Goodbye to AHELO?

This article was written for 'HE - Policy and markets in higher education' from Research Fortnight and was published there on 24 June. “It is hard to improve what isn’t measured.” So said Andreas Schleicher, who runs a programme to identify the abilities of school children in different countries on behalf of the OECD. Eight years ago, a similar measurement for higher education was proposed. The Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHLEO), as it is known, was due to be discussed this week at the sixth annual international symposium on university rankings and quality…Read more …

The end of the university? Not likely

This article was first published in University World News. This year has frequently seen apocalyptic headlines about the end of the university as we know it. Three main drivers have been and still are fuelling these predictions: the worldwide massification of higher education; the increasing use of information and communication technology in teaching and the delivery of education; and the ongoing globalisation of higher education. These developments will make the traditional university obsolete in 2038. At least, that’s what some want us to believe. The massification of higher education worldwide – even more than the…Read more …

Framing International Education

Ten days ago or so, I was in Sydney for the annual Australian International Education Conference. I’ve seen some very interesting presentations here, some real eye-openers. I’ll discuss some specific sessions here later (I’ll wait until the presentations are available on the website). Now I just want to share some general impressions. Most remarkable for me was that the economic framing of international education now seems to be widely accepted. When I lived in Sydney some years ago, my perception was that the government and parts of university management occasionally dropped terms like…Read more …

Regulating recruitment agencies

Study abroad for a full degree has developed from an elite to a mass phenomenon. Parallel to this development, we have witnessed a commercialization of international higher education where many institutions have become financially dependent on full fee paying international students. To operate in this (global) market, institutions – and especially the lesser-known ones – now frequently turn to agents and recruiters in order to attract prospective students. Many point to the risks of these third party agents and plea for more regulation or even abolishment. Abolish or regulate? In Inside Higher Ed,…Read more …

What does the future hold for (Dutch) higher ed?

And another academic year begins… The first Monday in September traditionally marks the start of the academic year in the Netherlands. It's the occasion where university leaders look ahead to the year to come and where inspiring speakers are invited to present their views and opinions. It is also an opportunity to see what the big issues are in Dutch higher education and how prominent is the international dimension in these issues. What will upcoming speakers (and past speakers, in those cases where the opening of the year took place prior to today)…Read more …

Recognition and Mobility in the Bologna Process

Today and tomorrow, the anniversary of the Bologna Process is celebrated. Actually...it is celebrated by most and protested against by some. A consortium of CHEPS, INCHER and ECOTEC was given the task to prepare an independent assessment of the Bologna process. The study was conducted together with experts from the University of Bath, the Bayerisches Staatsinstitut für Hochschulforschung and Nuffic (i.c. myself)). Below is the presentation by Don Westerheijden (CHEPS) of the part I've been working on: recognition and mobility.

Podcasting Higher Ed

Some years ago the first podcasts emerged in higher education. Initially these were mostly downloadable lecture series, mainly from US universities. Universities like Berkeley and Stanford took the lead here but soon many other US universities followed and later, also some UK universities jumped the iTunes U bandwagon. In the Netherlands, the universities of Wageningen, Leiden and Rotterdam were the first to podcast lectures. Of course there were fears that these podcasts would make real lectures superfluous, but i don't think that podcasts ever knocked lectures off the podium. More recently, also several…Read more …

What if I graduated from Amherst or ENS de Lyon…

What if I graduated from Amherst College or the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, I was not a European citizen and I would like to pursue a career in the Netherlands? Well, the Dutch government would say I was not educated sufficiently to enter the Netherlands. You might ask yourself why? Isn't the ENS de Lyon a good school? Actually it is, according to its 72nd place in the 2006 THES rankings. No, it's not that ENS Lyon is a lousy university. It's just that they ended up on rank number 157 of…Read more …

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 …