In a long and detailed article The Economist looks at China’s universities, overseas educational establishments and students who study there. The report is not flattering to any party.
According to Fiona Buffinton, head of Australian Education International, a government agency, fears that if Australia does too well at attracting students seeking a back door to immigration, its position in the global education market — and its attractiveness to really serious students — will suffer.
Such worries are a reminder that in a global business, reputation is easily lost.
A study by the Oxford-based Higher Education Policy Institute sounded a warning: Britain’s ‘quickie’ masters degrees (doable in a year, and nice earners for colleges) are coming to be seen as substandard.
Meanwhile, a survey of Chinese students in Britain found that many felt their institutions valued them only for their fees.
Under a law passed in 2003, foreign universities were permitted to set up campuses, or whole universities, inside China, if they partnered with a local body.
In the short period before the government called a halt to take stock, two British universities moved in.
Nottingham University opened a campus in Zhejiang province, in 2005; the British institution recruits students and faculty, sets course content, conducts exams and confers degrees. A year later Liverpool University, in partnership with Xi’an Jiaotong, one of China’s best colleges, opened a new university 100km (60 miles) from Shanghai.
The first few cohorts will get degrees from Liverpool; the new university will soon award its own degrees.
Neither British university put up any capital; what is at risk in such ventures is mostly reputation. Both universities, respected in England, but not world-famous, have decided that risk is worth taking in the hope of boosting their global profile.
Source: The Economist