Showing posts from October, 2014

CHINA: Foreign student scholarships spark anger as fees rise

Yojana Sharma 24 October 2014 Issue No:340     A new plan to lure foreign students with generous scholarships by China’s eastern Jiangsu province, host to a number of foreign branch campuses, has sparked anger in the province over resources being directed towards “wealthy foreigners” while Chinese students struggle with a rising fee burden. Resentment has also grown as foreign students are provided with what is seen as far superior accommodation to that available for local students. In mid-August, the province’s education bureau launched a ‘Study in Jiangsu’ programme to develop the province into a major destination for foreign students. Under the programme, annual scholarships of 50,000 to 90,000 yuan (US$8,200 to US$14,700) will be made available to applicants from overseas wanting to study at universities, including joint overseas ventures such as Duke Kunshan University and Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. Another 50 publicly funded universities in Jia

FRANCE: Low fees but jobs needed to meet costs

Jane Marshall 24 October 2014 Issue No:340   Students in French universities pay among the lowest fees in Europe. But although education ministers claim that, despite austerity, funding for student benefits has kept up with purchasing power, student organisations say the cost of starting the new academic year for students is up to 2% higher than last year. The government has not gone down the route of charging students high sums for university studies, and fixes the modest rates by decree. For the 2014-15 academic year, enrolment fees have increased by 0.7%, to €184 (US$236) annually for a three-year licence (bachelor equivalent) course, €256 for a masters, €391 for a doctorate and €610 for an engineering diploma. But while students do not have to worry about high fees, they need money to live on during the university year. In its inquiry La Vie Étudiante: Repères , the Observatoire de la Vie Étudiante , or OVE, identified the main sources of student income. The

SINGAPORE: Rising fees cloud international hub status

Emilia Tan 24 October 2014 Issue No:340   Rising university fees for international students are casting a cloud over Singapore’s future as an Asian regional hub for international students – particularly from the rest of Asia. This is despite many parents in the region believing that paying for education is a good investment. A report by the HSBC Bank The Value of Education found that families in Asia were willing to pay high fees, but recent developments in the city state have shown that tolerance levels for high fees are being reached. Singapore is now one of the most expensive countries globally to obtain an undergraduate degree once the high cost of living in the city state is taken into account. Foreign student numbers have fallen as fees have been rising – and at a much faster rate than those for locals. At Singapore’s top-ranked public universities, undergraduate fees for foreign students are around S$15,300 (US$12,000) for humanities and social scienc

MALAYSIA: Loan defaulters barred from leaving

Emilia Tan 24 October 2014 Issue No:340   With the cost of university education rising faster than inflation and increasing sums taken out in loans, more and more students are defaulting on their loan repayments. For some, this means being barred from leaving the country. In fact, almost 85,000 recipients of student loans from the government’s low-interest National Higher Education Fund Corporation have to date been stopped because of loan arrears. They join criminals, tax dodgers and pension fund defaulters in facing departure bans. Rising costs affect even students from middle-income families who are now graduating with a large debt after a three-year undergraduate degree that costs more than RM60,000 (US$18,000). The outlay is much higher at a private university or a foreign branch campus. In a public university, a medical degree can cost as much as RM300,000 (US$92,000) whereas private colleges charge three times that much. Generally, private sector co

GLOBAL: Public higher education versus private

24 October 2014 Issue No:340 At the tertiary level, public expenditure per student in both public and private institutions averaged US$9,221 in OECD countries in 2012, the Education at a Glance report says. But the amount varied from about US$2,000 in Chile to more than US$17,000 in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden – the four countries where the share of private spending is small or negligible. In all countries with available data, except Hungary and Latvia, public expenditure per student is greater for public than private institutions. But patterns in the allocation of public funds to public and private institutions differ, the OECD analysts say. In Denmark and the Netherlands, at least 90% of students are enrolled in public universities and most public money goes to these institutions. In the two countries, private funds complement public spending to varying degrees although private expenditure is less than 6% of total spending on public and private instituti

MYANMAR: Students to hold emergency meeting over education law

Mizzima 17 October 2014 Issue No:339     Myanmar students are planning an emergency meeting to deal with concerns over the draft higher education law. Here students protest at Dagon University on September 2 against the proposed law. Photo: Nyain Thit Nyi/Mizzima     (MANDALAY) – The All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) is planning to hold an all-Myanmar students’ emergency meeting in November, said ABFSU central working committee and research committee official Aung Hmine San. “The ABFSU, in cooperation with other organizations, needs to oppose the national education law,” Aung Hmine San said. “We think other students organizations also need to collectively oppose it. That’s why we plan to organize the students emergency meeting so that ABFSU, the University Students Union and other students organizations will be able to work together to make plans.” Students and civic groups say the proposed law allows centralized control of universi

CHINA: Universities to get more autonomy

Global Times 17 October 2014 Issue No:339   Pessimism lingers regarding effectiveness China's top education authorities have approved new regulations for nine top universities, which seek to increase the schools' autonomy, while observers have expressed concern about their effectiveness. The nine universities include the country's top two universities, Peking University and Tsinghua University, the Ministry of Education announced on its website on Wednesday, adding that the newly established regulations will help the systematic reform of higher education and aid academic development. Since 2013, a total of 32 universities have already seen their new regulations, which were drafted by the universities themselves, approved by the authorities. All other Chinese universities are scheduled to establish their own regulations by the end of next year, according to the ministry. To run a university according to its own regulations is the foundati

GLOBAL: How Germany managed to abolish university tuition fees

The Conversation 17 October 2014 Issue No:339   If Germany has done it, why can’t we? That’s the question being asked by many students around the world in countries that charge tuition fees to university. From this semester, all higher education will be free for both Germans and international students at universities across the country, after Lower Saxony became the final state to abolish tuition fees. It’s important to be aware of two things when it comes to understanding how German higher education is funded and how the country got to this point. First, Germany is a federal country with 16 autonomous states responsible for education, higher education and cultural affairs. Second, the German higher education system – consisting of 379 higher education institutions with about 2.4m students – is a public system which is publicly funded. There are a number of small private institutions but they enrol less than 5% of the total student body. Back and forth wit

GLOBAL: Academic reputation affects citation count

Geoff Maslen 15 October 2014 Issue No:339   An academic’s reputation plays a key role in generating increases in a scientific paper’s citation count early in its citation life cycle, before a tipping point, after which his or her reputation has much less influence relative to the paper’s citation count. This is the intriguing finding from a study by a team of collaborating social science analysts in Belgium, Finland, Italy and the US. Using data compiled by Thomson Reuters Web of Science, the team studied 450 highly cited scientists, nearly 84,000 articles in scientific publication, and 7.6 million citations tracked over the equivalent of 387,000 publication years! The scientists studied included 100 top-cited physicists, 100 highly prolific physicists, 100 assistant professors in physics, 100 top-cited cell biologists, and 50 top-cited pure mathematicians. In a paper published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , the team descr

AUSTRALIA: Graduates of top universities earn more

Alexandra Hansen 15 October 2014 Issue No:339   Bachelor-degree graduates from Australia’s prestigious Group of Eight, or Go8, and technology universities earn a greater amount over their lifetimes than those from the lesser known and regional universities, according to a new analysis that found their total income was 6% more over a 40-year career. For graduates with degrees in science or commerce, this equated to about A$200,000 (US$175,000) more over their career. The data showed that bachelor degree holders from top universities actually earned about 10% more over their lifetime, but this dropped four percentage points when social advantages were accounted for. Go8 universities were more likely to enrol students with better previous school grades, students from private schools, and students with parents who had degrees and high profile jobs, says a report by an independent think tank, the Grattan Institute. This means some of the difference could have been