Trends, insights and research to inform growth and innovation strategies in international higher education.

August 27, 2015

Defining the future of internationalisation in Europe

A recent study entitled 'Internationalisation of Higher Education' in the European context provides a comprehensive perspective on what is the current state of internationalization is and what should it look like in future.
IAU, EAIE, Europe survey findings on internationalisation highered

The study critically analyzed the key literature in the field of international higher education and coupled it with survey findings from three sources--IAU 4th Global Survey on Internationalisation of Higher Education, The EAIE Barometer: Internationalisation in Europe, and Delphi survey (with support from Robert Coelen).

The study funded by the European Parliament was undertaken by some of the leading researchers and thinkers in the field-Hans de Wit, Fiona Hunter, Laura Howard and Eva Egron-Pola. The blend of comprehensive background research along with deep expertise of the authors resulted in this influential, landmark publication.

The ten recommendations (I wonder, why it rhymes with ten commandments) of the study have the potential to create a more meaningful future state of internationalization in Europe:
"1. Address the challenges of credit and degree mobility imbalances and institutional cooperation, stemming from substantial differences in higher education systems, procedures and funding.
2. Recognise the growing popularity of work placements and build options to combine them with language and cultural skills training and study abroad.
3. Support the important role of academic and administrative staff in the further development of IoHE.
4. Foster greater higher education and industry collaboration in the context of mobility of students and staff.
5. Pay more attention to the importance of ‘Internationalisation at home’, integrating international and intercultural learning outcomes into the curriculum for all students.
6. Remove the barriers that impede the development of joint degrees.
7. Develop innovative models of digital and blended learning as an instrument to complement IoHE.
8. Align IoHE with internationalisation at other levels of education (primary, secondary, vocational and adult education).
9. Stimulate bilingual and multilingual learning at the primary and secondary education level as a basis for a language policy based on diversity.
10.Remove barriers between internationalisation of research and education, at all levels, for greater synergy and opportunity."

Here are related analysis and coverage of the study:
Penetrating insights into internationalisation progress, University World News
Internationalisation: variations and vagaries, University World News
Internationalisation should be for all – Landmark study, University World News
Academic values ‘at risk’ in internationalisation, says report, Times Higher Ed
EU study: internationalisation must reach all levels of education, The PIE News  
Read More »

August 06, 2015

China's Economic and Education Ambitions on the New Silk Road

Eugene Sebastian, deputy pro vice-chancellor, business international, RMIT University, Australia and I recently published an article entitled "Knowledge helps power China along the new Silk Road" in The Australian. Here is the excerpt:

Chinese higher education along silk road
Source: The Wall Street Journal
The Silk Road concept is not new. Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the idea in 2013 during a visit to Kazakhstan and Indonesia. What is new is the use of education as a tool to help drive China’s regional economic ambitions.

China’s education strategy has three parts. First, Beijing has promised 10,000 new scholarships will be handed out every year to the countries along the Silk Road. Offering scholarships has worked in the past. Ten years ago, in support of its scaled-up engagement with Africa, Beijing introduced scholarships for African students, the numbers of which have more than doubled — as has its economic influence. China already provides a lot of scholarships to international students. In 2010, it sponsored almost 23,000 and plans to fund 50,000 by this year.

The second part involves using governance and technical training to engage government officials.Xi has highlighted training as an important form of co-operation. Yunnan province — in southwest China and an important pivot to South and Southeast Asia — is being positioned as a training base for public officials from Myanmar, Thailand and the Mekong subregion. Xi has even ­proposed sharing and integrating resources between countries to tackle issues such as youth ­employment, entrepreneurship training and vocational skills ­development.

The third part of the education strategy involves creating science and technology platforms, such as labs, centres and networks. These platforms will help promote research collaboration, exchanges and training. In Xinjiang province — the northwestern hub — plans are under way to establish a science and education centre that will open links into Central, South and West Asia, and Russia’s Far East. In May, Universities Alliance of the New Silk Road, led by Xi’an Jiaotong University, was established. The alliance draws together more than 60 universities from 22 countries in Asia, the Middle East and Russia.

Education can be an effective diplomatic tool for engaging neighbours. It’s practical, responsive to development needs and can be packaged easily for media communications. Beijing’s use of education will help it soften the edges of what is viewed regionally as an ambitious and politically complex endeavour. More important, the venture will allow China to address the region’s yawning skills gap, which invariably stands in the way of its economic ambitions.

Related links:
Xi'an Special: Alliance unites higher education along Silk Road route
Interactive Map: China’s New Silk Road
Silk Road Fund makes first investment
China Sees Itself at Center of New Asian Order (Image)
Read More »

More preventive measures needed in India to stop high-stakes cheating, says Britt of Prometric

Admissions to higher education institutions of excellence in India is often reliant on high-stakes testing. At the top are some of the most competitive exams like Common Admissions Test (CAT) for Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Then there are many more exams for different professions and states. More recently, a scams in the state of Madhya Pradesh exposed system-level corruption with more than 2,000 students estimated to have cheated their way into coveted medical colleges. Here is an interview with Wade Britt, Country Manager, Prometric Testing Services Pvt. Ltd., India, a test development and delivery provider. Prometric is a wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary of Educational Testing Service.

Wade Britt is the Country Manager for Prometric Testing Services Pvt. Ltd in India. He has extensive international experience in operations and sales in the education, technology and logistics sectors. Prior to Prometric, Wade had worked with Open English, Kaplan University and DHL. He holds a  master's degree in International Business and a bachelor's degree from University of South Carolina.

Rahul- What are the reasons for high-stakes cheating in India? Based on Prometric's global experiences, is it more than other countries?
Wade- Cheating in India is comparable to other countries. Any high stakes exam has a built-in incentive to attract cheats. Where an exam can better one’s life, increase ones earnings or differentiate one from the crowd, there will be people that will try to achieve these accomplishments through fraud rather than effort. What is perhaps more specific to India is that there needs to be more attention given to how cheating can be stopped. Prometric takes a bigger view on preventing cheating’s effects and dissects the complete examination process.

We write and administer test questions in ways that prevent cheating while keeping the test fair. We use data protection and encryption that prevents unauthorized access to exam content and renders it entirely unreadable should a breach occur. We can analyse candidate behavior during exams and identify patterns indicating someone is cheating or attempting to steal content. In the event someone thinks they’ve succeeded, we will have recorded the entire event and be able to draw upon it as evidence later during legal proceedings.

We operate solely to help honest test takers succeed and our international testing expertise brings lessons learned that allow us to remain ahead of cheating attempts.

Rahul- How can these incidences of cheating minimized? Any examples from other countries?
Wade- Securing exams and protecting honest test takers from unearned scores requires a global perspective and involves multiple processes that are required at every step of the way to ensure the sanctity of the test and a fair result for all candidates. What is often reported in the media is the point in the process where test takers are at a test centre, but that is only one part of a comprehensive process. Prometric has a process for securing exams that has proven effective in all countries we operate, and our performance in India has, without question, protected our clients and every honest candidate from cheating.

Denying the cheats starts back at the time of test creation. For example, are the questions valid and fair? Are they written by subject matter experts guided by testing professionals? Are the questions secure? Assuming the test has safely reached a testing location, you then have physical methods of security-high proctor (supervisor) to candidate ratios, video surveillance for record keeping, biometric identification to eliminate “proxy exam takers” and physical checks to detect hidden objects used to cheat. And then, there is the post exam process. Are the results secure and safe from interference? Are the results published by a reputable third party?

There are many measures we take throughout the testing lifecycle. No single solution at a single point in time can address the risk of cheating. Prometric specializes in high security for high stakes exams based upon our decades of experience and expertise along with stringent testing standards that are uniformly high across the globe.

Rahul- Please provide a brief background of Prometric Testing Services' engagement in India and what are the strategic priorities for next three years?
Wade- Prometric tests several million candidates a year on behalf of our clients – locally and globally Our priority has been and will continue to be to provide honest test takers fair, reliable and valid exams to help them in their career and personal goals. Our global reach benefits India by bringing people access to exams they want in order to find career opportunities, such as TOEFL and foreign medical licensing exams. Our strategy for the next three years is to help people earn the test scores they need to gain better job prospects and higher incomes, and we are committed to helping all candidates have fair opportunities.
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August 02, 2015

Ability to partner effectively is core to leadership in academia and enterpreneurial ventures, says David Finegold

university higher education innovation international
Dr. David Finegold, Chief Academic Officer, Quad Learning
Dr. Finegold is a leading expert on skill development systems and their application to economic performance in the global marketplace. In his last role, he served as Senior Vice President for Lifelong Learning and Strategic Growth at Rutgers University, spearheading efforts to build a workforce development system for New Jersey’s bioscience sector. He was also a professor at the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences in Claremont, California. David graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Social Studies from Harvard University, and earned his Ph.D. in Politics as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University in England.

Rahul- You have extensive experience as a faculty member and academic leader in university setting. Now you are working in an entrepreneurial and innovative environment at American Honors. What are couple of key leadership lessons for future academic entrepreneurs to succeed in a non-university settings?
David- I believe you can be entrepreneurial in academia as well as the private sector. I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to be part of starting new institutions, as one of the founding faculty members of the newest of the Claremont Colleges, the Keck Graduate Institute. And also to innovate within large public universities, creating the first interdisciplinary new degree program, the Master of Business and Science, that involved more than a dozen schools across all 3 Rutgers campuses. And to forge new public-private partnerships, bringing educators, from K-12 through universities, together with the pharmaceutical and biotech industry to form Bio-1, a life science workforce and economic development regional cluster in Central New Jersey.

The most exciting parts of being a leader in a double bottom-line private start-up company like Quad Learning, which works was the chance to build your own team of bright, highly motivated young people all focused on the same objective, without some of the internal politics and bureaucracy that can sometimes stifle promising initiatives in traditional higher education institutions. Another great feature of leading in the private sector is the knowledge that if you can demonstrate the success of your business model, that you have the opportunity to scale and continue to improve your innovation without worrying it may fall victim to state budget cuts or a grant running out.

The biggest leadership challenges are coping with the pace of change and need to wear multiple hats in a start-up environment. American Honors has grown faster than any new initiative I’ve been part of in higher education, from a pilot of 50 students to over 1000 students spread across 15 campuses in 5 states in just 3 years. And in a lean start-up, each leader has to take on a range of responsibilities without many of the established systems and support staff available in a large university.

The key leadership capability that appears to be common to both academia and entrepreneurial education ventures is the ability to partner effectively. This is particularly true for American Honors, where we are not an accredited institution, but rather an enabler of a national transfer network and strong honors programs built in collaboration with faculty and staff at our partner colleges.

Rahul- Please provide a brief background on American Honors (AH). What is the gap in the market it is addressing? What are the opportunities for international students?
David- A growing number of talented US and international students want to get a top US degree, but don’t have the resources to pay for 4 years at a leading university. In addition, many students have the underlying ability to graduate from these top institutions, but lack the academic preparation, English fluency and/or confidence to go straight to these highly competitive environments directly from high school.

American Honors offers a new, more affordable 2 + 2 path to obtaining a degree from the top public and private colleges and universities. Students spend their first two years in the American Honors program at one of our partner community colleges, and then can transfer to complete the final two years of their bachelor’s degree at a leading university, including our growing network of more than 55 partners, which include 5 top 100 universities offering assured admission places to our graduates. 

Rahul- What are couple of strategic goals/initiatives you are looking forward to achieving in next three years?
David- Our primary goal is to expand access for first generation and lower and middle-income students to the best U.S. colleges and universities by continuing to build the first national network which connects honors programs at community colleges to the leading four-year institutions. We already have the most honors students of any community college program in the U.S. and eventually hope to have more seats for talented students during the first two years of colleges than the Ivy League and the top 10 liberal arts colleges combined.

To further expand access globally we are establishing partnerships with educational institutions in different countries. This includes identifying strong partner high schools that we work closely with to prepare a group of students each year to come to American Honors as a first step toward obtaining a top U.S. degree. And working with colleges and universities to offer an American Honors Foundation program that features English as a Second Language (if needed) and a set of the first-year courses so that students can begin their college studies at home and then come to American Honors and our partner universities to complete their degree. We are beginning with partners in Sri Lanka and South Korea, and have discussions underway with other institutions around the world.
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