WENR, February 2017: Europe

France: Foreign Minister Announces Plans to Double Indian Student Numbers

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has announced a plan to attract more Indian students to France’s higher education institutions, aiming to at least double the current numbers by 2020. The plan is part of an effort to build a stronger strategic partnership between the two countries. Ayrault also announced a new Bangalore chapter of the France Alumni, a digital platform that serves to connect international students who have completed programs at French universities.

Master Studies
February 3

U.K.: Universities See Decline in Application Numbers

Since the Brexit vote in June the U.K. has seen a 7 percent decline in applications from E.U. students, compared to a 5 percent decline overall. However, this is likely only partially attributable to the Brexit vote, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services, who say that the country has also seen a sharp decline in the number of both 18 year-old applicants as well as applicants in older age groups.

Times Higher Education
February 2

U.K.: Industrial Strategy Lays Out Plan to Create More Alternatives to Traditional Universities

The U.K. government has announced a new industrial strategy which aims to revamp their technical education system and offer a viable alternative to more traditional, academic forms of higher education. The move is intended to level the playing field and create more opportunities for young people pursuing more technical trades. The government plans to spend £170 million developing new, prestigious polytechnic institutions; funds that some feel could be better spent bolstering the vocational programs at the country’s existing institutions.

Times Higher Education
January 23

Finland: Funding Cuts Threaten Quality of Higher Ed System

Many worry that Finland’s higher education system may experience long term damage from recent cuts in government funding, as many leading academics begin taking positions in other country. The number of PhD-holding Finns leaving the country increased by 37 percent from 2011 to 2015. The severe funding cuts were implemented following a downturn in the Finnish economy. It has been historically difficult for countries to entice academics to return even if former levels of funding are resumed.

Times Higher Education
January 17

U.K.: Theresa May Says Country Will Welcome Reaching Agreement on Research Collaboration

In a January 17th speech about the U.K.’s impending exit from the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May indicated that the British government is open to working toward some agreement concerning continuing research collaboration with Europe. Whether or not the E.U. will let a post-Brexit U.K. remain involved in research programs like Horizon 2020 remains unclear.

Times Higher Education
January 17

Europe: Survey Indicates Dissatisfaction with Erasmus+

A new survey by the European University Association (EUA) suggests that the Erasmus+ mobility and cooperation program needs to be streamlined and simplified. The survey also showed that many members were unhappy that funding did not cover all their research costs. While the report indicates a lot of the places the program isn’t succeeding, it also does not offer up any solutions. Some of the more difficult inefficient aspects of the program could be due to its recent creation, and could be smoothed out over time.

University World News
January 13

Denmark: New Bill Prevents Student Financing for Second Degrees

Danish Parliament has passed a new bill will prevent students from receiving any financing if they already have a degree of equal or higher level. The “education cap” was widely opposed with 80,000 citizens signing a petition against the bill. Though the bill would save the government 300 million kroner per year, critics say it will also force people to stay in industries they are ill-suited for or unhappy in, and overall hurt Denmark’s future skilled labor supply.

The Local
December 19

Russia: International Students Increasingly Important Element of Higher Ed System

As the value of the ruble has declined, Russian education has become relatively cheaper and thus an affordable and appealing option for international students. The number of foreign students studying at Russian universities has tripled between 2005 and 2015. The high volume of foreign students generated 13.7 billion rubles in revenue in 2015. While this amount is fairly low given the total budget of Russia’s universities, it is expected to increase in the coming years as the government takes steps to further open up the higher ed system to international students.

Russia Beyond The Headlines
December 12

U.K.: Home Office Looks at Plan that May Cut International Student Numbers in Half

Senior university sources warn of new cuts to international student numbers that may be far greater than anticipated. Sources say they have seen Home Office plans that propose cutting international student numbers from 300,000 to 170,000 per year. One university head has called the cuts “insane,” pointing to the large amounts of international student revenue lost from what he views as a political battle. Many vice-chancellors say many legitimate applicants are already being turned away for dubious reasons such as not knowing the opening times of the university library.

The Guardian
December 12

Denmark: Government Seeks to Integrate Job-Oriented Programs into Higher Ed

The new government of Denmark is emphasizing the importance of higher education. A new committee will look into ways to improve overall quality and integrate tertiary-level workforce training programs. They also seek to create more opportunities for students to work part time in their respective industries while they are in school. The committee plans to achieve this by facilitating new arrangements between higher education institutions and the private sector.

University World News
December 1



Posted in Europe, Regional News Summaries

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