Tuesday, March 20, 2012

>The global race for excellence and skilled labour

The race to boost skill levels and enhance academic excellence is in full swing: expenditures for higher education and for research and development are increasing sharply around the world – and especially in emerging economies.

Higher education is on an uptrend not only in developed countries but also worldwide: the share of the world population with tertiary educational attainment is increasing rapidly. Only sub-Saharan Africa shows relatively disappointing performance; too little has been done there – except in South Africa.

The positions of the individual BRIC nations in the race are mixed: Russia is a ―nation of learning‖ which has had a lead on many developed economies for decades. Russia should step up its pace again, though, since China is rapidly catching up. Brazil and India are also showing improvements.

Industrial countries still hold the lead in the current dash to boost excellence: higher education systems are difficult to compare on account of data availability, yet an analysis of the ―Shanghai rankings‖ shows that the industrial countries dominate the field in terms of the excellence of their higher education systems.

However, the emerging markets have joined the fray: the share of Chinese and Brazilian top universities has simply jumped since 2003.

Excellence via investment in research universities: our analyses show there is a significantly positive correlation between expenditures on education and scores in the Shanghai ranking. Germany poised to catch up: Germany trails comparably developed countries both in terms of spending on tertiary education and the share of tertiary educational attainment in the population. However, Germany produces more excellent universities than is to be expected from a statistical analysis.

A cross-border, project-economy approach to collaboration is a key factor in the dash to boost educational achievement: there is a need for cross-border projects, programmes and partnerships with aspiring institutions in other developed countries and emerging economies and for the creation of new possibilities to finance these initiatives in order to compete in the long-term race to produce more tertiary graduates and spur global progress in knowledge.

To read full report: GLOBAL RACE