20 August 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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GLOBAL
US universities top Shanghai ranking, China on rise
Geoff Maslen
American universities have again outranked more than 1,250 other higher education institutions around the world in the annual Shanghai Jiao Tong listing of the global top 500 universities. And for the 12th year running, Harvard was placed number one.
World Blog
GLOBAL
Lessons from the arrest of Alexander Sodiqov
Grace Karram
The arrest and release of a Tajik research student linked to a Canadian and UK university highlighted the need for universities to support their international students in an age of transnational and sometimes dangerous research.
Features
MYANMAR
‘Enigmatic’ bill criticised for centralised HE control
Naw Say Phaw Waa
A national education bill passed by Myanmar’s parliament on 30 July has been criticised for maintaining centralised control of universities and for not going far enough to reform higher education. But student groups said the exact content of the bill covering all sectors from primary to tertiary is still shrouded in mystery, leaving many citizens perplexed.
PERU
New university reform law brews controversy
María Elena Hurtado
Peru’s new university law, promulgated by President Ollanta Humala on 8 July, has become a political hot potato in this South American country. The president called it a “fundamental step” on the road to quality higher education.
NORWAY
Heated debate over the value of masters degrees
Jan Petter Myklebust
In the past year there has been intense debate about masters degrees in Norway. The debate was launched by Professor Linda Lai at the BI Norwegian Business School, who introduced the concept of mastersyke – which in Norwegian means ‘masters degree illness’, with criticism of the degree supported by major surveys by Lai and Norwegian business.
RWANDA
Top US university in Africa graduates first students
Reuben Kyama
Internationally respected Carnegie Mellon University became the first highly ranked American institution to operate a fully-fledged campus in Africa when it set up in tiny, post-conflict Rwanda in September 2011. The first batch of students graduated last month.
UNITED STATES
Can universities use data to fix what ails the lecture?
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education
John R Barker paces the front of the lecture hall, gesturing at slides with a laser pointer and explaining to a room full of undergraduates how scientists use data to make predictions about global climate change. At the moment Barker, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Michigan, is facing a climate crisis of his own: the atmosphere in this lecture hall is dead.
Student View
FINLAND
Why tuition fees for foreign students won’t work
Jarmo Kallunki
There are two main arguments for charging international students in Finland tuition fees, but both are based on fallacies. Indeed, charging fees may prove more costly than offering tuition-free education.
World Round-up
AUSTRALIA
Government ready to bend on university funding
The Australian
UNITED KINGDOM
Top universities urge scrapping of uncapped recruitment
Guardian
CANADA
State unveils deal to streamline academic programmes
The Globe and Mail
UNITED STATES
Universities adjust plans in face of Ebola crisis
USA Today
ASIA
ASEAN states commit to Australia’s New Colombo Plan
SBS
RUSSIA
Medvedev orders creation of Crimean Federal University
ITAR-TASS
UNITED STATES
Scholar’s job offer revoked after Gaza Tweets
Salon
CHINA
Pro-democracy academic to act over 'discrimination'
South China Morning Post
MYANMAR
Minority Rohingya Muslims still deprived of education
Al Jazeera
UNITED KINGDOM
MPs challenge government on fees and research
Times Higher Education
UNITED STATES
No more ‘A’ quotas for Princeton
Times of Trenton
INDIA
Minister attracts scorn over Yale degree claim
The Wall Street Journal
UZBEKISTAN
Islamic studies students complain of entry exam bias
World Bulletin
UKRAINE
Indian students to move to 'safer' universities
The Times of India
Breaking News
CHINA
Cost rise hits students as university fees freeze ends
Yojana Sharma
The end of a government-imposed five-year ban on university tuition fee rises has seen annual fees for some degrees rise by up to 50% this year in China, official sources have reported.
MALAYSIA
US-Malaysia medical school collaboration collapses
Yojana Sharma
A dispute with Johns Hopkins University in the United States, ostensibly over “frequent late payments”, has led to a termination of the American institution’s partnership with Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine in Malaysia, both sides have confirmed.
GERMANY
Rectors’ conference head slams EU funding priorities
Michael Gardner
A leading German higher education official has spoken out against the European Union’s funding priorities for next year. According to Professor Horst Hippler, president of the German Rectors’ Conference, the EU is doing too much for agriculture while neglecting research and innovation.
Commentary
MYANMAR
The challenges facing higher education in Myanmar
Christine Ennew
Myanmar has an opportunity to undertake major reform of its higher education system. But what type of investment should it seek to attract? Both public and private investment carry risks. The important thing is to get the balance right and support institutional autonomy.
GLOBAL
Pushing the reset button on peer review
Joanne Gaudet
Peer review needs to be submitted to a thorough review that takes into account all aspects of how we conceive of the process and questions the boundaries of our knowledge.
KOSOVO
Huge growth in HE access but too few industry links
Alejtin Berisha
Participation in higher education in Kosovo has shot from 15% of the school-leaving cohort in 1999 to over 60% now. But funding has not matched expansion, there are concerns over shortages of academics and there is a need for much greater collaboration between academia and industry in teaching and research.
News
AUSTRALIA
Thousands of foreign students in visa fraud racket
Geoff Maslen
Tens of thousands of foreign students have become permanent residents in Australia as a result of fraud and corruption within the federal Immigration Department. Investigations by academics and journalists revealed that foreigners have avoided federal regulations and been granted illegal permanent residency visas – and that the huge numbers involved has led directly to rising unemployment levels among young Australians.
THAILAND
University leaders appointed to ‘military government’
Suluck Lamubol
Rectors from nine of Thailand’s top public universities have joined the junta-picked lawmaking assembly established three months after the military staged the country’s 13th coup d'état on 22 May.
GLOBAL
Pilot global quality platform for ‘non-traditional’ HE
Karen MacGregor
A global quality platform to review non-institutional education providers is to be piloted by America’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation and its International Quality Group. The platform is aimed at protecting students and is a response to the explosion of non-traditional provision – including MOOCs – and increasingly international higher education.
EGYPT
Academic anger over pro-Morsi student expulsions
Ashraf Khaled
Dozens of lecturers and students recently held a protest at Cairo University against the public institution’s decision to expel 94 anti-government students. The action by Egypt’s top institution follows the expulsion of 160 students from the University of Al-Azhar.
GLOBAL
Trends in students online – Not such digital natives?
Peta Lee
A study of trends in student digital use has confirmed the need for universities to deploy a range of tools in communicating with prospective students. Laura Bridgestock, author of the report just published by university rankings body QS, warned institutions not to “underestimate the importance of traditional communication methods even in the Web 3.0 era”.
NIGERIA
Lagos State University’s tuition fee fiasco
Tunde Fatunde
At a Lagos State University graduation ceremony this month, the state’s Governor Babatunde Fashola – who is also the university visitor – ordered a sharp rise in tuition fees to be reversed. The announcement was unprecedented in the annals of higher education fee regimes in Nigeria and is bound to have far-reaching effects.
KENYA
University regulator slams growing inequality
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya’s higher education regulator has raised a red flag over growing inequality in the sector that it worries could reach crisis levels in the next four years, locking out thousands of women and vulnerable groups.
AUSTRALIA
UN-RMIT agreement to boost urban sustainability
Gosia Kaszubska
A five-year agreement between the United Nations Global Compact and RMIT University in Melbourne will strengthen efforts to tackle the world’s urban challenges.
GLOBAL
Open science network calls for Global South studies
Karen MacGregor
The just launched Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network is calling for case studies that use “innovative and transformative open processes in generating knowledge and actions” aimed at tackling challenges in the Global South. The broad aim of OCSDNet is to see whether and how open and networked research could support development.
AFRICA
African Virtual University to launch 29 e-learning centres
Wagdy Sawahel
In an effort to provide African learners with greater access to higher education opportunities, the African Virtual University, in partnership with the African Development Bank, is launching 29 new open, distance and e-learning centres in 21 African countries.

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