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World-class universities or systems?

With governments around the world looking to rankings to measure success, and perusing prestige in its various forms, is this now becoming an unhealthy distraction from creating sustainable systems that include institutions with distinctive missions able to meet the needs of the societies and economies that they serve? Jamil Salmi, the global tertiary education expert, writes about this growing tension.

The higher education case for Europe

In the week of the European Elections and with Europe high up in the UK’s political debate, Chris Hale takes a look at the higher education policy case for EU membership. With much of EU policy and legislation going above the heads of many in the UK, there are several key themes that matter tremendously to university and require the sector’s full engagement at home and in Brussels.

Let’s MOOC the midnight bell

Quietly, imperceptibly, educational technology has become big money. A perception, fed by rising tuition fees and concerns about student satisfaction, that HE is not fit for purpose has transformed into a business opportunity so massive that even Rupert Murdoch is getting on board. When, in February of this year, Global Industry Analysts Inc suggested that e-learning would be a $107bn global market in 2015 (a little under half of the current UK national deficit), they were examining a sector that seems far from the “cottage industry” derided by Sir John Daniel (Commonwealth of Learning) in 2010.

Immigration: politics matter more than statistics

The immigration debate is becoming increasingly technical, with universities arguing for different OECD measures and inevitably, the need for more and better data. But this isn’t a technical or even an economic debate. Like many other issues it is about politics and the concerns of voters – informed and uninformed. We find ourselves in a corner because the Conservatives (and not their coalition partners the Lib Dems) pledged to bring down immigration from the hundreds to the tens of thousands in their last election manifesto.