Successful first meeting of the EU-China HEPCE
The First Meeting of the EU-China Higher Education Platform for Cooperation and Exchanges (HEPCE) was successfully held on 25 April in Brussels with the enthusiastic support of nearly 200 participants from the European and Chinese higher education circles. The day began with higher education policy updates given by Jan Truszczyński, Director General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, and Du Yubo, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education, PR China. Directly following the policy updates was a series of practical examples of ongoing EU-China joint initiatives, ranging from joint programmes to joint operation of education institutions. The TUNING experts and individual universities from both the European and Chinese sides also took the occasion to exchange working experience and information in two parallel sessions.
Last but not least, the day was concluded with a high-level China-EU Higher Education Policy Dialogue attended by a good mix of policymakers, university presidents, tuning experts, and representatives from the China Scholarship Council (CSC), the European University Association (EUA), and the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). The final session, featuring a dialogue led by Mr. Zhang Daliang from China’s Ministry of Education and Xavier Prats-Monné, Deputy Director General for Education and Culture, served both as a review of all the discussions in the day and an initial exploration of potential directions towards future EU-China cooperation in higher education.
The first HEPCE meeting was a co-production of CSC, EUA and ACA, fully supported by the Chinese government and the European Commission. While the CSC and EUA were at the forefront of the organisation of a university presidents’ dialogue, ACA contributed mainly to the organization of the policy dialogue by tying together the different acts in the intensive five-part programme. In his concluding remarks for the presidents’ dialogue, ACA Director Bernd Wächter congratulated the success of the first HEPCE meeting in showing that EU-China cooperation in higher education rests on a rich and broad foundation. Having said that the establishment of HEPCE implies that further efforts are needed for deepening mutual understanding and cooperation based on the existing foundation. The second HEPCE meeting is scheduled to take place in Beijing in spring next year.
Celebrate with us at ACA’s 20th anniversary conference
Do you know what highly renowned international higher education experts such as Sir Peter Scott, Peggy Blumenthal, Adam Tyson, Neil Kemp, Ulrich Grothus and Ulrich Teichler have in common? All of them, and many more, will be speakers at ACA’s 2013 Annual Conference, which will take place in The Hague from 9 to 11 June 2013.
The event, co-organised by the NUFFIC, one of ACA’s founding members, is entitled Internationalisation and international mobility. Where do we stand, where are we heading? and marks ACA’s 20th anniversary. At its jubilee conference, ACA will revisit those themes which were already at the center of the Association’s interest in 1993, the year of ACA’s foundation, and which have remained topical to this very day: internationalisation and international mobility. More precisely, the conference will address issues currently hotly debated, such as the ethics of internationalisation, transnational education and ‘internationalisation at home’ on the one hand, and ‘mobility windows’, ‘mobility appetizers’ and the relationship between mobility and employability on the other hand.
The conference will consist of a mix of plenary sessions and parallel workshops. In comparison with earlier ACA conferences, the share of workshops has been increased, which will enhance and encourage active involvement of participants. The 2-day event will be preceded by an opening reception and a social programme on 9 June, to welcome participants and to allow them to meet and discuss with friends, colleagues and partners. As usual, there will be ample opportunities for networking. For more information, click here.
IAU in Global Action Week
Since teacher education is often taking place at the higher education level, IAU is taking action through the support of Education Department/Faculties and asks them to:
- Tell IAU about their activities. Show the community and the world what your institution is doing to improve child learning through quality teacher education. Send information on related activities to Ms. Nadja Kymlicka before 27 April 2013, it will be disseminated widely the week after.
- Run a campaign. Download the campaigning tools and put up free campaign posters at your faculty (available in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish). http://everychildneedsateacher.org/
- Get visible globally. Post information directly on the HEEFA Portal now!
Policy Guide - Student numbers and high grades
When universities and colleges recruit new students, they cannot simply take as many as they might like. This is because the Government needs to control the level of publicly-funded student loans and grants for fees and maintenance.
Based on guidance from Government we set each institution a limit – or ‘student number control’ – on the number of students they may recruit. This limit is only designed to control the number of students entering university or college. It is not designed to influence decisions about the suitability of candidates. Universities and colleges are autonomous organisations and these decisions are entirely up to them. They have always admitted students on the basis of academic excellence and potential, and they should continue to do so.
The ‘high-grades’ policy
Not all students are included in the student number control. The Government is keen to encourage popular and successful universities and colleges to expand, and to improve student choice. So it has decided to allow universities and colleges to recruit as many students with high grades at A-level and certain equivalent qualifications (broadly defined each year by government policy) as they wish, and are able to, outside of their student number control. We call this the ‘high-grades’ policy. We are responsible for putting the high-grades policy into practice and for identifying the high-grade qualifications from which institutions may recruit applicants without limit. To do this, we have developed a list of entry qualifications and grades which are exempt from the student number control – this is known as the ‘exemptions list’.
The ‘exemptions list’
This ‘exemptions list’ does not include all high-grade qualifications. It does not, for example, include combinations of different qualifications, or qualifications from all other EU states. This is because we need to be able to estimate the numbers of students in the ‘uncontrolled’ population as accurately as possible, so that the Government can manage its budget. We are currently consulting on how we might extend the exemptions list in order to expand the population that will be exempt from the student number control. Read more...
Consultation launched on future arrangements for student number controls
HEFCE is asking for views on its proposals on controlling student numbers from 2014-15 onwards.
The consultation asks for views on a more flexible approach to the student number control [Note 1]. It has been developed in the context of the Government’s reforms to the funding and regulation of higher education in England [Note 2].
Each year HEFCE sets a student number control allocation for each institution it funds. The purpose of the control is to help manage public expenditure on higher education, while furthering the Government’s vision for a more diverse, dynamic higher education system that supports student choice and enables popular institutions to grow. For 2013-14, HEFCE is enabling universities and colleges to recruit to a certain level above their allocation without incurring a reduction in the grant they receive. In addition, students holding certain qualifications with high grades (currently set at ABB or above at A-level or certain equivalent qualifications) are exempt from the control. Read more...
Capital funding for directly funded further education colleges: 2013-14
1. This letter sets out the allocation of capital funding for learning and teaching infrastructure in further education colleges (FECs) funded directly by HEFCE for the financial year 2013-14. No action is required in response.
2. A total of £2 million is available to fund activity undertaken from April 2013 until March 2014. These funds will be paid automatically in three instalments in August 2013, November 2013 and February 2014.
Purpose of the funds
3. These allocations of capital funding are to help raise the quality of higher education (HE) learning and teaching facilities in FECs, to enhance the learning experience of their HE students. We expect colleges to use the funds in ways that will most effectively support their strategy for HE. The funds may be used to contribute towards:
* investment in equipment used in learning, teaching and e-learning, particularly information technology (IT)-related equipment
* replacement of premises for learning and teaching
* refurbishment of existing teaching spaces, particularly involving IT-related enhancements, including improvements to internal IT networks or supporting infrastructure.
4. The funds should be used for HE provision, and may be subject to audit in the normal way. We recognise, however, that it may be neither feasible nor desirable to create ring-fenced boundaries between HE and further education (FE). For example, equipment purchased using these funds may be used by both HE and FE students. We look to colleges to adopt a pragmatic approach, whereby the primary focus of the projects is on HE even if there are links with, and marginal spin-off benefits for, FE.
5. We expect colleges to take account of the need to reduce carbon emissions as well as securing value for money in deciding how these funds are spent. Read more...
Forum citoyen « L’Europe, maintenant et ici »
Tourné vers les préoccupations des citoyens d'aujourd'hui, dans une Europe en marche, ce forum ouvert au grand public, se veut participatif et interactif, avec des débats, des échanges et des respirations musicales.
Le stand de l'Association Jean Monnet proposera des animations et des jeux « Europe », tous publics.
Participez également à la Conférence de l'Agence: "L'esprit citoyenneté, l'esprit mobilité" qui se déroule le mardi 14 mai au Conseil régional d'Aquitaine.
NOMA: Emerging scholars on African higher education
By Marielk. Recently, we posted lecture recordings from the NOMA summer school. The NOMA programme is a cooperation project between University Western Cape, University of Oslo, Eduardo Mondlane University and CHET. However, as a cooperation programme, NOMA has also facilitated the emergence of a new set of young scholars in Africa, a whole continent and context that has previously been underrepresented in research on higher education world wide. In this post, we would like to introduce some of these scholars and their backgrounds:
Gerald Ouma (PhD) has published in Higher Education Studies, the most prestigious journal in higher education studies, he has been appointed Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), and he coordinates the new School (Institute) of Post‐School Studies at UWC (the only such faculty in Africa that will address post‐secondary education). In 2012 he served on the Funding Review Committee, and contributed to the Minster of Higher Education’s Funding Review report that will be released soon...
- HERANA: Contributions to regional development by University of Buea by Samuel Fongwa
- HERANA: More democracy through strenghtening higher education by dr Thierry Luescher-Mamashela
- Hedda Podcast – Interview with HERANA project manager and researcher Tracy Bailey
Youth issues a top priority
* providing more and equal opportunities for young people in education and in the labour market;
* encouraging young people to be active citizens and to participate in society.
Addressing the youth employment crisis is at the top of Europe's political agenda, giving rise to the European Commission's Youth Employment Package and the Youth Guarantee from the European Parliament and Council of the EU, among other measures.
The strategy is committed to evidence-based policymaking and Eurofound's mission to provide knowledge to assist in developing social and work-related policies is highly relevant here. Eurofound's four-year work programme 2013–2016 includes as a priority 'Youth in Europe - improving prospects for all'.
Crisis and jobs
Young people have been hit especially hard by the crisis. EU unemployment reached a record level of 10.9% in the first quarter of 2013, but the level among under-25s was much higher at 23.5%. In Greece and Spain more than half of young people were without work and rates in Portugal (38.2%) and Italy (37.8%) were also extremely high. With youth unemployment at such critical levels, the key questions are 'Where are the jobs?' and 'How else can young people be helped?' Eurofound's recent work provides a broad range of inputs to developing youth policy:
- Foundation Findings - Youth and work analyses the labour market situation of young people and provides policy pointers towards improving it;
- the study Helping young workers during the crisis: Contributions by social partners and public authorities describes and compares initiatives across the EU;
- Foundation Focus - Youth in Europe: Best days of their lives? brings together summaries of Eurofound research on job creation for young people, employment quality and sustainable work.
Serious though it is, youth unemployment is only part of the problem. A particular challenge arises in relation to young people not in employment, education or training (NEET). Eurofound's work in this area involves:
- the report NEETs - Young people not in employment, education or training: Characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe, which researches the economic and social cost of the NEET phenomenon;
- the study on the Effectiveness of policy measures to increase the employment participation of young people;
- the comparative study Recent policy developments related to those not in employment, education and training (NEETs), which reviews the policy response to NEETs across the EU27 and Norway.
Crisis apart, some young people face particular difficulties in accessing employment: for example, those who have a disability or other health problem. A policy of active inclusion is seen as the most appropriate for addressing these difficulties and the implementation of this policy at national level in 11 EU Member States is covered in the Eurofound report Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems which also has information from 44 case studies of good practice. The youth dimension is relevant across many areas of Eurofound research, including quality of life, where Eurofound's third European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) 2012 found important differences between age groups in relation to quality of life, social inclusion and the quality of society. These can be seen in detail by using the age-group filter of the EQLS Survey Mapping Tool. Similarly, the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) revealed that some aspects of the working conditions of young workers (under 25) differ considerably from those of older workers. These include employment contracts, skills and workplace risks; results can be explored using the EWCS Survey Mapping Tool. Read more...
Conference on the Social Investment Package - An Irish Presidency Conference
Special focus will be on the three key thematic elements of the Social Investment Package:
* Investment: The Social Investment Package and its relevance to EU social policies in the future
* Innovation: Why we need to foster Social Innovation and how we can put it into practice in the social economy and involving NGOs
* Involvement: What vision of a social Europe do young Europeans want to see?
The event is organised in the framework of the Irish EU Presidency and will bring together 'actors' in social investment with a view to putting forward proposals for future joint actions in support of the implementation of the Social Investment Package. Read more...