.
— The Guardian
Aug. 30, 2006
Overseas Enrollments Doubled in Last 10 Years
The number of foreign students enrolled at British universities has increased dramatically over the last decade according to a report released in September by Universities UK. The report, “Patterns of higher education institutions in the UK,” states that between 1995 and 2005 the number of international students at British universities doubled and that they now comprise 50% of the total student body at the taught postgraduate level and 46% at the postgraduate research level. The report also states that from 2001 — 2005 the number of institutions with at least 5,000 enrolled foreign students rose from 3 to 13. Universities UK concluded that foreign students have become economically indispensable to institutions in the UK and that without them many departments would be forced to close.
— The Guardian
Sep. 13, 2006
English Unis Close on Harvard in Global Rankings
According to the results of the 2006 Times Higher Education Supplement ranking of world universities Harvard University remains the best, but results show that Britain’s Oxford and Cambridge have made significant inroads toward ousting the perennial leader from the U.S. Oxford and Cambridge trailed Harvard by 13 percentage points in the 2005 ranking but were just 3 percentage points behind this year. Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tied for fourth place on the list and American universities claimed eleven of the top twenty places. Other British universities that improved their rankings are Imperial College (13th – 9th), University College (28th – 25th), and King’s College (73rd – 46th). Apart from the US and UK, the Asian higher education market illustrated its improved scholarship by placing Beijing University at 14th in this year’s rankings.
— The Times Higher Education Supplement
Oct. 5, 2006
Imperial Agrees to Severe Ties with University of London
It was agreed in October that Imperial College, one of the University of London’s most prestigious affiliate colleges, will officially split from its parent institution in 2007 — the year of Imperial’s centenary.
The University of London (UoL) currently comprises 19 institutions teaching 115,000 students. It does not seem that Imperial’s departure will lead to the break up of the federated university, which has announced plans to expand by bringing other institutions into the fold. The Guardian newspaper reports that discussions have already been held with City University, and Kingston University already collaborates closely on health sciences with two existing UoL institutions, Royal Holloway and St George’s Medical School.
The first students to register for an Imperial College degree will be graduates beginning their program in October 2007, with the first undergraduates enrolling for an Imperial degree in October 2008. All continuing students registered for a UoL degree at the time of withdrawal will be able to choose whether to switch to an Imperial degree.
The University of London now comprises:
• Birkbeck College
• Central School of Speech and Drama
• The Courtauld Institute of Art
• Heythrop College
• The Institute of Cancer Research
• The Institute of Education
• King’s College London
• London Business School
• The London School of Economics and Political Science
• The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
• Queen Mary, University of London
• The Royal Academy of Music
• Royal Holloway, University of London
• Royal Veterinary College
• St George’s, University of London
• The School of Oriental and African Studies
• The School of Pharmacy
• University College London
— The Guardian
Oct. 10, 2006