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31 mars 2013

Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2013 this month, Times Higher Education has issued its much awaited 2013 reputation rankings of the world’s top 100 universities. Once again, Harvard topped the ranking, closely followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With 40 universities in the top 100 (seven of them in the top 10), the United States are the undisputed leaders.
The UK comes second, with nine universities in the top 100. Cambridge and Oxford respectively ranked third and fourth. Stanford University dropped down to number six, preceded by University of California, Berkeley. Together, these elite Anglo-American universities make up the top six, earning them the dub ‘super-brands’. The University of Tokyo, at place 9, is the highest ranking university outside of the UK and the US.
Compared to previous years, the 2013 rankings highlight some interesting trends. UK representation has declined since 2011. Phil Baty, rankings editor at THE magazine, voices his concern: “There is some good news for the UK, but only for a handful of its elite institutions. Outside the chosen few, there is cause for alarm. (…) It now seems that a gap is opening up between the very best and the rest, with even household name institutions like Sheffield and Leeds losing their luster and falling down the rankings”.
Brazil, Taiwan, Belgium, Israel, Russia and Turkey are moving up, each with one representative in the top 100. Germany gained one new entrant, raising its representation to five, along with Japan and the Netherlands.
The rankings also highlight a big improvement for Australia. With six universities in the top 100, it now has the third highest representation, behind the US and the UK. THE World University Rankings.
31 mars 2013

European Parliament rejects new 7-year budget proposal well-informed readers of the ACA Newsletter - Education Europe know, on 8 February 2013, the European Council agreed on the Union’s framework budget (Multi-annual Financial Framework/MFF) for the years 2014-2020, after difficult and long-drawn negotiations. The compromise of the heads of state and government of the 27 member states foresaw spending in the range of EUR 960 billion, and thus 3% less in real terms than in the current 7-year period. This would have been the first ever-decrease in the history of the Union.
The adoption of the MFF requires the approval of both the European Parliament (EP) and the Council. In its meeting on 13 March, the EP rejected the deal by a vast majority (506-161). The EP’s rejection does not so much concern the overall size of the MFF, although it is anything but happy about it, as the lack of flexibility on shifting unused money between individual priorities and budget years. It demands maximum flexibility, rather than sending the money back to the national treasuries, as is now the case. Moreover, it wants to start the new 7-year period with a ‘clean slate’, instead of starting in debt with claims from previous years (between 2012 and 2013 alone, some EUR 16 billion were ‘rolled over’). The EP also wishes for a “compulsory and comprehensive revision” during the seven years, with a view to increasing the overall financial envelope if, and when, the financial crisis recedes, instead of the current ‘mid-terms review’, a rather half-hearted affair. Finally, the members of the EP argued that the fields of education, research and innovation were under-prioritised in the Council’s proposal.
It remains to be seen what will become of the EP’s stance, particularly with regard to education, research and innovation. The European Commission had originally proposed very substantial increases for these areas. The Council’s deal would more or less cut these increases by two. Observers are doubting, however, that the Parliament will be able to raise spending for education and training to the levels initially foreseen by the Commission.
Ireland, which currently holds the revolving Council Presidency, announced it was confident that the MFF could be adopted by May. In the meantime, intense negotiations are under way. European Parliament.

31 mars 2013

Survey consultation on future recognition manual for higher education institutions in the EHEA officers, credential evaluators and other recognition experts from higher education institutions in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) are invited to take part in a survey to provide their feedback on a sample of chapters for a new ‘recognition’ manual to be published end 2013.
This recognition manual will be based on the EAR manual that was recommended in the Bucharest Communiqué, and a needs analysis held last year to which over 450 institutions responded.
The aim of the survey is to collect feedback on a sample of chapters from the draft manual. The feedback will be used to write the final version of the manual in order to ensure that the manual will become a useful tool in their daily work. The ultimate goal of the manual is to facilitate fair recognition decisions by higher education institutions in the EHEA.
The EAR HEI project, funded by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning programme, is being carried out by a consortium consisting of recognition experts and representatives including the European University Association, the Tuning network, the European Students’ Union, the German Rectors’ Conference and the President of the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee.
The survey will be open until 19 April 2013.
To access the survey, please click here.
31 mars 2013

Return of winter failed to freeze passage to India 36th ACA European Policy Seminar held on March 14, despite the adverse weather conditions, turned out to be another well-attended event attracting some ninety participants to exchange their insights and the latest information about EU-India higher education cooperation.
India is a country of diversity. This applies to the different languages, cultures and religions found in the country, as well as the growing mix of private and public institutions in Indian higher education. Reliable information about Indian higher education is scarce, however. By bringing together the forerunners who have been working with Indian institutions, those currently active in the field and the onlookers searching for new opportunities in one of the BRIC countries, the ACA seminar has again proven to be the ideal platform for first-hand knowledge exchange.
The seminar began with a systemic overview of the latest developments in Indian higher education, followed by institutional practices and national and European policy frameworks. The day was concluded with an emphasis on “trust” by Ruth Kattumuri, who flew into Brussels at 4 a.m. the same day as a result of the snow.
The door to ACA’s 20th Anniversary Conference is now open. To book yourself a seat in De Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague on 9-11 June 2013, please follow the link below. ACA 20th Anniversary Conference.
31 mars 2013

L’ingénierie internationale de la formation et des apprentissages tout au long de la vie

Campus du CMA- Première session « L’ingénierie internationale de la formation et des apprentissages tout au long de la vie », jeudi 25 et vendredi 26 avril 2013, 9h30-12h30 et 14h-17h, à Paris.
Le Comité mondial pour les apprentissages tout au long de la vie (CMA) ouvre un Campus à l’intention des acteurs de l’éducation et de la formation souhaitant se développer à l’international. Les opérateurs publics et privés doivent inscrire de plus en plus leurs projets dans un cadre européen et international. Toutes stratégies de développement international dans le secteur de l’éducation et de la formation, doivent être précédées d’une connaissance des contraintes juridiques, commerciales, culturelles. Le CMA a acquis une expertise reconnue par les grandes institutions internationales. Son expérience et son savoir faire constitueront une valeur ajoutée pour les acteurs engagés ou qui souhaitent s’engager dans une démarche internationale. BULLETIN D’INSCRIPTION. En savoir plus.
Objectif: Après une connaissance du paysage mondial du secteur de l’éducation, de la formation et des apprentissages tout au long de la vie, de ses contraintes juridiques, culturelles et commerciales, élaborer une stratégie de développement à l’international.
Bénéfices attendus: Soutien stratégique, Aide au développement international, Conseil pour la candidature aux appels d’offres, Aide à la décision et analyse des opportunités – Risques, Marketing – Valorisation et commercialisation de l’offre. Communication internationale pour le porteur de projet. Suivi personnalisé pendant trois mois.
Organismes et prestataires de formation souhaitant se développer durablement à l’international Pré-programme:
• Le paysage international de la formation et des apprentissages tout au long de la vie
• Témoignages d’organismes de formation présents à l’international et de commanditaires internationaux
• Établissement d’un diagnostic et élaboration d’une stratégie européenne et internationale
• Communiquer et promouvoir son projet.
Méthode pédagogique: La session sera constituée d’apports théoriques et pratiques en alternance avec des études de cas réels en petits groupes. Les échanges entre participants seront favorisés. Un dossier préparatoire sera fourni, en amont, à chaque participant.
Intervenants: Experts internationaux du CMA, Consultants internationaux et Opérateurs commerciaux.
Attestation: Une attestation de formation sera délivrée aux participants en fin de session
Suivi: Le CMA fournira une prestation de conseil personnalisé en ligne pour les participants, pendant trois mois. Ensuite, les participants seront regroupés au cours d’une réunion bilan-évaluation-conseil.
Prestation: L’acquittement du droit d’inscription donne accès à la totalité de la session, aux pauses et déjeuners, à une prestation de conseil, en ligne, pendant trois mois et à une réunion bilan-évaluation-conseil.
Campas CMA-An Chéad Seisiún "an oiliúint innealtóireacht idirnáisiúnta agus foghlaim ar feadh an tsaoil", Déardaoin 25 agus Dé hAoine 26 Aibreán, 2013, 9:30-00:30 agus 14h-17H i bPáras.
Coiste Domhanda don fhoghlaim ar feadh an tsaoil (CMA) osclaíonn Campas do ghníomhaithe oideachais agus oiliúna ag iarraidh a leathnú go hidirnáisiúnta. Ní mór oibreoirí poiblí agus príobháideacha a chlárú tionscadail níos mó i gcomhthéacs Eorpach agus idirnáisiúnta. Níos mó...
31 mars 2013

Quality Assurance in Qualifications Frameworks

Bologna ProcessOn 12-13 March, 2013 the Irish Presidency Conference was held in famous surroundings of Dublin Castle. The Conference was organized by the newly established Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and gathered over 150 participants from 35 European and other regions’ countries. The main goal of the conference was to study how qualification frameworks and quality assurance arrangements can best work together at national and European levels facilitating the overall reformation of education.
The main priority of the Irish Presidency  of the Council of EU is the provision of high quality education and training for all Europe’s citizens which is essential if Europe is to tackle its unemployment crisis, strengthen its economic growth and create sustainable jobs. 
Two days of intensive discussions of a wide range of issues were followed by important conclusions. One of the conclusions emphasized the need for the European Commission, the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) Advisory Group and the BFUG to look at ways of facilitating greater  dialogue between the main actors  in  VET and  HE on the topic of quality and qualifications frameworks. Providers in both sectors were  urged to make their quality assurance arrangements  mutually intelligible, share good practice in implementation of learning outcomes. The participants expressed concern on the disconnection between what employers required as skills  for employees and the obtained qualifications. More information and the complete conclusions can be accessed from the QQI website at
31 mars 2013

Admissions battlefield: stamping out fraud in international education

Combatting fraud in international student admissionsBy Marybeth Gruenewald, Director of Global Initiatives and Senior Evaluator at Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE). We all know that without due diligence in fraud detection, we run the risk of  admitting a student with suspicious or incomplete documentation, or denying admission to a student who submits authentic, official credentials. As international admissions officers and academic credential evaluation professionals, we do not want to encourage fraud in our environment nor do we want to reward fraud. We must be fair, ethical, and practice good policies to prohibit the use of fraud.
Following the blog post by retired FBI Agent, Allen Ezell, on fraud prevention, this blog post takes a deeper look at the various stages of evaluating students’ credentials in the fight against fraud.
Gathering the ‘intel’

First we need to ask ourselves the question: Do we know all we can about educational systems around the world? What benchmark credential constitutes completion of secondary education in a country or how can a student enter into a second degree programme outside of our own institution? Do we know what official academic credentials look like from China or Brazil or Mozambique?  What is the official language in which the credential should appear? Take a look at your resources: are they comprehensive and up-to-date? Have you established your own network of colleagues around the world who can help you if questions arise and only a human resource can be of assistance? Today, more than ever, intelligence gathering is of most importance and whether your intelligence comes from a publication or an online database, be sure that the information is current.
Analysing the basic data

Our battle plan at this point is to look at the fundamentals: the completed and signed international admissions document and the educational history of your potential student. Does the biographical data of the student match what is stated in his or her documents? Many credentials will state a full date of birth, city of birth, and even parents’ names. Are there any unexplained gaps in the student’s educational history? Organise the academic credentials in chronological order. Does the student’s age at the time each degree/diploma was awarded correlate with what usually occurs in that system? Are any academic credentials missing from the admissions packet? If so, request them.
Let’s also take a look at the student’s institution of study and the basics of the credential before we go further. Is the name of the institution on the credential spelled correctly, using diacritical marks in the correct manner, or is the credential name misspelled? Is the institution name correct for the period of time in which the degree was awarded? Names of institutions of higher education change over time, for example many institutions in the former republics of the Soviet Union will have changed names. Chinese higher educational institutions can be stated in English in many different ways and those differences may be acceptable.
Watch for red flags!

Now we proceed into battle. Look for aspects of the documents that seem out of place, that are inaccurate, and that seem to pop out of the page right before your eyes. Use a lighted magnifying glass. Touch the document. Measure it. Here’s a short list of some documentation features that require inspection, measurement, study, and scrutiny:
    Paper size/colour/weight is correct for the country.
    Institutional seals/stamps are clear, crisp, and legible.
    Institutional logos are clean and correct for the time period.
    Signatures of institutional authorities do not look forced, unsteadied, nor copied and pasted.
    Credentials do not display misspelling, wrong course titles for the time period, smudges, white-outs, or erasures.
    Fonts, text layout, and symmetry of documents are correct for that institution’s credentials.
You should also be on the look out for the following:
    Do the grades seem too high?
    Is the educational terminology correct for the country concerned?
    Are there are dates or signatures on the documents?
    Are the credits/hours of study are too high/too low for that programme of study?
    Is there a lack of security features, such as embossed seals, foil printing, raised text, or holograms that should be the official document of that country?
Discovering a suspected fake academic credential

The red flags are waving brusquely; we suspect the academic credential may be fake. Now what? The verification process is not difficult: photocopy the credentials in question and send the copies to the appropriate office at the external institution. When composing your verification request, keep it short and simple. Use English as the primary language of the letter, or choose the country’s official language if that is possible for you and your staff. Assign a specific code to the letter and ask that the institution reply using that code. If you receive confirmation of a forged credential, your institution should have a policy in place to handle these types of fraud. If not, push to have that policy formulated on your campus. There are ethical and legal reasons to do so.
Making use of forensics

The best way to engage successfully and thoroughly in fraud detection is to make sure you have the correct resources for the mission ahead. Besides the pointers mentioned above, the published books and the online databases, there is another mechanism in fraud detection: forensics. This methodology goes even deeper into the aspect of credential fraud by examining the document at the printing process from start to finish. This investigation also uses forensic tools such as lighted magnifiers and jewellers’ loupes. The EAIE Professional Section Admissions Officers and Credential Evaluators (ACE) has hosted workshops and sessions on fraud detection including the use of forensics. There are other organisations who train in fraud detection as well. Educate yourselves, be aware, and be a sleuth. If it’s fun for Sherlock Holmes, it surely can be entertaining for us, as well as being the right thing to do.
31 mars 2013

Funding available for Changing the Learning Landscape projects at Changing the Learning Landscape events will have opportunities to bid for small grants for projects that lead to embedding learning technologies.
Changing the Learning Landscape (CLL) aims to bring about changes in approaches to technology in learning and teaching within higher education institutions.
As part of CLL, the HEA is running a number of free one-day CPD workshops to provide a practical introduction to the use of learning technologies for HE staff.
Up to £5,000 of funding will be available at each event. Individual attendees will be invited to bid for between £500 and £2,500 to help them fund small-scale projects to embed the use of technology within their institutions.
The workshops are running until 29 May 2013 at venues across the country. Some are designed to suit academic staff and some are aimed at staff with curriculum and teaching development and support roles. Themes of the events include social media, mobile learning and digital literacies.
CLL is a HEFCE funded project being run collaboratively between Jisc, the National Union of Students (NUS), the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and the HEA.
For more information please visit the CLL pages of the HEA website.
31 mars 2013

Symposium "Multilingualism as a resource" in Lower-Austria

QuizA language symposium organized within the Austrian-Hungarian educational project EDUCORB extended is taking place on April 11, 2013 in Lanzenkirchen, Lower-Austria.
“EDUCORB extended" builds upon the results of the previous project EDUCORB and aims to promote young people's cross-cultural communication skills in the region to increase their competitiveness in the common labour market.
After introducing the neighbouring languages, German and Hungarian, in pilot kindergartens the focus now lies in promoting the continuous acquisition of the foreign language from kindergarten to the last school year, the deepening of methodological innovation and cross-border cooperation between kindergartens and schools. An important factor for positive learning results is the motivation of the learners, which is promoted by personal contacts and practical experiences in the other country in the form of bilateral events, school projects and internships. Regular network meetings for kindergartens and schools and common language symposia provide a platform for shared ideas, methodological exchange and knowledge transfer. To ensure the quality of language, teaching training opportunities for language teachers are offered as well. A study accompanying the project evaluates its outcomes and provides sustainability.
Within the next months, various activities are planned: cross-border events for kindergartens and schools – intercultural project days for children and pupils; network events for pedagogues; internships in Hungary for Austrian trainees in tourism.
The next upcoming event is an international symposium: "Multilingualism as a resource" will be held on April 11, 2013 in Lanzenkirchen, Lower-Austria. The event provides an insight into the benefits of learning different languages at an early stage and shows how the neighbouring languages are implemented in practice. More on language symposium. More on EDUCORB extended.
31 mars 2013

The Erasmus Charter for Higher Education

European Commission logoYou are a higher education institution and you want to participate in the new EU Programme for education, training, youth and sports 2014-2020?
Apply now for the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education, valid for the full duration of the new programme (2014-2020).

Do not miss the deadline of 15th May 2013 or you will not be able to receive funding in the first year of the programme (i.e. the academic year 2014/2015). All relevant information can be found at:
The 2014-2020 EU programme for education, training, youth and sport supports, among other policy objectives, the European modernisation and internationalisation agenda in higher education. The Programme will cover the period 2014-2020 and replaces seven existing programmes, including the Lifelong Learning programme (LLP) which will end with the academic year 2013-2014.
The Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) provides the general quality framework for European and international cooperation activities a higher education institution (HEI) may carry out within the Programme. The award of an Erasmus Charter for Higher Education is a pre-requisite for all HEIs located in an eligible country (the list is published in the call – see the link below) and willing to participate in learning mobility of individuals and/or cooperation for innovation and good practices under the Programme. For HEIs located in other countries, the ECHE is not required, and the quality framework will be established through inter-institutional agreements between HEIs. The Charter is awarded for the full duration of the Programme.
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