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May 28, 2013

No To Generation Jobless: Ensuring Our Kids Have A Future

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/business/gus

Image. Greek riots - protester stands in front of cloud of smoke.

A blog post by Dr Nemat Shafik, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Updated 31 May 2013

Financial markets have staged an impressive recovery in recent months. Thanks to the actions of policymakers, the global economy no longer looks quite as treacherous as it did six months ago. But in many parts of the world, there is no sense that the crisis is over. In far too many countries, improvements in financial markets have not translated into improvements in the real economy—and in the lives of people. More than 200 million people are out of work today. Many of these are young people. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 73 million young people globally are looking for a job.

The result, according to The Economist, is an “arc of unemployment”, stretching from Southern Europe through North Africa and the Middle East to South Asia. In Spain, Greece, and Portugal, 40-55 per cent of all young people cannot find jobs. In the Middle East, youth unemployment is expected to reach 30 per cent. The picture in North Africa is almost as bleak, with youth unemployment at more than 23 per cent.

Youth unemployment has long-term consequences for economic growth because of the loss or degradation of human capital. It has been found to leave a “wage scar” in the form of lower earnings that can last into middle age, and has been linked to lower life expectancy and higher crime rates. Youth unemployment also has a corrosive effect on society itself—one that becomes very difficult to redress as time goes by. As the ILO noted in its most recent report, “Perhaps the most important scarring is in terms of the current youth generation’s distrust in the socioeconomic and political systems.”

The most effective way to create jobs is through growth. Policies to re-launch growth must therefore be given priority. But policymakers can also deploy labour market policies to spur job creation more directly. Options include education and training programmes, hiring and wage subsidies, public works programmes, child care subsidies, and lower taxes on labour.

In terms of near-term prospects, the outlook for growth is mixed at best. Even though global growth is showing signs of strengthening, the IMF does not expect it to be much higher this year than last year. Our latest forecast projects 3.3 per cent growth in 2013, and four per cent in 2014.

We have been advising our member countries to address three overarching issues that have been with us since the beginning of the crisis. They include financial sector reform; more balanced global demand; and more emphasis on growth, jobs, and equity.

But even if we assume that policymakers do all the right things, it will take years before growth will be enough to make significant inroads into youth unemployment. So governments need to think outside the box. This is where labour market and education policies come into play. Here, however, what may have worked five years ago may no longer work today because of the fast-changing nature of the work place.

Technology is profoundly transforming the nature of work, as argued by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. It used to be that 85 per cent was just showing up. Now, he says, “average is over.” Everyone has to bring something extra—their own unique contribution to the value chain. Jobs are constantly re-engineered, and innovation has become a survival skill.

Is more education the answer? Across the OECD, people who left school at the earliest opportunity are twice as likely to be unemployed as university graduates. But it is also true that many people with expensive liberal-arts degrees are finding it impossible to get decent jobs, writes The Economist. In North Africa, university graduates are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-graduates.

There is also the issue of cost to consider. Will people still be willing to pay $500,000 for a degree from Harvard or Stanford? Or will more young people opt for online certificates costing $500 from course providers that provide qualifications in many different areas? Will the model of three to four years of university be replaced by true lifelong learning delivered in a more tailored way to support careers that evolve over a lifetime?

While young people in advanced countries grapple with the high cost of higher education, their counterparts in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, face much more basic challenges. Many young people in these countries leave school poorly educated, and enter the world of work without the knowledge, skills, or behaviors necessary to adapt to changes in the economy and their lives.

Clearly, the challenges are enormous. The future of millions of young people around the world is at stake. To solve the problems of youth unemployment, restoring global growth is crucial, as are policies to support job creation. None of this can be achieved without global cooperation. We at the IMF, with our 188 member countries, will do all we can to restore global growth.

But rethinking education is also an important part of the answer. You, the educators, can play a crucial role in charting a path out of the crisis for youth. But you, too, will need to rethink how you carry out your mandate. The world’s young people do not just need more education—they need education relevant to a very different labour market and world economy than we have ever faced before."

This blog is part of a regular series on the Knowledge Centre looking at issues in higher education ahead of the Global University Summit (May 28-30 2013), hosted by the University of Warwick in Whitehall, London. As part of the Summit, a declaration of commitment and policy recommendations will be drawn up for the G8 summit of world leaders, taking place in Northern Ireland in June.

Image:Greek Riots, 2008 Source: (Flickr)

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Image. Dr Nemat Shafik IMFNemat Shafik assumed the position of Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund on April 11, 2011.

A national of Egypt, the UK, and the USA , Dr Shafik is a global citizen with a global reputation in fields ranging from emerging markets, international development, the Middle East and Africa, to the financial sector. She brings to the IMF a wealth of experience in policy-making, management, and academia.




May 23, 2013

Inherently Global: Higher Education and Economic Impact

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/business/gus

Image. Stars and planes across the Toronto skyline


A blog post by Dr Joanna Newman, Director, UK Higher Education International Unit

A world-class higher education system is essential for growth and competitiveness in a global knowledge economy. An excellent modern higher education system demands internationalisation in staff, students, partners and outlook. Many UK universities are already leading global enterprises in their own right. With fierce and growing global competition in higher education, and no fat to cut in the highly productive UK system, the need to collaborate with international partners is greater than ever.

As institutions rooted in their communities, they draw visitors, businesses and investment to their cities and regions and act as anchors for skills and enterprise. A high-tech cluster is a rare phenomenon, but every ten international university students in the UK support six local jobs.

Higher education alone is one of the UK’s largest export earners, at over £8 billion a year, and has the potential to more than double in value by 2025. Research and innovation, the key drivers of long term productivity, are already inherently global. Universities are central to attracting and retaining globally mobile investment (and 23 per cent of UK R&D is from abroad, more than any large economy). Just as importantly, they attract and network global talent. Students considering their prospects in an increasingly globalised labour market are realising that future employers will expect the cultural agility to communicate and work with members of a cosmopolitan team, so offering outbound international experience will be important to attracting domestic students and creating global employable graduates.

The UK higher education sector’s leading position, second in the world as a study destination and for research quality, is an asset for one country that brings economic benefits around the world; improving employment rates and wages for returning graduates, assisting international development and building the capacity of emerging powers. Sharing a home with international universities gives business access to talent and new knowledge, the capacity to absorb innovation from elsewhere and the contacts to trade. The government scholarship schemes launched by fast-growing nations show that higher education mobility is an investment priority of the innovation economies of the future.

Universities’ links with other academics, industry or policy makers are often the leading edge of wider international collaboration. Indeed, the World Wide Web itself had its origins in improving international research collaboration. Links between universities and business are vital, growing and global, but the largest and most transformative economic impacts from higher education come precisely because the core mission of universities is to create and impart knowledge. This essential mission creates relationships of trust that can endure short-term market fluctuations, and innovate far ahead of a market application.

This blog is part of a regular series on the Knowledge Centre looking at issues in higher education ahead of the Global University Summit (May 28-30 2013), hosted by the University of Warwick in Whitehall, London. As part of the Summit, a declaration of commitment and policy recommendations will be drawn up for the G8 summit of world leaders, taking place in Northern Ireland in June.

Image: Stars and Planes. Source: (Flickr).

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Image. Dr Joanna NewmanDr Joanna Newman represents the International Unit on the International Education Advisory Forum, is a board member of the School of Advanced Studies and regularly represents the sector on national and international platforms. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Southampton and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


May 19, 2013

The International Race: The Forefront of International Higher Education

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/business/gus

Image. 31st Annual Freihofer

A blog post by Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bristol

Higher education is an international enterprise. Our comparators, and our competitors, are found all over the world. At my own university, Bristol, we have staff and students from 112 countries. 30 per cent of our students and around 14 per cent of our staff are from outside the UK. We have partnerships in many countries around the world and each year we help about 500 students go abroad as part of their degrees We’re in the business of educating global citizens.

That is one reason why the Global University Summit is such an important event in the higher education calendar.

It is particularly important for us in the UK at this moment because, like so many other countries, we are in the middle of a period of serious fiscal retrenchment. As government looks to reduce, all UK government budget areas (with the exception of schools, the NHS and international development) are facing substantial cuts.

Growth
Our job is to explain that we are in an international race and that the search for elusive growth depends, to a considerable extent, on our ability to stay at the forefront of international higher education.

If we don’t, highly mobile students and academic staff have the world to choose from. The pull of world-class universities encourages businesses to invest in the UK, helps companies grow, and underpins the infrastructure which supports them, including the essential public services.

Universities are also a fantastic advertisement for the UK. Anywhere you go in the world you will find leaders in all parts of public life who were educated here. That creates a network of priceless importance to the UK. It opens up diplomatic and commercial opportunities that cannot be under-estimated. The influence is not only about past links. At almost any point in time, a UK academic will be standing on a platform somewhere promoting the ideas we are generating.

Innovations
We know that university research contributes to UK competitiveness in a range of ways – not only the obvious technological innovations like 3G mobile, a product of Bristol research.

In my view, the major contribution universities make to the economy is through people. 3,800 educated, talented and motivated graduates emerge from the University of Bristol every year. They all have subject-specific knowledge, but more importantly they have the ability to think critically, to challenge received opinion and, we hope, the confidence to drive change.

Employees
That’s one of the reasons why, according to NESTA, innovative businesses have more than double the share of employees with degrees than business categorised as ‘non-innovative’. It goes some way to explaining why the UK economy is becoming increasingly dependent on graduates - a trend which looks likely to continue as the proportion of jobs which require lower skill levels continues to shrink.

And although such companies make up just six per cent of the total number of businesses in the UK, they accounted for 54 per cent of jobs growth between 2002 and 2005.

The political debate in the UK is dominated by deficit reduction, and growth, and the complex relationship between the two. The next election will be won and lost on economic confidence. Spending decisions for 2015-16 will set the tone and the government will be judged on how it balances investment for growth with retrenchment for deficit reduction.

Our job, as our government gears up for some extremely difficult spending decisions is to convince them that this is precisely the wrong moment to cut back on education and research. We’re part of the answer, not part of the problem.

That’s why government must invest in universities.

This blog is part of a regular series on the Knowledge Centre looking at issues in higher education ahead of the Global University Summit (May 28-30 2013), hosted by the University of Warwick in Whitehall, London. As part of the Summit, a declaration of commitment and policy recommendations will be drawn up for the G8 summit of world leaders, taking place in Northern Ireland in June.

Image: 31st Annual Freihofer's Run for Women. Source (Flickr).

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Image. Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, University of BristolProfessor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bristol

Professor Eric Thomas has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol since September 2001. He graduated in Medicine from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1976 and proceeded to obtain his MD by thesis in research into endometriosis in 1987. He trained as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and worked at both the universities of Sheffield and Newcastle. In 1991 he was appointed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Southampton and then became Head of the School of Medicine there in 1995 and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Biological Sciences in 1998. He was a consultant gynaecologist from 1987 to 2001.


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