One in four graduates in England and Northern Ireland are working in jobs for which they are overqualified and do not require a degree, according to a major international education report. The study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development found that while graduate unemployment rates in the UK are among the lowest in the world, students are more likely to end up in non-graduate jobs associated with lower incomes. Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education and skills, said too many young people emerging from university were ending up in low-paid, non-graduate jobs in the UK because they lacked the basic numeracy and literacy skills that should be expected from a university education. Schleicher said: “What we see is that a lot of people in the UK get a university degree but end up in a job that does not require that degree. When you test the skills of those people you actually see that those people don’t have the kind of skills that would be associated with a university degree.” – Sally Weale, The Guardian Higher Education. Read more

The University of Pennsylvania will become the first Ivy League college to offer an online bachelor’s degree with the launch of an interdisciplinary program next fall aimed at working adults and other nontraditional learners. Offered through the School of Arts and Sciences’ College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS), the applied arts and sciences degree encompasses general education courses and interdisciplinary concentrations as well as two on-campus experiences. The program will take a different approach to instruction than traditional residential courses by using the unique properties of e-learning, officials said. An advisory board of management executives is working with LPS to advise on workforce trends and skills needs. – James Paterson, Education Dive. Read more

A new report into private funding of competence building in Sweden recommends introducing tax incentives to encourage the funding of grants for international students to help plug a historic shortfall in graduates in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – subjects. The report argues that, since a higher proportion of international students to Sweden are selecting STEM subjects, recruiting and retaining such international students could be a key strategy to bridge the gap between demand for candidates with such competence and the supply presently provided by Swedish universities, which they say is much too low. The Philanthropy Forum report, Study Destination Sweden: Private capital for increased competence building and competitive strengthening is written by Martin Wikstrøm and Johan Eklund. They argue that the STEM gap now is reaching “historic proportions … Since the first half of the 1990s, the deficit between demand and supply in the workforce has widened, and over recent years reached levels that have never before been recorded,” they said. – Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News. Read more

Japan’s Ministry of Justice has announced a significant loosening of rules around residency for international students in time for spring 2019. The initiative will mean that graduates can work in any role as long as they earn over an annual salary threshold of 3 million yen, or $A36,627. The threshold initiative comes within the context of Japan’s struggle with population decline and labour shortages and its anticipation of welcoming hundreds of thousands of foreign workers. Currently, graduates can only work within their field of study, for example under the Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa: a wide catch-all visa that includes professions from language teachers to investment bankers. In recent years, only about a third of international students graduating from Japanese universities were subsequently employed in the country, falling short of the government’s 50% target. – Julian Hall, The PIE News. Read more

Russia’s Lomonosov Moscow State University has topped a new Times Higher Education table of the best research-intensive universities in Eurasia. As well as taking the overall number one spot in THE’s Eurasia ranking, the Russian institution ranks top in the region for its teaching environment, its research environment and its international outlook. The overall top three is completed by two other Russian universities: the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, which achieves a very high industry income score, and Tomsk Polytechnic University, which has a strong citation impact. More than a third (27) of the 74 places in the ranking are taken by Russian universities, making it the most-represented country, followed by Turkey, with 22 institutions, and Iran, with 18. – Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher. Read more


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