WENR, July-August 2017: Americas
Colombia: Partnership with U.K. to Help Fortify Higher Ed Sector
Colombia is looking to strengthen its higher ed sector after years of conflict and economic uncertainty. Part of their internationalization strategy has been to forge an academic partnership with the U.K. as signaled by an agreement 2016 to develop a joint bioeconomic research program and a recent visit from a consortium of British universities. Some initiatives that came out of this meeting include a commitment to promote mobility of PhD students and develop research programs in sustainable development, economics, and the arts. Mindful of the potential for the development of a seemingly colonialist relationship, those involved in planning have stressed the importance of reciprocal agreements and the promotion of the use of the Spanish language in academia.
Times Higher Ed
United States: Interest among International Students Declining in New Political Climate
A new study on international students’ perceptions of the U.S. provides evidence of the Trump effect on higher ed. When asked “Has your interest in studying in the United States changed in light of the current political climate in the United States?” 33 percent of the over 2,000 international students surveyed stated that their interest had lowered. In light of this worrying trend, a representative from the U.S.-based firm that conducted this research highlighted the importance of ensuring inclusion and collaboration in universities’ messaging to prospective international students.
Inside Higher Ed
Canada: Education System Ranks Among the Best in the World
Recent Pisa test scores (an international test administered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD) show that Canadian high school students rank among the top in the world and the country has the highest proportion of university degree holders globally. These accomplishments can be attributed to Canada’s relatively seamless integration of immigrants into the system and countrywide equal access to quality education that has largely inhibited underperformance among students. Another factor that has catapulted Canada to the top ranks is relatively high teacher salaries and a selective hiring process.
United States: Political Affiliations Govern Perception of Higher Education as Either Harmful or Beneficial
A recent report from the Pew Research center shows political affiliation correlates with views of higher education in the U.S. Fifty-eight percent of republicans said that “colleges and universities have a negative effect on the way things are going in the country”, an over 20 percent jump from 2015. The majority of Democrats (72 percent), on the other hand, believe higher education is beneficial, with little change since 2015, and an overall 7 percent increase since 2010. This disparity has higher ed professionals worried that Republican lawmakers will cut funding, and that the resultant higher tuition rates will disincentivize college attendance for some and increase the burden of student loans for others.