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In March 2022, the UK government announced major changes to England’s student finances. Tuition fees will be frozen until 2024-25. In addition, new entrants from 2023-24 will be subject to a lower income threshold when repaying their income-contingent student loan debt, a longer repayment period, and lower interest rates. The income threshold will rise in line with inflation rather than wages affecting both new entrants and current graduates. Further changes are subject to consultation including restricted access to student loans based on prior academic achievement.

Economic estimates have pegged these changes as regressive and disadvantageous for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. But how will future graduates experience these changes? To get a preliminary insight into this crucial question, we assess the student finance reforms in the light of findings from 98 interviews with current graduates detailed in our report Hidden Voices: Graduates’ Perspectives on the Student Loan System in England. We explore the experiences and perspectives of graduates from prior student loan systems to expose how the proposed modifications could have both positive and negative effects on the burden of graduate student loan debt.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).

The idea of the public (good) of higher education is closely related to the political, social and education cultures in which higher education is embedded. It varies across contexts. However, the widely used notions of the public (good) of higher education, including the notions of economic public goods and private goods, primarily assume the Anglo-American state/society/university assemblages.

This is largely because of the Anglo-American (and more generally, Western) dominance of discourses in higher education and the language challenges involved in comparative studies of higher education. However, employing the Anglo-American notions in non-Anglo-American contexts is problematic. This webinar will critique that approach, and attempt to move beyond it by reporting a lexical-based comparison of the Chinese and Anglo-American approaches to the public (good) of higher education. It identifies and explores key concepts of the public (good) of higher education in both the Chinese and English languages, establishing similarities and differences. It is hoped that this comparison will enable a more balanced understanding of the public (good) role of higher education in each of the Chinese and Anglo-American policy settings.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).

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Children follow natural developmental progressions in learning. Curriculum research has revealed sequences of activities that are effective in guiding children through these levels of thinking. These developmental paths are the basis for Learning Trajectories. Learning Trajectories have three parts – a learning goal, a developmental path along which children develop to reach that goal, and a set of activities matched to each of the levels of thinking in that path. Together, these help children develop to higher levels of mathematical thinking.
In this talk, we will present surprising research findings about early mathematics, including its predictive power, children’s potential for learning, and what we know about effective teaching using research-based learning trajectories. Takeaways include new supports for teaching and learning early math playfully and joyfully.

About the Speakers

Dr Julie Sarama is the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies and Distinguished University Professor, and Douglas H Clements is the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education.

Microcredentials, “a certification of assessed learning that is additional, alternate, complementary to or a formal component of a formal qualification”, have recently attracted a growing interest in higher education across the world. Increasing questioning of whether university diplomas really have “the capacity to represent the breadth and depth of learning provided in and beyond” higher education and complaints of employers about skills gaps of graduates entering the workforce have, beyond any doubt, boosted the interest in microcredentials.

Compared to traditional higher education courses, their more flexible, shorter-lasting, skills-oriented and digitalization-friendly nature attracts stakeholders to integrate microcredentials into universities’ regular departmental curricula and provide graduates with a more skilled transition to workforce. With this respect, a growing number of universities are nowadays focusing on improving the quality assurances of their microcredentials to enhance their recognition in and beyond higher education. Employers, on the other hand, are seeking ways to collaborate with universities to use microcredentials as a means to empower their employees in their career paths by reskilling or upskilling them.

In the light of the growing role of microcredentials in and beyond higher education, this webinar will draw attention to the questions below:

  • Are microcredentials something new or a new name for something that has been around for a long time?
  • Are microcredentials part of, alongside or a replacement for higher education?
  • Are microcredentials only about employment and skills?
  • What are the opportunities and risks of microcredentials?
  • Why does a country desire to integrate microcredentials into its higher education? (Referring to an international project sponsored by the British Council).

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).

From 2018 to 2021, the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEPUNESCO) launched a comprehensive international research on ‘SDG 4: Planning Flexible Learning Pathways in Higher Education’. The expansion and diversification of higher education have led in many countries to highly fragmented HE systems, which are difficult to navigate for learners.

In addition, there are today also more diverse learners, such as first generation students, adult learners and returnees to higher education that require more flexibility in access, progression and preparation for the labour market. The study therefore aimed to collect knowledge on both appropriate policies and good practices for the design and implementation of flexible learning pathways in higher education. The project includes a stocktaking, a global survey and eight in-depth country case studies (Chile, Finland, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Morocco, South Africa and the UK). Drawing from the research findings, this webinar aims to present selected research findings from both the international research and more specifically the UK case study.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).

In this talk, Richard Watermeyer will present findings from empirical research undertaken over the course of the last two years in multiple international higher education settings that reveal the professional and personal impact of universities’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic on their staff.

He will showcase the experience of academic and professional service staff in transitioning (both in an emergency and longer-term context) to remote working practices and in adjusting to or resisting crisis-management conditions. The pandemic will be shown to have laid bare and exacerbated an underlying crisis of higher education, particularly in aggressively marketised (and internationalised) systems. ‘Pandemia’ is accordingly presented as a clarion call for universities to privilege an ethic of care, too often neglected if not lost in higher education’s hyper-competitive prestige and performance culture and yet core to the ongoing transformation of universities as educational institutions in a milieu of unprecedented change.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).

The book Ambitious and Anxious offers a multifaceted analysis of the new wave of Chinese students based on research in both Chinese high schools and American higher-education institutions. I argue that these students’ experiences embody the duality of ambition and anxiety that arises from transformative social changes in China.

These students and their families have the ambition to navigate two very different educational systems and societies. Yet the intricacy and pressure of these systems generate a great deal of anxiety, from applying to colleges before arriving, to studying and socializing on campus, and to looking ahead upon graduation. This book also provides policy implications from student recruitment to career services.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).

Governing bodies have been mostly overlooked in studies of university governance. Yet, the English regulatory regime re-enforces their role(s). Scholars have identified trends towards boardism along with the corporatization and laicization of university governance and raised concerns about the failure of shared governance. There is ample sector-level ‘guidance’ regarding what governing body roles should be, but little empirical evidence regarding how governors perceive their roles – and why.

This webinar reviews findings from a study which draws on interviews with over 60 governors representing a cross-section of members at five English universities. The analytical framework incorporates various governing body attributes and uses several governance theories from outside of higher education as explanatory tools. It discusses nine key governing body roles identified, which align to strategy, oversight and support clusters along with an emerging cluster regarding institutional culture. It explores five cross-cutting themes which include the emergence of new stakeholders, the importance of changing governing body composition, and differing views regarding governor support roles. It also introduces a conceptual framework of dimensions of governing body roles. Consequences of the research for policy and practice as well as considerations for future research are also explored.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).

Student mobility is shaped by a long history of struggles. In recent times, key developments such as the 2008 crisis, increasing geopolitical tensions, and Covid-19 have revealed the vulnerability of HE systems and questioned their dynamics of internationalisation. In a context characterised by increasing inequalities within and between countries and the overarching environmental threat, international student mobility is doubly affected by a crisis of the current form of globalisation and a crisis of the funding of HE systems both revealed by the 2008 downturn and unresolved since then.

In this seminar, I propose to explore some of these tensions in the contexts of France and the UK. Beyond specific historical trajectories, both countries share similarities in terms of wealth, population and as ex-colonial powers. Their internationalisation policies also tend to be connected to similar debates. For instance, in the UK, where international fees were introduced in 1967, tensions recurrently arise between immigration, geopolitical, and income generation rationales. In France, the recent introduction of international fees for non-EU students in universities was heavily debated with many commentators questioning its impact on social justice at the global level but also at home with concerns that this might represent a reinforcement of the marketisation of the university sector.

Drawing on historical statistical data, I propose to look back at these questions by comparing and contrasting the historical trends, patterns and structures of funding, expansion and differentiation of HE systems to those of inward student mobility since the 1920s. I will focus on the expansion, intensity and transformation of student mobility. I will consider the historical layers of rationales which have driven or constrained student mobility. I also propose to reflect on how changes and continuities in student mobility have shaped and were shaped by the transformations of HE systems and their institutional differentiation. I will then consider some of the implications regarding the question of inequalities at national and global levels.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).