Asian universities are receiving tens of thousands of dollars more of private funding than many other universities, including those in New Zealand, according to a report by the Times Education Supplement. The report, which looks at which countries’ universities attract the most income per academic from private business ranked New Zealand 18 on a list of 30 countries. However it ranked Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, China and India all in the top ten – each drawing between US$15,000 and US$75,000 more business funding per research academic than New Zealand academics.
A spokesperson for the Times Education World Academic Summit told the New Zealand Herald companies were investing in Asian countries because of a high interest in research in technological advancements and computer science there.
“That South Korea and Singapore are the top two countries listed in this new table – with other countries like Taiwan, China and India all making the top 10 – will be a shocking wake-up call for the West.”
However TEU said the results were not a reflection of the calibre of the country’s scholars or their ability to generate innovation, but an issue about NZ companies prepared to invest funding.
TEU vice-president Sandra Grey says New Zealand also needs to be cautious about drawing links between private business funding and quality. For example, sitting below or near New Zealand on the TES table are Finland, Norway, Ireland, and the UK – all with highly respected tertiary education systems.
“We should not see this funding table as a proxy for quality.”
“There are also dangers in universities actively seeking private business funding, and we need to be aware of those risks: to academic integrity and freedom, to blue skies research versus business R&D, and to becoming focused on teaching for the job market rather than broader education.”
“Currently Asia is investing a huge amount of money (public and private) into tertiary education. It highlights the fallibility of the minister of tertiary education’s belief that students from Asia will always want to leave their own countries, come to New Zealand to cover his funding shortfall.”
Thanks to Brian at Flickr for the photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/brainiac7/5250909195