Meanwhile in Malaysia…

Meanwhile in Malaysia, 'soft authoritarianism' seems to get tougher. Elections are coming up and since the Malaysian people are not yet ready for open dialogue, voices have to be silenced. So what do you do? First you silence the blogs that cause 'disharmony'. That should be enough since - as Marina Mahathir (yes, the outspoken daughter of...) shows - the government has nothing to fear from the regular Malaysian media.But it was not enough. This news by rising politician Tony Pua should really worry Malaysians. Apparently, instructions were given by some government commission…Read more …

Higher Education Funding in Indonesia

The Jakarta Post reported that the Indonesian Director General for Higher Education, Satryo Soemantri Brodjonegoro would increase the subsidies for universities. The government would disburse a Rp 13.5 trillion (US$1.5 billion) fund next year to subsidize costs at state-run and private universities. Good news for Indonesian higher education? Of course, every extra dollar or rupiah is welcome. But...He admitted that the increase would not cover education costs for university students. "The amount is too small to meet the demands of poor families who want to have access to higher education," he said. In…Read more …

Excellence for Productivity 2

Two days ago I had a post on the Dutch report Excellence for Productivity of the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis. A good study that deserved some more attention. I wrote a Dutch article on the outcomes of the report for ScienceGuide:Adriaan Hofman van de RuG presenteerde recent nog een pleidooi voor meer evidence based discussies in het onderwijs. In dit licht, moet het onderzoek 'Excellence and Productivity' verwelkomd worden door belanghebbenden en belangstellenden in het Nederlandse onderwijs. Terwijl vaak maar aangenomen wordt dat excellentie bijdraagt aan economische groei en dat in…Read more …

Smart dumb people and dumb smart people

The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) published an interesting study yesterday. The report - Excellence for Productivity? - investigates the position of the Netherlands vis-a-vis other OECD countries in terms of their skill distribution.The findings in short:The Dutch perform very well on averageThe 'not so bright' Dutch students are smart compared to their 'not so bright' counterparts in other countries.The smartest students in the Netherlands (the top (99th) percentile) are less brilliant than their brilliant counterparts in other OECD countries.The findings mainly refer to pre-tertiary education. According to the CPB, the…Read more …

Indonesia Too Democratic?

Can a country be too democratic? Vice President of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, thinks it can be. The Jakarta Post reports on his visit to China, and it seems like Kalla is quite impressed by what is going on in China. If only Indonesia was a bit less democratic they would be able to make the same progress as China is making."China's strength is that it can plan and implement. Our system, which is too democratic with too much individual freedom that often disregards the rights of others, has made it difficult for us…Read more …

Group of 8: Seizing the Opportunities

The Group of 8, the group of Australia's leading universities (or self proclaimed Ivy League) has today shared its vision on the future of Australian higher education, or better, what needs to be done to keep it dynamic and competitive. According to the Go8, the current system was designed for a past era and does no longer provide the right framework for universities to perform in a global knowledge economy (something that National University of Singapore president Shih Choon Fong seems to agree with).The current Australian higher education and research system is under-resourced…Read more …

America and the Bologna Process

The European process of harmonisation of degree structures is also causing discussions on the other side of the Atlantic. The participating countries have implemented (or are implementing) a three tier degree structure (Bachelor, Master, PhD). In most countries, the undergraduate phase will take three years. In my opinion, one reason for this rather short duration, is the fact that many countries - like the Netherlands - saw their previous 4 year degrees (doctorandus, licentiaat, magister and what have you) as equivalent to a Master's degree. And because governments did not want Bologna to…Read more …