16 août 2013

European Commission soon to present Communication on internationalisation of higher education

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgIn 2011, the European Commission came up with a Communication entitled Modernising Europe’s higher education systems. This document unfolded the Commission’s policy objectives mainly for intra-European cooperation in the tertiary sector. A similar document, relating to the Commission’s intentions in a global context, is expected to follow, most probably in June. The ACA Newsletter - Education Europe has been able to gain insight into some of the key issues of this document, which is likely to be named European higher education in the world.
One of the principle notions behind the document is that of comprehensive internationalisation strategies, which universities and member states are expected to develop and pursue. Such strategies would entail at least three elements: the mobility of students and staff (plus related issues such as recognition, visas, etc.); the internationalisation of curricula (known as ‘internationalisation at home’) and digitally-based learning; as well as strategic cooperation, partnerships and capacity building. At the level of detail, one can spot many of the pet subjects of recent years, but also new phenomena. One of those is the MOOCs, which the document will apparently highlight as a major development in higher education, even though it is not entirely clear which conclusions to draw from this assessment.
Concerning its own EU-level contribution, the Commission is likely to point to the increased opportunities for third-country cooperation under the new Erasmus for All Programme (which may carry another name in the final version) and the Marie Curie scheme, as well as to U-Multirank and its various other ‘transparency tools’. From all we know, the Communication will at long last pick up a long-time ACA proposal for complementing national information and marketing efforts by a European promotion dimension. It also appears that there are plans to widen the ‘evidence base’ supporting policies on global higher education, by commissioning studies, statistical analysis and expert consultation.

Posté par pcassuto à 16:41 - - Permalien [#]

New survey on 'Global Mindedness': the before and after of studying abroad

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgThe Finnish Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) is about to launch a new survey to measure the attitudes of tertiary education students during a study abroad period, and the way these attitudes change. In short: how students think about ‘difference‘ and how they engage with it. The survey has been developed together with Professor Vanessa Andreotti de Oliveira from the University of Oulu and her research team.
The aim of the survey is to gain more profound knowledge on the effects of an international experience at individual level and will provide us with information on the impacts of international education. The Global Mindedness (GM) instrument is based on a distinction between three different ways in which individuals can think about and engage with ‘difference’. These are referred to as ‘dispositions’, in particular dispositions of Tourism, Empathy and Visiting. Unlike ‘competencies’, dispositions do not guarantee behavioural patterns. The distinction between the three dispositions was originally developed by Professor Gert Biesta and based on ideas from the philosopher Hannah Arendt. The GM instrument suggests that we carry all three dispositions with us at all times and when faced with ‘difference’, a combination of dispositions manifests itself. The GM instrument makes it possible to assess which combination of dispositions is available to individuals. It also makes it possible to map changes in available dispositions over time.
At this first pilot stage, the survey is targeted to outgoing students in Finnish Higher Education Institutions. Students will take two surveys: one before and one after their international experience. In the first survey they will answer 21 questions assessing their global mindedness and a set of socio-demographic questions. In the second survey they will answer the same 21 questions again and a selection of questions that evaluate the impact of their international experience.
The first pilot phase of the survey opened this month. First results should be available early 2014, after the respondents have returned home.
For more information about the survey please contact Ms Irma Garam at Irma.garam@cimo.fi.


Posté par pcassuto à 16:40 - - Permalien [#]

Testing phase of the European Area of Recognition - EAR recognition manual successfully completed

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgThe EAR, which stands for the European Area of Recognition, is a project co-funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission and different national recognition information centres (ENIC NARICs). One of the main outcomes of the project is the EAR manual for higher education institutions (EAR HEI), a practical guide with standards and guidelines in the field of the recognition of foreign qualifications. A survey carried out in 2012 (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, May 2012) had already shown that especially admission officers were in need for a practical manual with recommendations for good practice. In 2013, the testing phase for the EAR recognition manual was successfully completed. Close to 450 institutions from over 30 countries responded to the survey conducted in March and April 2013.
Respondents were asked to comment on the readability and applicability of the manual. Around 80% found the guide easy/very easy to read, and over 80% thought it a useful/very useful guide in daily practice. Hundreds of small suggestions for improvement were made, some of them very encouraging.
The first test version of the guide is produced by the EAR HEI project team, coordinated by Nuffic (the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education). The ENIC NARICs involved come from the Netherlands, France, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, and Ireland. The project team further includes the European University Association (EUA), the Tuning network, the European Student Union (ESU-ESIB), the German Rectors Conference (HRK), the special advisor from USNEI, the President of the ENIC network and the President of the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee.
The EAR HEI manual is expected by the end of 2013. For further information, please contact Ms Jenneke Lokhoff (coordinator) at jlokhoff@nuffic.nl.

EAR project


Posté par pcassuto à 16:39 - - Permalien [#]

What the MOOC

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgTo MOOCers and shakers in the world of higher education, the question about MOOCs now is not merely “to MOOC or not to MOOC”, but “how to MOOC strategically” when more and more universities are jumping onto the bandwagon of MOOCs. This month, the two major MOOC providers Coursera and edX both announced that they have successfully attracted many more institutions to partner with them. Coursera, in addition, has partnered with several major publishers, such as Macmillan Higher Education, SAGE and Oxford University Press, to provide teaching and learning materials to the students at no cost.
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. The massive coverage of discussions about MOOCs in the media, both pros and cons (see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe, February 2013), have convinced both enthusiasts and sceptics in the world of higher education that MOOCs, like global university rankings, are “here to stay”. More and more universities, including Yale University, which have been hesitant to join the MOOC race, are compelled to MOOC along with their peers.
Believe it or not, MOOCs are all over the place, in the newspapers, in conferences, and even in university board meetings. According to a Gallup survey and some follow-up enquiries conducted by Inside Higher Ed, US university presidents are under increasing pressure to look into the impact of MOOCs on their “business model”. However, most of the presidents are sceptical about the potential of MOOCs in improving the learning of all students or solving colleges’ financial challenges, as opposed to the trustees from the business world who are keen to rush into the MOOC race.
On the other hand, some MOOC optimists continue to test the water. Georgia Institute of Technology, partnering with AT&T and Udacity Inc. (a private MOOC provider), has just announced a plan to offer a fee-paying MOOC master’s degree programme. Students formally “admitted” to the programme will pay a fraction (approx. USD 7 000 / EUR 5 500) of the tuition fee of the same on-campus offer to complete the programme online in roughly three years. The business model is built on a multi-track system, allowing all the learners to take the courses for free, while charging some others based on the credentials they desire to obtain. In other words, the students pay for the degree or credits rather than the content that they obtain online.
In the current MOOC race, the spotlight has been following the speed rather than the best. Being the first is all that matters to make a splash in the media. The rules of the game may soon change, however, with more MOOC players, including platforms and content-providers from all around the world, going into the field. By that time, perhaps it would not be a big surprise to see university rankers stepping into the scene to bring some order to the chaos. After all, global university rankings and MOOCs (in their current state) have involved more or less the same group of flagship universities, whereas MOOCs seem to provide exactly the missing indicators of “teaching quality” and “community engagement” that rankers have been searching for years.
The future is difficult to predict. What is sure to happen on 10 October 2013 is ACA’s next policy seminar on MOOCs. Save the date and come MOOC with us.



Georgia Institute of Technology 

Inside Higher Ed

Posté par pcassuto à 16:21 - - Permalien [#]

Producing and reproducing university rankings

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgYou have more geeks, I have more trees; you are richer, but I am younger. Very soon, all the universities around the world may find a place for themselves with the current proliferation of university rankings.
On 3 June, the Guardian announced that Cambridge and Oxford continue to lead in the University league table of the Guardian’s University guide 2014. One week later, Manchester Metropolitan University caught the spotlight as the greenest university leading the People & Planet Green League 2013, according to a report published exclusively by the same paper, the Guardian, on 10 June. On 19 June, Times Higher Education announced that South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) beats École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and retains its No. 1 position on the list of the world’s top 100 universities under 50 years old for the second consecutive year.     
Before the birth of U-Multirank, which aims to serve as an all-embracing ranking for all, media-driven rankings have been quick in addressing their ‘shortcomings’ with the re(production) of more customised sub-rankings. By the time U-Multirank comes into existence, we will see that the world of rankings will be more diversified and not only driven by research-oriented assessments.
Besides, U-Multirank appears to have an offspring before it itself is born. Spain’s Fundación Conocimiento y Desarrollo (CyD) has kicked off a new regional ranking initiative to compare institutions in Castilla y León with institutions in the rest of Spain and the world. The ranking will use the criteria of U-Multirank but adapted to the “reality” of Spain. Results of this ranking will be available next spring, which is also the time when U-Multirank expects to have its first results.  

The Guardian - University Guide 2014

Times Higher Education 

Fundación Conocimiento y Desarrollo

Posté par pcassuto à 16:20 - - Permalien [#]

Battle for the EU 2014-2020 budget finally over?

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgOn 27 June, the Irish Presidency and officials from the European Parliament (EP) and the European Commission finally reached a political agreement on the EU’s long-term budget for the next seven years (2014-2020).
After several failed attempts for a compromise, the newly-reached agreement puts an end to the difficult and long-drawn negotiations going on since February. The European Council decided on 8 February to cut the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) from its previous level (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, February 2013), which led to the Parliament rejecting the deal in March (see ACA Newsletter, March 2013). The resulting negotiations didn’t so much focus on numbers than on giving the budget more flexibility, allowing money to be swiftly reallocated where needed in times of changing economic realities.
Even though the new agreement does not reflect all the priorities defended by the Parliament these past months, the president of the EP, Martin Schulz, agrees it is better than nothing. The deal includes more flexibility on payments and commitments and guaranties that the funds for the next seven years will be entirely spent, which was not the case in the previous budget, where some EUR 50 billion were reimbursed to member states. The package also includes a binding revision clause, allowing it to review the spending midway through the budget. Furthermore, an agreement was reached on early payments for youth employment, research, education (namely Erasmus) and SMEs. It was also agreed that in the future the EU’s long-term budgets would span over five years, rather than seven.
The MFF, which foresees a EUR 960 billion investment in growth and jobs over the next seven years, now has to win a majority vote during the next Parliament’s plenary session, taking place from 1-4 July in Strasbourg. The final budget will take effect as of 1 January 2014. 

European Commission – Elements of the political agreement

European Commission – Statement by President Barroso.

Posté par pcassuto à 16:19 - - Permalien [#]
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Nuffic’s global Neso network

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgAt the beginning of June, ACA’s Dutch member organisation – the Nuffic (the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education) – announced that it will be forced to close down part of its world-known Neso offices (Netherlands Education Support Offices) in the near future. The measure will become “inevitable”, as a result of a 30% government-imposed cut into the budget for Neso activities. ACA shares Nuffic’s disappointment with the Dutch government’s plans, which however still need parliamentary approval.
It remains to be announced which of the ten offices will be closed down, but it is nevertheless very clear that the Nuffic remains committed to its overseas activities. Along these lines, Nuffic’s Director-General, Freddy Weima, recently declared “We will do everything in our power to make sure our Neso activities remain as effective as possible despite the cutbacks. To this end, we will be entering into negotiations with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the research universities and universities of applied sciences”, showing that the organisation is by no means ready to give up.
Starting from 2001, the Nuffic Nesos have been established in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Dutch higher education institutions, in locations of strategic importance for the Dutch higher education system. Since 2008, Nesos have been active in a total of ten countries, all of them emerging economies that were deemed to offer good opportunities for Dutch research universities and the universities of applied sciences. The Nuffic Nesos are currently located in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea. These offices play a key role in promotion and information provision, but also fulfil other specific tasks (e.g. involvement in Brazil’s prestigious “Science without borders” initiative). In 2012, about 10 500 students from the various Neso countries were enrolled at Dutch higher education institutions, an increase of almost 24% compared to 2007. 


Posté par pcassuto à 16:18 - - Permalien [#]
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ACA welcomes two new members on its 20th Anniversary!

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgThe two newest members of ACA, The Turkish Centre for European Union Education and Youth Programmes and Education and Testing Service Global (ETS Global), were warmly welcomed to the ACA family on 12 June, following ACA’s 20th Anniversary Conference in The Hague. The two members are actually not that new to ACA, as they have been actively participating in ACA’s events and have been in close collaboration with some of ACA’s existing members.
The Turkish Centre for European Union Education and Youth Programmes, founded in 2003, has been operating as the Turkish National Agency for the EU’s education and youth cooperation programmes (e.g. Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci) since Turkey’s official participation in these programmes in 2004. It is currently responsible for the implementation of the Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action programmes in Turkey and will perform the same function in the new programme for 2014-2020. With much in common, the Turkish member and ACA members are looking forward to more intensified cooperation, as well as the sharing of knowledge and best practices in internationalisation and mobility within the ACA network.
Similarly, ACA looks forward to strengthening its knowledgebase and global network with the addition of ETS Global as an Associate Member. ETS Global is a subsidiary of the US-based organisation ETS which was founded in 1947 and is best known for its testing instruments, such as TOEFL, TOEIC and GRE. Beyond the development of testing services, ETS Global has been involved in major international assessment projects on learning outcomes (e.g. OECD’s PISA and AHELO), student mobility, and the performance of universities. 
In the past two decades, ACA has developed into a highly respected knowledge centre on (European) mobility policies, thanks to the support of its membership network of 24 national organisations that are chiefly responsible for internationalisation and mobility matters in their respective countries. Therefore, with the admission of each new member, ACA does not only get bigger and stronger, but also much wiser.
Congratulations to The Turkish Centre for European Union Education and Youth Programmes and Education and Testing Service Global (ETS Global)! Congratulations to ACA! 

Posté par pcassuto à 16:17 - - Permalien [#]
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ACA’s 20th Anniversary Conference: Internationalisation and international mobility. Where do we stand, where are we heading?

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgThe long-awaited ACA 20th Anniversary Conference was held in The Hague on 09-11 June. As usual one step ahead of current developments in international education, ACA invited the most outstanding pundits and practitioners of international mobility and internationalisation in Europe to deliberate on the future of student mobility, policies and higher education.
The secret of ACA’s continuing success in shaping higher education policy debates in Europe lies in its ability to ask the right questions and in staying loyal to its constructive esprit critique. Will our graduates become the next intellectuals? Is there any internationalisation without values? What are the drivers of mobility? Who benefits from transnational education and how can we make intercultural education work? How stratified is the world of partnerships and networks?  How should academic cooperation be approached in times of crisis in Europe?
These questions and many more dominate the discussions not only in Europe, but around the world. Over 200 people of countries as diverse as Japan and South Africa, New Zealand and Russia, the USA and Kazakhstan, China and Saudi Arabia, attended ACA’s conference and seemed to be equally preoccupied with these issues.
The 20th anniversary conference was certainly a joyful cause for celebration for ACA, its member organisations and friends. It was also a lot of hard work, especially with the new analytical frameworks being set for mobility windows and the new technology-driven educational trends being grasped.  Analyses of these topical issues will be continued in the coming months at ACA’s popular European Policy Seminars. Stay tuned.

Posté par pcassuto à 16:14 - - Permalien [#]
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European Commission releases long-anticipated Communication on internationalisation of higher education

http://www.aca-secretariat.be/fileadmin/templates/2009/images/logosmall.jpgThe European Commission released the long-anticipated Communication on the internationalisation of higher education, entitled European Higher Education in the World, on 11 July 2013. As revealed earlier in the ACA Newsletter May edition, the Communication encourages the European Union’s member states and higher education institutions (HEIs) to develop comprehensive internationalisation strategies. Such strategies, according to the Communication, should embrace student and staff mobility, internationalisation of curricula and strategic academic partnerships as integrated elements.
On the EU level, funding incentives and policy support, through the EU’s new Erasmus+ Programme (formerly known as Erasmus for All) within the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020, are promised in support of the new policy direction. Specifically on funding, the Commission pledges to: 

  • provide increased financial support for mobility to and from non-EU countries, reaching up to 135 000 learners and staff; and allow  up  to 15 000  non-EU  researchers  to  start  or  pursue  their  careers  in  Europe through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) in Horizon 2020;    
  • support  international  HEI  consortia to develop joint master and doctoral degrees through Erasmus+ and MSCA respectively, and provide high-level scholarships for up to 60 000 graduates to take part;
  • support strategic partnerships for cooperation and innovation, including up to 1 000 capacity-building partnerships between EU and non-EU HEIs.

It will also continue to fund on-going initiatives to increase the transparency and attractiveness of European higher education, such as the U-Multirank project, various higher education portals and alumni networking initiatives. In terms of policy support, the Communication sees the need to strengthen evidence-based policymaking through research and dialogues with experts. To facilitate cooperation with third countries, it will also continue system-to-system dialogues with policymakers of targeted partner countries (e.g. China, Russia and Brazil). Some attention has also been drawn towards “blended mobility” opportunities arising from recent developments in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and digital learning technology. A specific initiative for the promotion of digital learning and better use of ICT (Information Communication Technology) and OER (Open Educational Resources) in education will be presented in autumn 2013


Posté par pcassuto à 16:13 - - Permalien [#]
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