2018 Global Forum

A Global Forum on Student Well-Being And Outcomes in Education
Photo and Video Highlights
Selected Presentations


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The International Quest to Define and Improve Student Success

On November 4-5, 2018 the Global Forum took place at the V Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton in Dubai, UAE. The theme was “The International Quest to Define and Improve Student Success: A global forum on student well-being and outcomes in higher education”. Please see photo highlights and video coverage of the event. The agenda and speaker bios are here

The knowledge partner of the 2018 Global Forum was the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai. As it does each year, the Forum brought together 125+ policy-makers, researchers, faculty, and practitioners to delve into some of the most salient topics in international higher education—this year, student well-being and outcomes in HE.

The Forum’s keynote talk was delivered by Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham and one of the world’s leading thinkers on student well-being.  The topic was “Improving Student Success- The positive and mindful university”. 

Speakers and delegates hailed from a range of organisations including KHDA, Quality Assurance Agency (UK), TEQSA (Australia), CPE (Singapore), SP Jain, Zayed University, Heriot-Watt University, TecMilenio University, and i-graduate, and locations including UK, USA, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, UAE, and more. Selected presentations can be found here

22 January 2019

The innovative but challenging quest for “Learning Gain” in English HE – a progress update

Carolyn Walker, OBHE Associate; Consultant in International HE; Former Academic Director at INTO

A 2015 UK Government green paper (a consultation document) on higher education in England focused on teaching and learning outcomes and demonstration of “value for money”. In the foreword, the then Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, stated that informative measurements of teaching quality were required to show students, employers and wider society what learning benefits students could expect from their investment. A so-called Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)- now operational- would incentivise universities to improve the quality of their teaching. In the paper, the concept of ‘learning gain’ as a new metric for teaching excellence was floated.  

It is clear that measuring learning gain is extremely complex and prompts questions about who and what higher education is for. Much time has been devoted to defining learning gain, the dimensions involved, and their operationalisation.

Full article available for members.

17 January 2019

Prediction: The United States will see an absolute decline in international student numbers from 2019 that will continue until government policies change

Marguerite J. Dennis, Higher Education Consultant and OBHE Advisory Board member

According to the Institute for International Education, the United States has led the world in the number of enrolled international students since records have been compiled. But as the world order changes, I predict that colleges and universities in the United States, for several reasons as outlined in this article, will enroll fewer undergraduate and graduate international students in the next few years and will continue to lose market share of the internationally mobile student.

I suspect some readers may either dismiss this prediction or dispute the facts I present to support my premise. Some may hope that recent declines in international enrollments in the United States were just a blip: a one-off. Others may blame the decline entirely on the outcome of the 2016 election. The fact is that for more than a decade while the number of internationally mobile students has increased, the United States’ market share of that student population has declined.

In the book A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes wrote: “It’s a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” So, let’s examine the facts.

Full article available for members.

5 December 2018

Measuring Up: Did Brazil’s Science Without Borders program address the nation’s higher education challenges?

Rachael Merola, Senior Researcher, OBHE

Brazil is one of the largest and most diverse nations in the world. It’s the 5th largest country by both geographical area (3.2 million square miles) and population (210 million), with more than 150 languages and dialects. It constitutes 47% of South America’s land mass and borders every country on the continent except Ecuador and Chile.

Providing tertiary education in a country of this size and complexity is bound to be challenging. Though tertiary attainment levels have increased in recent decades, they remain lower than the levels of all other Latin American countries with UNESCO-reported data (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico), and are among the lowest levels in the OECD. Access is partly a geographical issue, with cities like Sao Paolo having a much higher rate of tertiary attainment among residents than smaller and/or more remotely located cities. This is problematic for many reasons, including that education attainment is linked to higher earnings in Brazil more than in most other OECD and partner countries. In fact, tertiary-educated Brazilian workers earn over 2.5 times more than those with upper-secondary education, compared to the OECD average of 1.9 times more. 

In recent decades, the higher education system has grown greatly in investment, enrollments and provision. Direct public expenditure on educational institutions increased by nearly 70% between 2005 and 2011 and has remained relatively stable since that time. The government of Brazil during this period prioritized creating a workforce with skills useful to grow the economy and internationalizing higher education institutions (HEIs) through various programs and interventions. The Science without Borders (SwB) program is one such initiative, designed to internationalize Brazilian universities, increase mobility, improve access to high quality tertiary education, boost graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and improve the quality of graduates entering the workforce.

While evaluations of the outcomes of SwB are nascent, what does early data tell us about the extent to which the program served its purpose? This article overviews some key challenges facing the higher education system in Brazil and whether the SwB program addressed these issues.

Full article available for members.

11 October 2018

A Winning Story? Looking for Student Success Data in Israel

Richard Garrett, Director, OBHE

Israel’s higher education system is both well-thought of and often missing from policy comparisons and market assessments. The system’s low profile is partly cultural- Israel is the only higher education sector where Hebrew is main language of instruction, and is a very specific destination for international students- but is also attributable to the way the Palestinian conflict looms over all discussions of the country.

According to the 2018 Universitas 21 world ranking of systems of higher education, Israel ranks 18th out of the fifty countries profiled, and #1 in the Middle East region. When controlled for GDP per capita, Israel jumps to 9th best in the world, according to Universitas 21, and comes fourth on proportion of the workforce with a postsecondary qualification.

As noted in the first article in our student success data series, the U21 ranking is silent on other measures of student success. The closest the ranking gets is a comparison of the unemployment of higher education graduates. Student success can be measured in a variety of ways, and figures are often inconsistent between countries.

What data is published about student success in Israeli higher education?

Let’s start with the size and shape of the sector.

Full article available for members.


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Finding a sustainable future for student mobility University World News, 11 February 2019

The Four Logics of International Student Mobility Inside Higher Ed10 February 2019

So why did MOOCs fail to live up to the hype? University World News, 10 February 2019

Dearth of evidence of value of international cooperation University World News, 9 February 2019

Complex Education Reform to Be Launched in Georgia Georgia Today, 7 February 2019

US International Student Enrollment Drops for Second Year, Report Says Wall Street Journal, 7 February 2019

Education portal red-flags Cambridge International University as diploma mill Free Malaysia Today7 February 2019

Egypt, Germany lay foundation stone of German University in NAC EgyptToday, 3 February 2019

Universities face a dual threat of a chaotic Brexit and funding cuts The Times, 3 February 2019

ELICOS headed for record 2018 in Australia, according to stakeholders The PIE News2 February 2019

How the feds pulled off University of Farmington sting The Detroit News, 1 February 2019

US international student tuition and the funding crisis to come University World News, 27 January 2019

MOOCs fail in their mission to disrupt higher education University World News, 27 January 2019

Thailand TNE potential “strong”, as country bids to become education hub The PIE News27 January 2019

UK universities sign deals as ‘no-deal Brexit’ looms University World News, 27 January 2019

UK revenue from education related exports and TNE activity FE News 2524 January 2019

Academics pressured to pass struggling international students The Age, 24 January 2019

Edtech’s potential not fulfilled yet, says OECD The PIE News23 January 2019

UK minister confirmed new int'l strategy The PIE News23 January 2019

Data issues help and hinder US colleges seeking global profile Times Higher Education (THE), 23 January 2019

Premier intervenes as international students' English fails to make the grade The Age22 January 2019

Can AI Powered Education Close The Global Gender Gap? Forbes, 20 January 2019

Taking universal out of university: Why foreign student fees challenge France's education model France 2421 January 2019

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