Day 2, PM

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Resource Challenges, the Drive for Quality and Imperatives for Relevance

Ensuring the quality and relevance of higher education in the face of increasing resource constraints are crucial issues today as we see the uneven distribution of funding in the higher education sector, growing calls for cost containment of higher education and scarcity of public funding. In this context, we will explore new models of funding that could balance cost containment with the drive to achieve the high quality


Time/Room: 1.00 pm – 2.30 pm / Leo
Moderator: Mr Steve Egan CBE, Vice-President (Implementation), University of Bath, United Kingdom


Title
Quality Assessment: New Directions

Speaker
Professor Madeleine Atkins CBE

Designation
Chief Executive, Higher Education Funding Council for England, United Kingdom

Synopsis
The starting point for this presentation is the rapidly increasing diversity of provision in the higher education system: diversity of types of provider with different corporate structures including private for-profit providers operating globally as well as locally in metropolitan areas; diversity of mission and size; diversity in the student body; diversity in modes of provision and in pedagogies. As the demand for advanced levels of knowledge and skills, and for impactful creativity, continues to increase in virtually all economies, such diversity can be predicted to continue in the decades ahead.

How then best to achieve the underlying purposes of quality assessment without stifling the innovation of higher education providers or making it too difficult for them to respond with agility and intelligence to opportunities and changes in their markets? As a Government, how do we offer some levels of protection to students who may well have naive understanding or imperfect information at the point of choice of institution or course of study. And can we still care meaningfully about comparability of the standard of academic outputs or do we have to accept that reputation and price are the proxies that employers and others will use in future?

With these questions in mind, the presentation will offer delegates an insight into the principles, models, research findings, proposals and issues that the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the equivalent funding and regulatory bodies in Wales and Northern Ireland, brought together for the 2015 Review of Quality Assessment in their countries.

Title
The Move to Shared Services in Large Research-Intensive Universities

Speaker
Professor Glyn Davis AC

Designation
Vice-Chancellor, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Synopsis
The two basic trends of demographic changes and globalisation have major impacts on the developments of higher education systems worldwide. These systems are becoming increasingly privately (co)-funded, less 'public good oriented' and further internationalised. As a result, higher education systems are becoming 'hybrid quasi-markets', in which some crucial market failures occur, in particular the failure of information asymmetry: the information gap between the suppliers and the clients of higher education is growing

The current quality assurance systems in higher education do not address this problem. They tend to ignore some of the most influential developments in higher education and therefore fail to address the interests of their various external stakeholders. As a result, there is a growing need for new transparency tools which are client-driven, independent, and multi-dimensional in their focus. Examples of these new transparency tool
Title
The Quest for World Class Universities in China: Retrospect and Prospect

Speaker
Professor Wei Ha

Designation
Professor in Education Policy and Leadership, Graduate School of Education and Institute of Economics of Education, Peking University, People's Republic of China

Synopsis
Higher education in China has experienced unprecedented growth both in terms of quantity and quality since the early 1990s. The annual supply of fresh college graduates has increased seven-fold from less than one million in 2000 to seven million in 2013. The total enrollment size in nearly 3000 Chinese higher education institutions has reached 35 million in 2013, making it the world's largest higher education system and the largest producer of science and engineering graduates. The catch-up on quality has been equally astonishing. China now trails the US as the world's second largest producer of scientific papers and second largest spender on R&D.  

Some argue that this "great leap forward" was possible due to China's positive response to global opportunities to educate its talent overseas and to form the education and research links with the outside world. However, can China sustain this meteoric catch-up or will it eventually fall victim to the law of diminishing returns in this quest for quality higher education? Can China become a trend setter or leader in the global higher education system or maintain its role as a fast-learning late mover?  

This talk offers fresh insights into the opportunities and challenges that Chinese higher education system will have to face during this quest in terms of institutional and governance reform; resource allocation and quality assessment; and 'structural adjustment' to meet the demand of the economy.

Topic: The 'new' normal and the cost crisis in higher education
Time/Room: 3.00 pm – 4.30 pm / Virgo 2 – 4


Title
Managing Costs in an Evolving Funding Environment

Speaker
Ms Susan Fitzgerald (MODERATOR)

Designation
Senior Vice-President, Global Higher Education and Not for Profit Ratings, Moody's Investors Service, USA

Synopsis
Constrained government budgets and competing priorities are limiting the growth in higher education funding in many countries. Policy debates globally around how the cost of higher education should be shared between individuals and the government will only increase. At the same time, the cost of educational provision is increasing due to aging infrastructure, a highly competitive environment, and increased demands on universities as their role as drivers for economic development expands. Against this backdrop, universities are both exploring new revenue opportunities as well as strategies to become more efficient, limiting growth in expenses and internally reallocating resources to strategic priorities. The United States provides a case study in how universities are coping with these challenges.
Title
The Recent 'Turbulence' in Australian Higher Education Funding

Speaker
Mr Mark Warburton

Designation
Principal Analyst, Universities Australia, Australia

Synopsis
The Australian budget went into deficit following the Global Financial Crisis.  This happened at the same time as a major package of reforms increasing public investment in higher education was being implemented.  This presentation examines how various Governments have responded.  It examines major changes in policy direction that subsequently emerged but have not been passed by the Australian Parliament.  The future is uncertain and it is time to consider whether the proposed change in direction is for the better.
Title
The 'New' Normal and the Cost Crisis in Higher Education – Irish Universities

Speaker
Mr Ian Mathews

Designation
Chief Financial Officer, Trinity College Dublin

Synopsis
Mr Mathew's presentation will discuss higher education sector funding reductions in the Irish context and Government controls over publicly funded bodies since 2008. He will examine the impact on Trinity College and its response both in terms of income diversification and cost management to drive financial sustainability for the long term. He will also speak about current needs of the Irish higher education sector, and how to address these needs in the context of its role in developing talent and human capital to ensure that Ireland's economic recovery is based on sustainable growth.

Topic: The need for innovation: new ways of financing higher education
Time/Room: 3.00 pm – 4.30 pm / Gemini 1 – 2


Title
Innovative Student Financing

Speaker
Mr Mohammed A. Khan

Designation
Senior Education Specialist, International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group

Synopsis
Although it is well known that higher education provides positive individual and social returns on investment, the prohibitive costs are still a barrier to entry for students who may not be able to afford it or have to assume high levels of debt for long periods. As the world's largest multilateral investor in private education, IFC has been actively investing in innovative models of financing higher education through innovative products and services over several years. This presentation will explore the innovations in student financing at the system and enterprise levels in emerging markets.
Title
The Lessons of Cost-Sharing: How Fees and Student Assistance Affect Students

Speaker
Mr Alex Usher (MODERATOR)

Designation
President, Higher Education Strategy Associates, Canada

Synopsis
Although fees are a major source of funding in many OECD countries, they remain highly controversial in others. Yet as budgets become squeezed in many countries, higher education systems are having to confront the choice of increasing their fees or cutting levels of provision. Drawing on a recent EC-commissioned paper, Do Changes in Cost-Sharing Have an Impact on the Behaviour of Students and Higher Education Institutions? (co-authored with Dominic Orr and Johannes Wespel) as well as the forthcoming third edition of Global Higher Education Rankings: Affordability and Accessibility in Comparative Perspective, this session will present some of the latest evidence from across the OECD regarding the short and long-term effects of fees and financial aid on institutions and student participation.

Title
Student Finance: Lessons from Global Best Practice

Speaker
Mr Ashwin Assomull

Designation
Managing Director, Education Practice, Parthenon-EY, Dubai

Synopsis
Every year, millions of students gain access to education through loans, but recently the sustainability of student finance has been called into question, particularly in developed markets like the US. However, negative headlines obscure the vital role of finance in widening access to education, at a time when degrees are still the greatest predictor of lifetime employability and earnings. Moreover, countries with burgeoning middle classes and increased demand for higher education, such as South Africa, Brazil, and India, urgently require expansion of access to finance. What we need is innovation in student finance alongside its expansion.

Student lending innovations can help point the way for higher education institutions, financial institutions, and impact investors interested in widening access to higher education in emerging markets. They can also shine a light on how student lending in developed markets might move beyond its current crisis point. In this discussion, Ashwin will case studies of innovative student financing models, as well as key lessons for donors, lenders, and higher education institutions.

Topic: Safeguarding quality and academic integrity in the face of change
Time/Room: 3.00 pm – 4.30 pm / Aquarius 1 – 3


Title
Quality Assurance in Asian Higher Education: Challenges and Prospects

Speaker
Professor Angela Yung Chi Hou

Designation
Graduate Institute of Educational Leadership and Development; Dean, Office of International Education, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan

Synopsis
This presentation will focus on the development of Asian quality assurance system in the massification era of higher education and while first analyzing the characteristics of quality assurance agencies in major Asian countries. The major challenges faced by most quality assurance agencies, including internationalization, autonomy, and accountability will be discussed as well. Quality assurance of quality assurance agencies will be presented as a conclusion.

Title
Redefining Quality in American Higher Education

Speaker
Ms Holiday Hart McKiernan (MODERATOR)

Designation
Chief of Staff and General Counsel, Lumina Foundation, USA

Synopsis
American higher education is complex, with a wide array of providers and credentials. This educational environment is growing even more complex as the importance of postsecondary education is increasing. While in the 1970s only one third of jobs required postsecondary education, today it is closer to two thirds. It is imperative that individuals obtain education after high school.

Lumina Foundation works toward one aim – that by 2025 60% of Americans will hold a high-quality degree, certificate of other credential. This goal not only works toward dramatically increasing the percentage of Americans with credentials, but also mandates that those credentials be high-quality.

Defining quality in postsecondary education is not easy. All too often quality is viewed from an institutional perspective – high-quality is linked with institutional prestige. But in the 21st century, this narrow approach to quality is insufficient. Today, it is imperative that quality must focus on the learner – on what the learner knows and is able to do with the learning obtained. High-quality credentials must be those with clear and transparent learning outcomes that lead to further education and employment.

To make quality focused on the learner requires that postsecondary education transform. There needs to be a consensus as to what a degree or credential means in terms of learning. And, there need to be systems in place that allow learners to navigate the complex postsecondary education terrain and obtain the learning needed to be successful.

Safe guarding quality today requires an intentional shift toward being learner focused and building the systems and coalitions to ensure all credentials are truly high-quality in terms of what students know and are able to do.
Title
Trends in the QA of Higher Education: Catch-up or Ahead of the Curve?

Speaker
Ms Carolyn Campbell

Designation
Senior Consultant and Advisory Board Member, The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, United Kingdom

Synopsis
Sustaining confidence in the quality of higher education in an increasingly diverse world of provision and providers is prompting debate on and reform of regulatory frameworks. Quality evaluation systems are often accused of lagging behind innovations in higher education, frequently cited as barriers to change. Challenges for regulators include how to marry indicators for so-called 'soft' factors, the student experience, with 'hard' outcomes factors many of which are related to completion, employment goals or return on investment. Is there a magic formula to provide the reassurances sought by students, funders, employers and society in an accessible, concise and transparent form?