higher education

This week, after many months of preparation two of China's leading educational institutions, Peking University and Tsinghua University, joined the EdX online educational consortium by providing six courses available without charge online. China now has officially entered the movement known as the Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOC.

Around the world, international education has become a policy priority for almost every developed and developing country. But just how significant is higher education to a country’s reputation and what exactly is soft power?

Ten years ago, Roeen Rahmani and some friends spent $300 on an overhead projector and a rented room to teach a business course to Afghans emerging from civil war and Taliban rule. Nobody showed up for the first class. Today, that initial effort has evolved into Kardan University, a private institution educating more than 8,000 students in programs ranging from political science to civil engineering. But for Rahmani, the school's chancellor, it's not enough.

One Hong Kong university and 15 in mainland China have made the list of the best places to study if you want to be chief executive officer of a global company. Polytechnic University was ranked 72nd out of 100 universities worldwide in the Alma Mater Index, a new study by Times Higher Education, which rates universities based on the studies of Fortune Global 500 CEOs.

Market forces are working against college degrees in Marx, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh studies in Vietnam, where the Communist government has resorted to offering free tuition to attract students. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decree last month giving free tuition to students agreeing to take four-year courses on Marxism-Leninism and the thoughts of Ho Chi Minh, the country's revolutionary hero, at state-run universities.

Though things sure aren’t looking good for US universities, Wisconsin has it unusually bad. Decades of plummeting investment in higher education has left it among the US’s 10 worst states. Fear of debt mean Wisconsin students are balking at paying for college, denting revenue even more. But what can Wisconsin universities do to drum up funding? The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has a plan.

Israel is looking to hire university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks — without needing to identify themselves as government-linked, officials said Wednesday. The Israeli prime minister's office said in a statement that students on Israeli university campuses would receive full or partial scholarships to combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel online. It said students' messages would parallel statements by government officials.

A recent article in The Chronicle – ‘Is Europe Passé‘ – examines the US’s higher education efforts with new partners and how this affects relationships with the UK, among others. In response, the British Council’s higher education manager in the US, Janice Mulholland, suggests a different form of partnerships for institutions in a global economy.