The global higher education market

The last edition of the Economist in 2008 included an interesting article on the growth of international education. International education has witnessed an enormous growth in the past decade, a growth that comes with risks and benefits for both developed and developing countries. The 20th century saw a surge in higher education; in the early 21st century, the idea of going abroad to study has become thinkable for ordinary students. In 2006, the most recent year for which figures are available, nearly 3m were enrolled in higher education institutions outside their own countries,…Read more …

Creating a Higher Education Common Space in Southeast Asia?

I've asked the question before whether ASEAN was becoming like the EU. I agreed with former ASEAN Secretary General Severino who answered that it is "most likely not. At least not exactly". Now we can ask another question: is the ASEAN starting its own Bologna process? It appears to be doing so... The Australian reports on a meeting in Bangkok last week: Arguing the case for an extensive overhaul of co-operation and compatibility involving 6500 higher education institutions and 12 million students in 10 widely differing nations is no easy task; and it's…Read more …

Academic Salaries around the World

There have been quite some controversies about the salaries of university leaders, especially those in the public sector. Philip Altbach and his colleagues from the Boston College Center for International Higher Education have now published a report comparing the salaries of academics around the world. Here are the results, summarised in one single picture: Conclusion? It pays of to work hard in order to get to the top, especially in South Africa, New Zealand and above all, Saudi Arabia. Not so in France and Germany (surprise?). Furthermore, an advice for academics who aspire…Read more …

Philantropy & Higher Education

Universities are becoming popular with donors. A recent report from private banking firm Coutts in association with The Centre for Philanthropy, Humanitarianism and Social Justice University of Kent showed that in the UK, rich donors are more likely to give to universities than any other good cause. The Coutts Million Pound Donors Report (pdf) indicates that higher education received 45 donations of over a million pounds in 2006-2007. The total value of million-pound-plus donations to higher education was £296.5 million. Of direct donations over 1 million pounds in the UK, 42% went to…Read more …

Foreign Students and the Global Competition for Talent

The OECD recently published a very interesting report on skilled migration and the diffusion of knowledge: The Global Competition for Talent: Mobility of the Highly Skilled. This publication can be seen as a follow-up of the 2002 report International Mobility of the Highly Skilled. Here's a short summary of the summary: "International mobility of human resources in science and technology is of growing importance and can have important impacts on knowledge creation and diffusion in both receiving and sending countries indicating that it is not necessarily a zero-sum game. Receiving countries benefit from…Read more …

THE Ranking 2008 by Country (again)

Like last year, I tried to look at the Times Higher education university league tables from a national perspective. I gave a score of 200 for the number one university (Harvard) and 1 for the number 200 (the university of Athens) etc., and than aggregated these scores for every country. The graph below shows that the United States and the United Kingdom are again superior in the Times rankings, followed by Australia and Canada. The Netherlands is the first non English speaking country, followed by Japan and Germany. The main difference however compared…Read more …

German students and the European Court of Justice

German students are stretching the scope of European rules in national higher education systems. The last few years have shown a steady increase of German students in its neighboring countries. The number of German students in German speaking countries like Austria and Switzerland have increased. However, the most important destination for foreign students is the Netherlands with almost 14,000 students in 2006 and at least 16,750 in 2007 (pdf), making it also the largest group of international students in the Netherlands. I recently wrote about a German student, Jacqueline Förster, who claimed Dutch…Read more …

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Go!

Excellence needs flagships! That is why Europe must have a strong European Institute of Technology, bringing together the best brains and companies and disseminating the results throughout Europe. That is how José Manuel Durão Barosso introduced the European Institute of Technology about two and a half years ago. Today was the inaugural meeting of the first Governing Board of the EIT. The Board's 18 high-level members, coming from the worlds of business, higher education and research all have a track record in top-level innovation and are fully independent in their decision-making. The Board…Read more …

Education at a Glance 2008

Today the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development published its annual report 'Education at a Glance'. Education at a Glance presents data and analysis on education; it provides a rich and up-to-date range of indicators on education systems in the OECD’s 30 member countries and in a number of partner economies. This years highlights are: Meeting a rapidly rising demand for more and better education is creating intense pressures to raise spending on education and improve its efficiency. Recent years have already seen considerable increases in spending levels, both in absolute terms and…Read more …

Can institutions be compared using standardised tests?

At the EAIR conference in Copenhagen last month I attended an interesting presentation by Trudy Banta, a professor of higher education and vice chancellor for planning and institutional improvement at Indiana University-Purdue University. Her question was clear: Can institutions really be compared using standardised tests? Policymakers seem determined to assess the quality of HEIs using standardised tests of student learning outcomes. Yet, Dr. Banta claims that such tests do not provide data for valid comparisons and on top of that, they measure other things than institutional performance: Comparing test scores sounds easy, but…Read more …

Classifying European Institutions for Higher Education

I'm on my way back to The Hague, returning from the EAIR conference in Copenhagen. Although lots of interesting new studies and findings have been presented there (some of them I'll discuss in later posts), I actually want to talk about a conference I visited last July in Berlin. This conference (Transparency in Diversity – Towards a European Classification of Higher Education Institutions) presented the results from the second stage of the project Classifying European Institutions for Higher Education, a project that might turn out to have a major impact on European higher…Read more …

Interactive Higher Education Policy [or HigherEd 2.0]

Both the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEST) of the Australian Commonwealth Government and the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) of the British Government are looking for news to organise and coordinate their higher education sector. For this, they have started a similar initiative. Both are relying heavily on input from the field and the broader society to get new ideas, and probably to receive more support for their future polices. Yet, there are some differences as well. In its Review of Higher Education, the Australian government has asked…Read more …

Weird Science: the genetic map of Europe

Correlation between Genetic and Geographic Structure in Europe by Lao, Oscar et al. (2008) Full Text Available in Current Biology; See also this article in the IHT Maybe not that weird, but definitely interesting. Biologists from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and others have constructed a genetic map of Europe. They investigated genotype data from 2,514 individuals belonging to 23 different subpopulations, widely spread over Europe. Although they found only a low level of genetic differentiation between subpopulations, the existing differences were characterized by a strong continent-wide correlation between geographic and genetic distance.…Read more …