Korea’s increasing popularity with international students may have something to do with its lively music scene, with foreign teens drawn to the country due to their fascination with K-Pop, the Korea Times has reported. Last year a record number of foreign students chose the country, showing an 18 per cent growth since the previous year and jumping to a total of 123,850 students according to data released by the National Institute of International Education. The majority (55 per cent) of students came from China, followed by Vietnam, Mongolia and Japan, but the US sent 2,767 students and France 1,344. The newspaper argues that the increased diversity of international students in the country may be down to what it calls “K-Pop migrants”. Born in the mid-90s as a musical genre, K-Pop (which stands for Korean Pop) has generated armies of fans around the world. Some consider it an instrument of soft-power for South Korea. Apparently, French students started flocking in since 2012, a year after Psy graced Paris with a performance of “Gangnam Style”. – Claudia Civinni, The PIE News. Read more

England’s universities minister Sam Gyimah has pledged to focus “laser-like” on the issue of vice-chancellor pay during questioning from MPs. He was giving evidence to the education select committee as part of its inquiry into value for money in higher education amid mounting concern about the inflated salaries of university leaders and the growing debts burden on graduates. Gyimah told MPs that steps were being taken to remove university leaders from remuneration committees to prevent them setting their own pay. “What happened before was that vice-chancellors sat on the remuneration committee and they would obviously recuse themselves when their own pay was being discussed,” he said. “But even in FTSE 100 companies you can’t sit on a remuneration panel and say: ‘I wasn’t in the room so it’s nothing to do with me.’ They should not be allowed to set their own pay – and that’s action on pay.” The issue of vice-chancellor pay has been a source of growing irritation for the government, which has been accused of not doing enough to cap excessive salaries by many commentators including Labour’s former education minister Andrew Adonis. – Sally Weale, The Guardian. Read more

Of the developed nations best positioned for success in the age of automation, the US ranks ninth according to a recent study profiled in the Hechinger Report; a dismal prospect for the country with the world’s most well-regarded collection of colleges and universities.  While there is great uncertainty about how most countries will contend with the rapidly changing development and use of technology, some countries are looking to keep up with the changes with adaptation in secondary and higher education. In Singapore, residents are given stipends to pay for government-offered courses which can be taken any time over the course of their lives. One researcher says that the responsibility will fall on nations, not institutions, to drive the technological imperative of the future. “Very few countries are taking the bull by the horns when it comes to adapting education systems for the age of automation,” Saadia Zahidi, head of education, gender and employment for the World Economic Forum. – Jarrett Carter, EducationDive. Read more

Students in Germany rated their curriculum, teaching and job prospects more highly when their universities were labelled “excellent” by the government – even though the award was unrelated to teaching, according to new research. The results cast further doubt on the reliability of student satisfaction scores, a co-author of the study said. Germany’s Excellence Initiative, a multibillion-euro program that since 2005 has encouraged universities to compete to be designated “excellent” on the basis of research clusters, graduate schools and their institutional plans, has injected an element of highly publicized hierarchy into a traditionally equal system. The country has therefore become a testing ground for what happens to student choice and perception when British- or American-style inequality of prestige emerges. Mira Fischer, an economics researcher at the University of Cologne, found that in the three years after a university was named “excellent,” it was able to attract applicants with better grades. – David Matthews, Times Higher. Read more

As part of its Digital India program, the government has started the process of formulating a policy for digital universities across the country. Once formulated, such universities will be set up to enable people to access high-level education at their convenience. These universities will be given accreditation and courses will also be recognised by the government, a senior official from the ministry of IT and electronics told DNA Money on condition of anonymity. In India, online education mainly for schools has been gaining steam over the last many years with many private players venturing into this segment. A draft proposal for digital universities is already in the works by the ministry of human resources and development and has been circulated for inter-ministerial views, the official said. The next phase of Digital India is crucial as the government is targeting to make the country $1 trillion digital economy by 2022. – Mansi Taneja, DNA India. Read more


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