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Editorial - Ka Ho Moka - College of Education, Zhejiang University, China and Faculty of Arts and Sciences, The Hong Kong Institute of Education
With the strong conviction to enhance their global competitiveness, governments across different parts of the world have tried various means to transform their higher education systems in order to strengthen national competitiveness at the international level. Some major strategies being adopted by governments from different parts of the globe are to (1) promote the rankings of their universities in the global university leagues; (2) promote internationalization in curriculum design and student learning; (3) enrich student learning through enhancement of student mobility; (4) engage in the quest for regional education hub status. In order to better position themselves in the global university leagues, Asian governments have made serious efforts to promote student mobility and internationalization in higher education (Portnoi et al., 2010; Mok and Yu, 2011; Welch, 2011). This special issue sets out, within the context of internationalization of higher education and the rise of education hubs in the region, to examine the issues related to transnational higher education (TNHE) and student mobility in East Asia.
It is generally perceived that TNHE has galvanized the development of higher education in terms of teaching. Among all Asian countries, China is one of the fasting growing places of TNHE, which has caught the interest of K.C. Ong and David Chan, who examine in their article the blossoming of TNHE programmes and foreign-local co-run schools in China. What are the drivers of such growth? As Ong and Chan argue, it is mainly linked to the socio-economic changes taking place in China. TNHE development in China began to accelerate in the 1990s, when it needed more human capital for a higher level of economic development. Other factors also include the rising educational demand by the young population, and the need for internationalizing the higher education sector. But as TNHE has continued to expand, the Chinese government has turned away from an originally ‘informal, incidental and rather laissez-faire’ approach to a regulatory one. The 21st century has witnessed a more robust development of TNHE in China, as it has increasingly integrated with the world economy, for example the admittance to the World Trade Organization, which attempts to open up a world market of educational services. Against this background, the varieties of TNHE programmes offered by different institutions across different regions are examined in the article to illustrate the prospects of TNHE in China. At the end of the article, the authors discuss the potential difficulties it is now facing, mostly the lagging behind of quality assurance mechanism amidst rapid expansion.
While many people like Ong and Chan are giving positive reactions to the rise of TNHE for its economic potential and the increased educational opportunities, Li-Chuan Chiang's article provides a critical reflection of TNHE in East Asia. In her article, Chiang raises some critical issues: the fact that TNHE has always prioritized teaching at the expense of research and community service, the other traditional missions of university; the low quality of TNHE programmes (in terms of medium of instruction, programme materials, teaching staff); and the over-commercialization of TNHE programmes, which are more vocationally oriented than academic in nature. Apart from these practical concerns, from a critical cultural perspective, Chiang is most worried about the intrusion of ‘western-dominated pedagogies and curriculum from abroad to home via importing TNHE’, which Chiang regards as ‘the Trojan Horse’.
Similarly, Aaron Koh also shares the same worry about the rise of TNHE in Asia, and he pays particular attention to the fact that outward-bound student mobility is harmful to human capital building of a state, as in his case study of Singapore. According to Koh, human capital is critical to a small city-state like Singapore, where natural resources are scarce and the manufacturing base is small. In the past few years, the Singaporean leaders and society have been increasingly aware of the potential harm of student outflow in the context of the rise of TNHE. Arguing that Singapore has been pursuing ‘tactical globalization’, in which the state adopts a pragmatic way to seize on the potential and opportunities offered by globalization but also to actively deal with negative consequences of globalization, for example brain drain, Koh examines the ‘tactics of intervention’ by the Singaporean government to retain and nurture local talent and attract foreign talent in the battle for human capital for economic growth. Such tactics include offering scholarships, changing immigration policies and maintaining ties with overseas Singaporeans.
In fact, in thinking about the broad picture of brain drain in Asia in recent years, the past understanding that TNHE would favour the West and undermine the East (student outflow always occurs from Asia to western developed countries, as students mostly aspire to study in those places and intended to stay there for work after graduation) has been rendered increasingly problematic in regard to rising horizontal mobility of students within the Asian region. As Sheng-Ju Chan argues in his article, the signs of change are linked to the shift in the global balance of power, when many Asian countries have increased competition for human capital (within and also beyond Asia) for advancing national competitiveness. These Asian countries have taken efforts both domestically and internationally. Domestically, they have restructured the higher education sectors to increase their attractiveness. Internationally, they have sought more presence in the international scene, for example, by bringing in more foreign resources, such as inviting leading foreign institutions to enter the local markets, and aligning themselves with international accreditation organizations and joining international institutional networks.
In delineating the development of TNHE from the perspectives of international change and institutional transformation as mentioned above, what is often missing in the discussion is the perspective of the students engaging in TNHE. In this regard, we have in this special issue collected two articles — Ka Ho Mok's case studies on Singapore and Malaysia, and Hao Jie and Anthony Welch's case on China. From the perspective of students’ learning experience, Ka Ho Mok's article discusses the characteristics of TNHE in Singapore and Malaysia, the two potential education hubs in Asia. Having conducted focus groups and interviews of students engaging in TNHE in Singapore and Malaysia, Mok finds overseas studying experience a major attraction for overseas students in the two countries. It is not only the overseas studying experience, but also overseas academic qualifications that drive students to engage in TNHE. That is why students are enthusiastic about twinning programmes (e.g., co-organized programmes by one local institution and by one foreign institution) because having the name of a foreign school printed on an academic certificate leads to better career prospects in their own countries. And as Mok discovers, students in Singapore are more satisfied with TNHE programmes than their counterparts in Malaysia, because Singapore has been more strategically and carefully selective in bringing in foreign partners than Malaysia.
In the case of China, Hao Jie and Anthony Welch also discover the same phenomenon that the overseas studying experience has long been regarded as a gold ticket to the employment market. The high-skilled returnees, who are called ‘Hai Gui’ (sea turtles), have always been highly sought by employers, because the overseas qualification they possess is a guarantee of one's quality, as China's higher education development had been halted for a long period of time before the 1980s. After graduation in foreign countries, the high-skilled returnees are motivated to come back to China by the expanding career opportunities concomitant to the rise of the Chinese economy, a sense of national identity, and also the desire to contribute to the country. However, in examining the job-seeking experiences of high-skilled returnees who have returned from Australia to China, Hao and Welch find that, as the higher education sector of China has been improving in recent years, their career paths are not as promising as before, as now they have to face competition from student graduates from top universities in the country. And, although they are Chinese natives, they have the added difficulty of having to reintegrate into a rapidly changing China after a period of time away from the country.
The collection of articles in this issue has provided comparative perspectives and international insights when analysing the growing trend of TNHE in Asia. The authors in this special issue have highlighted not only the growing popularity of student mobility, they have attempted to critically examine the socio-cultural implications for the rise of TNHE and student learning in Asia. Embracing internationalization among higher education systems in Asia has clearly suggested that Asian countries are very keen to become more international, but we must be sensitive about how the notion of ‘internationalization’ is understood. Internationalization should not be interpreted as an overemphasis of other cultures and languages, but as an under-valuation of the local and domestic traditions, values, cultures and languages. In the quest for internationalization, Asian universities should have engaged in serious efforts for the rediscovery of Asian scholarship, introducing the uniqueness of Asian values, traditions and cultures through international connectivity in terms of academic exchange and international research collaboration. For in doing so Asian universities would be able to contribute to a better understanding of internationalization by playing up the role of ‘Asianization’ in order to contribute to the international community dominated by the West.
Transnational Higher Education and Challenges for University Governance in China - Kok Chung Ong and David K.K. Chan
Higher education in China is currently undergoing a process of re-orientation. This paper focuses specifically on the development of transnational higher education (TNHE) in China over the last decade, as well as its implications for university governance. Major features of TNHE programmes in China will be explored, and a corresponding typology will be presented. We argue that in the face of the fast expanding activities of TNHE, the common irregularities in programme operation, and the less effective and efficient mechanism of quality assurance, may well be the major challenges for university governance in China. Structural reform in university governance is desirable, particularly in terms of empowering the non-public sector in Chinese higher education and of separating the role of the Party from academic administration.
Tactics of Interventions: Student Mobility and Human Capital Building in Singapore - Aaron Koh
Hitherto, research on transnational higher education student mobility tended to narrowly present hard statistics on student mobility, analysing these in terms of ‘trends’ and the implication this has on policy and internationalizing strategies. What is missing from this ‘big picture’ is a close-up analysis of the micropolitics of student mobility in specific geographical contexts. Despite an expanding university sector in Singapore, there is a persistent trend of Singaporean students leaving the country for overseas study, posing a possible problem of brain drain. This paper presents a socio-politico analysis of student mobility and the attendant politics this has created for Singapore's human capital building. The Singapore case is instructive of how it manages its human capacity building vis-à-vis its outward-bound student mobility. Although there are ‘tactics of intervention’ in place, it remains to be seen how the Singaporean government tackles two national dilemmas that are related to the socio-politico consequences of student mobility.
Shifting Patterns of Student Mobility in Asia - Sheng-Ju Chan
Responding to the impacts of globalization and the knowledge economy, the increasing demand for higher education in East Asia is not only met by domestic higher education, but also by importing transnational higher education (TNHE). Importing TNHE becomes an export strategy to attract international students to contribute to capacity building for the importing countries. While trading on the strength of west-dominated TNHE in East Asia is well received, its underlying dilemmas are under-represented. The paper aims to offer an alternative analysis to identify possible hurtful aspects that might be treated as ‘the Trojan Horse’ hidden in the import–export model that might aggravate rather than minimize student mobility and brain drain and deepen rather than alleviate the influence of western culture on East Asian countries. Hence, the overwhelming discourse of capacity building in importing TNHE should be critically re-visited by paying attention to foreign providers’ motives, the nature and characteristics of TNHE programmes, and the reality of the partnership process and arrangement.
The Rise of Transnational Higher Education in Asia: Student Mobility and Studying Experiences in Singapore and Malaysia - Ka Ho Mok
During the past decade, Asia — traditionally one of the largest exporters of mobile students — has experienced major changes in student mobility within higher education. As the worldwide competition for international students has escalated, many Asian countries have adopted a wide range of mechanisms and strategies in facilitating student mobility. This paper argues that although most Asian nations face a problem of net outflow of students to Western countries, a trend of regionalization or horizontal mobility of students within the region is emerging. As the Asian countries mainly compete for the same pool of students in the region, the competition will intensify. Therefore, the role of leading universities in the West in helping to attract international students to Asia in the form of transnational higher education has become problematic. The growing competition for international students between domestic and foreign higher education institutions poses new governance challenges for host countries in Asia.
A Tale of Sea Turtles: Job-Seeking Experiences of Hai Gui (High-Skilled Returnees) in China - Jie Hao and Anthony Welch
A key feature of contemporary globalization is the increasing mobility of high-skilled talent. While for many countries in the developing world the loss of such individuals represents a longstanding concern, countries such as China have now developed key policies to harness their overseas talent. The article examines the job-seeking experiences of a key group of high-skilled returnees, after taking advanced degrees in Australia, discussing the outcomes in terms of salaries and length of time to secure employment, as well as analysing their advantages and disadvantages relative to their domestic peers. On the basis of survey and interview data, the views of both returnees and employers are canvassed, as also issues of re-integration and Chinese networks and values.
Indian Higher Education: Envisioning the Future - Heather Eggins (book review).
The Mission of Humanities Universities in Eastern and Central Europe: Between Training and Bildung June 6, 2012 – June 7, 2012
We live in societies described by social theorists as functional, where the division of labor puts every person in a precise professional place determined by concrete social needs and goals. In such circumstances the university becomes a mediating structure that trains individuals for these professional spheres, supporting the functional principle and acting according to its logic. But how do universities in Central and Eastern Europe construct and pursue their broader mission in the context of functional societies? Should they pursue only the goal of training professionals, or also embody the integrative mission of cultivating the individual in all respects, as exemplified by the German concept of Bildung in Humboldt’s model of a university?
Holism and integration have been enduring educational goals. From the ancient idea of paideia through the Middle Age model of liberal arts schools, the concordia of the Renaissance to the modern conception of integrative learning, the cultivation of a “good and perfect human” has been and remains the mission of much of higher education, even if the characterization of the end goal of education has changed in public discourse. “To be a good citizen,” “to make the spiritual journey to God,” “to train as a journalist, doctor, teacher” are all goals of contemporary education, and all illustrate the diversity in values and missions of educational institutions, as well as society’s changing attitudes toward its individual members and itself as a community. These changes demonstrate a shift from a holistic, integral vision of humanity to training for particular skills considered important in a functionally differentiated society.
This tendency raises important questions. What happens to those centuries-old spheres of human development such as citizenship, union with the transcendent, and progress toward harmony? Do these changes speak to the fragmentation of our educational models, the disengagement of students, and a reduction of civic activity and public service? What functions can and should universities carry out in Eastern and Central European societies today? How do universities promote their social science and humanities functions while fulfilling their integral mission in human life and society in this region? These are the central questions of this conference.
Date: Wednesday 29 - Friday 31 August 2012. Location: Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Bergen in Norway.
European conferences on gender equality in higher education
The European conferences on gender equality in higher education have since 1998 brought regularly together hundreds of gender equality practitioners, researchers and administrators from Europe and beyond. The conferences provide an international forum to discuss and exchange information and experiences and share research results on the changes and challenges related to gender in academia, gender equality promotion and interventions in higher education institutions.
The first European conference on gender equality in higher education was organized in Finland by the University of Helsinki in 1998, and since then the conferences have traveled across Europe: to Zürich (2000), Genoa (2003), Oxford (2005), Berlin (2007), Stockholm (2009), and now to Bergen 2012.
What has kept these European gatherings going is a network created in 1999 as a result of the first conference: the European Network on Gender Equality in Higher Education. This network keeps connected by an email list eq-uni (see separate link on how to join) with 500 members from over 30 countries. Each conference is organized by a local organizing group, consisting of one or several universities and other stakeholders, and advised by previous organizers and the European network. Where the next conference is going to take place is discussed collectively during the conference on the basis of offers from interested future host universities.
See also: Women’s access to Higher Education, What is wrong with global inequality in higher education, Strategies for Securing Equity in Access and Success in Higher Education, Women in Lifelong Learning Network, Equitable Access and Success in Higher Education, Every woman’s right to learn.
We are very proud to present a an exciting programme with a number of excellent speakers from all over Europe, on how to bridging the gap between universities and the society at large. As always, the opportunity to network with colleagues from all over Europe is a reason good enough for attending the EUPRIO conference. Do not miss the chance to participate in the EUPRIO award 2012.
‘The social contract between universities and society’
Although the days of universities as ‘ivory towers’ may be gone, this doesn’t automatically mean that universities are very good at proving their value to society, or in creating partnerships with important public stakeholder groups. Universities are challenged to convince the public of what could be called ‘the social contract between universities and society’. In this contract universities commit themselves to constantly improve teaching, to educate young people to become the leaders in future society, to do important research for economic, social and cultural development and to drive public debate about the development of a responsible and prosperous society.
Playing a muted role in promoting ‘the contract’ makes universities an easy prey for governments trying to reduce state deficits. And indeed more than ever universities are in the contemporary global crisis confronted with major cuts. General audiences barely react. They do not feel an urgency to protest against cutbacks or support universities. There is no general notion that investing in universities, in academic education and research, is one of the essential measures to find a way out of the current crisisWhat should universities do or how could universities improve their communication in a way that society recognises the general importance of academic education and research for the welfare of society itself? How can we improve a common understanding of the importance of public funding for universities as a essential investment in society itself? Quite a challenge!
The coming year we want to discuss this issue with all of you. We want to seek solutions, exchange best practise and develop ideas how we as communicators could effectively work on the improvement of the common understanding of the importance of universities for society of ‘the social contract between universities and society’. The European Plaza is the starting point to exchange ideas and experience and gather examples of best practise. We have formulated 4 different themes which allow us to discuss this issue looking at it from different angles. Don’t hesitate to give your opinion or to send in ideas how to handle this situation.
See also University Communicators establish their roles towards 2020.
In addition to an in-depth analysis of the state of institutional autonomy in Europe, the report includes scorecards which rank and rate higher education systems in four autonomy areas: organisational, financial, staffing and academic autonomy. Last week's event at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon was an opportunity for different stakeholders in Portugal (including universities and policy makers) to discuss the report’s findings with European experts in the context of the Portuguese higher education system.
Introductions by EUA President, Professor Helena Nazaré and the President of the CRUP, Professor António Rendas, were followed by a detailed presentation of the Scorecard project by report author Thomas Estermann. Individual sessions then looked in more detail at each of the four elements of university autonomy outlined in the report and in which European experts (including former EUA President Professor Jean-Marc Rapp, and Sir Howard Newby, Vice-Chancellor, University of Liverpool and Chair of the Autonomy Scorecard Steering Committee) presented alongside Portuguese experts. The event showed how the Scorecard findings can be useful in informing national debates and reforms on university autonomy. EUA intends to continue to monitor progress in this area with its members.
Find out more about the event here. To find out more about the Scorecard project visit the online autonomy tool developed by EUA.
By Stephen Carson and Jan Philipp Schmidt. The term ‘massive open online course’, or MOOC (coined by Dave Cormier and Bryan Alexander) describes courses that take place online; are open in the sense that participation is typically free of charge and learning materials can be modified, reused and distributed to others; and reach massive communities – of tens of thousands – of learners.
MOOCs are a relatively new phenomenon, but they recently captured public attention when Stanford University launched a set of free online courses.
Sebastian Thrun, one of the MOOC pioneers at Stanford, created the artificial intelligence course that attracted more than 160,000 users (though only 25,000 finished the course). Inspired by this success he founded Udacity, a for-profit start-up that will use a similar model for online instruction, with the goal of making an entire computer science course available at no cost.
Thrun’s Stanford colleagues Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng also participated in the first round of Stanford MOOCs and subsequently spun off Coursera, another for-profit start-up, which aims to provide a platform for other universities to host similar online courses. A quick review of the key characteristics these MOOCs share will help us better understand what opportunities they offer to universities and professors.
The following is a guest post from Mandy Reinig, director of international education at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Studying abroad has become an increasingly important role within American higher education. The administrators who run study-abroad offices and faculty members hold a key responsibility in this process. However, there is often a divide in the understanding of the functions they play in the process of turning students into global citizens. This tension can be particularly pronounced between education-abroad professionals and professors since it crosses that ever-contentious faculty/staff divide.
Alors qu'ils n'étaient que 34% en 2011, la proportion de DRH souhaitant avoir davantage recours aux contrats en alternance est passée à 54% dans l'édition 2012 du baromètre. Ceci concerne notamment les grandes entreprises, qui ont déjà beaucoup recours à l'apprentissage. Alors que 42% de l'ensemble des DRH ont répondu ne pas compter augmenter la part de contrats en alternance dans leurs effectifs en 2012, ils ne sont en effet que 25% parmi les DRH d'entreprises de plus de 2 000 salariés.
Trois quart des entreprises ont moins de 3% d'alternants
Alors que le quota d'alternants est récemment passé de 3 à 4%, bien peu d'entreprises atteignent aujourd'hui cet objectif selon le baromètre. Dans 72 % des entreprises, les alternants représentent moins de 3% des effectifs. Dans 33% de l'ensemble des entreprises (37% en 2011) les alternants sont même en dessous des 1%. Dans les entreprises de moins de 500 salariés, la part des entreprises n'atteignant pas 1% d'alternants dans leurs effectifs passe à 51%.
Students in all disciplines said the quality of the supervision they received was the most important factor when considering whether to stay on or drop out. Some complained they did not have enough funding to attend conferences or perform field work, while others said they did not have their own desk or lab space, according to the survey, developed by the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) with the Department of Education.
The President of CAPA, Chamonix Terblanche, will present the findings at the Higher Education Summit in Melbourne today. She said supervision was “easily the biggest concern for students, and the most important factor when it comes to those who drop out.
“Collegiality too. As soon as research candidates feel they’re being treated with respect, and their opinion counts, and they’re being included in all these collegiate activities, then it’s a far better experience for them. Their supervisor is crucial to that.”
The survey found that humanities, arts and social science (HASS) students made up just 25% of postgraduate students aged 24 or younger, but 85% of students over 65. While most participants said they had a positive experience of “academic inclusivity and collegiality”, 134 HASS students rated their experience as poor or below average compared with 100 students in science-based subjects. Almost twice as many HASS students did not have access to their own desk and chair: 153 to 79.
Ms Terblanche said that although the survey did not map attrition rates, “we do know anecdotally that for students in the humanities, arts and social sciences, attrition rates are higher than for people in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The latter tend to work together on industry-based projects or in labs, so they have more support around them naturally. But with the humanities and others, they tend to work more on their own, so they’re isolated and don’t always have someone to reach out to.”
The average age of a PhD student was 35, she said. Many had worked for several years and expected to be treated as equals rather than “rookies” when they returned to their studies.
“Resources are a big issue. So are the tools that students are furnished with. Do they have their own desk and computer? How much money are they allowed to spend on doing field work? Do they have support for attending conferences?”
The report said that “so-called ‘imposter syndrome’, that is, the feeling that one does not deserve what one has accomplished, such as a place in a higher degree by research, seems to be fairly common amongst [higher degree by research] (HDR) candidates, and may be why many believe that they are simply not ‘smart enough’ when supervision proves difficult.
“The stakes can be a lot higher when there is limited expertise in the department, such as when disciplinary knowledge is restricted to an HDR candidate’s supervisor. When things go wrong in such environments, there can be nowhere to turn.”