Malaysia as an Education Hub

The UNSW debacle in Singapore and the exit of Johns Hopkins last year, have dealt a serious blow to the Global Schoolhouse strategy of the Singapore government. Singapore‚Äôs neighbor Malaysia announced a similar strategy last year. With this strategy, Malaysia becomes one of the most interesting examples of the way that higher education is globalizing nowadays. A major exporter as well as importer of higher education, with foreign universities within its borders and Malay universities establishing branches outside Malaysia. First of all, Malaysia has long been sending many of their students and university…Read more …

Questions on the UNSW ASIA debacle

After three months in operation, the Singapore adventure of the University of New South Wales has come to an end. Another 22 million Singapore dollars down the drain. The decision to establish a branch campus in Singapore was taken in 2005 and already led to some commotion at that time (see this post). In 2005, UNSW from Australia and the University of Warwick from the UK were the only two foreign universities granted special status by the Singaporean Government (through its Economic Development Board, EDB) to set up a fully fledged independent teaching…Read more …

Bologna in London

The Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Bologna Process - a bi-annual event where the progress of the Bologna Process is monitored and new actions are decided upon - took place in London last week. This basically means a bombardment of papers, reports and speeches about what's been going on and what needs to be done, coming from everyone that is somehow related to higher education. All this has culminated in the London Communique (pdf). I haven't had the time to go through all the documents yet, but the Communique does'nt seem to hold…Read more …

The Next (World) Bank President

While Wolfowitz has barely resigned as president of the World Bank, the Financial Times is already speculating about his successor. A quick look at the possible nominations makes clear that World Bank is first and foremost a Bank. The first name the FT mentions is Robert M. Kimmitt, the US deputy Treasury secretary. Kimmitts bio reveals that his experience in the developing world is limited to his military service in Vietnam in 1970-1971. He served in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, earning three Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and the…Read more …

The HEEF: Economist’s interpretation

The Economist has an article on the Australian budget which was presented a few days ago. In my previous post I highlighted one item in that budget: the Higher Education Endowment Fund. In this fund, the government will deposit 5 billion Australian dollars, securing future funding of around 300 million a year (and more if the fund will grow in the future). The board of the fund will select 'strategic investment proposals which provide quality infrastructure and support Australian Government policy with respect to diversity, specialisation and responsiveness to labour market needs'.I though…Read more …

The Higher Education Endowment Fund

Earlier this year, Kevin Rudd - leader of the Australian Labor Party - promised the country an education revolution if they would be voted into power (elections are later this year). Today, Peter Costello - treasurer of the current government - has tried to outdo Rudd in the new budget that was presented today. It's already been dubbed the education budget.One of the most innovative items is the creation of a Higher Education Endowment Fund. The government shall set up the fund and put in an amount of 5 billion Australian dollars (4…Read more …

Thou Shalt Compete

The Economist gives a short review of the Bologna process and explains how it will inevitably increase competition in Europe. But for 'Old Europe' (as the Economist likes to call it) this requires more than just some structural changes:"The more hidebound European universities must be wondering what on earth they have started. Self-interest has prodded them to think about students as customers: both wealthy foreign ones, and bright locals tempted to finish their studies overseas. Governments have realised they could save money if their universities made students study a bit more briskly, gaining…Read more …

EIT and Policy Research

A few weeks ago, I discussed a study of Luc Soete and Peter Tindemans on the feasibility of the European Institute of Technology. On the basis of a comprehensive analysis, they concluded that the decentralized EIT that has been proposed by the Commission was not feasible. It is too dispersed; it would not increase significantly the research output in a field; it cannot match a top tier university in providing an environment for training graduates; and a dispersed institute cannot adequately organize technology transfer. As an alternative, they suggested a clustered model for…Read more …

Meritocracy, Tolerance & Paternalism

The practice of 'affirmative action' for ethnic Malays remains a sensitive issue in Malaysia. The practice was established in order to raise the living standards of bumiputra Malay (vis-a-vis the Chinese and the Indian minorities) by giving them preferential treatment in a wide range of areas such as economic ownership and education. This New Economic Policy was implemented in order to avoid repetition of the 1969 riots between the prosperous Chinese minority and the ethnic Malays.I witnessed the sensitivity of the issue when I was in Kuala Lumpur last October. A KL based…Read more …

World Class Universities

Robert Birnbaum, professor of higher education at the University of Maryland and author of some very interesting books on higher education (How Colleges Work; Management Fads in Higher Education) has written an interesting (and amusing) article in International Higher Education (the Quarterly of the Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) in Boston College). Birnbaum is worried about the World Class University ranking crisis. Universities around the world are either proclaiming that they have attained or try to achieve this mythical status. But actually, we have no clue what it means. Philip Altbach, leader…Read more …