WENR, April 2013: Europe
Government Launches Developing-Nation Scholarship Program
Denmark has launched a scholarship program aimed at promoting academic mobility to and from a list of developing countries, initially targeting students from Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania and Uganda. It is part of a comprehensive internationalization of higher education strategy being developed by the government.
The scholarship program, Building Stronger Universities in Developing Countries, was launched in February and will be run by the ministries of education and foreign affairs, and the Rectors’ Conference of Universities Denmark. After completing their studies students from select universities in the target countries will be encouraged to return home and work in academia to help develop teaching and research capacity.
During the year 2010-11, just 116 students from the target countries studied on full master’s programs at one of Denmark’s eight universities, with just 66 Danes going the other way for part of their studies. The government is looking to increase these numbers by 50 percent within a few years.
A call for proposals and eligibility criteria can be found here.
– University World News
March 9, 2013
Proposal for More English-Taught Courses Angers Some
A proposed law change in France that would ease restrictions on offering university courses in English has been cause for protest among defenders of the French language.
Currently, courses must be in French unless they are designed to teach a non-French language or offered by a visiting academic from outside France. Some educators want the option of teaching other courses in English to attract more international students, as is becoming the trend in many universities in non-English-speaking countries around Europe.
Leading French writers have launched a campaign calling the proposed amendment to the Code de l’Education “insulting” and “anti-Republican,” while the Académie Française has said that any change would “harm the status of the French language in universities.”
– The Connexion
March 28, 2013
Plan for University Mergers Announced
Greece’s parliament in March approved legislation allowing the government to close or merge roughly one of every five faculties at universities and higher education colleges.
Government leaders argue that the law will allow for efficient use of funds to promote quality programs in the cash-strapped country. Students rallied against the law and police used tear gas on a protest outside of the parliament building.
– Associated Press
March 28, 2013
Republic of Georgia
Students Protest Accreditation Withdrawal
Hundreds of students from several universities in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi were out demonstrating the withdrawal of Agricultural University’s accreditation in March.
Georgia’s Council of Authorization ruled on March 11 that the university’s accreditation should be withdrawn for several violations of the education law. Protesting students said that the decision was politically motivated.
The chairman of the university’s supervising council, Kakha Bendukidze, said the decision was aimed against him personally. Bendukidze, a close associate of President Mikheil Saakashvili, has had a number of cabinet positions over the years.
He initiated and supervised the transformation of the Soviet-era Tbilisi Agricultural Institute into the generally well-regarded and high-ranking Agricultural University several years ago.
Saakashvili’s associates have been under pressure after the president’s party was defeated by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s coalition in October 2012 parliamentary elections.
March 18, 2013
Russia to Gauge Universities Based on Graduate Unemployment Rates
Russia’s Ministry of Education has announced that starting this year, it will monitor standards at universities based on the number of out-of-work graduates applying for positions at job centers, in order to identify universities that are failing to meet the needs of the labor market.
“We are going to assess the relationship between the education system and the job market,” Deputy Minister Alexander Klimov told Kommersant. “We will factor in the number of graduates who apply to job centers.” According to Klimov, about 6 percent of recent graduates register with job centers immediately upon graduation.
“It turns out that a degree is not enough for them to find a job – not even in their area of specialization,” he says. “There are occupations that show a high proportion of unemployed graduates. Lawyers and economists top the list.”
Olga Kashirina, general secretary of the Russian Union of Rectors, told Kommersant that the method suggested by the Ministry of Education and Science is a little simplistic.
“They should be using dynamic criteria to show achievements, but the ministry suggests assessing the worst-case scenario — that is, the people who failed to find jobs,” she said, while suggesting that data on the taxes graduates pay might be a better indicator.
March 18, 2103
UK Non-Profit Buys UK-Based U.S. For Profit College, Becomes UK’s Second Private University
Regent’s College, a nonprofit British institution, has purchased for-profit American Intercontinental University London from Career Education Corporation, in a deal that is thought to be the first UK acquisition of a for-profit by a not-for-profit provider, according to Times Higher Education.
Regent’s recently gained approval from British officials to become the second private nonprofit university in the United Kingdom. Regent’s University London, as the institution will be known, will be the largest private institution in Britain, at 4,500 students. The University of Buckingham became the first private institution there, in 1983.
On the acquisition, the university said the move was part of its drive to become “the leading private non-profit university in Europe.” According to current plans, Regent’s will run American Intercontinental as a for-profit subsidiary initially before subsuming it within a year.
– Times Higher Education
February 27, 2013
British Council Identifies Growth in Transnational Education Markets
Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates are the best places for British universities to set up overseas campuses or establish partnerships with local higher education providers, a study has found.
The countries have been identified as “hotspots” for transnational education activity by a British Council-commissioned report, The Shape of Things to Come 2: the evolution of trans-national education,which analyses student demand and international mobility in 25 nations, as well as how open their governments are to foreign higher education providers. The report also found that there are favorable conditions in Qatar and South Korea, while Bahrain, Botswana, China, India, Mauritius, Oman, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam have strengths and weaknesses in different areas. The readiness of Indian students to study abroad means that the country rates highly in terms of international mobility but the report says its regulatory framework is hostile to overseas providers.
Kevin Van-Cauter, higher education adviser at the British Council, said that universities needed to consider whether a campus, a partnership with a local provider or distance learning was the best way to access foreign markets. According to the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency, there are approximately 571,000 people studying abroad for UK higher education qualifications compared with about 488,000 foreign students in the UK.
– Times Higher Education
February 28, 2013
Barriers to International Study Among British and American Students
The British Council released a report in March looking at factors deterring students in the United States and United Kingdom from studying abroad. Of the 10,800 people who responded to the survey in October through December 2012, 20 percent of UK respondents said they are considering study abroad, while 56 percent of U.S. students said the same.
Barriers include inadequate access to information about overseas opportunities, concerns about cost, language ability and the difficulty of leaving family and friends. Only 24 percent of UK students and 22 percent of U.S. students felt they had enough resources to make an informed decision about overseas study. For UK students, overseas study was cited by 44 percent of students as a step towards working and living abroad, while 66 percent of U.S. respondents considering overseas study described themselves as wanting to have fun traveling and exploring other cultures.
– British Council
March 5, 2013
Question Marks Over Transnational Degree Programs
Students on the United Kingdom’s most popular overseas degree program are struggling to have their qualification recognized in some countries, including China, Australia and South Africa, a new study has found.
The are currently 285,000 students registered on the BSc in Applied Accounting offered via distance learning at Oxford Brookes University – almost half of the nearly 571,000 students studying for a UK degree overseas, according to the latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency. The course is run in partnership with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), with students automatically enrolled with Oxford Brookes when signing up for ACCA’s professional qualification.
A report by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Audit of Overseas Provision, China, 2012, features the program as a case study, highlighting the difficulties faced by thousands of students whose home countries do not recognize overseas accountancy qualifications or distance-learning degrees in general. Of particular concern is China, which does not recognize overseas degrees delivered by distance learning. The lack of recognition is driving high dropout rates, as Chinese students often do not bother to complete the research element of the program that leads to the honors degree, the report says. It also notes that professional accountancy bodies in Australia and South Africa do not recognise accounting degrees from other countries as counting towards their own national accountancy qualifications.
The QAA, which produced three other case studies for the audit, is expected to publish a comprehensive report on the standard of UK overseas provision in China this month.
– Times Higher Education
March 21, 2013