30 May 2016 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Tackling the 'high debt - useless degree' problem
The government of India needs to crack down on the widespread problem of unscrupulous universities that offer useless degrees, while students incur high debts, or the country will likely head into economic difficulties, social unrest and political instability.
Special Report
Student Activism and Issues
A global rise in student activism and the centrality of student concerns to national politics and to higher education prompted University World News to collate this series of Special Reports looking into student movements and issues raised by them. The aim is to deepen understanding and debate on what is transpiring across the student world. We urge readers to disseminate the Special Reports to students. – Karen MacGregor, series editor.
Student movements make gains but struggle to stay relevant
Yojana Sharma
Students have cut their political teeth in student movements that have swept several countries in East, Southeast and South Asia in the past few years, and many have succeeded in holding their governments to account. But these student-led movements are in danger of fizzling out unless they attract broader societal support for their stances on political issues.
Glimmer of hope for student movement amid clampdown
Yojana Sharma
Several pro-democracy student groups in Thailand have come together as the New Democracy Movement, which is beginning to make its presence felt in the run-up to a referendum on a new military-backed constitution due to take place in August. But it is far from certain whether the movement can have a wider impact in the current climate of repression.
Student agents of change – Shaping higher education
Olena Rusnak
Ukraine experienced from 2013-14 how effective student action can be. Students were at the forefront of the Revolution of Dignity that achieved political reform, helped develop a new higher education law and chose the new minister of education. Students proved that they could truly be agents of change – professionalised student representation is the next step.
Transforming the economics curriculum around the world
Calum Mitchell
Following the global financial crash, students around the world have been joining together to reform the economics curriculum so that it is less narrow and better adapted to current global challenges.
Decolonising the academy – Towards a global movement?
Njoki Wamai
Decolonisation movements at universities in the United Kingdom are linking up and being driven by international students who are seeking greater diversity and recognition of colonial legacies. While calls for decolonisation are popular in South Africa and Britain, it will only be when the campaigns also find resonance elsewhere that there can be a truly global movement.
Decolonising the curriculum – A student call in context
Brian Kamanzi
Converting the gains made by student movements in South Africa into a critically reflexive, creative and socially responsive curriculum and learning environment provides an opportunity to combat and subvert neo-liberalisation from the inside out.
Higher education funding – Towards greater inequality?
Liva Vikmane and Alexandra Antonescu
The last few years have seen big funding cuts to higher education across Europe, resulting in a move to greater debt and compromises on quality. Governments will pay the price in the long term for not investing in the future.
What stops students from studying abroad?
Maarja Beerkens
Research shows several barriers to study abroad. But on closer inspection it may be more about whether or not students view such study as the norm.
World Round-up
New education head scraps textbook guideline revisions
Focus Taiwan
Record 97% of university graduates land jobs
The Japan Times
University heads’ pay rises faster than academic staff’s
Cost of university degree set to soar
The Straits Times
Almost half of university’s students test HIV positive
Cutting ties with scholarships that bar those with HIV
Indonesian language set for extinction in universities
The World Today
UK to merge research and innovation in single agency
Science Business
Protests spread over university rule change
Financial Times
Asian-Americans seek probe into Ivy League admissions
The Wall Street Journal
Falling birth rates begin to hit universities
Billionaire launches world's biggest education prize
Students demand allocation of 4% of GDP for education
Pakistan Today
Controversial Higher Education Amendment Bill passed
African News Agency
Universities urge students to vote to stay in EU
The Telegraph
UK historian declines prize, cites Palestine conflict
The Times of Israel
Scholars and government differ on Marxism
The Jakarta Post
Miami university establishes chair for study of atheism
The New York Times
Aberystwyth University's Mauritius campus is 'madness'
University suspends first-semester studies
Academics strike over pay at public universities
Voice of America
Government allows more freedom for deemed universities
US leader launches Fulbright University
Thanh Nien News
Addressing the dragon in the room
David Stremba and Scott Spragg
How can United States institutions – and others – address the dangers of an over-reliance on China? Diversifying and targeting students and using alumni networks may all help to address the prospect of dwindling numbers of Chinese students coming to the US.
Big data can help determine university funding
Yegor Stadny
Ukraine has to start creating the data systems and software it needs to determine how to fund its higher education system. The sooner it does so, the better its chances will be of competing globally.
China rising fastest in ranking of national systems
Brendan O’Malley
The top five performing national higher education systems are the United States, Switzerland, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Sweden, according to the Universitas 21 annual ranking for 2016. But the country with the most improved performance is China, up four places to 30th due to continual rise in output rankings.
Government to ban academics from political activity
Brendan O'Malley
The government is seeking a blanket curb on the political activity of academics in a bill drafted to tighten the disciplinary system in universities. Activities banned would include membership of political parties, political campaigning or activism and joining or supporting acts of “terror or division”.
Religious university students oppose education law
Mushfique Wadud
Eight mainly religion-based university and school student organisations have come together in Bangladesh to protest against a proposed education law, which they fear could undermine the country’s Islamic education system, including at tertiary level, bringing it under secular government oversight.
Plans for a global higher education access consortium
Karen MacGregor
Plans are afoot to launch a Global Higher Education Access and Diversity Consortium next year, bringing together universities and civil society groups from around the world to advocate, show leadership and share best practice around these globally pertinent issues.
University alliances team up to market research
María Elena Hurtado
Three technology transfer hubs are being set up by Chilean universities in a bid to substantially increase their applied research as well as to market it at home and abroad. Twenty-six universities, 12 science and technology centres and 11 industry representatives are participating in these alliances, masterminded by the government’s development corporation.
Ministry mulls new masters degree guidelines
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya is mulling over new university guidelines that will require masters students to publish at least one article in a refereed journal before being eligible to graduate.
TNE growth must go hand in hand with quality – Panel
Nic Mitchell
With countries hosting transnational education programmes tightening up on regulations, the United States, United Kingdom and other countries providing transnational education are withdrawing from the riskier end, such as franchising and validating, and focusing instead on distance learning, branch campuses and joint or dual degrees where they have greater quality control, according to experts in a webinar hosted by University World News in partnership with DrEducation last week.
Damage to science is softening free movement stance
Yojana Sharma
Concern over the impact on participation in Europe’s prestigious Horizon 2020 research projects is shifting Swiss public opinion on free movement of workers from the European Union to a more pragmatic view, two years after the Swiss referendum “against mass immigration” in February 2014.
Universities to spend more on science and innovation
Brendan O'Malley
Universities New Zealand has welcomed the government’s budget announcement last week that it is investing NZ$761 million (US$513 million) in an Innovative New Zealand package in areas including science, skills and tertiary education, with much of it being spent on research.
Transformative Leadership
Teaching leadership for change in the business school
Margaret Andrews
There’s a huge focus on leadership in business schools, including transformative leadership, but with very few tangible results. A focus on visionary leaders may be too simplistic, though, and more innovative approaches are being trialled.
What chance for Syrians to study?
Rebecca Warden
At the Third Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education in Barcelona, participants discussed the plethora of opportunities that universities in Europe and the Middle East are offering to Syrian refugees and voiced concerns that without an overarching framework or clearing house much energy is being wasted.

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