The development does put education and training to the core of these developments, as the emerging economies that are seen to have a sharp growth rate, are dependent on a well educated work force, whereas the developed countries are facing an aging population that decreases the available work force. The report foresees that China will become the largest economy of the world in just a few years, in 2016. Along with India as an emerging economy also likely to surpass the US in the long run, this would dramatically shift the economic power balance in the world. Question becomes – what would this mean for higher education?
The whole policy paper can be downloaded here (pdf).
There is a widespread assumption of the developed parts of the world being on the forefront of development and innovation – with occasional warnings of up-and-coming countries. However, when examining where the largest number of graduates is going to be by 2020, the image looks very different.
The newest Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) was published yesterday by the The Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Also known as the Shanghai ranking, this is one of the most well known and widely used rankings in the world, having been compiled for nine consecutive years by now. The very success of the ranking could also be the reason why the page publishing the ranking was down most of the day yesterday, likely due to usage overload.
As expected, there are no huge differences at the top of the list in comparison to last year. The top ten consists of the usual suspects, with small fluctuations either way. Harvard is yet again on top, as it has been throughout all the years and leads with a clear margin. If anything, during the nine years this ranking has been compiled, the gap from first to tenth university has marginally widened – in 2003 the tenth place has a score of 59.1, and that has decreased to 56.4 by 2011. Overall, during the nine years the institutions in top 10 have remained almost the same, aside Yale that was on 8th place and dropped out of top ten after that. One of the institutions that appears to be improving throughout years is MIT; whereas in the case of others, there appears to be some stability over years, and some (e.g. Cambridge) seem to be moving back and forth somewhere in the top5. (Click on image to see the overview of top 10 institutions from 2003 to 2011).
The relative stability of the list is also marked by the fact that it is only ten new entries to top 500 and three new entries to top 100. However, the press release does highlight the progress made by universities from the Middle East, and also the increasing stats of Chinese universities that now have 35 universities in the top 500. (more…)
The University of Cape Town African Studies online peer reviewed journal “postamble” invites graduate students to submit papers, photo essays and book reviews on the topic: China’s relationship with Africa.
The relationship between African countries and China has been a topic of growing interest and marks a shift in international relations with the rise of China. What does this new balance of power mean for Africa? This special edition calls for papers that deal with the following questions:
Critical evaluation of the emerging literature on China-Africa studies broadly defined.
Fieldwork based research on African experiences of Chinese emergence on the continent.
The special edition attempts to challenge the predominant view of Africa as a passive in this new context, with a goal to “give voice to the subaltern from the continent and beyond”.
The journal looks for high quality original submissions with a variety of disciplinary approaches.
QS university rankings has been producing the ranking of top 200 Asian universities since 2009, and the newest edition was recently published. The methodology for this ranking is somewhat different from the QS World University Rankings that has been produced since 2004. Whereas in the world ranking the focus is on international research universities, the Asian ranking also weighs universities that have a more local focus and that publish primarily in the local language.
The newly published QS rankings of top Asian universities has indicated that the two overall best universities in Asia are located in Hong Kong. John O’Leary summarizes on the QS Intelligence unit page some of the findings. Japan still keeps its strong position in the ranking with over 25% of the universities in top200 being from Japan. While Hong Kong also shows a strong performance, mainland China has only made marginal progress. Considering the Chinese efforts in building world class universities, this could be seen as a disappointing result. However, as always, depending on the ranking methodology there are aspects of higher education that the rankings do show and there are always aspects they do not show. The rankings include institutions from 13 countries, however – Vietnam and Sri Lanka are still absent.
China is often stated as the new upcoming power in higher education, shown both in the rapid expansion of enrollments and increasing production of research and academic publications. While there has been some disagreement about whether it is primarily a quantitative or qualitative expansion, there is no doubt that China is prioritizing focus on knowledge and that there is also increasing amount of research published in international journals on Chinese higher education.
However, this rapid growth has had consequences as well and it is not guaranteed that the outcomes would necessarily be the ones anticipated, as in any policy process. In a recent publication in Higher Education, Xiaoyan Wang and Jian Liu examine this transition. The article highlights that the growth has indeed been on a huge scale, during just over ten years, there has been a growth from just under 10% participation rates to 24,2% in 2009.
The authors emphasize that this expansion was not spontaneous, but a planned measure to combat the consequences of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 – the expansion was expected to give a boost to the economy, through increased need for infrastructure and consumption of educational resources. The underlying principle for this policy initiative was grounded in Keynesian thinking and human capital theory – meaning that investing in education and infrastructure has also positive short-term effects on consumption and thus the economy.
While the article indicates that there was indeed increased consumption and need for infrastructure, the initiative also had unintended consequences, most notably on the equity aspect of the students enrolled due to increasing tuition fees and an insufficient financial aid programme. In addition, this huge investment has also burdened the banks, and the researchers argue that this might have had a negative effect on potential growth in other sectors. The most worrying tendency brought out by the authors is the astonishing increase in the amount of unemployed graduates, and Xiaoyan Wang and Jian Liu thus argue that “China’s current social, economic and political structures are not ready to absorb them“. (more…)