31 October 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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New university ranking puts Germany second to US
Brendan O'Malley
United States universities continue to dominate the top 500 in a new global university ranking launched by leading American education publisher US News & World Report. But German universities have outperformed their United Kingdom counterparts.
Doctoral examination – What works?
Terence Lovat
What works for examining PhDs? Is the viva system a good idea or are examiners more led by their first reading of a thesis and could oral examinations actually encourage them to do a less thorough reading? An international comparison highlights some of the issues.
The Umbrella Revolution – Pro-democracy or anti-China?
Roger Y Chao Jr
Is the Umbrella Revolution about democracy or anti-China feeling and growing inequality? Universities have a duty to do more to ensure that students are media literate, particularly social media literate, and able to critically analyse local developments within a global context.
How to abolish the Board of Higher Education
Bekir S Gur
There is increasing consensus on the need for Turkey to reform its growing higher education system by abolishing the Board of Higher Education, which has greatly diminished university autonomy. The main issues are when and how radical the changes will be.
More focus needed on higher education staff mobility
Nic Mitchell
Staff mobility needs to be given the same kind of attention as is paid to student mobility if universities’ internationalisation strategies are to succeed, says a new report from the European University Association and the Academic Cooperation Association.
Can universities survive the digital age?
Paul Rigg
The fifth annual international IE University conference on “Reinventing Higher Education” discussed Bologna, English as the lingua franca and engagement between business and universities. But perhaps it will be the ‘digital natives’ of the next generation who will be higher education’s greatest challenge.
Widespread Chapel Hill academic fraud laid bare
Jack Stripling, The Chronicle of Higher Education
An academic fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took root under a departmental secretary and die-hard Tar Heel fan, who was egged on by athletics advisers to create no-show classes that would keep under¬prepared and unmotivated players eligible, according to the findings of an eight-month independent investigation.
World Blog
Fighting the entitlement mentality in US universities
William Patrick Leonard
American universities have increased their tuition fees annually above the rate of inflation – even before the 2008 crisis. This has led to a sense of entitlement that universities must continually expand what they offer when, in the face of funding cuts, they need to tailor programmes to their budgets.
World Round-up
Science academy launches new reform drive
Chemistry World
Protests halt bid to remove women from university
China dwarfs efforts to woo foreign students
The Japan Times
Professor suspended for giving off 'negative vibes'
The Telegraph
University sacks professor over Erdogan complaint
Today’s Zaman
Dublin joins Irish expansion into China
The Irish Times
Higher education council mulls reducing colleges
Universities asked to disclose graduate employment rates
Bangkok Post
Business leader ‘appalled’ by student visa approach
BBC News
Universities urged to produce workers, not thinkers
Capital News
Fee deregulation will create scholarships, says v-c
Apple co-founder becomes adjunct university professor
Tech Time
Grave found near site of mass student abduction
Brendan O'Malley
Federal and military forces discovered a new unmarked mass grave on 27 October in Cocula, 16 kilometres from Iguala in Guerrero state in southeastern Mexico, where 43 students from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa were abducted in late September. Bones at the site are being tested by forensic experts to see if they belong to the abduction victims.
Civil servants barred from China study after spies row
Mimi Leung and Yojana Sharma
Europe must back research rhetoric with action – EUA
German students focused on success, shun politics
Michael Gardner
Government boosts Ebola research
Michael Gardner
Tuition fees, student grants differ widely in Europe
Levels of student tuition or administrative fees, grants and loans continue to highlight stark differences across Europe, according to a new report by the European Commission's Eurydice network. Covering 33 countries, the report reveals that fee systems have remained relatively stable across the continent apart from some notable exceptions. Germany is the only country to recently abolish tuition fees – despite introducing them only in 2007.
A ‘free’ first degree can be costly
Makki Marseilles
Greek universities are state-financed and run so students do not pay fees – at least at undergraduate level. However a first degree is anything but cheap, with 'other' costs ranging from as little as €1,000 (US$1,300) to €10,000 – and even €100,000 – a year depending on who you are, the socio-economic position of your parents, the institution attended, the length of studies and even your lifestyle.
New students face an uncertain fees future
Geoff Maslen
All Australian students are required to pay tuition fees when they enrol as undergraduates in public or private tertiary institutions, although the federal government subsidises a portion of the fees for most students enrolled in public universities and the rest is deferred as a student loan. But now the government is planning sweeping changes that will cost students far more than most have ever paid.
High fees for East African foreign students scrapped
Wachira Kigotho
More than 100 universities that are members of the Inter-University Council for East Africa have scrapped high tuition fees for students from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. These are the five countries that form the East African Community, an economic alliance geared towards economic cooperation and future political integration.
Sharp fall in new doctoral students after foreign fees
Jan Petter Myklebust
While the amount of external research income for Swedish universities increased significantly in 2013, the number of new doctoral students fell by 800 to 3,100 – a whopping 20% drop – following the introduction of tuition fees for students from outside Europe three years ago.
Higher education ‘free’ as it is a public good
Jan Petter Myklebust
The five Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland have 209 higher education institutions, of which 60 are universities. Only a handful are private institutions that can charge tuition fees for local citizens.
Government fixes fees for private medical colleges
Mushfique Wadud
The Bangladesh government has brought in fixed admission and tuition fees for private medical colleges after complaints that some institutions have been charging excessive fees for the five-year degree. This comes on top of minimum marks for students wanting to enrol in private medical colleges, set in an effort to improve medical education quality.
Degree costs eased by government financial assistance
John Gerritsen
Fees vary by institutions and subject in New Zealand’s eight universities. Generally, undergraduates expect to pay about NZ$5,000 (US$3,869) a year to study the humanities, NZ$6,000 for commerce and law, and more than NZ$7,000 for architecture and engineering. On top of that are student service levies of as much as NZ$700.
Measures needed to improve higher education financing
Wagdy Sawahel
Although the higher education systems of North African countries followed European – French and English – policies and offered education at all levels for free, growing demand and limited public funds have forced countries to recover some costs from students. This has lead to steady growth in the cost of university in the past decade.
Africa's first tuition-free virtual university
Wagdy Sawahel
Africa's first cloud-based, virtual and tuition-free, not-for-profit university will open on 12 January next year. Called the Free University of Nigeria, popularly known as FUN, it will be dedicated to increasing access to higher education and is only the second of its kind after America’s University of the People.

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