The New Landscape of HE:  pathways, partnerships & performance
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2 October 2015

The UK’s Teaching Excellence Framework – political tool or effective means to enhance teaching and learning?

Carolyn Walker, Academic Director, INTO at the University of Exeter, Observatory Associate

On 1st July this year, Jo Johnson, the United Kingdom’s newly appointed Minister of State for Universities and Science in Prime Minister David Cameron’s post-May election Conservative government, gave his second speech on the subject of higher education, announcing a Green paper for the autumn. He was addressing Universities UK (UUK) – the organisation of the UK’s Vice-chancellors.

It would have come as no surprise that the main theme of his talk centred on a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) for universities since it was in the Conservative party’s election manifesto. Mr Johnson’s agenda is to “stimulate a diverse HE market” and to increase competition in order to “drive up standards” and “value for money for students and taxpayers”. He assumed the point of view of the consumers of higher education, in other words students (who face some of the highest tuition fees in the world – in 2013 the average was £8,507 p.a) and employers, concluding that:

Those institutions that can demonstrate that they excel in teaching and in supporting all students – including those from disadvantaged backgrounds – through university into graduate jobs will reap rewards.”

Full article available for members.


23 September 2015

Ambitious Higher Education Reform in Malaysia- iCGPA, graduate employment and the student development agenda

Doria Abdullah, Observatory Associate, Malaysia

Holistic student development is not a new idea in higher education, and “whole” student initiatives have been implemented globally (examples include the US, East Asia and the UK). Malaysia attempts to takes things one step further by proposing a system called the Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (iCGPA), with the objective of enhancing student outcomes in public higher education.

What is the rationale for the iCGPA, and will it work?

Full article available for members.


18 September 2015

TNE in China: What students should look for when selecting a programme

Xiaozhou (Emily) Zhou, Observatory Associate
Lecturer, Shanghai International Studies University, China

In China transnational higher education (TNE) has expanded rapidly over the past two decades, if slowing more recently. More than 500 local universities and around 450,000 students (1.4% of all university students in China) are involved in almost 2,000 TNE programmes (official statistics in 2013).

While this extraordinary development has brought abundant benefits to China, it has also led to significant problems and widespread discussion and controversy. With 9.42 million secondary school graduates taking the annual College Entrance Examination (in Chinese “Gao Kao”) this year, what type of students tend to select or prefer TNE programmes and what are the concerns about this particular style of education? This article provides a synthesis of the crucial issues around TNE in China with a focus on to what extent these issues might affect potential students’ choices.

Full article available for members.




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Our research agenda focuses on topics that have current and future relevance to transnational higher education, and our reports provide in-depth analysis of the latest developments, trends and challenges in borderless higher education. By synthesising the latest international developments, the research reports assess their wider implications for higher education leaders and policy makers.

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To learn about the Observatory's breadth of coverage, search our publications archive.

International students satisfied with NZ universities -i-graduate / ISB mention, press release (New Zealand), 2 October 2015

OECD’s Dirk Van Damme says debate on Ahelo was ‘low quality’, The Times Higher Education, 2 October 2015

Are Australia’s universities under-funded?, Macro Business, 2 October 2015

Internationalists and Locals: Research Productivity across Europe, Inside Higher Ed, 1 October 2015

US: NACAC updates admission advice guide, The PIE News, 1 October 2015

Sajid Javid’s blueprint for BIS heightens fears for research funding, The Guardian (UK), 1 October 2015

New platform launched against corruption in education, Prague Post (Czech Republic), 1 October 2015

American Colleges Pay Agents to Woo Foreigners, Despite Fraud Risk, The Wall Street Journal, 30 September 2015

World University Rankings 2015-2016: results announced, The Times Higher Education, 30 September 2015

University rankings: UK 'a stand-out performer', BBC, 30 September 2015

The 2015 World University rankings: Are these really the planet’s best schools?, The Washington Post, 30 September 2015

PRs and foreigners to pay higher school fees from 2016, New Straits Times (Singapore), 30 September 2015





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Forthcoming Events


5-8 October 2015:  Global Access to Post-Secondary Education (GAPS) Initiative Conference 2015 - Access to Higher Education, Meeting the Global Challenge, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA

6-9 October 2015:  29th Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) - International education: global, responsible, sustainable, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA

7 October 2015: Universities UK and UK HE International Unit, Transnational Education Conference: Maximising opportunities and delivering impact, London, UK

14 October 2015:  Westminster Higher Education Forum Seminar, 'UK universities as a destination of choice for international students - recruitment, regulation, student experience and global competition', London, UK

14-15 October 2015:  OECD Conference on Higher Education Futures, SINGAPORE

15 October 2015:  ACA conference, '12 years with global university rankings - a panoramic (re)view and an update on recent developments', Brussels, BELGIUM

28-30 October 2015:  International Association of Universities conference, 'The internationalisation of higher education: Moving beyond mobility', Siena, ITALY

29 October 2015:  ACA-DZS seminar on joint and double degree programmes, Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC

4–6 November 2015:  GBSN Conference: Disruptive Education Models From the Developing World, Manila, PHILIPPINES

5-6 November 2015: The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES), France, Conference on quality assurance of cross-border higher education, Paris, FRANCE

10-11 November 2015:  The 2nd MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum, Abu Dhabi, UAE

19-21 November 2015:  QAA's 10th European Quality Assurance Forum, London, UK

22-25 November 2015:  Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Annual Conference, Niagara, Ontario, CANADA

25 November 2015:  Westminster Forum on Higher Education, 'The future for quality assessment in Higher Education', London, UK

2-3 December 2015: 'The New Landscape of Higher Education: pathways, partnerships & performance', DRAFT PROGRAMME, REGISTRATION, SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES, London, UK


21-24 February 2016:  AIEA Annual Conference, 'Building a Better World: The Academy as Leader', Montreal, CANADA

25 February 2016:  Westminster Higher Education Forum's seminar 'Extending the global reach of UK universities', London, UK

29 February - 4 March 2016:  The APAIE Annual Conference and Exhibition, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

2-4 March 2016:  International Academy Forum (IAFOR) 2nd International Conference on Education, 'Education, Power and Empowerment: Developing Transnational Spaces', Dubai, UAE

7-10 March 2016:  SXSWedu, Austin, Texas, USA

16-18 March 2016:  Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC), 'Global Grand Challenges: Channeling International Collaboration', San Luis Potosi, MEXICO

6-8 April 2016:  The Forum on Education Abroad's 12th Annual Conference, 'Navigating the Intersections: The Cultures of Education Abroad', Atlanta, Georgia, USA

3-5 May 2016:  Going Global 2016,  'Building nations and connecting cultures: education policy, economic development and engagement', Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA

29 May-3 June 2016:  NAFSA, 'Building Capacity for Global Learning', Denver, Colorado, USA

13-16 September 2016: The European Association for International Education (EAIE) Annual Conference, Liverpool, UK

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2-3 December 2015
Regent's University, London

The New Landscape of Higher Education:
pathways, partnerships & performance

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