By Elizabeth Gibney. Awards can raise profile and state funding for academic disciplines. Elizabeth Gibney reports
Earlier this month, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner shocked the science world when he announced a plan to give nine scientists prizes of $3 million (£1.9 million) each for their work in areas of as yet unproven fundamental physics.
Unpaid research posts represent the latest step in the 'proletarianisation' of the academy, argues Ross Perlin
Recent graduates - those who can afford to, anyway - resign themselves to months of unpaid interning, treading water in the labour market. The jobless, thanks to the government's controversial workfare schemes, are pressed into uncompensated service in a modern version of Lenin's all-Russia subbotniks. Meanwhile, those fortunate enough to be employed in paid work fearfully contribute a collective 2 billion hours of unpaid overtime to their employers every year.
Now the employment practices of higher education have come under the spotlight. First was the University of Birmingham, which blithely sought an "honorary" unpaid research assistant to work at least two days a week on a "voluntary basis". Then it was University College London and the Anna Freud Centre, where researchers had the temerity to advertise for a research assistant intern based at UCL, full-time or part-time, unpaid for six months.
By Simon Johnson and Graeme Paton. Scottish universities are offering places on hundreds of courses to fee-paying foreign and English students despite declaring themselves “closed” to school leavers from this country, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Many of the country’s most eminent universities, including Edinburgh and Dundee, are effectively operating “two-tier” clearing systems that favour applicants from outside the EU and the rest of the UK.
Science has been widely recognised as a path to social and economic development. Despite the universality of this assumption, the discussion around how to develop effective science policies, seems an issue mistakenly reserved only for 'big countries'.
Chile is a small country debating just how much research and development (R&D) should matter. We're in a good position in terms of scientific research, ranking 21st in the world (1st in South America) in terms of citations per article (in countries with more than 20,000 documents in the period between 1996-2010). But despite these impressive figures, In 2012, investment in R&D was only 0.5% of the GDP. And while Chile may now be a member of the OECD, we have no Ministry for Science and our research spending pales in comparison to the OECD average.
In response, the scientific community came together to protest in 2007 and 2010 and to raise awareness of the low investment in R&D, the lack of a national plan for R&D (the last one was promulgated in 1988), and the urgent need for a new governance on research.
The advocacy group, Más Ciencia para Chile (More Science for Chile), was formed at the end of 2010 and close to 20 science students, postdoctoral researchers and journalists now work on the issues outlined above, as well as the promotion of better public attitudes to science and science communication. Some of us knew each other before hand; others joined along the way.
We started with an online petition, targeting both asking citizens and scientists. To date, we've had 2,600 signatures. In August 2011, we gathered politicians, scientists, journalists, graduate students, and relevant experts in the field, in the Chilean parliament. The conference was themed "Towards a public institution for the development of science in Chile" and its main aim was to talk with the Commission on Science and Technology in the House of Deputies.
This first experience was, undoubtedly, an 'initiation ritual' and a success in its own right. Although the government has been reluctant to consider our proposals (though they have been well received by some members of the Chilean Parliament), the need for a "More Science for Chile" campaign has became clear and we continue to make our case in the media. More letters, blogs and articles debating these issues are now being published than even before. In April of this year we published a letter in the magazine Science and we continue to stimulate debate in round table discussions and seminars. The movement has strengthened.
Still, looking back at what has been achieved to date, it is fair to say we could have done better in some aspects of our campaign. We have had limited success in actively engaging local media and an significant part of the scientific community is still reluctant to participate in this debate - though this might be due in part to cultural traits.
Next year Chilean presidential campaigns begin and will be a good opportunity to evaluate the impact of our initiatives. The promotion of the scientific research has never been a theme in previous elections, but the engagement of the scientific and academic community, after our work began, can hopefully change this. But change takes time. Political will is needed but engaging politicians in debate is as difficult - in Chile as it in anywhere else in the world. Likewise, more scientists need to step up and participate.
Nonetheless, initiatives such as More Science for Chile (or indeed Science is Vital in UK) can still transform the way in which scientists and the political world interact and exchange information and ideas. And with continuous budget cuts or inadequate science policies now commonplace the world over, science policy could well be a new and fertile ground for young scientists to explore.
Pablo Astudillo Besnier is part of the More Science for Chile coordination team. He is an engineer in molecular biotechnology at the University of Chile, and a PhD student in biological sciences at the Catholic University of Chile.
Editor's note: A rebuttal letter from the president of National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) has also been published in Science.
Internationalisation in higher education is nothing new. For decades - before there were economic gains to be made from international student recruitment and possibly even before the term was coined - the brightest and wealthiest students from developing countries have gone to study abroad. The institutions selected have been as much a reflection of the political ties between countries, as they've been an indication of a student's personal ambitions.
But since the development of the higher education market, the rising costs of a university education and the diminishing support of governments through the public purse, universities - old and new - are actively pursuing internationalisation strategies. The other big change of course, is that the new key players in higher education (India, China and Brazil) reflect wider geopolitical shifts.
Still, to see internationalisation as simply synonymous with international student recruitment is both a limited approach and one loaded with concerns over neo-colonialism and imperialism. The sector now speaks more of international partnerships – from research collaborations and consultancy to academic and student exchanges.
Engaging globally has becomes both more popular and more complex. In turn, universities are beginning to adopt a variety of approaches – often led by institution heads. In this brave new world, how do you go about developing a strategy that works and is embedded in your existing institutional culture? How do you pick your partners and as universities start multiple partnerships in multiple countries? How do you determine who the stakeholders are, to whom you should be accountable? And, perhaps most contentious of all, how do you assess internationalisation strategies? Should universities measure their activities or the impact of those activities? Ultimately, what does quality look like in international higher education?
Join our panel, Friday 17 August to understand the place internationalisation strategies fill within wider higher education and share your experiences and expertise on how the best internationalisation strategies are developed.
The live chat will begin at 12 BST and will be in the comment threads beneath this blog. To join the panel, email Eliza Anyangwe.
A European higher education institution has joined some of America’s top universities in offering free online science courses to anyone anywhere in the world. Germany’s Hasso Plattner Institute plans to start offering the courses next month to all who are interested.
As a forerunner in Europe, the institute wants to make worldwide interactive online courses, taught by its computer science professors, available via the web platform www.openHPI.de.
The courses will be offered in English. To take part, prospective students only have to register at the openHPI portal. There are no admission restrictions for the online courses, which are embedded in a social learning network.
The wage advantage for workers with a bachelor’s degree or better over high school has remained high and has held mostly stable at 97 percent. The wage premium for bachelor’s degrees or better relative to high school degrees skyrocketed from 44 percent in 1981 to a 100 percent in 2005 and has only fallen to 97 percent since the beginning of the recession.
“It is a tough job market for college graduates but far worse for those without a college education,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Georgetown Center’s director and co-author of the report. “At a time when more and more people are debating the value of postsecondary education, this data shows that your chances of being unemployed increase dramatically without a college degree.”
The Georgetown study shows that in 2012, seven percent of graduates with a bachelor degree or better are still unemployed and another 14 percent are underemployed in jobs beneath their skill levels. By comparison, the unemployment rate for new high school graduates is 24 percent and 42 percent for those individuals are underemployed.
Jobs that require bachelor’s degrees have been the big winner, increasing by 2.2 million jobs since the recession began. Those jobs that required some college or an associate’s degree declined by 1.8 million in the recession but have regained 1.6 million of those job losses since the recovery began in 2010. At the same time 5.8 million jobs for those with high school or less have been lost since the recession began.
“In the mid 1970s, less than 30 percent of jobs in America required any education beyond high school,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina Foundation. “Today, the majority of U.S. jobs require a postsecondary degree or credential. This shift has happened quickly and it demonstrates how vital college attainment is to individual success and our nation as a whole.”
Industries that are postsecondary education intensive, held up best since the recession began. But, there were differences during recession and recovery.
• Professional and business services lost college jobs during the recession but that sector has already added over 730,000 college jobs during the recovery.
• Government jobs held up during the recession (adding nearly 80,000 college jobs), but collapsed during the recovery due to budget cuts (so far 14,000 college jobs have been lost since the recovery began in January 2010).
• Since the recession began, the healthcare industry has added over one million jobs for people with two-year and four-year college degrees.
• Even in low skill blue collar sectors, which took the brunt of the recession, college educated workers were favored. For example, in manufacturing, employment dropped 15 percent for people with high school diplomas and only one percent for those with bachelor’s degrees or better. In construction, employment dropped 25 percent for those with high school diplomas and only two percent for workers with a bachelor’s degree or better.
The recession and recovery have affected college men and women differently.
• Male college workers were hardest hit during the recession due to private sector job losses. But men led the recovery, including the recovery in the market for college graduates (adding 2.3 million college jobs).
• In both the recession and during the recovery, the female labor market shifted decisively toward jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree, having added 1.6 million jobs.
Findings also show that the rate of college enrollment jumped sharply, peaking in 2009 but has fallen off rapidly since then. The recession, however, was a college wake-up-call for men. After lagging behind for decades, since 2006 the rate of increase in male enrollment has caught up and slightly surpassed the rate of increase in female enrollment.
The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm is comprised of a full report and an executive summary; both documents are available online at http://cew.georgetown.edu/collegeadvantage.
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The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce is an independent, nonprofit research and policy institute that studies the link between individual goals, education and training curricula and career pathways. The Center is affiliated with the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. For more information, visit: http://cew.georgetown.edu. Follow us on Twitter @CntrEdWrkfrce and on Facebook.
Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, log on to www.luminafoundation.org.
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The Education Secretary said exams needed to be “modernised” to enable British students to compete with the rest of the world.
Sixth-formers are preparing to collect their A-level results in what experts said will be the toughest year yet for those who miss out on top grades.
“Near-miss” students who attempt to secure a place through clearing are likely to find it harder because universities can for the first time admit unlimited numbers of students with grades of AAB or above. Limits remain on the number of other students.
Andrea Robertson, of clearing organisation Ucas, said: “For some courses there is an increased likelihood that some institutions will not be able to accept near–miss applicants.”
Writing in The Times today, Mr Gove said politicians had failed to ensure the exam system worked in the interests of all students.
He said: “Our young people are as capable of academic excellence as anyone. They need to be. Because the world is getting more competitive and they are up against billions of others in the race for jobs and university places. That is why we must make sure that our exam system, the training ground on which they prepare for the adult world, can match the world’s best.
“Academic rigour is liberating, not limiting. Students with good passes, especially in traditional subjects, have more opportunities in life.” Chris Keates, general secretary of teachers’ union the NASUWT, said: “Tomorrow’s results are the culmination of an immense amount of hard work by students and schools, and for once it would be good if they could enjoy their success without the usual serial gripers seeking to undermine their achievements.
“This year’s results are being released against a backdrop of increasing attacks on our examinations system, with ministers and commentators seeking to whip up a false crisis about ‘gold standard’ qualifications, grade inflation and dumbing down.
A spokesman for higher education action group Universities UK said: “Students who didn’t get the grades they were hoping for should keep calm, speak to advisers on the phone, the admissions people and universities.”
Those starting university this year will be the first to pay £9,000 tuition fees. Despite a 50,000 drop in applications, there are still far more applicants than places.
Due to price increase at universities in the UK the amount of British students is also growing steadily.
They are attracted by relatively low prices for undergraduate studies and the fact that universities of Holland offer education in English. This academic year, however, the population of foreign students following higher education in the Netherlands is about to change.
According to a research of StudyPortals, in comparison to the application figures of 2011 the amount of students from South European countries who want to enrol at Dutch universities increased explosively. A 1.5-time growth is estimated for the 2012/2013 academic year.
Most applications come from Greek candidates. Applications from Italians, Portuguese and Spanish students are growing as well. The worsening economical situation and high unemployment force them to look for study and later job possibilities in Holland.
Advantages for EEA students
They take advantage of affordable tuition fees for Bachelor programmes (1.771 EURO) and monthly tuition fee loans (266 EURO) and some supplement loans established by Dutch government for EEA students following undergraduate and graduate education in Holland. See tuition fees for study programmes in our programme database.
A third of international students at Australian universities did not step ashore last year, according to new government figures.
IN 2011 there were 110,000 offshore students, up 3 per cent or so on the previous year.