China’s online education industry has grown rapidly in the past few years, but analysts believe more business opportunities will surface as technology advances and capital pours in. The country could become one of the world’s most vibrant online education markets in the future thanks to growing household spending power, an undersupply of education resources, and the introduction of the two-child policy, analysts said. The market is likely to grow 20 per cent annually, reaching 270 billion yuan (US$41 billion) in 2019, up from 156 billion yuan in 2016. Globally the online education market will rise to US$190 billion by 2019, statistics from iResearch and Decebo showed. This means big opportunities for online education companies in China, which had attracted 144 million users by June this year, according to data from China Internet Network Information Centre. – Yujing Liu, South China Morning Post. Read more

Without reforms to the higher education sector, Thailand’s drastic population drop in recent years could affect the funding and quality of universities, education experts are warning after the latest round of the university central admissions exam saw a declining number of applications. Some 80,000 Thai students nationwide applied for the central admissions examination compared to 100,000 last year. Some 110,000 places are available in the higher education system this year – already reduced from 156,000 available places two years ago. Rapid expansion of universities, increased competition among education institutions and population decline are being blamed for the gap between higher education supply and demand, experts say. – Suluck Lamubol, University World News. Read more

Germany and Russia are strengthening scientific ties despite tense political relations, agreeing that from 2019 researchers from the two countries will be able to bid for money for joint projects in any academic area. Maintaining good academic links is seen as a good way to keep channels open, even if relations otherwise have become more frosty. Jörn Achterberg, who coordinates relations for the German Research Foundation (DFG) with Eastern Europe and Russia, said that even after the 2014 diplomatic crisis over Ukraine, “science has always been a bridge between our countries”. Having previously trialled joint bids between Russian and German research groups in limited areas, from 2019 the DFG and the Russian Science Foundation will fund grants “in all areas of science”, they announced earlier this month. – David Matthews, Times Higher Education. Read more

Three years ago a group of US public research universities set out to prove that by working together they could significantly increase the completion rates of low-income students without reducing quality or diminishing their research productivity. Recently they released new evidence that they are not only achieving their goals, but on track to surpass them. The 11 universities make up the University Innovation Alliance, which released new data showing that they have increased the number of low-income graduates at their institutions by 24.7 percent in the past three years. The increase also puts the alliance on pace to surpass its total graduation goals. “These 11 presidents and chancellors united around a sense of urgency and a shared problem, and they’ve held each other accountable with data-sharing agreements and transparency,” said Bridget Burns, executive director of the UIA. – Ashley A Smith, Inside Higher Ed. Read more

Global rental housing company Greystar has acquired Spain’s largest student accommodation provider Resa in a joint venture deal with two investment firms. The deal, for an undisclosed amount, marks US-headquartered Greystar’s first move into the Spanish housing market, adding to its 40,000-strong European student bed portfolio across the UK, Germany, the Netherlands. Resa owns 9,309 student beds across 19 different Spanish cities, including Madrid, Salamanca and Valencia. Investment firms AXA IM – Real Assets and CBRE GIP have acquired the majority of Resa’s assets, with Greystar acquiring the remaining portfolio and acting as the property, development and asset manager. – Natalie Marsh, PIE NEWS. Read more


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