European leaders and the European Commission have backed proposals to step up higher education mobility and exchanges, and create a network of European universities with integrated study programs and curricula that enable students to study abroad. The plans signal a new era in which education and culture will be put high on the European Union’s agenda after years of being a low priority, according to the European University Association. European heads of state or government, meeting at an informal summit at Gothenburg in Sweden, supported the measures to deepen higher education cooperation, and agreed to measures including promoting mutual recognition of upper secondary education diplomas and the development of new curricula allowing for exchanges across European high school systems. – Brendan O’Malley, University World News. Read more

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is opening seven new visa application centres in China as Canada looks for new ways to support the growing demand for visas for Chinese residents. So far this year, more than 500,000 applications have been received from China, a 15% increase on 2016. The opening of these new centres brings the number of Canada’s VACs to 137, spread across 95 countries. China is Canada’s third-largest overseas source market for tourists, and Chinese visitors contribute more than $1 billion annually to Canada’s economy. The IRCC also reports there were 414,285 international students with a valid visa permit as of December 2016. Of this number, approximately 32% came from China, marking an increase of 12% on 2015 figures. – Kerrie Kennedy, The PIE News. Read more

When it comes to spending on their children’s education Singaporeans are the biggest spenders in the ASEAN region according to a recent survey by HSBC, but Indonesia has the highest proportion of parents paying for private tuition. Home to one of the top 25 universities globally, Singaporean parents splurge a whopping $US70,939 a year on their child’s primary, secondary, and tertiary education, almost double the global average of $44,221. Next highest in the region is Malaysia where spending on children’s education is put at $25,479 per year, while in Indonesia, parents spend an average of $18,422. The report, Higher and higher, the fourth in The Value of Education series, collected the views of 8,481 parents in 15 countries and territories globally. According to the study, Asian parents are the most optimistic globally, with high aspirations that ‘going the extra mile’ will ensure their children have a good start in life. – Stella-Maris Ewudolu, AEC News. Read more

Excessive pay for university vice-chancellors in the UK will be tackled by the new regulatory body for higher education, its chief has said. Sir Michael Barber, the chairman of the Office for Students, which begins operating next year, said the body would expose pay levels that look out of kilter with an institution’s performance. His comments follow a row about Bath University’s Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, who was revealed as the UK’s best paid vice-chancellor on £468,000 a year. Barber told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “We have powers as the Office for Students to get into value for money – vice-chancellors’ pay, senior staff pay, is one key aspect of value for money. And people are interested in that.” – The Guardian Higher Education. Read more

China is now the most popular country of choice for Pakistani students looking to study abroad. According to a senior official in the Pakistan Embassy, there are approximately 2,500 Pakistani students enrolled in Chinese universities this year; thereby increasing the total of Pakistani students in China to 22,000. Out of the total Pakistani students, 3,000 are enrolled in PhD programs, while others are completing their degrees in engineering, economic, management, agriculture, medicine, information technology, communication and language. According to experts, these students were not only awarded scholarships for admittance but also act as representatives of Pakistani society in China. They are also becoming part of the cultural exchange enhancement and relationship building strategies between the two countries. – QS WOW News. Read more


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