WENR, October 2012: Europe
The Decline of the European Business School
Chicago’s Booth School of Business returned to the top of The Economist’s full-time MBA rankings. The magazine’s ranking measures the things that MBA students say are important. Top of that list is post-graduation career opportunities, and students rate highly Chicago’s careers service.
While North America and Europe account for all the schools in the top 25, data from The Economist’s ranking suggest the appeal of a European business education is diminishing quickly, after a period of huge popularity driven by cheaper (than U.S. counterparts) tuition fees, more diverse students bodies and higher post-graduation salaries. But now, with European economies a mess, the potential for post-graduation earnings have plummeted, and MBA intakes have followed suit. The highest-placed school from outside those regions is the University of Queensland, at 27th. The highest placed Asian school is the University of Hong Kong, which ranks 41st.
Enrollment in the UK’s Aston Business School’s MBA, for example, more than halved in the past academic year, falling from 129 students to 59. By far the biggest drop was among Asian students. HEC School of Management in Paris enrolled 181 full-time MBAs in the past academic year compared with 233 the previous one. It is a similar story across Europe, where some of the smaller schools are scrambling to find the 30 students that some MBA rankings see as the minimum for a program in good standing.
Schools in Britain are blaming newly toughened visa requirements for non-EU students. Graduates used to have an automatic right to stay and work for two years. Now, they must find a sponsoring company and a job that pays at least £20,000 ($32,000) a year.
The Economist makes the argument that it is not U.S. business schools that are picking up the slack, due to similarly stringent post-graduation employment opportunities; long (two years), expensive programs; and stagnant MBA graduate earnings. Rather, the countries doing well are Canada and Australia, where student visa regulations have been loosened and post-graduation work rights strengthened. This is one reason why, over the past two years, Canada has seen a bigger increase in applications for full-time MBA places than any other country.
– The Economist
October 4, 2012
Concerns Over Growth in Dutch Student Numbers
After a tenth consecutive year of enrollment increases among Dutch students in Flanders in northern Belgium, universities and politicians are raising concerns about the costs of educating a group that has traditionally performed poorly compared to their Belgian counterparts.
Over the past four years the number of Dutch students has grown by 50 percent to more than 6,000. Dutch students are attracted to the Flemish part of Belgium due to proximity, linguistic similarities and, perhaps most importantly, significantly lower tuition fees. Another contributing factor is that there are no caps on places in fields such as veterinary science and medicine, as there are in Holland. These studies are particularly popular among Dutch students and last year, half of first-year veterinary students in Belgium came from The Netherlands.
Belgian government officials have recently raised concerns about the cost of educating Dutch students, most of whom either do not graduate or return home upon graduation. A third of Dutch students don’t make it out of their freshman year. Flemish higher education managers have already hinted that a quota for Dutch students could be a solution.
– University World News
October 7, 2012
International Graduation Rates Grow At Steady Rate
The number of foreign students graduating from German universities is growing at a strong pace. According to a September report from the Federal Statistical Office, 38,300 foreign students received a degree from a German institution of higher education in 2011. This represents an increase of 8 percent over 2010. Nearly 10 percent of the 392,200 degrees awarded by institutions of higher education went to foreign graduates, the office added.
Almost 28 percent of the foreign graduates in Germany who graduated in 2011 completed bachelor’s degrees, compared to the 26 percent who completed the traditional German magister or diplom degrees. Nearly 11 percent of the foreign students completed doctoral studies, while a further 8 percent completed studies at a university of applied sciences. Two percent of the foreign graduates received their qualifications to become teachers. Around 13 percent of the foreign graduates in Germany were Chinese; 7 percent were Turkish and a further 5 percent were Russian.
September 17, 2012
Research to Shift from National Academy to Universities
The Russian government is working on reforming the way national universities are managed in an attempt to strengthen their research potential, and Russian science in general. But there are fears that the move will erode university autonomy.
During the Soviet era the Russian National Academy of Sciences was the center of research activity in Russia, and the role of universities in academic life was limited to training specialists for various industries. However, in recent years the position of the academy in Russian science has weakened, forcing the government to think about alternative ways to develop research.
Under changes trumpeted by the Ministry of Education and Science, national universities will become the new centers of research in Russia in the next decade. This is expected to happen after university reforms are completed and up to 20 percent of institutions are closed.
To improve university leadership, the government believes that all institutions should be headed by new “business-oriented professionals” prepared to tailor instruction and research to the needs of the labor market. As part of these plans, the ministry is to start appointing university presidents, instead of the current practice of rectors being elected by university staff. The government is already appointing the presidents of federal universities.
The government plans have been criticized by student and academics, who view them as an attack on university autonomy.
– University World News
September 23, 2012
Russia Compares Poorly to China in Educating Citizens
China and Russia are trading partners, as well as competitors, in the global economy; however, China has a significant head start in developing its economy after investing more in education over the past two decades than Russia, said the new director of the London School of Economics (LSE) recently.
“China made early and major investments in education. Russia was extremely slow to recognize how investments in education could pay off for diversifying the economy, as well as simply advancing its citizens,” LSE Director Craig Calhoun said in an interview. “Recently, the government has caught up on that to some extent, but it’s now way behind,” he said, noting that Russian universities rank poorly in international rankings.
But there is reason to be hopeful that education will again become an engine of growth.
“If Russia invests in education, it has a lot to build on. Like China, Russia has a traditional respect for education. Not recently, but in the past,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun was in Moscow attending the reception and the graduation ceremony for 122 students from the International College of Economics and Finance, a college within the Higher School of Economics in Moscow that works closely with LSE.
– The Moscow Times
September 26, 2012
A New US$2 Billion University Campus on the Chinese Border
Far Eastern Federal University has established a US$2 billion campus on Russky Island, near Vladivostok, a geopolitically important region close to Manchuria and the Sea of Japan. Winter temperatures drop to almost minus 50 on the largely uninhabited island, and those skeptical of the campus wonder whether students and faculty will come to the remote and windswept outpost.
The government says its multi-billion dollar investment is aimed at attracting some of the world’s brightest young people and reviving a steadily shrinking local economy in this geopolitically sensitive region on the edge of China. In addition to the campus –scheduled to open next year – the government has spent a further $20 billion constructing a convention center, banks, shops, and housing, among other things, along with three large bridges across Vladivostok’s several bays.
The university is the result of a merger of several smaller nearby universities, and the government hopes it will become a top-ranking university domestically and internationally within a decade. The institution will specialize in areas like Asian languages, marine biology, nanotechnology, and energy-conserving technologies. It will offer courses in both Russian and English. It hopes to attract top international professors and at least 30,000 students, 11,000 of whom would live on the island.
Skeptics point out that there are only 2,500 students at the institution this year, and that the current faculty has weak research records or low scholarly profiles. The university, therefore, has begun recruiting foreign faculty. The university has also not had much luck persuading students from the merged campuses to move to the island: Only 4,000 out of 17,000 have said they would be willing to do so.
Mr. Putin built Far Eastern “to mark Russia’s presence in Asia as not fading but rising,” says Yevgeny Yasin, a former minister of the economy and research director at the National Research University Higher School of Economics. “For now, it is too early to say whether this university has a future or not.”
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 23, 2012
Government Looks to Introduce Scholarships to Boost International Enrollments
In its budget for 2013 the Swedish government has proposed doubling the grant for students from outside Europe. The move is designed to attract foreign students to Sweden, after the country saw a massive decline in enrollments from abroad following the introduction of fees for non-Europeans in 2011.
In Stockholm alone, the drop in international students attending higher education institutions has been reported at 80 percent, compared to 2010. Currently, the average annual tuition fee for students from outside Europe is SEK120,000 (US$18,300).
The grant for students from outside Europe is to be increased from SEK50 million to SEK100 million (US$15 million). The funds will include students from OECD and Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries outside Europe. A further SEK60 million is to be provided for students from countries not on the DAC list.
– University World News
September 20, 2012
Growing As An International Study Destination
A recent article from The PIE News suggests that Turkey is posturing to position itself as a regional hub for international students looking for lower tuition fees and living expenses, generous scholarships and fewer visa restrictions than in traditionally popular countries that have become less affordable and have tightened their borders to students in recent years.
Overseas enrollments more than doubled between 2005 and 2011 to 31,170, and now recruitment agents from around the world are increasingly looking to build ties with Turkish universities, according to anecdotal evidence from a recent BMI/ A2 agent workshop in Istanbul. Turkish universities are also increasing their recruitment activities overseas after being relatively inactive internationally.
Many universities in Turkey offer English-taught programs, although interest among other overseas agencies is reported to be highest in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, where the native languages are also of Turkic origin.
In promoting the country, national agencies and third-party recruiters point to a number of factors beyond affordability and lack of red tape, including: Quality institutions (Turkey is home to two universities in the world top 250), strong credit recognition with other countries, good weather, proximity to Europe and Asia, and average economic growth of 5.5 percent since 2002. Some agents also say job opportunities are better than in the recession-struck U.S. and UK. Regionally, Turkey has appeal for students from Islamic backgrounds, especially in light of recent uprisings in other North African and Middle Eastern countries.
Turkish universities say that they have only actively begun recruiting overseas in the last few years, due to the government’s abandonment in 2005 of the centralized entrance exam, which all overseas students were required to take. They are now free to set their own entry requirements.
– PIE News
October 19, 2012
GCSE to Be Scrapped in 2017
Education secretary Michael Gove revealed in September government plans to introduce a new English Baccalaureate qualification starting in 2017. The new qualification will replace the GCSE examinations.
According to Gove, a sizeable proportion of students would leave school with no qualifications under the new system. Students who find the new exams “difficult” will be given a “detailed record of their achievement” by their schools, which will be forwarded to further education colleges where they will be encouraged to sit the exams later, aged 17 or 18.
The confirmation that a large number of students will leave school without a qualification is likely to intensify criticism. The National Union of Teachers said ministers were creating a two-tier system.
GCSEs will be phased out in two stages, according to the minister: From the fall of 2015, pupils will be taught for the new EBacc in English, mathematics and science. These will cover seven papers: English language, English literature, math pure and applied (with an additional math option), chemistry, physics and biology. The new exam will be sat for the first time in these subjects in the summer of 2017. Then from 2016, pupils will be taught for the new EBacc in history, geography and languages.
– The Guardian
September 17, 2012
London Met Offered A Temporary Reprieve on International Students
London Metropolitan University has been given permission to challenge a ban on its recruitment of overseas students. Britain’s High Court also ruled that existing students with full immigration status should be allowed to continue their studies. By mid-October, more than 1,000 of the 2,600 affected students either completed their programs or had graduated from the university. Those with more than a year left to complete their studies have been told they will be able to study at London Met until the summer of 2013.
At the High Court in London in September, Richard Gordon for London Met had said the issue “came down to fairness.” He said there was a strong case that the UKBA’s decision was unlawful and a temporary suspension of the ban should be granted, given the impact of the decision on the university and its students. The Court refused that request but did give the university permission to mount a full legal challenge in the form of a judicial review and made temporary orders protecting some students.
The UK Border Agency is cracking down on alleged abuse of the student visa system and London Met was the first university to lose its right to sponsor students from outside of the European Union for their visas. The Agency agreed to allow “existing genuine students” to continue studying at the university “until their course has ended or the end of the academic year, whichever is soonest – as long as they meet the right standards.”
Of the 1,600 remaining international students, fewer than half by mid-October had re-enrolled at London Met. More than 750 students had either transferred to other institutions or were still considering their options. A fund of £2 million (US$3.2 million) was established by the British authorities to support legitimate students that were financially disadvantaged by the uncertainties. As of October 15, the fund had received more than 150 applications for assistance with visa reapplication costs, extra tuition fees and additional expenses.
– Higher Education Funding Council
October 16, 2012
New Elite Private University Draws Protestors on First Day of Class
The first cohort of students attending philosopher AC Grayling’s new £18,000 (US$29,000)-a-year private university were welcomed by protesters in September as they arrived for the start of term.
The 20 to 30 demonstrators were expressing their opposition to the university’s Ivy League-style for-profit approach to education, arguing that the model runs contrary to the British tradition of higher education as a public good.
Only about 60 students of a planned cohort of 180-200 enrolled for this inaugural year, but the demonstrators said they wanted to see the New College of the Humanities shut down, claiming it sets a dangerous precedent for British higher education, which has become increasingly costly in recent years with the raising of tuition fee caps.
– The Independent
September 25, 2012
Elite Universities See Drop in Foreign Enrollments
The UK’s most prestigious universities have seen a drop in international enrollments as a result of government changes to immigration rules, reports The Independent. Some programs at universities in the Russell Group – which represents 24 top institutions, including Oxford and Cambridge – have seen a drop of up to 30 percent in applications from Indian students.
The impact of strict new visa rules has been brought to the fore by the negative publicity that followed the revoking of London Metropolitan University‘s license to teach overseas students in September. The drop in applications for programs beginning in October also follows the murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve in Manchester last Christmas. But university leaders said the government’s immigration clampdown was the decisive factor. Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, said: “As ministers crack down on abuse of the system, they must be careful about the messages they send to the world’s best and brightest students.”
– The Independent
October 11, 2012
International Students No Longer Face Prospect of Standing in Night Queue to Register
University leaders have welcomed a rule change that will mean overseas students no longer have to register in person with the police, the BBC reports. In October, the image of British higher education was once again tarnished in the international eye, with hundreds of students from 42 countries queuing in the night outside an office in London in order to meet a registration deadline at the Overseas Visitors Record Centre in London
But now, students will be able to register through their universities. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said she had told ministers the previous requirements had been “entirely unacceptable”.
In an effort to make sure they could get into the Overseas Visitors Records Office when it opened in the morning, students had begun to stand in line through the night. The prospect of such queues had once again raised concerns about damage to the UK’s international image as a welcoming destination for overseas students, after a tightening of visa regulations and the subsequent withdrawal of London Metropolitan University’s ability to recruit overseas students – a decision that is being contested by the university.
October 8, 2012