Tertiary education for economic growth and competitiveness is increasingly recognized as of critical importance – not only for middle- and high-income countries, but also for low-income countries. Research universities are emerging as the central institutions of the 21st century knowledge economies, but there is also growing competition for human talent across higher education systems.
In recent years, the proliferation of international university league tables – extending the tradition of national rankings in the United States – has generated increased focus on world-class universities (WCU) which seems to offer a more systematic way of identifying and classifying the top universities globally. International rankings have, however, their own biases since they focus very largely on measurable research performance and favour the Anglo-Saxon world.
The ways to settle World-Class Universities
“World-class universities are institutions with a concentration of human talent, a strong international dimension and abundant resources”, stated Jamil Salmi, in introducing the topic at the seminar held at IIEP on 5 November 2012. Former coordinator for tertiary education at the World Bank, and former member of the IIEP Governing Board, the author of The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities pleaded for the creation of brand-new WCUs instead of merging or upgrading existing ones. “There is an inherent danger when governments and universities concentrate too much on establishing world-class universities”, he added. Indeed, there are about 17,000 universities worldwide, and only some 100 can be generally considered as belonging to the select club. Under what conditions then should higher education policy focus at all on the objective of establishing WCUs?
Following Salmi’s presentation, Nilinthone Sacklokham – Officer at the Higher Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Sports in Vientiane, Lao PDR, and current trainee in the IIEP Advanced Training Programme – presented the characteristics and challenges of higher education in her country, where higher education has the main function of providing human resources and applied knowledge for national development. While there is a policy of creating centres of excellence within existing universities, there is currently no attempt to establish WCUs.
The presentations were followed by a debate with the audience that focused on contextual factors such as conflict and corruption, which are major obstacles to the establishment of a WCU. The question was also posed whether international agencies should not concentrate their work on helping universities to construct their own particular pathway to development rather than trying to become WCUs.
- Download Jamil Salmi’s presentation
- Download Nilinthone Sacklokham’s presentation
- Download the book The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities (published by the World Bank)
- Learn more about IIEP activities on Higher Education
Little attention has been paid to the production of new professional identities and practices in higher education as part of the widening participation (WP) policy agenda. Jones and Thomas argue that WP practitioners tend to work on the periphery of universities, in separate centres and outside of academic faculties and departments (Jones and Thomas 2005). Burke (2012) argues that questions of identity matter in terms of power relations within institutions and the constructions of (lack of) authority that might facilitate or impede processes of change and transformation. This seminar draws on research to explore the spaces in which those with specific responsibility for WP work, and the implications of the roles, practices and identities of WP professionals for WP in higher education.
Working in a Third Space - Dr Celia Whitchurch, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Education, University of London
Widening participation professionals find themselves working in spaces that involve partnership with multiple stakeholders including, for instance, students, parents, schools, tertiary providers, employers, and regional and national agencies. Their roles can encompass broadly based projects such as student life, community partnership and institutional research. They therefore develop an appreciation of wide-ranging agendas relating to patterns of recruitment, learning support, outreach, welfare and employability. In this sense they can be seen as working in what Whitchurch has termed a Third Space between academic and professional spheres of activity (Whitchurch 2008, 2012). This has implications for understandings of, for instance, organisational relationships, sources of legitimacy, and career development. The session will draw on two studies funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education to consider the challenges that arise for both individuals and institutions from these extended roles and identities, and ways in which such challenges might be addressed.
Stratification, marketisation and social inequalities: Institutional approaches to widening participation in higher education - Pauline Whelan (Centre for Social and Educational Research across the Life Course, Leeds Metropolitan University)
In this talk, I contextualise institutional approaches to widening participation within an increasingly stratified and marketised English higher education system. I present a series of visualisations of widening participation ‘performance’ data from all higher education institutions in England for the period 2002-2010, focusing on how institutional widening participation ‘performances’ have varied across mission groups and by institutional type. While quantitative differences in institutional widening participation ‘performances’tell revealing stories about institutional diversity, they also illuminate the problems of existing datasets and modes of accountability. Turning from critical statistics to critical discourse analysis, I present an analysis of official widening participation documentation from 18 universities in England and discuss how institutions have variously adopted and rejected elements of national widening participation discourses, policies and philosophies. Insights from the quantitative and qualitative analyses are used to conceptualise the variation in institutional approaches to widening participation and to consider the implications for social inequalities in higher education.
Date: 21 Nov 2012
Start Time: 06:00 pm
Location/venue: 10-11 Carlton House Terrace London , SW1Y 5AH
The event will launch a HEA report that presents case studies from former students of a wide range of disciplines who used their experience abroad or built on their intercultural skills to identify business opportunities and launch an enterprise of their own.
6-8pm, followed by a networking reception.
The event will explore how student international mobility and language learning can give rise to entrepreneurship and commercial success. The event will begin by launching a report by the HEA that presents case studies from former students of a wide range of disciplines who used their experience abroad or built on their intercultural skills to identify business opportunities and launch an enterprise of their own. The panel will be composed of entrepreneurs, including founder of Applingua Ltd, Robert Lo Bue.
Attendance is free, but registration is required. To register, please visit: http://www.eventbrite.com/.
Date: 27 Nov 2012. Start Time: 09:30 am. Location/venue: Homerton College, Hills Road, Cambridge, England, CB2 8PH
The transition to a greener economy requires a workforce with the right knowledge and skills and as we progress down the path of a ‘knowledge’ economy many of these skills will be required at Levels 4 and above. Universities therefore have a key role to play, not only in preparing their students to participate in and drive this transition but also in influencing its direction of travel and ensuring it is truly compatible with the goal of sustainability.
This event aims to;
(i) Help crystallise the characteristics (e.g. knowledge, skills understanding,attitudes, values) of a graduate required to contribute to and influence the transition to a greener economy. Specifically what they need to know, what they need to be able to do and how they need to behave.
(ii) Discuss how HEIs can develop these characteristics through an open and transparent education.
The outcomes from the day will also directly address the goal of the New Anglia Green Economy Pathfinder to create and retain a workforce which can deliver innovative, entrepreneurial and radical solutions to the business challenges and opportunities we face.
Due to a system upgrade our online booking system is currently down. To book onto this event please complete the booking form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quality assurance agencies in higher education exist for many purposes. One area of their responsibility is checking that institutions or programs meet certain criteria, requirements or standards, or achieve certain levels of performance. This task is commonly called accreditation, but other terms exist, such as assessment, licensure, recognition, authorisation, etc. Accreditation checks can be mandated by government or required by other organisations, and can be for the purpose, inter alia, of
- triggering funding of an institution or program or
- enabling students to receive grants and loans
- recognising degrees and diplomas by the government
- authorising employment of graduates or
- preventing or closing an institution
The accreditation process is intended to prevent the creation or continuation of poor quality programs or institutions, and hence it is a consumer protection mechanism. Some institutions are genuine but of poor quality, and some institutions (often called degree mills or diploma mills) purport to provide qualifications, at a price, but the qualification is worthless because the ‘institution’ requires insufficient – perhaps no – work to achieve it.
The accreditation process is intended to weed out these inadequate institutions. Therefore, in a country where such gatekeeping, policing or quality control exists, potential students or would-be employers of graduates are advised to check that an institution is in good standing with the relevant accreditor.
To assist the consumer of higher education, UNESCO has developed a Portal that provides reference to accredited institutions in many countries.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous operators have recognised that the basic consumer check is to ask whether an institution is accredited, and so there has been an emergence of bogus or spurious accrediting bodies, often, by analogy, called ‘accreditation mills’. These enable an institution to claim to be accredited, hence circumventing the consumer’s first line of defence. The existence of accreditation mills therefore means that a consumer (student, employer, etc.) must go one step further and investigate whether the claimed accreditation is itself valid and meaningful.
The US Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has suggested the following tests that can be applied to a purported accrediting body. If the answers to many of the following questions are ‘yes’, the accrediting organization under consideration may be bogus:
- Does the operation allow accredited status to be purchased?
- Does the operation publish lists of institutions or programs they claim to have accredited without those institutions and programs knowing that they are listed or have been accredited?
- Does the operation claim that it is recognized (by some other body) when it is not?
- Are few if any standards for quality published by the operation?
- Is a very short period of time required to achieve accredited status?
- Are accreditation reviews routinely confined to submitting documents and do not include site visits or interviews of key personnel by the accrediting organization?
- Is ‘permanent’ accreditation granted without any requirement for subsequent periodic review, either by an external body or by the organization itself?
- Does the operation use organizational names similar to recognized accrediting organizations?
- Does the operation make claims in its publications for which there is no evidence?
- Does the operation claim that its accreditations would have international status?
- Does the operation claim recognition by international bodies or associations that in themselves are not in to the field of accreditation? (Examples would include UNESCO, NAFSA, AACRAO, EAIE.)
To further assist in the identification of valid agencies and, by contrast, detect whether an agency might be bogus, INQAAHE offers the following pointers to some lists of recognised and valid accrediting/quality assurance/recognition bodies. INQAAHE members are invited to suggest other lists of bona fide quality agencies. Accredibase provides a related service for a fee.
Resolution of the Regional Forum Development of Higher Education in Central Asia: The Role of Quality Assurance, Relevant Information and Rankings. Al-Farabi KazNU, 25 October 2012, Almaty
Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in collaboration with IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence held the Regional Forum Development of Higher Education in Central Asia: The Role of Quality Assurance, Relevant Information and Rankings on 25th Octobers, 2012.
During the Forum the participants had a great opportunity to share the presentations of keynote speakers, the leading foreign experts and scholars engaged in university rankings and accreditation such as Jan Sadlak, President of IREG International Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence (France), Gero Federkeil, Vice-President of IREG Observatory, the Director of the Centre for Higher Education CHE (Germany), Zoya Zaitseva, the Regional Director of Central Europe & Central Asia QS (UK), Waldemar Siwinski, the Vice-President of IREG-Observatory, President of Perspektywy Education Foundation (Poland), Angela Yung-Chi Hou, the Director of Center for Faculty Development & Instructional Resources, Fu Jen Catholic University (Taiwan), and Maxim Khomyakov, the Vice-Rector for International Policy of Ural Federal University (Russian Federation). In addition, presentation was made by Ashraf Darwish, Cultural and Educational Attaché, Embassy of Egypt in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Forum was attended by the rectors and other academic leaders, researchers and students of Kazakhstan and Central Asian universities.
The Forum served as the platform for the heads of Kazakhstan and other universities of Central Asia region for the constructive exchange of views and relevant information on involvement of institutions of higher education in university rankings process and provided the opportunity for building partnerships between the Central Asian universities and ranking agencies. The participants of the Forum have agreed on the need for further enhancement and intensification of multilateral partnerships in quality assurance.
After considering the results of the Forum the participants have come up with the following recommendations:
- The need for the development of quality assurance in higher education with special attention to university rankings as information and transparency tools.
- The need for the promotion of Kazakhstan and Central Asian universities in the system of the world university rankings.
- The importance of national rankings as an integral part of the world university rankings.
The Resolution has been approved by the participants of the Forum held on 25 October, 2012.
University corridors are no longer a traditional haven of job security, however a gender divide continues to infiltrate the university workplace, extensive new research has confirmed.
The Work and Careers in Australian Universities Survey also shows that heavy workloads are a concern for academic staff. Over half the sessional teaching staff would like a continuing academic job, but believe they have little chance of getting this.
“The data gathered in this study will help to inform and shape the future of the Australian university sector as it engages with a new wave of change, triggered partly by electronic advancements and emerging opportunities in online education,” Professor Glenda Strachan from Griffith Business School said.
Almost 22,000 members of staff at 19 Australian universities were surveyed, making it the most comprehensive and revealing survey of its kind to date. Three key groups were surveyed from August to December 2011: Academic staff, Professional and General staff, and Sessional Teaching staff.
“The work positions of almost half of those surveyed can be described as insecure, with fixed-term contracts starting to take over from continuing positions,” Professor Strachan said. “Traditionally, universities have been regarded as places of job security and that seems to be changing.”
Professor Strachan teamed up with fellow Griffith researchers, Professor David Peetz, Associate Professor Janis Bailey and Dr Kaye Broadbent, and with Professor Gillian Whitehouse from the University of Queensland as chief investigators on the ARC Linkage Grant project.
“An ongoing pattern of gender segregation was observed for all university workers and across disciplines. We found women are less likely than men to reach senior and management positions,” Professor Strachan, deputy head of Griffith’s Department for Employment Relations and Human Resources said.
“We can say that professional and general staff in university are highly credentialed. The majority want to remain employed in the university sector and progress in the university sector, but many don’t think they are likely to get to a position they believe they are qualified to hold.”
Professor Strachan described the survey as “important and timely” and highlighted its extensive reach. “Whereas previous surveys focused solely on academic staff, this study also takes into account the views of the general and professional staff that make up such a significant proportion of the workforce.”
See key findings here: Work and Careers Survey Executive Summary 2012.
The full report can be downloaded from here: Work and Careers Report on Employee Survey 2012.
Looking to 2060: Main Paper, Economic Policy Paper no. 3, Short Paper, Economics Department Policy Note, Bloomberg article. Download the dataset and interactive charts.
There will be major changes in the composition of world GDP (taken as sum of GDP for 34 OECD and 8 non-OECD G20 countries).
The next 50 years will see major changes in country shares in world GDP.
On the basis of 2005 purchasing power parities (PPPs), China is projected to surpass the Euro Area in a year or so and the United States in a few more years, to become the largest economy in the world, and India is projected to surpass Japan in the next year or two and the Euro area in about 20 years.
The faster growth rates of China and India imply that their combined GDP will exceed that of the major seven (G7) OECD economies by around 2025 and by 2060 it will be more than 1½ times larger, whereas in 2010 China and India accounted for less than one half of G7 GDP. Strikingly, the combined GDP of these two countries will be larger than that of the entire OECD area, based on today’s membership, in 2060, while it currently amounts to only one-third of it.
Such changes in shares of world GDP will be matched by a tendency of GDP per capita to converge across countries, which however will still leave significant gaps in living standards between advanced and emerging economies.
Over the next half century, the unweighted average of GDP per capita (in 2005 PPP terms), is predicted to grow by roughly 3% annually in the non-OECD area, as against 1.7% in the OECD area. As a result, GDP per capita in the poorest economies will (in 2011) more than quadruple (in 2005 PPP terms), whereas it will only double in the richest economies.
China and India will experience more than a seven-fold increase of their income per capita by 2060. The extent of the catch-up is more pronounced in China reflecting the momentum of particularly strong productivity growth and rising capital intensity over the last decade. This will bring China 25% above the current (2011) income level of the United States, while income per capita in India will reach only around half the current US level.
Despite this fast growth among “catching-up” countries, the rankings of GDP per capita in 2011 and 2060 are projected to remain very similar. Even though differences in productivity and skills are reduced, remaining differences in these factors still explain a significant share of gaps in living standards in 2060.
Additionally, in a few European OECD countries and some emerging economies differences in labour input will also continue to explain a sizeable share of the remaining income gaps. Indeed, for some European countries, where ageing is more pronounced and/or older-age participation rates are low, these factors are enough to cause a widening in the income gap with the United States, despite continued convergence in productivity and skills levels.
- Once the legacy of the global financial crisis has been overcome, global GDP could grow at around 3% per year over the next 50 years. Growth will be enabled by continued fiscal and structural reforms and sustained by the rising share of relatively fast-growing emerging countries in global output.
- Growth of the non-OECD will continue to outpace the OECD, but the difference will narrow over coming decades.
- The next 50 years will see major changes in the relative size of world economies. Fast growth in China and India will make their combined GDP measured at 2005 Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs), soon surpassing that of the G7 economies and exceeding that of the entire current OECD membership by 2060.
- Notwithstanding fast growth in low-income and emerging countries, large cross-country differences in living standards will persist in 2060.
- In the absence of more ambitious policy changes, imbalances will emerge which could undermine growth.
By Inge Steglitz and Brian D. Harley. In this age of increasing student mobility, more and more higher education institutions on both sides of the Atlantic are beginning to pay special attention to the youngest participants on the worldwide academic stage: first-year students. Why? High impact learning experiences early on can contribute to long-term student success. Institutions are increasingly required to report performance metrics such as student retention, time-to-degree and graduate employability, so it’s no wonder that interventions like pre-first-year education abroad are becoming more attractive.
Carefully designed education abroad programmes that include features of first-year seminars are an ideal way of facilitating the transition from secondary school to university whilst introducing an international element that will remain with the students as they progress through their studies. In 2003, Michigan State University (MSU) combined principles of on-campus programming for first-year-students with a strong focus on education abroad. What has emerged over the past nine years is a robust and much emulated programming model (for example, see Auburn University’s program for pre-freshman honor students) that continues to develop.
The programme aims to introduce students to the scholarly life and serve as learning communities in which students interact in small groups with faculty and peers. Typically two weeks long, the programme offers a broad range of thematic content. Faculty and staff are chosen primarily based on their passion and ability for working with pre-first-year students and are required to participate in pre-programme training that includes an introduction to student development theory. A two-day on-campus orientation programme prepares students for the experience and helps them bond as a group.
Strengthening leadership skills
Purdue University has offered a similar programme since August 2011. Its Global Leadership Program is designed exclusively for incoming first-year students. It aims to build a foundation for future global experiences, and to create a special cohort within each incoming class. The programme takes an interdisciplinary approach to enable participants to engage with their surroundings and each other. Participants are challenged to identify and absorb the leadership building opportunities readily available through immersion into a foreign environment. Plans are underway to strengthen the programme’s link to the university’s First Year Experience initiative by incorporating Purdue’s Common Reading Program.
Both the MSU and Purdue programmes attract a variety of majors as well as a high percentage of high-achievers. And both programmes have successfully motivated students to participate in additional learning abroad opportunities. Such programmes provide students with an international experience to build on and – perhaps most importantly to them when they arrive on campus – familiar faces to help ease the transition to life on campus.
An aid to enrolment management
A further advantage of these types of programmes can be seen from the institution’s perspective with regard to enrolment management. Northeastern University’s NU.in program provides an enrolment opportunity to talented first year students who are being admitted to NU for the spring semester. The programme enables students to develop their competencies abroad prior to the start of their academic studies in their home country, helping them develop the ‘skills to differentiate themselves in the classroom, the job market, and beyond’.
We expect that the trend for increased pre-first-year and first-year student mobility will continue as more and more higher education institutions worldwide begin to pay special attention to the needs of their youngest students and as more and more students demand quality opportunities to develop themselves and their intercultural skills.
Inge Steglitz is Assistant Director for Academic Relations Office of Study Abroad, Michigan State University, USA.
Brian Harley is Associate Dean, International Programs; Director, Programs for Study Abroad at Purdue University, USA.
Announcing Europemobility International Conference - 21-22 November 2012 - Paris
Europemobility Network is proud to announce its forthcoming International Conference, taking place in Paris on 21-22 November 2012.
French National Agency for Lifelong Learning as well as many other key stakeholders of learning mobility have confirmed their willingness to meet and exchange views and experiences on promoting quality and quantity of work placements abroad.
Indeed Europemobility Network International Conference is a good opportunity to access state of the art information, tools and procedures for improving learning mobility schemes, as well as for establishing new cooperation and partnerships, via informal sessions as well as via our "Mobility Marketplace".
The second day will be dedicated to the visit at Salon européen de l’éducation, hosting over half million visitors, where the Award Ceremony of the Europemobility Video Contest on Learning Mobility will see the 6 winners of the 2012 edition. For more information on the video contest, please visit the official web site.
Download the programme of the Europemobility Network International Conference.
Registrations are now open and you can fill in the online form here. Alternatively, donwload the PDF registration form.