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Student Activism and Issues
Why students are treated worse than customers
Bruce Macfarlane
Today’s students are in a ludicrous position, being treated as customers whilst also being subject to an increasingly authoritarian regime of surveillance and control over the way they learn.

Photo credit: iStock
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 movement has left an indelible mark on society
Liz Jackson
Hong Kong’s protest movement has seen the emergence of student leaders who have encouraged people to imagine what kind of world might be possible as an alternative to the status quo.
Students freed from prison set out goals for action
Sithu Aung Myint
After the release in March of dozens of student leaders from prison, students are planning their next steps under the new democratic government led by Aung San Suu Kyi – will they call off their protest over the controversial national education law or enter the political arena to achieve their goals?
From student-centred protests to lifestyle politics
Begüm Uzun
Students were muzzled after the 1980 coup in Turkey, but have banded together to protest about student-related issues such as rising fees. Then in 2013 they led lifestyle-type protests against police violence.
The human costs of student tumult – An untold story
Karen MacGregor
The “incredible human costs” of student protests in South Africa in the past two years has been missed amid the turmoil, for students and staff and especially for university leaders, says Professor Jonathan Jansen, whose resignation as vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State was announced last week – and as campuses countrywide continued burning.
Student representation in higher education governance
Thierry M Luescher, Manja Klemenčič and James Otieno Jowi
The new book Student Politics in Africa: Representation and activism highlights trends including a penetration by national politics into student representation and the co-option of student leaders through ‘incentives’. Also, marketisation has led to a dearth of ideology in student politics and new dynamics in institutional governance.
No freedom without freedom – Death of a student movement
Zachariah Mushawatu
The student movement in Zimbabwe disintegrated under authoritarian rule and is no longer able to mobilise for mass action. To enjoy rights and freedoms citizens need to be activists against the state, but to be activists against the state citizens need to enjoy at least some key rights and freedoms – the ‘no freedom without freedom’ paradox.
International students face discrimination
Katrina Koppel
Universities, policy-makers and domestic students need to stand up against growing discrimination in Europe against international students.
Transformative Leadership
Where higher education is a tool for tackling poverty
Paul Rigg
Sindy Patricia Ramos Pocón had to drop out of school to help her family survive. Now she is studying at university and leading a project to help poor families change their lives with support from university staff and peer discussions on leadership.
World Round-up
Students stand up for public universities
Buenos Aires Herald
5,600 Syrians enrolled at Turkey’s universities
Anadolu Agency
Trump's emerging higher education platform
Inside Higher Ed
University students are open to more debt risk
The Australian
Universities’ mad boom represents shaky model
The Spectator
Law to crack down on violent university activities
Sudan Tribune
Student faces terrorism accusations for speaking Kurdish
Ministry to rank 73 agricultural universities
More students choosing vocational education
VietNamNet Bridge
State to advertise vice-chancellor jobs in press
Hindustan Times
‘Russian-style university’ to open its doors
Sputnik News
Helsinki University to offer degree in Somali language
Universities to launch trial apprenticeship schemes
The Straits Times
University bans boys and girls from sitting as a couple
Failing Haredi university programme to get extra funding
Over-recruitment of Chinese students threatens quality
The Korea Times
Education body reminds universities of flag’s importance
Deccan Chronicle
12 universities await new presidents
Arab News
Universities to team up with councils to boost regions
Times Higher Education
New interest at international education exhibition
Shanghai Daily
World Blog
Artificial intelligence will change higher education
Tom P Abeles
The way universities teach and research has been changing gradually in line with technological advances, but it is no longer possible to ignore the likelihood that artificial intelligence will bring transformative change to the sector.
New providers and teaching quality at heart of HE reforms
Brendan O'Malley
The government's plans to increase competition in provision, widen access to university and improve student choice are one of the centrepieces of the government’s programme announced in the Queen’s Speech last week. Under the proposals teaching quality will be rated and universities will be given the ability to raise tuition fees but only if they meet certain standards.
‘Equitable’ university admissions quotas backfire
Yojana Sharma
Changes to university admissions to allow in more students from poorer areas to universities in around a dozen richer provinces have backfired as thousands of parents demonstrated in the streets in several cities fearing the out-of-province quotas will be at the expense of local students.
Photo credit: ImagineChina
Top academic slams accreditation body for negligence
Tunde Fatunde
A top Nigerian academic has generated heated debate after publicly criticising the country’s university accreditation agency for lack of autonomy, negligence and double standards in its annual accreditation of courses. All accusations have been denied by the agency.
Professors publicly add to pressure for elected rectors
Jan Petter Myklebust
Seven professors at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences publicly questioned the suitability of the Board Chairman Siri Hatlen and several board members due to their lack of academic skills and experience.
Rectors demand better funding in university medicine
Michael Gardner
University heads have warned that a continuous underfunding of universities and their clinics could seriously harm performance in the healthcare sector. They also call for better academic career prospects for young medical graduates.
Bid to stem rise in student loans for migrant workers
Jan Petter Myklebust
A sharp increase in the number of European Union citizens coming to Denmark to study has prompted Higher Education and Science Minister Ulla Tørnæs to look into whether the programmes on offer are “too big a draw” for foreign students and whether there are loopholes which need to be closed.
Universities to gain from 59 new diaspora fellows
Wachira Kigotho
A total of 59 African-born scholars based in the United States and Canada have been selected to join universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda to work on academic projects with their peers as part of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program.
World Humanitarian Summit
HE should be a priority in humanitarian crises
Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal
Little attention is paid to providing higher education in response to humanitarian crises. Yet it is higher education that will produce the leaders of the future and skilled workforce that countries need to move forward after crisis and conflict, and setting up a rapid response mechanism for higher education in emergency situations should be an easy task for the global academic community.
Supporting academics in exile nearby is key to future
Farzan Al-Khalil
International organisations should do more to forge partnerships with universities in neighbouring countries to Syria to help those academics who would find it hard to study in the West.
Don’t rush to conclusions from the THE rankings
Richard Holmes
Should British universities be worried about their apparent slide down the Times Higher Education world reputation rankings? A look at the changing methodology suggests it is too early to panic.
UWN Webinar
Will TNE growth come at the expense of quality?
Is the growth of transnational education, or TNE, dependent on more flexible standards of quality? Or are we stifling innovation in TNE by putting up too many barriers for experimentation? In a webinar hosted by University World News in partnership with DrEducation on 24 May, a panel of global experts will debate and discuss the emerging issues.
Want to beat ISIS? Try poetry and negotiation
Tom Bartlett, The Chronicle of Higher Education
The ability of ISIS to attract recruits from Europe and the United States highlights a weakness in literary education and shows that the West needs to strengthen its grounding in the humanities, according to Philippe-Joseph Salazar, a former student of Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes.

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