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

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.

4 October 2018

Keeping Pace with Growth: What data tell us about student outcomes in China

Xiaozhou (Emily) Zhou, Research Associate, OBHE, Associate Professor, Shanghai International Studies University; Rachael Merola, Senior Researcher, OBHE

Chinese higher education has grown tremendously in the past decade. The most recent data from the Chinese Ministry of Education shows that from 2005 to 2015 over 28.5 million undergraduate degrees were conferred in China. During that same period the proportion of bachelor’s degree holders among the urban workforce rose from 22% to 47.2%. Growth in higher education access is undeniable; the question remains as to whether student outcomes, success, and well-being are being tracked as a metric of higher education quality.

Full article available for members.

28 September 2018

UK outward student mobility in the context of Brexit

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

Outward student mobility is widely acknowledged to be an important factor in the outcomes which students achieve from their higher education experience. But, in the UK, how well will the various mobility programmes fare once the country leaves the EU? According to Universities UK International (UUKi), in this context: “… it has never been more important that the UK demonstrate its commitment to international experience”.  But exiting the EU puts in jeopardy the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme, which is “the single largest source of funding for UK student and staff mobility”. Since Erasmus accounts for 55% of outward student mobility placements, exclusion from this programme could be catastrophic.  

Full article available for members.

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International students steer clear of graduate programmes in the United States Nature, 14 December 2018

University sector urges 'careful consideration' of incentives for overseas students, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 December 2018

Stefania Giannini: 'Strong universities lessen social tensions' The Guardian13 December 2018

Students Protest in Paris Against New Education Fees Sputnik International, 11 December 2018

Answer threats to academic freedom with engagement, University World News, 10 December 2018

Rwanda to Begin Ranking Universities Amid Quality Issues KT Press10 December 2018

Down Under, Worries Over International Students Are Academic US News & World Report, 9 December 2018

Qatar confirms commitment to national, international education Gulf Times, 6 December 2018

When trade war spills over into academic cooperation, University World News6 December 2018

Australia: gambling problems higher in international students The PIE News5 December 2018

Malaysia to have first ever overseas branch campus of Japanese university New Straits Times, 4 December 2018

Survey: With Student-Supplied Data, Colleges Could Drastically Improve Recruitment, Campus Technology, 4 December 2018

Letter from Australia: the online avalanche? Wonkhe Blog, 3 December 2018

University of Illinois insures itself against a drop in Chinese student enrollment, MarketWatch, 3 December 2018

Bridging the research university budget gap University World News, 3 December 2018

UK is “lagging behind” competitors The PIE News, 2 December 2018

Study Abroad Reaches New Highs, Language Magazine, 2 December 2018

More to widening access to HE than just financial aid, University World News, 2 December 2018

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