16 août 2012

The Global Search for Education: International Thinking

http://s.huffpost.com/images/v/logos/bpage/education.gif?29By , Blogger and author, 'The Real Alice in Wonderland'. "It is impossible to overestimate how important educational institutions are to society. We need to invest in them." -- Lord Ken Macdonald.
The technology revolution continues to play a significant role in making it easier for students to think internationally in terms of their higher education options. The Internet has made it simpler for students to research and apply to universities. Interviews can be done by Skype. At a time when President Obama has raised awareness for the rise in U.S. college costs, American students are increasingly thinking international and seeking their degrees across the pond (in England) according to HESA. Not only are there in many cases savings to be made in tuition fees, the top UK universities rival the best American ones in terms of prestige (see Times Higher Education World University Rankings and U.S. News World's Best Universities Rankings). Putting aside finances and rankings, what price would you put on the cultural experience of studying in one of the oldest and most famous universities in the world?

Posté par pcassuto à 02:05 - - Permalien [#]

German Universities 'Share Blame' for Problems

http://www.spiegel.de/static/sys/v9/spiegelonline_logo.pngBy David Gordon Smith. It has been 10 years since the controversial Bologna reforms began transforming higher education in Germany. Opinions differ as to whether its goals have been achieved, but editorialists argue that universities are partly to blame for overcrowded lecture halls and unhappy students.
The "Bologna reforms" of higher education were supposed to benefit students. But in Germany, at least, they have proven unpopular with many young people at universities.

Posté par pcassuto à 02:00 - - Permalien [#]

University reforms struggle to make the grade

http://www.designtagebuch.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/deutsche-welle-logo.jpgGreater mobility, internationally recognized degrees, and better access to higher education across Europe - that was the aim of the Bologna reform. A decade later, students in Germany are disappointed.
These days, his regular spot in the café at the university library in Bonn is empty. It's summer break and economics student Alexander Schreck is taking some time off. During the semester, though, he's here every day - not to drink coffee or chat with his friends, but to study.
"I work best with a constant level of background noise," he said.
Schreck, who is a second-semester master's student, spends at least eight hours a day with his studies, either in lectures or sitting over his books. During the summer breaks, he does internships or earns a bit of extra money.
It's what's become typical for student life in Germany, 10 years after the Bologna reforms were introduced here on August 15, 2002. Since the tightly structured BA and MA programs were implemented, students have hardly had any extra time for friends, sports or other hobbies.
The challenge of mobility
Mostly, though, the dream of study abroad has become more difficult to realize - and that was just what the reforms were intended to avoid.
"Those who take a course abroad want to have it count toward their degree, but there is still too much uncertainty," said Margret Wintermantel, head of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and long-time president of the German Rectors' Conference.
Only one in five bachelor students spends a semester abroad, though the Bologna reforms were supposed to increase that proportion. Wintermantel would like to see 50 percent of bachelor students go abroad, though such a high number will likely remain a pipe dream.
Since it was introduced, 47 countries have signed the Bologna treaty, but the "Europe of universities" that was intended has yet to be established. Universities across Europe now offer BA and MA programs, but the differences between them are too great to make them compatible.
More dropouts

As far as international mobility goes, Wintermantel's successor, Horst Hippler, isn't particularly optimistic. The new system doesn't make it easier for students to go abroad, he's criticized publically.
His opinion distances Hippler from Germany's Minister of Education Annette Schavan, who has praised the Bologna treaty as an "example of a European success story." The reform has encouraged mobility and the dropout rate is decreasing, according to Schavan.
A current study conducted by the Higher Education Information System (HIS) shows that 35 percent of bachelor students don't complete their studies - three percent more than in 2010, the last time statistics were gathered.
In the remaining diploma programs - the curricula followed prior to the Bologna reform - the dropout rate is 24 percent. Achim Meyer, secretary general of the German student union, Deutsches Studentenwerk, says the dropout rate among bachelor students is higher because the students are overloaded.
Bologna burnout

"With the Bologna reforms, the demand among students for guidance counseling has risen dramatically," said Meyer, who demands more financial resources for such support.
According to an internal study, 83 percent of workers at the psychological counseling centers run by the German student unions say they have observed an increase in overwork and physical exhaustion among students.
"The students say they have difficulties concentrating and sleeping, and have stomach problems," said Doreen Liebold, the author of the study. "Many feel unmotivated and don't have fun in their studies anymore."
If the reforms themselves aren't reformed, said Liebold, then more and more students in Germany will suffer from burnout.
Reforming the reforms

Criticism of the current conditions has reached Education Minister Schavan. Over the next several years, she wants to invest two billion euros in reforming curricula and improving the teaching at German universities.
With an increasing number of teenagers choosing to attend college, the issue affects more and more people in Germany. Ten years ago, 37 percent of each school class went off to university; now it's around 50 percent.
Rising enrollment creates logistical challenges for the universities that have only made mobility more difficult. Getting a room in a student dormitory seems as unlikely as winning the lottery, for some, and long lines in the cafeteria disrupt the students' strict schedules.
Those who managed to get a place at the university under these conditions won't give it up so quickly.

Posté par pcassuto à 01:57 - - Permalien [#]

UGC lists norms for tie-ups with foreign varsities

http://www.arrivesafe.org/media_coverage/toi-17nov2008.jpgBy , NEW DELHI: With the foreign educational providers Bill put on hold, University Grants Commission (UGC) has finalized regulations through which foreign institutions would be able to come to India in collaboration, partnership or in twinning arrangement with local educational institutions.
The regulations, to be notified shortly, mandate that only those foreign institutions would be allowed who are among the top 500 institutions in the world as per Times Higher Education's world university ranking or the Academic Ranking of World Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Foreign institutions would have to ensure that courses offered by them are in conformity with the standards set by Indian regulatory bodies.
Indian partners of foreign educational institutions are mandated to have accreditation by National Assessment and Accreditation Council with an A or an equivalent grade.
However, Indian educational institutions run by Centre, state or Union Territory administration would be free from mandatory accreditation.
Indian collaborators would require at least five years experience of offering education at post-graduate level. Again, government educational institutions have been exempted.
In case an Indian educational institution is affiliated to a university it would need its approval before collaborating with foreign institutions.
Also, the new entity borne out of collaboration is barred from teaching anything against national security and territorial integrity.
Institutions would also have to abide by regulations of Indian government and in case where foreign exchange is involved they would have to follow regulations of Reserve Bank of India. UGC's approval would be for five years, but it can review the progress and then extend or withdraw approval or even impose new conditions.

Posté par pcassuto à 01:52 - - Permalien [#]

Foreign students favoured in 'two tier' university clearing

http://bathknightblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/telegraph-logo.jpgBy . Universities are still accepting applications from foreign students despite declaring they are closed to British candidates, it has emerged.
Just 24 hours before the publication of A-level results, it was disclosed that many institutions were effectively operating “two-tier” clearing systems, with more courses being made available for students applying from outside Britain and Europe.

Posté par pcassuto à 01:47 - - Permalien [#]

Study in excellence as universities close on world's elite

http://s0.2mdn.net/1812181/NEW_MAY-2012_28-DAY-PREVIEW-STORY-FOOTER_650_NG_22may.pngBy JULIE HARE. AUSTRALIA is on the way to having a world-class university system after five years of increased investment, says Glyn Davis, vice-chancellor of the country's top-ranked university.
Melbourne is the highest-ranked Australian university in the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities, released today, which for the first time put five Australian institutions in the top 100. With 19 of its 39 universities in the top 500, Australia has the fourth most successful higher education system globally.

Posté par pcassuto à 01:44 - - Permalien [#]
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Brazil: Federal higher education at risk

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/all/themes/ihecustom/logo.jpgBy Simon Schwartzman. For the last several months, the Brazilian federal universities have been paralyzed by strikes, and, in an independent development, last week the Congress approved legislation requiring that 50% of the vacancies in these institutions should be destined to students coming from public schools, and distributed according to race.
There are 99 federal institutions in Brazil, enrolling about 940,000 students, and also 108 state institutions, enrolling 600,000 students. The private sector is much larger, with 2,100 institutions and 4.8 million students enrolled. Federal universities are fully subsidized by the national government, academics and administrative personnel are civil servants and their salaries follow a single scale for the whole country. 

Posté par pcassuto à 01:39 - - Permalien [#]

El Ministerio de Educación reduce las becas a los repetidores

http://ep01.epimg.net/iconos/v1.x/v1.0/logos/cabecera_interior.png . Se endurecen los requisitos académicos para los beneficiarios y se penaliza a los peores estudiantes
A los universitarios les será más difícil conseguir y mantener una beca general y de movilidad el próximo curso. El Ministerio de Educación publicó ayer en el BOE la resolución que abre el plazo para solicitar estas ayudas. El departamento de José Ignacio Wert mantiene prácticamente el mismo presupuesto que el año anterior. Pero, como había anunciado, endurece los requisitos académicos y penaliza a los peores estudiantes, algo que también ha hecho con las tasas, que se encarecen a partir de la segunda matrícula.
Los beneficiarios de las becas
podrán mantener las ayudas durante dos años más de lo previsto en el plan de estudios si están matriculados en ingenierías y arquitectura. En el resto, podrán utilizar solo un año más. Pero el ministerio fija que “la cuantía de la beca que se conceda para el segundo año será del 50% de los componentes que le hubieran correspondido” en las ingenierías y arquitectura. En el resto, también será del 50% en el año extra que necesiten.
El ministerio solo permitirá acceder a las becas a los alumnos que tengan una nota de 5,5 en Selectividad y endurece los requisitos académicos para mantenerlas. Por ejemplo, los alumnos de Artes y Humanidades y de Ciencias Sociales y Jurídicas tendrán que haber aprobado el 90% de los créditos en los que se matricularon el año anterior.
Educación también elimina los complementos para los estudiantes que tienen que estudiar en grandes ciudades. Y se fijan restricciones para los extranjeros. Para recibir las ayudas se necesitará ser español o de la UE. En este último caso, se requerirá que el estudiante o sus sustentadores trabajen en España desde antes del 31 de diciembre de 2011.

Posté par pcassuto à 01:37 - - Permalien [#]

Making Canada’s universities the world’s universities

http://www.rogersmagazines.com/ads/2012/MME/banner_black.gifBy Paul Wells. Today in Halifax, Trade Minister Ed Fast officially received a report from Western University president Amit Chakma and the rest of Chakma’s panel on internationalizing Canadian higher education. Here it is, under the horse-tranquilizer title “International Eduction: A Key Driver of Canada’s Future Prosperity.” It’s worth a read, but here’s the short version.
Chakma and his panel argue, at the government’s request, what Chakma has been arguing anyway for years: that Canada’s universities prosper when they have a large foreign-student component, and that Canadian students also benefit from study abroad. This works a few different ways. First, travel is broadening, new perspectives, yadda yadda. Impossible to measure but probably true. Second, that some portion of international students who come to Canada stay after study and add to our human capital. People like Amit Chakma. Third, that even if they go home, that’s not a loss because it adds to a global network of highly-talented people who owe Canada a lot and are likely to stay in touch. Finally, that drawing your students and researchers from a wider pool raises the bar for every participant: a university that recruits globally is a better and more challenging university than one which recruits only locally.
So what to do? The panel’s recommendations are bold only in comparison with a policy of doing nothing. And sometimes not even then. Chakma wants to double the number of international students in Canadian universities to 450,000 in 10 years; that represents an annual growth rate of 7%, which is lower than the rate of growth over each of the last two years. He wants 50,000 Canadian students a year to study at least part of the year abroad. He wants the federal government — indeed, the prime minister himself — to become a “unifying champion for international education.” With a permanent secretariat at DFAIT. This, if it happens, would complete an about-face from 2006, when then-Treasury Board President John Baird worked hard to get the feds out of the business of promoting higher education, because that was supposed to be the provinces’ business.
People who haven’t been following this issue closely may be surprised that Chakma handed his report to the trade minister (although when it comes to who does what in this government, nothing’s really surprising any more.) But it makes sense. Educational services provided to non-Canadians in return for their spending on Canadian soil can be construed as an export. And international education is a bigger market every year. The Chakma report quotes from another recent report, from Vancouver’s Roslyn Kunin and Associates, that seeks to put dollar figures on this activity.

“When the value of educational services provided in Canada to international students is compared to the value of the more traditional goods that Canada exports, the impact for some countries is even more striking. The Saudi Arabians, for example, spend the equivalent of 44% of the value of the goods they import from Canada on educational services. Similarly, we see that South Korea (19.1%), China (13.9%), India (27.9%), and France (14.2%) all spend significantly for educational services when compared to the trade in goods they import from Canada.”

I was struck by something in the Kunin report: the meek and gentle suggestion that the best policy, as regards those foreign students, isn’t to soak them for the highest possible tuition fee on entry. Australia and New Zealand, which used to levy such dizzying differential fees that it distorted universities’ academic priorities, have lately offered fee waivers for high-achieving grad students. The next paragraph in the Kunin report is a marvel of multiple meaning:
“Given the competition in the global international education market, educational policy makers may need to re-examine the practice of differential tuitions and fees. However, it is important to note that, for example, the 95 members of AUCC are public and private not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges. Therefore, the motive for differential tuition is not profit as the funds cover the full costs of international students’ participation. Often, the preferred route for top talent is scholarships at the graduate level (both provided by universities themselves and some of the new federal government scholarships). These more than offset the tuition fees, yet draw less controversy (particularly when the domestic students can compete for the same scholarships).”
Let’s take this in three parts. Kunin is saying Canada competes in a vigorous global market for the best students, and needs to consider price incentives. Then she says universities mustn’t worry that they’d lose out if they charged lower tuitions. And finally, she admits that lowering tuition for foreign students can be political touchy (the widest differential in the country, as a multiple of the basic undergrad tuition rate, is in Quebec), but that you can achieve the same effect with graduate scholarships. And then she says that, while the goal of these scholarships is to internationalize the student body, it’s probably safest to offer the scholarships to locals to, even though that would dilute the policy’s desired effect. There were skirmishes during the last Ontario election on that last point, as Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty was caught guilty of thinking in straight lines and offered a new set of scholarships only to foreign students. He was criticized for this decision, not only by Conservative Tim Hudak, but by the New Democrats. But I digress.
It’s worth noting that Chakma’s panel report echoes, in most of its particulars, a paper written by UBC president Stephen Toope for the CCCE. Toope, sitting on the Pacific, makes it clear he’s thinking mostly about Asian students.
I couldn’t help noticing that this call for a rapid increase in the number of international students comes on a day when François Legault, one of the opposition leaders in Quebec, is in hot water for saying Quebec students want “the good life” and that Asian kids would be a better model. Legault’s goofy way of expressing his thoughts aside, one way to ensure Canadian education more closely approximates the best in the world is to make sure Canada is recognized and sought after, internationally, as one of the best places to be educated.

Posté par pcassuto à 01:07 - - Permalien [#]

Web allows learning for all

Korea HeraldBy Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldcorp.com). Technology helps expand access to learning, reduce educational gap
Economics professor Lee Jun-koo has been highly popular among laypersons scared of a labyrinth of jargon, curves and indices that block their access to the discipline.
The renowned practitioner of behavioral economics mixes everyday affairs into the principles of demand and supply, asymmetric information, and the relations between the market and government.
His sarcastic criticism of President Lee Myung-bak’s growth-centered policies has drawn enthusiasm among youth amid a slowing economy, rising unemployment and widening gap between the rich and poor.
To cater to growing demand for his lecture, Seoul National University has recently begun to provide his Human Life and Economy series through smartphone applications free of charge.
“We believe it will benefit both students and the university. We’re planning to make more courses available for free,” said Park Joon-lee, official from Center for Teaching and Learning at SNU.
Lee’s is part of Seouldae Open Course Ware platform launched June 28 by SNU, which consists of 33 most popular classes in the fields of economics, management, science, law and liberal arts. Of them, 13 are in English.
As of Tuesday, his lecture hit about 6,200 downloads for Android-based devices and 7,900 downloads for the iPhone, Park said.
Using the apps compatible for both iOS and Android devices, the user can play video or audio lectures and view presentations and assignments.
Korea’s most prestigious institution is jumping on the bandwagon of online learning that is bringing a substantial change to the education scene.
The Internet vastly expands access for learning and helps reduce educational gaps. The network saves time and money and enables learning unlimited by distance.
It serves the demand for lifetime learning that is growing as the population gets older and necessary career skills become ever more sophisticated.
Recently, advancing mobile technologies augment the availability of electronic learning by allowing people to take classes while on the go and proving higher-quality video, sound, graphics and other materials.
The world’s top universities are putting their popular courses on the Internet.
One of the pioneers is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States which in 2001 introduced the concept of “Open Course Ware” which then President Charles Vest described as a “natural marriage of higher education and the capabilities of the World Wide Web.”
Benchmarking MIT’s OCW, the Korea Education Research Information Service, the state-run agency, initiated the Korean Open Course Ware project in 2007 and launched the KOCW site (www.kocw.net) in 2009 to offer free online lectures from universities across the country.
Currently it features more than 3,000 courses from 140 universities with topics ranging from medicine and biology to computer science and the humanities, according to Lee Soo-ji, senior researcher at KERIS.
“We thought it would be more effective to provide all the free online resources on the same platform,” Lee said.
The single-platform format also allows competition between universities and education professionals to provide higher quality programs, the researcher added.
The KOCW site is still behind other advanced systems that harness the latest technologies and provide rich, interactive content.
“Right now, our online resources, mainly recorded video lectures, have weak interaction with students. We should develop more interactive online-learning resources,” Lee said. She pointed to MIT’s MITx as a good example of a new OCW program.
In December 2011, MIT announced the creation of new online-learning initiative called MITx (www.mitx.mit.edu) and that it would start to offer next March its first free course that can be studied and assessed completely online for free.
In contrast to other OCW courses, the MIT’s free interactive course is designed to be fully automated to allow students to do assignments, get feedback and participate in online discussions. They can also receive a certificate carrying the MIT name after completing the course.
Recently, universities have been collaborating with each other to offer better online learning.
In the past, universities competed against each other to attract more students to their open courses on the Internet, but now the world’s top institutions are cooperating to improve the quality of education, according to Beum Soo-gyun, an official from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.
Early this May Harvard and MIT announced edX (www.edx.org), a joint partnership which will offer Harvard and MIT classes online for free.
The two universities are each donating $30 million to create the new edX platform. The first five courses are expected to be offered for free this fall.
Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan and Princeton University have also joined up to launch a new online education site called Coursera (www.coursera.org) to offer 117 courses free of charge starting this fall.
“Korean schools should also work together to develop a new online-learning platform,” Beum said, noting that the learning environment on campus was changing rapidly.
“I think professors will soon no longer give lectures in classrooms as they become available online. On-site lectures should focus on coaching students rather than teaching,” he added.

Posté par pcassuto à 01:03 - - Permalien [#]