94% of ON University Grads Find Jobs within 2 Years of Graduation

Source: Council of Ontario Universities via Academica

More than nine out of ten university graduates from Ontario find well-paying jobs within two years of graduating, according to a new study conducted for the province’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. The survey-based study showed that university graduates in full-time jobs earn an average salary of almost $42K six months after graduation, and an average of more than $49K after two years. The report also found that employment rates and earnings for university undergraduates were higher than they were for any other level of education. A large majority of recent graduates in full-time jobs also said that their work was related to the skills they developed in their program of study. “In a complex and ever-changing world, Ontario’s universities are helping to build a brighter future for graduates, their families and communities, and the province,” said Council of Ontario Universities President David Lindsay.

India to create 20 world-class universities

Source: Study International via Academica

The Indian government reportedly plans to turn 20 universities into world-class institutions. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in February that “enabling regulatory architecture will be provided to 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions” and that a not-for-profit Higher Education Financing Agency would be created to “leverage funds from the market” to support improvements. While the announcements were “encouraging” to Boston College Center for International Higher Education Director Philip Altbach, he dubbed the plan a “tall order” and expressed wariness due to a historical lack of success in India’s previous efforts to achieve similar goals.

Indian Higher Ed Commission Releases List of Fake Universities

Source: Times of India via Academica

The University Grants Commission (UGC), the regulatory body for higher education in India, has published a list of 21 “fake” universities operating in that country. Indian law prohibits any institution from describing itself as a “university” without obtaining the proper government permission. Eight of the 21 “universities” are in Uttar Pradesh, with a further six in Delhi. While the UGC’s decree prohibits these institutions from continuing to grant degrees, it is worth noting that many of the institutions on the new list were also on an earlier list.

International Student Enrolment Grew Faster at ON Colleges Than at Universities in Last Decade

Source: HEQCO via Academica

Data shared on the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario’s (HEQCO’s) It’s Not Academic blog sheds light on the growth in international enrolment at Ontario’s publicly funded colleges and universities. The data show that in the past decade, the rate of growth in international enrolment at colleges has generally exceeded the rate of growth at universities. The growth in college enrolment spiked in 2010; HEQCO attributes this to the 2009 introduction of the Student Partners Program, which expedites the Canadian study permit process for citizens of India and China.

Times Higher Education to Add India-specific Parameters to Ranking

Source: The Economic Times | January 6, 2014

NEW DELHI: Indian institutions could improve their scores dramatically in Times Higher Education’s globally cited World University Rankings as the British magazine has agreed to develop and include India-specific parameters for assessment from the next time.

Confirming the development, education secretary Ashok Thakur said the human resource development ministry had asked all groupings of domestic institutions such as the IITs, National Institutes of Technology and central universities to appoint a nodal person to coordinate with Times Higher Education to develop India-specific parameters.

Domestic institutions have long argued that the rankings, which give 55% weight to research indicators and 30% to teaching environment, including 15% to the faculty, do not take into account extenuating “Indian circumstances”.

No Indian institution has yet made it to the top 100 in the rankings, in which Panjab University is the highest ranked domestic institution clubbed in the group of universities ranked 226-250.

India’s premier engineering colleges, the Indian Institutes of Technology, made it to the list last year, with the IITs from Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee all ranked in the group of institutions between 351 and 400.

The government has been concerned over the poor performance of domestic institutions in international rankings and keen to ensure that the rankings take India-specific parameters on board.

There is little clarity on what exactly constitutes “Indian circumstances” except the constitutionally mandated reservation quotas (15% for scheduled castes, 7.5% for scheduled tribes and 27% for other backward classes) and the cross-cutting quota for physically-challenged persons. But issues including intake of foreign students, foreign faculty, marketing and branding of institutions will be addressed while designing India-specific parameters for assessment.

Academics and analysts argue that it is unfair to compare India’s top institutions with American or other western institutions. Centrally-funded institutions such as the IITs, which have a national mandate, cannot admit foreign students at the undergraduate level, and restrictions on assistantships for international students make it difficult to attract foreign students at the PhD level.

None of India’s publicly-funded higher education institution can hire foreign nationals as regular faculty members since guidelines prohibit hiring of foreigners for jobs with salaries less than $25,000 a year. Moreover, even at higher salaries, international faculty can only be brought in on contract for up to five years.

The ministry had also approached the widely respected Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Rankings to develop India-specific parameters for assessment.

TCS Insights: By using India-specific parameters, Indian educational institutions will be better able to compete with international colleges and universities when ranked together. It is difficult for publicly funded institutions in India to measure up to global competition while unable to take in foreign undergraduate students and competing for PhD students from abroad. Times Higher Education has made it possible for such institutions to compete in a manner that is better suited for them.

Canada Announces $43 Million in NSERC Grants

Source: Canada News Release, Courtesy of Academica | January 9, 2014

Canadian Minister of State (Science and Technology) Greg Rickford today announced that the most recent round of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funding will provide $43 million to 77 research teams at universities across the country. The funding will go towards 2 grants: the Strategic Network Grants and the Strategic Project Grants. The funds will help researchers work with companies and other organizations on long-term projects to address industrial and societal challenges.

TCS InsightsThe Canadian government aims to use these grants to increase research and training in areas that influence the Canadian economy and environment over the next decade. Additionally, this funding will go towards research that involves interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers and institutions such as solar power and cloud-based computing projects.