Wednesday 26 September 2012

The Most Educated Countries in the World

College graduation rates continued to improve around the world during the recession, according to a recent international economic study. In more developed countries, the percentage of adults with the equivalent of a college degree rose to more than 30% in 2010. In the United States, it was more than 40%, which is among the highest percentages in the world.

However, improvements in higher education are harder to achieve in these countries. More developed economies have had the most educated populations for some time. While these countries have steadily increased education rates, the increases have been modest compared to developing economies. At just above 1%, the U.S. has had one of the smallest annual growth rates for higher education since 1997. In Poland, an emerging market, the annualized rate was 7.2% from 1997 to 2010.

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Education at a Glance 2012 report calculated the proportion of residents with a college or college equivalent degree in the group’s 34 member nations and other major economies. Based on the report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 countries with the highest proportion of adults with a college degree.

The majority of countries that spend the most on education have the most educated populations. As in previous years, the best educated countries tend to spend the most on tertiary education as a percentage of gross domestic product. The United States and Canada, among the most educated countries, spend the first and third most respectively.

In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., OECD’s Chief Media Officer Matthias Rumpf explained that educational funding appears to have a strong relationship to how many residents pursue higher education. Private spending on educational institutions relative to public expenditure is much larger in the countries with the highest rates of college-equivalent education. Among the countries with the highest proportion of residents with a tertiary education, a disproportionate amount of spending comes from private sources, including tuition and donations. The OECD average proportion of private spending is 16%. In the U.S., 28% of funding comes from private sources. In South Korea, another country in the top 10, it is more than 40%.

Having more education helped people all over the world stay employed during the recession, according to the OECD. Between 2008 and 2010, unemployment rates among developed nations jumped from 8.8% to 12.5% for people with less than a high school education, and from 4.9% to 7.6% for people with only a high school education. For those with the equivalent of a college degree or more, the jobless rate went from 3.3% to just 4.7%.

Among the 10 countries with the highest proportion of educated adults, unemployment rates for those with a college equivalent ranged from 2.8% in Australia to 5.4% in the Canada. In each country, the rate remained lower than that country’s national average.

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The OECD provided information on the percentage of residents aged 25 to 64 with a tertiary education for each of its 34 member countries, as well as for eight other nations. 2010 statistics on educational attainment, graduation rates, GDP per capita and unemployment rates also were provided by the OECD. The latest figures covering country-level education expenditure are from 2009.

These are the 10 most educated countries in the world.

1. Canada

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 51%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 2.4% (5th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $39,050 (11th highest)

Canada is the only nation where more than half of all adults had a tertiary education in 2010. This was up from 40% of the adult population in 2000, when the country also ranked as the world’s most educated. Canada has managed to become a world leader in education without being a leader in education spending, which totaled just 6.1% of GDP in 2009, or less than the 6.3% average for the OECD. A large amount of its spending went towards tertiary education, on which the country spent 2.5% of GDP, trailing only the United States and South Korea. One of the few areas Canada did not perform well in was attracting international students, who made up just 6.6% of all tertiary students — lower than the OECD’s 8% average.

2. Israel

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 46%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): N/A
> GDP per capita: $26,531 (13th lowest)

Israel only joined the OECD in 2010. That year, its GDP per capita was more than $7,000 below the OECD’s average. Despite this, the country’s high school graduation rate was 92% in 2010, well above the OECD’s 84% average. Some 46% of residents had a tertiary education, versus 31% for the OECD. Israel spent 7.2% of GDP on educational institutions in 2009, the sixth most among all nations. And for the first time, preschool education will become free in 2012 even for children as young as three years old, Haaretz newspaper reported. This should benefit Israel as, according to the OECD, “early childhood education is associated with better performance later on in school.”

3. Japan

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 45%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 2.9%  (10th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $33,785 (18th highest)

In 2009, Japan spent 1.6% of GDP on college or college equivalent education, on par with the OECD’s average, and just 5.2% of GDP on education overall, well below the OECD’s 6.3% average. Despite its relatively light spending, the country still had a high school graduation rate of 96%, the second best among all nations in 2010, while the percentage of its population with a tertiary education was 14 percentage points higher than the OECD’s average. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, recent university graduates in Japan have struggled to find work, with 15% those graduating in the spring of 2012 neither employed nor enrolled in further education as of August.

4. United States

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 42%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 1.3% (2nd lowest)
> GDP per capita: $46,548 (4th highest)

Although the U.S. is one of just a few nations where more than 40% of people had a tertiary education in 2010, its education system is not without problems. Among the concerns, the graduation rate for upper secondary students in 2010 was 77%, well below the average rate of 84% for the OECD. Even though graduation rates were relatively low, the U.S. is one of the biggest spenders on education, with related expenditures equaling 7.3% of GDP in 2009. The U.S. was also the world’s largest spender on tertiary education in 2009, at 2.6% of GDP. The majority of funds for higher education, totaling 1.6% of GDP, came from private sources.

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5. New Zealand

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 41%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 3.5% (13th highest)
> GDP per capita: $29,711 (17th lowest)

The tiny country’s population has grown 13.2% between 2000 and 2010, as has the country’s education system. The number of people with a college or college equivalent education rose from 29% to 41% over the period. The country also has become a destination of choice for international students, who made up 14.2% of tertiary students in 2010. New Zealand is also a leader in educating scientists, with 16% of students choosing a science for their field of study at the tertiary level — the highest proportion of any country.

6. South Korea

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 40%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 5.2% (6th highest)
> GDP per capita: $28,797 (16th lowest)

Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of South Koreans with a college education or more rose from 24% to 40%. In addition to being well-educated, many residents also invested considerable amounts towards their schooling. In 2009, only Iceland spent more than South Korea’s 8% of GDP. That year, no country in the study contributed more private funds for education at all levels than South Korea, at 3.1% of GDP, or for tertiary education, at 1.9%. Despite the investment, education does not appear to have a measurable impact on job seekers. The unemployment rate in 2010 for those with a tertiary degree was 3.3% — low relative to the OECD average of 4.7%, but not much lower than the 3.7% rate for all workers in the country.

7. United Kingdom

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 38%
> Average annual growth rate: 4.0% (10th highest)
> GDP per capita: $35,756 (15th highest)

Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of U.K. residents with a tertiary education rose 12 percentage points. The country’s universities are also popular among students from other nations. International students make up 16% of enrollment. The country recently has had a shift in how education is financed. While in 2000 the percentage of funds from private sources was 14.8%, it rose to 31.1% by 2009. Students also must cover more of the cost of higher education than in the past, as the cap on tuition fees was raised from 3,290 pounds to 9,000 pounds for the 2012-2013 year.

8. Finland

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 38%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 1.8% (4th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $36,307 (14th highest)

Finland spent 6.4% of its gross domestic product on education in 2009, with 97.6% of these funds coming from public sources, more than any country in the report. Between 2000 and 2010, high school graduation rates rose by just two percentage points, while the number of people with a college education or more rose by just six percentage points. As a result, Finland fell from fourth to eighth place among the world’s most educated countries. Finnish workers with a tertiary education were far more likely to be employed than those without such an education — the unemployment rate was 4.4% for residents with a degree and 8.4% for those without.

9. Australia

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 38%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 3.2% (12th lowest)
> GDP per capita: $40,790 (6th highest)

Australia is a preferred destination for many international students, which is why it should come as no surprise that they accounted for 21.2% of the country’s tertiary students in 2010, higher than every country other than Luxembourg. Finding a job in the country is not especially hard for those with a college degree. The country had an unemployment rate of just 2.8% in 2010 for workers with a tertiary degree, compared to a rate of just 5.2% for all workers.

10. Ireland

Thinkstock> Pct. population with tertiary education: 37%
> Average annual growth rate (2000-2010): 7.3% (the highest)
> GDP per capita: $40,478 (7th highest)

From 2000 through 2010, the percentage of people with a college education or more in Ireland nearly doubled, rising at an annual average of 7.3% — faster than any country in the study. High school graduation rates also rose during that time, from 74% to 94%. Education has become especially critical for male job seekers in Ireland’s workforce, as 6.3% of men with a tertiary education were unemployed in 2010 versus 15.2% for all men nationwide.

Sunday 23 September 2012

UNITED STATES Quality and accreditation body goes global

CHINA Country scores top ranking in overseas student numbers

Overseas learning gains luster 
An international education exhibition in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, attracts dozens of colleges and universities from 12 countries, including the US, Britain and Australia. China boasts the highest number of students studying overseas. Dong Jinlin / for China Daily

China continues to top in terms of student numbers at international educational institutions
The number of Chinese students pursuing higher education in overseas universities increased to 339,700 in 2011 and accounted for 14 percent of all the international students studying overseas, says a recent report.

The report prepared by the Center for China and Globalization and published by the Social Sciences Academic Press on Sept 17, gave China the top ranking in terms of overseas students. It is also part of the efforts by the government to provide statistical information on Chinese students studying abroad.

"A lot of people want to know the actual number of Chinese students studying abroad, but till now there has been no formal mechanism to collate the actual data into a report," says Wang Huiyao, director of CCG and editor-in-chief of the report.

Wang says that with China having become the second-largest economy in the world, more Chinese families can now afford to educate their children abroad. Due to the international financial crisis many countries have loosened their visa policies and earmarked education as an important revenue earner, he says.

"The desire to pursue an overseas education has also been propelled by China's WTO membership. Many parents believe that an overseas education would increase the competitive advantage of their children and also provides an alternative to the rigid Chinese educational system."
According to the report, demand for overseas education will continue for the next five to 10 years, with the average age of the students pursuing overseas education dipping further. The report says that many high school students are giving up on the gaokao (Chinese national college entrance examination) and opting to study abroad.

Last year, some 76,800 high-school students went abroad for studies, accounting for 23 percent of all the Chinese students studying abroad, the report says.
In 2009, 10.2 million students took the gaokao, while in 2010 it fell to 9.57 million. Last year, the number fell to 9.33 million, according to information provided by the Ministry of Education.
Jiayu Li, founder of, a consultancy for Chinese students in the US and a former overseas student, says disillusionment with the Chinese education system is growing as it focuses more on teaching rather than developing independent thinking capabilities of students.
"Most universities in China ask students to learn by rote, whereas universities in the US urge students to work on more projects to develop their creativity," Li says.

Zhang Chen, a graduate from Columbia University and founder of AIC Education in Beijing, a consultancy on overseas education, says the practice of top Chinese students pursuing overseas education is unavoidable.

"Most of the Chinese students are not satisfied with the fact that there is a gap between Chinese universities and US universities. The US universities are also far ahead of the Chinese universities in their capability to attract top-notch talent," Zhang says.
He says that due to globalization, it has become much easier for people to travel around the world.
"A decade ago you could not imagine how you could fly from New York to Beijing, but now it is a normal thing," Zhang says.

The report also says that most of the Chinese students studying overseas, particularly in the US, are pursuing postgraduate studies. Last year, Chinese postgraduate students accounted for 49 percent of the international students in the US, a 16-percent increase compared with 2010.
Finance continued to be the top major pursued by Chinese students, with more than 6.3 percent opting for courses in the subject. Other majors such as information management and environmental science accounted for 3.3 percent and 1.8 percent of the total.

"Finance is still in the limelight as many students feel that if they obtain a degree in the subject, they can easily get a job in China," Li says. "But it is a pity that Chinese people do not choose to study majors like humanities, which are essentially the essence of Western thought."

Though more students are expected to study abroad in the next few years, Wang says parents must exercise caution and be sure that their children can adapt to a foreign environment.
"It is a good thing that these children can experience a different culture and environment, but they need to know first whether they can adjust to the new environment," Wang says. "This is especially so for many, as they are the only children in their family."

More wage-earner families are now sending their children abroad for education, the report says. Before 2009, wage-earner families accounted for just 2 percent of the total overseas student population. However, by 2010, the number of such families had risen to 34 percent.
"Most of these parents are the post-60s generation in China and those who want better education for their children," Li says.

Wang Boqing, founder of Mycos, a Beijing-based education data consultation and assessment company, says that due to the renminbi appreciation and the higher per capita income of urban families, more Chinese wage-earner families can now send their children to study abroad.
"Studying abroad will soon become a normal thing in China," Wang says. "It will be just like the people who left their cities to pursue education in Beijing or Shanghai during the 1990s."
(China Daily 09/21/2012 page3)


IRAN Spelling errors may harm rankings of universities

More grants for students from outside Europe

First formal alliance links universities in UK and Australia

Plagiarism on the rise at Swedish universities

VIETNAM More university courses in English, in internationalisation drive

Monday 17 September 2012

USA: Visa woes for Iranian nuclear energy students

UNITED KINGDOM: Universities fear for future after admissions chaos

Chinese Students Eager to Enroll Elsewhere, Just Not in Taiwan

With a shared language and cultural roots, many educators in Taiwan assumed the island would be an appealing destination for the masses of mainland Chinese students eager to pursue higher education in the developed world.

But after opening the doors of its universities to mainland students for the first time last year, Taiwan is still struggling to spur interest.
Mainland Chinese students: Not interested in Taiwan.
For the second year in a row, the island has filled less than half of the 2,000 university spots reserved for degree-seeking mainland students, according to numbers provided to The Wall Street Journal by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. The ministry says 987 mainland students enrolled this fall, a slight bump up from 928 last year.

Taiwan has been eager to attract mainland students to make up for sagging university enrollments resulting from an overabundance of colleges – a problem set to be compounded in the future by a perilously low birth rate. The education ministry has said that a large number of the island’s 165 universities face mergers or closure.

But strict regulations set by the Taiwanese government have been a barrier.
Because the Taiwan government requires mainland students to meet a high academic bar, those who qualify to come here generally have plenty of other educational options. And while universities in places like Hong Kong and the U.S. offers scholarships to sweeten the deal, Taiwan doesn’t. Last year, 4,582 mainland students enrolled in degree-granting programs at Hong Kong universities, five times the number coming to Taiwan, despite Taiwan boasting many more universities.
“Taiwan’s top schools are competing with everyone else to recruit talent from overseas,” said Li Gong-Chin, secretary-general of the Association of Private Universities and Colleges of Taiwan. “These restrictions make it more difficult.”

Mr. Li added that a wariness of the island’s famously rowdy politics also made some mainland students reluctant to study in Taiwan.

The ministry told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that it is considering easing regulations to attract more students. “The direction for loosening the regulations includes possibly increasing the number of mainland higher education institutions that are recognized, permitting universities to award scholarships to mainland students, and for those students to be able to work part-time,” a ministry spokeswoman said in an emailed response to queries.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has voiced support for relaxing the rules, which currently prohibit mainland students from working in Taiwan, taking exams for professional certifications or staying after graduation to find a job.

Taiwan’s legislature is also considering providing mainland students with national health care coverage.

Mainland student Su-King Liu, who arrived in Taipei this month to begin a bachelor’s degree, said some of her friends ruled out studying in Taiwan due to the restrictions.

“As for me, I’ve always wanted to study here,” said Ms. Liu, who will be majoring in media studies at Shih Hsin University. “With the freer media environment, I think it is the right place for me.”
Mr. Li, who also teaches cross-Strait history at Shih Hsin University, says he sees his mainland students gain a more nuanced perspective of Taiwan during their time on the island. As for their Taiwanese classmates, he says they gain from the exchange, too.

“Because of their rigorous testing system, the mainland students tend to be very diligent,” he said. “They serve as a good example in class.”
– Eva Dou. Follow her on Twitter @evadou

JAPAN: Robot to take top-ranked university exam

Fraud in higher education is big business

PhD students should be managers, not technicians

OECD – Who studies abroad and where?

Issue No:239

In 2010, more than 4.1 million tertiary students were enrolled outside their country of citizenship. Luxembourg, Australia, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland and New Zealand have, in descending order, the highest percentages of international students among their tertiary enrolments.

In Luxembourg, high mobility is due to strong integration with neighbouring countries, according to the OECD’s 2012 Education at a Glance report published last week. This is an extract from the report.

In absolute terms, the largest numbers of foreign students are from China, India and Korea. Asian students represent 52% of foreign students enrolled worldwide.

The number of foreign students enrolled in OECD countries was almost three times the number of citizens from an OECD country studying abroad in 2010. In the 21 European countries that are members of the OECD, there were 2.7 foreign students per each European citizen enrolled abroad.

Some 83% of all foreign students are enrolled in G20 countries, while 77% of all foreign students are enrolled in OECD countries, and these proportions have remained stable during the past decade.

Factors driving mobility

As national economies become more interconnected and participation in education expands, governments and individuals are looking to higher education to broaden students’ horizons and help them better understand the world’s languages, cultures and business methods.

One way for students to expand their knowledge of other societies and languages, and thus improve their prospects in globalised sectors of the labour market, such as multinational corporations or research, is to study in tertiary institutions in countries other than their own.

The factors driving the general increase in student mobility range from exploding demand for higher education worldwide and the perceived value of studying at prestigious post-secondary institutions abroad, to specific policies aiming to foster student mobility within a geographic region (as is the case in Europe), and efforts by governments to support students in studying specific fields that are growing rapidly in the country of origin.

In addition, some countries and institutions undertake major marketing efforts to attract students from outside their boundaries.

A significant portion of students coming from G20 non-OECD countries includes the better-performing students, natural candidates for public or private support, or students who have a relatively high socio-economic background.

This implies that student mobility can not only bring stature to tertiary institutions’ academic programmes, but also economic benefits to the host country's education systems.

In the current economic context, shrinking support for scholarships and grants to support student mobility – as well as tightening budgets among individuals – may diminish the pace of student mobility.

On the other hand, limited labour market opportunities in students’ countries of origin may lower the opportunity costs of studying abroad, and help increase student mobility.

The increase in student mobility in tertiary education can also provide an opportunity for smaller and-or less-developed host education systems to improve their cost efficiency.

For example, it can help countries focus limited resources on educational programmes with potential economies of scale, or expand participation in tertiary education without having to expand the tertiary system within the country itself.

For host countries, enrolling international students can help not only to raise revenues from higher education, but also as part of a broader strategy to recruit highly skilled immigrants.

International students tend to choose different programmes of study from local students, indicating either a degree of specialisation of countries in the programmes offered, or a lack of programmes in the countries of origin. It could also indicate better employment opportunities associated with specific fields of education.

OECD countries and mobility

Australia, France, Germany, the UK and the US each receive more than 6% of all foreign students worldwide.

International students from OECD countries mainly come from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Turkey and the US and they make up 10% or more of the enrolments in tertiary education in Australia, Austria, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK.

They also account for more than 20% of enrolments in advanced research programmes in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

Since 2000, and up to 2010, the number of foreign tertiary students enrolled worldwide has increased by 99%, for an average annual growth rate of 7.1%. The number of foreign tertiary students enrolled in OECD countries has doubled since 2000, for an average annual increase growth rate of 7.2%.

Europe is the preferred destination for students studying outside their country, and has 41% of all international students. North America has 21% of all international students.

Nevertheless, the fastest growing regions of destination are Latin America and the Caribbean, Oceania and Asia, mirroring the internationalisation of universities in an increasing set of countries.

Longer-term trends

OECD and UNESCO Institute for Statistics data make it possible to examine longer-term trends in tertiary student mobility.

These data illustrate the dramatic growth in foreign enrolments over the past three decades, with the number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship rising dramatically from 0.8 million worldwide in 1975 to 4.1 million in 2010 – an increase of more than five-fold.

Growth in the internationalisation of tertiary education has accelerated during the past several decades, reflecting the globalisation of economies and societies, and also the expansion of tertiary systems and institutions throughout the world.

The rise in the number of students enrolled abroad since 1975 stems from various factors, from an interest in promoting academic, cultural, social and political ties between countries (especially as the European Union was taking shape), to a substantial increase in global access to tertiary education, and reduced transportation costs.

The internationalisation of labour markets for highly skilled individuals has also given people an incentive to gain international experience as part of their studies.

The increase in the number of foreign students can be compared to the increase in tertiary enrolment worldwide. According to UNESCO data, 177 million students participated in formal tertiary education around the world in 2010 – an increase of 77 million students (or 77%) since 2000.

Most of the new foreign tertiary students come from countries outside the OECD area, and are likely gradually to increase the proportion of foreign students in advanced research programmes in OECD and in G20 countries in the coming years.

In absolute terms, the number of foreign students enrolled in tertiary education has more than doubled since 2005 in Brazil, Chile, Estonia, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Korea, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, the Slovak Republic and Spain.

In contrast, the number of foreign students enrolled in France, Germany, Mexico and New Zealand grew by less than 10%.

Shift to S&T, mobility growth influence new QS ranking

APEC summit moves towards Asia-Pacific higher education space

China's Confucius Institutes flourish in ASEAN after West's freeze-out (西方冷落后中国孔子学院在东盟蓬勃发展)

  Geopolitical baggage less of a factor, while learning Chinese is seen as a smart move 地缘政治包袱影响较小,学习中文被视为明智之举