18 October 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Asia Lead Story
CHINA-HONG KONG
Universities look to the US general education model
Futao Huang
Despite huge differences in undergraduate studies between mainland China and Hong Kong, both systems appear to have incorporated the United States model of general education as they seek to develop rounded students with the skills for a global knowledge economy.
Asia Commentary
CHINA
Double World-Class Project has more ambitious aims
Futao Huang
The Double World-Class Project is similar to previous projects aimed at creating world-class universities, but more ambitious in scope. It is part of a Chinese attempt to build its soft power globally and is set to have a significant impact on the global higher education landscape.
INDIA
Changing higher education to achieve social inclusion
V Santhakumar
Indian academics are stuck in their ways. It is easier to follow the traditional teaching path and methods – such as using books used in universities in the United States and the United Kingdom – than look at what could really make a difference to those from lower social castes. They could borrow some ideas from Brazil.
JAPAN
Japan needs to open up to international faculty
Futao Huang
A detailed study of international academics working in Japan shows less than 5% have full-time posts and there has been no significant growth in the proportion of international faculty who were hired as institutional leaders, or in the small proportion who are women.
INDIA
What freedoms do ‘institutions of eminence’ need?
Alan Ruby and Matthew Hartley
The Indian government’s proposal to create 20 ‘institutions of eminence’ – another attempt to create world-class universities – presents a maze of difficult choices. The authorities need to avoid over-regulation and select leaders wisely, while broadening access and lifting research and innovation.
VIETNAM
First national ranking shows maturity of the system
Ly Pham
The first university ranking in Vietnam was published in early September and has brought a wide discussion of its merits and faults, showing the maturity of the academic community in Vietnam. Nevertheless, the results still shocked some people.
INDIA
Driving positive change through university rankings
Anand Kulkarni
Global and domestic rankings can be harnessed to drive change in India’s higher education sector. Indeed, as domestic rankings evolve and mature, India may eventually be in a position to influence the parameters and indicators of the global rankings.
ASIA
The ‘World-Class’ fad – Time to pursue a grander vision
John Aubrey Douglass and John N Hawkins
The ‘World-Class University’ model is a vaguely defined fad which does not provide the basis for the kind of leading universities Asia needs for the future – universities that give the same weight to economic engagement and civic responsibility as research.
JAPAN
How do university leaders view internationalisation?
Futao Huang and Tsukasa Daizen
Research in Japan shows that university leaders highly value internationalisation. Recent political events in the United States and United Kingdom have had very little impact on this view, and universities have not slowed their pace of internationalisation.
GLOBAL
What 15 years of global ranking says about HE trends
Angel Calderon
It is 15 years since the Academic Ranking of World Universities or ShanghaiRanking published its top 500 ranking. Comparing the 2017 rankings with those in 2003 reflects significant geopolitical shifts in higher education. Who are the winners and losers?
SOUTH KOREA
The ‘pig mum’ and the problem of excessive competition
David Santandreu Calonge, Patrik T Hultberg and Eugene Lee
Mothers in South Korea are organising complex social networks to ensure their children get access to the best universities and the best jobs. It is a symptom of an education system in need of a fundamental overhaul.
Asia Features
JAPAN
Investigation into motives behind science misconduct
Suvendrini Kakuchi
In the wake of recent scandals over dubious data, leading to retractions of research papers from prestigious journals, Japan is carrying out broader investigations into what drives researchers to engage in misconduct in scientific research, with a view to preventing such behaviours.
INDIA
Despair over new medical college admissions changes
Shuriah Niazi
The suicide of a student who achieved 98% in school subjects has highlighted the despair felt by thousands of India’s lowest caste and poorest students who have been denied entry to medical college following changes in medical admissions policy that have been upheld by a Supreme Court ruling.
Asia Round-up
SOUTH KOREA
Government to curb private university entrance fees
The Korea Times
CHINA
Medical, law graduates open restaurant to top up incomes
South China Morning Post
IRAN-IRAQ
Iranian universities make inroads into Iraq
Al-Monitor
INDONESIA-MALAYSIA
Roadmap to set out path towards increased collaboration
The Star
PAKISTAN
Higher education body closes 110 PhD programmes
Daily Times
INDIA
Academics issue warning over ‘truncated’ HE commission
The Telegraph India
SINGAPORE
New plans to drive commercialisation of innovation
e27
VIETNAM
More autonomy helps universities meet global standards
Viet Nam News
MALAYSIA-OMAN
Oman ministry blacklists four Malaysian universities
New Straits Times
HONG KONG-UNITED KINGDOM
UK visa delays put Hong Kong students’ places at risk
South China Morning Post
INDIA
Jobs, harassment push up PhD dropouts
The Telegraph India
MALAYSIA
Indian community appeals for more university places
Bernama
VIETNAM
Universities struggle to find qualified academic staff
Viet Nam News
MALAYSIA
More pursuing masters degrees to gain job-market edge
The Star
PAKISTAN
Universities body stresses need to curb radicalisation
The News
CHINA
Universities shut the door on North Korean students
South China Morning Post
INDIA
National agriculture project to benefit 75 universities
Express News Service
CHINA-UNITED STATES
Surge in university giving by donors of Chinese descent
Los Angeles Times
CHINA
Country aims for 40 world-class universities by 2020
People’s Daily Online
VIETNAM
Move to standardise university data to help rankings
VietNamNet Bridge
INDIA
Higher education set for overhaul
TNN
CHINA
More rural youngsters entering top universities
People’s Daily Online
Asia News
CHINA
Muslim students studying abroad detained, repatriated
Yojana Sharma
Human rights groups are expressing alarm over the fate of hundreds of Chinese students abroad belonging to the Uyghur ethnic minority and other Chinese Muslim students who have fled into hiding, disappeared or been repatriated to China where they have been sent to re-education camps.
GLOBAL
How do you prepare students for an unknowable future?
Yojana Sharma
The worldwide debate about the impact of disruptive technologies on jobs and the need to prepare future-ready graduates for a future that is not even clear, was a major topic for university leaders from Europe and Asia meeting in Singapore last week.
CHINA
CUP reverses China censorship after academic uproar
Yojana Sharma
Cambridge University Press or CUP has reversed its decision to block access in China to more than 300 articles deemed sensitive to the Beijing government after China specialists and academics condemned its decision, made public earlier this month, to cave into pressure from China.
SINGAPORE
Top university calls time on ‘third-class’ degrees
Yojana Sharma
Singapore’s top-ranked Nanyang Technological University has become the second university in Singapore to ditch British-style honours degree classifications to eliminate ‘third-class’ degrees and "better reflect" their students’ capabilities, the university said. All undergraduate degrees will be given United States-style classifications.
SOUTH KOREA
Universities to be punished for admissions ‘arms race’
Aimee Chung
In a drive against excessive tutoring and elite private schools that prepare students for the best universities, the South Korean government has ordered almost a dozen universities – including its top three – to bring their admissions tests more in line with the normal high school curriculum.
BANGLADESH
Universities take up Rohingya cause, call for research
Mushfique Wadud
Many university groups in Bangladesh are protesting against the plight of the Rohingya and calling on Myanmar to accept their return. Academics are pushing for more research on the crisis, its origins and the needs of the Rohingya group, to better prepare Bangladesh for its possible long-term impact on the country.
CHINA
Universities told to credit propaganda as publication
Yojana Sharma
Ideologically-correct articles posted online or even in a publication linked to the Communist Party of China, could earn academics credits that could lead to promotion within the university, similar to credits earned from papers published in academic journals, according to universities that have received the diktat.
INDIA
Plan for universities to hold jobs for foreign faculty
Ranjit Devraj
India wants to hire more foreign academics to boost its performance in international university rankings. But plans to keep one in five faculty jobs for foreign academics have led to fears that universities will have to pay the cost without any increase in funding.
PAKISTAN
Universities told to step up anti-extremism measures
Ameen Amjad Khan
With a rising tendency towards extremism among university students from privileged backgrounds, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal last week urged university vice-chancellors to step up anti-radicalisation measures on campuses.
NORTH KOREA
PUST stays open, but British Council suspends teaching
Yojana Sharma
Despite new travel curbs on United States passport-holders and tension over missile tests and military manoeuvres, the private Pyongyang University of Science and Technology or PUST, which teaches in English, is staying open. But the British Council has suspended language teaching at all North Korean universities.
THAILAND
Drastic population drop to hit higher education funding
Suluck Lamubol
Without reforms to the higher education sector, Thailand’s drastic population drop in recent years could affect the funding and quality of universities – and put many universities at risk – education experts warn after the university central admissions exam saw a 20% drop in numbers of applications.
INDIA
1,200 women students charged over harassment protest
Pavitra Crossette
Clashes over protests by students at one of India’s top universities over the molestation of a female student by motorcycle assailants on campus have highlighted the government’s deteriorating record on gender issues. The state government has ordered a judicial probe into the campus violence.
GLOBAL
Asian universities make inroads in subject rankings
There were signs of Asian progress in global university rankings being matched by gains in subject rankings in the latest Times Higher Education rankings covering social sciences, law, education, and business and economics.
HONG KONG
Academics targeted after student activists are jailed
Yojana Sharma
In the wake of the internationally-condemned jailing of former student leaders of Hong Kong’s 2014 student movement, including an elected legislator Nathan Law, academics who were active in the movement have become the latest target.
INDIA
Top universities banned from using foreign funding
Ranjit Devraj
An interior ministry order banning several top institutions, including the University of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University, as well as major research bodies such as the Indian Council of Medical Research, from receiving foreign funds has raised questions around the autonomy of these institutions, as well as the future of foreign-funded projects.
HONG KONG
China tells Hong Kong universities to curb ‘separatists’
Yojana Sharma and Mimi Leung
China’s official media has hit out at the unfurling of banners backing Hong Kong independence from China at a number of Hong Kong’s universities, putting pressure on the Hong Kong government and on university management to curb such activities.
GLOBAL
Chinese universities hit new heights in global ranking
Brendan O'Malley
United Kingdom universities have taken the top two places in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the first time, but the key trend is the continuing rise of Chinese universities which have taken two top-30 places for the first time. China’s lower-ranked universities have also made big gains.
ASIA
Geopolitics are hitting Chinese student flows in Asia
Yojana Sharma and Mimi Leung
There was relief in Taiwan last week as mainland Chinese are once again enrolling in Taiwan’s universities after China curbed student exchanges across the Taiwan Strait due to tense relations between the two sides, but overall the number of Chinese students has halved since last year.
INDIA
March for Science highlights parlous state of research
Ranjit Devraj
Thousands of students, scientists and supporters gathered in 30 Indian cities to support the country’s ‘March for Science’ earlier this month. They were joined by many government scientists despite receiving emails forbidding them from taking part.
Academic Freedom
THAILAND
International academic conference participants charged
Suluck Lamubol
A professor who organised an international conference on Thai studies and four Thai academics and participants attending the conference have been charged with violating the military junta’s ban on political gatherings of more than five people.
GLOBAL
Universities must stand up to Chinese censorship
Bruce Macfarlane
Universities need to demonstrate their founding principles in the way they deal with naked attempts by China to shut down debate and academic freedom – as the storm over Cambridge University Press’s recent withdrawal of articles on sensitive subjects highlights.

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