South Korea, Germany and Singapore are the world’s top-ranked nations in their preparations for smoothly integrating intelligent automation into their economies, according to ABB and The Economist Intelligence Unit in a report titled “The Automation Readiness Index (ARI): Who Is Ready for the Coming Wave of Innovation?” It finds that even the best-prepared countries must develop more effective education policies and training programs, as well as place a new emphasis on continual learning over the course of a career. Those policies and programs, it recommends, must ensure that the rapid adoption of automation technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) will not leave people unprepared for the new, more human-oriented jobs that will be needed as robots and algorithms take on more of the routine tasks that can be and will be automated. The report, which surveyed and ranked 25 countries on their automation readiness, found that many nations across the globe are just beginning to come to grips with the opportunities and challenges posed by AI and robotics-based automation. It found that “more engagement between government, industry, educational specialists and other stakeholders is needed if policymaking is to keep pace with innovation in automation”. Whether policymakers are ready or not, it says, businesses are rapidly integrating AI and advanced robotics into their operations. Other countries best positioned to embrace this wave of change are Japan, Canada, Estonia, France, the UK, the US and Australia. – ABB News Centre. Read more

The number of foreign students studying at universities on the Chinese mainland is closing in on the half a million mark, with 489,200 students in 2017, according to the latest figures from the ministry of education in Beijing. However, it is still not enough to close the gap with the numbers of Chinese students studying abroad, which exceeded 600,000 for the first time, at 608,400 – a year on year increase of almost 12 per cent, in separate statistics that the ministry revealed at the end of March. The figure for the number of inbound students to China includes those enrolled in secondary education, not just higher education, unlike other countries which produce the two statistics separately. According to the ministry, foreigners enrolled in secondary education in China account for almost a third of the total. Analysts say this is due to the expansion of international schools in China, which in turn attracts foreign nationals, including Chinese returning from abroad with foreign passports – China has launched a number of schemes to attract back highly-qualified Chinese from abroad, including priority for registration in popular cities like Shanghai and Beijing. – Yojana Sharma, University World News. Read more

A new survey has reported that 50 per cent of international students feel that they are not receiving a “global education experience” during their studies. Researchers from the Centre of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick polled more than 2,360 students from six universities in the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Germany. The results revealed that students felt they were lacking experience across five key areas: communication skills, foreign language learning skills, social integration, academic integration and global skills and support – with a particular concern regarding the final three. The report, The Internationalisation of Higher Education: Developing Global Graduates, acknowledges that businesses are increasingly aware of recruiting graduates with “global skills” while also complaining of that too few possess them. It notes that internationalisation is a goal, but understanding is lacking. “Universities all over the world have identified internationalisation as a key goal. However, there is currently little understanding of what makes a ‘global graduate’,” it reads. – Julian Hall, The PIE News. Read more

From 2021, a PhD will be a must for teaching at university level in India, even for assistant professors, which is the entry-level designation for instructors in universities, according to a draft policy document. Teachers will undergo a mandatory, month-long induction program before starting work and also have to devote two hours for mentoring of students for community development/extra-curricular activities. According to a senior Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry official, these changes have been made to enhance the quality of education in the higher education sector. This person added that the University Grants Commission (UGC) will soon define the minimum qualifications for teachers. So far, at the entry level, the minimum eligibility requirement for an assistant professor is that they should have cleared the National Eligibility Test (NET) and have a Masters degree. In addition to the PhD, aspirants will have to clear the National Eligibility Test or an accredited test (state level eligibility test) or other similar exams, HRD ministry officials added. – Neelam Pandey, The Hindustan Times. Read more

In Germany the British vote to leave the EU is already shaping the curriculum. As part of their school-leaving exam, students of English in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg were asked to elaborate the differences between the hopes connected to the British referendum, and the reality of Brexit since. In the written part of the Abitur test – the certificate of general qualification for university entrance, equivalent to the UK’s A-levels – about 31,000 students were handed a drawing by the Indian cartoonist Paresh Nath, originally published in the United Arab Emirates’ English-language newspaper the Khaleej Times in April 2016. One of the cartoon’s panels, captioned Project Fantasy, shows a man with a bowler hat and a union flag soaring towards the skies in a UFO. The second panel, entitled The Realities, has the same man on an island encircled by four sharks, symbolising “chaos”, “trade issues”, “economic uncertainties” and “job confusion”. A spokesperson for the Baden-Württemberg ministry of education, which designs and distributes the centralised written part of the exam, said the assessment was designed to test students’ knowledge of recent sociopolitical issues. – Philip Oltermann, The Guardian. Read more


to get daily updates on what's happening in the world of Australian Higher Education