WENR, December 2009: Europe


Business School Leaders Vote for Harvard

The Harvard Business School [1] was voted the best in the world by leaders from more than 300 business schools in the 2009 Eduniversal [2] global ranking of 1,000 business schools. The French company released the results of the vote at its convention in Cape Town in September. The London Business School [3] was scored second best and Copenhagen Business School [4] came in third.

In addition to a global ranking, results were offered according to nine geographic regions. The idea, said CEO and founder Martial Guiette, is to improve the international comparability of business schools and to enable students to also find out which are the strongest in their country and region.

Factors considered in compiling the ranking were peer review, accreditation standings, performance in other rankings, participation in academic associations, international networks and research reputation, and a large-scale satisfaction survey of alumni participation. In the coming years, the peer voting system will reportedly be enlarged to include 1,000 human resource directors from the world’s biggest multinational companies.

The top-scoring schools in each of the nine regions were:

World Top 10:

  1. Harvard Business School [1], US.
  2. London Business School [3], UK.
  3. Copenhagen Business School [4], Denmark.
  4. MIT – Sloan School of Management [12], US.
  5. McGill University – Desaultes Faculty of Management [13], Canada.
  6. Erasmus University – Rotterdam School of Management [14], the Netherlands.
  7. INSEAD Europe Campus [15], France.
  8. ESADE Business School [16], Spain.
  9. HSE – Helsinki School of Economics [17], Finland.
  10. Stanford University Graduate School of Business [18], US.

This year 308 schools in 88 countries voted – 31 percent of the top 1,000.

University World News [19]
November 24, 2009

Czech Republic

Corruption Allegations Lead to National Audit of Degrees

Czech Minister of Education Miroslava Kopicova has ordered a national audit of all university degrees awarded since 2000 after allegations of widespread corruption at a provincial university.

The audit will look at the degrees of 315,000 students who graduated in the past nine years after revelations that a number of students had been awarded law degrees by the University of West Bohemia [20] in Pilsen after only a few months study.

Tomas Bouska, a spokesman for the Czech Education Ministry [21], told Radio Prague the ministry planned to check the length of each student’s study against the degrees awarded, starting with law faculties.

University World News [22]
November 8, 2009


Students Continue to Protest Reforms and Fees

An estimated 80,000 German students were out on the streets of multiple cities in November to protest education reforms taking place under the continent-wide Bologna Process. The students were also protesting the recent introduction of tuition fees at universities in many states across Germany.

The government has responded by saying it will consider the restructuring of new programs and better financial support. All sides involved stress, however, they are not opposed in principle to the Bologna process.

At a meeting of German university heads in Leipzig in November, the Rectors’ Conference [23] conceded that “mistakes have been made” in introducing the new bachelors and masters degrees which now account for approximately 80 percent of all programs.

Students want new first-level bachelor degree programs, introduced under the Bologna framework, to be scrapped. They argue that six-semester bachelor programs cover too much material in too little time and allow for too little flexibility. Many graduating with new three-year degrees fear that their job prospects will be limited as they think employers are not taking the new degrees seriously. The German Federation of Employers, the umbrella organization for the country’s big companies, responded by saying that companies would recognize the degrees.

Lower Saxony’s Education Minister, Lutz Stratmann, announced that new programs in his state were to be restructured under an eight-semester structure, while also allowing for more specialisation.

Agence France Presse [24]
November 12, 2009


New University College

Amsterdam University College [25], a joint initiative of the University of Amsterdam [26] and VU University Amsterdam, [27] opened in September. It is supported by the City of Amsterdam and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science [28].

Nuffic news release [29]

United Kingdom

New English Language Test

Two major players in the international education industry announced in November a collaborative effort to create a new test of English language proficiency. EF Education First [30], a major study abroad provider and language school operator, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge ESOL [31], has developed a new English test that will enable EF students to rate their level of spoken and written skills.

According to a joint news release, the EF Cambridge English Level Test (EFCELT), available at all EF schools, will allow students to determine their level of achievement at the completion of EF English courses according to international standards. The 40-minute test is aligned with standards established by the Common European Framework, a benchmark recognized by governments, institutions, schools, and employers worldwide. It will also allow students to continue on for Cambridge certificates.

EF has been establishing a network of Cambridge ESOL exam centers at EF schools around the world to deliver EFCELT along with Cambridge ESOL certificates such as the Preliminary English Test, Certificate in Advanced English, and a range of qualifications in business English.

EF news release [32]
November 17, 2009

Fourth Private Provider Earns Right to Award Degrees

The ifs School of Finance [33], a not-for-profit educational charity, has become the fourth private provider in Britain to be granted taught degree-awarding powers by the Privy Council, beginning January 2010.

The Government relaxed degree-granting rules in 2004, and the College of Law [34] became the first private organizations to earn degree-awarding powers. Professional training company BPP [35] – since bought by Apollo Global [36] – and Ashridge Business School [37] were the next two to win degree-awarding powers.

The school has approximately 60,000 students in 60 countries on its books. Its bachelor of science degrees are currently awarded by the University of Manchester [38], while the University of Surrey [39] awards its masters degrees.

Degree-awarding powers are given on the basis of confidential advice provided to the Privy Council by the Quality Assurance Agency [40].

Times Higher Education Supplement [41]
November 27, 2009

Losing Brains to US and Switzerland

While Britain still trains some of best scientists in the world, it is finding it increasingly difficult to hold onto them, while it is also failing to attract them.

According to research by economists cited by The Telegraph newspaper, universities need to start paying academics more to reverse the ‘brain drain.’ Twice as many physicists from a sample of the world’s elite left Britain after completing their first degree than 25 other leading scientific countries, the study found.

It said Britain was unable to compete with the US and Switzerland, the two countries found to be able to attract the best scientists, where wages for top academics are higher. While Britain was second only to the US as the birthplace of the most highly cited physicists, it fell below Germany, Switzerland and Japan when current locations were compared.

The researchers, from the universities of Warwick [42] and Newcastle [43], concluded that increases in the “wage premium” in receiving countries of top scientists would reinforce the trend and see more movement away from Britain. They said that “top scholars head to countries with high levels of research and development funding”, which is declining in Britain compared to other leading countries. While other countries were found to be experiencing the same trend, Britain lost six top physicists compared to three in Canada and Australia, the nearest net losers. When adjusted for population size, only these two and Austria did worse than Britain.

The Telegraph [44]
December 1, 2009