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  • Does higher education + globalisation = transnational education?

    By Nigel Healey – For most of its relatively brief history, mass higher education in the UK has evolved along a quasi-Stalinist, command economy path. Post-Robbins, the report that paved the way for mass higher education in 1963, a university education was deemed to be a public good, with the benefits to society maximised by offering a place to ‘all who were qualified for them by ability and attainment’1. Public subsidies, in the form of grants (later subsidised loans) to […]

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  • The Brain Drain

    The Brain Drain

    By Penny Egan – Apparently there is a brain drain of bright young students to the USA. This seems to be the storyline that the British media has taken ever since the Laura Spence affair, where the former comprehensive school student accused Oxford of elitism for not admitting her despite being qualified and happily accepted a place at Harvard. Despite many efforts to get the other side of the story aired, the UK’s ‘third estate’ doesn’t seem inclined to print […]

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  • Where next for university teaching improvement? What the Scottish example of quality enhancement has to offer

    Where next for university teaching improvement? What the Scottish example of quality enhancement has to offer

    By Vicky Gunn – Just before the cataclysmic First World War, a former University of Iowa president, George Edwin MacLean, visited Great Britain. His goal was to observe the impact of university reforms in England and Scotland, and to identify beneficial suggestions relevant to the improvement of American universities1.  Whereas many twenty-first century commentators erroneously conflate the (now) different UK university sectors (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) this is a criticism that cannot be said of MacLean. Indeed, he was […]

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  • Seizing the international student opportunity

    Seizing the international student opportunity

    By Maryanna Abdo and Ashwin Assomull – Whether private or public, for-profit or non-profit, universities around the world are under pressure to manage costs and increase revenues. In the face of cuts to public funding and increased competition, most universities are reviewing their approaches to research budgets, scholarships, and faculty appointments. However, too often, universities focus purely on cost savings – typically by investing in major overhauls such as streamlining back-office systems, re-negotiating contracts, or upgrading technology. However, what many […]

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  • The international student and the challenge for universities

    The international student and the challenge for universities

    By Professor Glyn Davis – ‘The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.’ — Rabindranath Tagore The great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore writes powerfully on the excitement and pain of ‘the journey home’. Tagore’s journey home, takes in many distant shores and worlds towards an understanding of his best potential self. For more than three million international students, the challenges of the journey are experienced every day. Living in an unfamiliar culture. Missing the […]

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  • Building a fairer system in Australia

    Building a fairer system in Australia

    By Denise Bradley – Recent changes to higher education in Australia are the most significant in twenty years and are shaped by a vision for higher education as an agent of social transformation. The initiatives to increase participation from under-represented groups start from a basic assumption that: ‘Social inclusion must be a core responsibility for all institutions in receipt of public funding, irrespective of history and circumstances.’ 1 But will they advance this aim? Implementing change Universities are now responsible for […]

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  • The future of university rankings

    By Phil Baty – Let us be frank. University rankings are crude. They simply cannot capture—let alone accurately measure—many of the things that matter most in higher education: how a great lecturer can transform the lives of their students for example, or how much free enquiry enhances our society. They can never be objective, because their indicators and methodologies are based on the subjective judgment of the compilers. At their worst, university rankings can impose uniformity on a sector that […]

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  • Education for employment and long term economic development in China

    Education for employment and long term economic development in China

    By Isa Wong – The focus of the debate around education system reform in China is increasingly concerned with how best to prepare students for the future, in turn continuing China’s economic development and increasing its international competitiveness. Higher education has a crucial role to play in this—it has to be relevant to today’s society and that of the future, ensuring that students are familiar with and proficient in using the tools and skills which they will be reliant on […]

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  • Context: Higher education in Asia Pacific

    Context: Higher education in Asia Pacific

    By David Barnett – CEO Higher Education, Pearson Asia Pacific At a time when the eyes of the world are focused on the emergence of Asia (and China in particular) as global economic powers, higher education in the region is more important than ever. Developed economies rely on a flow of highly skilled labour to drive productivity, create more confident and affluent middle classes, and to increase business efficiency. Having a vibrant and high quality higher education system is widely accepted […]

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