22 September 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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The new nationalism and international-isation of HE
Philip G Altbach and Hans de Wit
Europe and North America are entering a profoundly difficult period for higher education internationalisation. It is likely academics will carry the burden of maintaining a globalist vision of the university in the face of the rise of nationalist movements and governments.
World Blog
Ambition tempered by reality for new universities
Nita Temmerman
Setting up a new university in a developing country presents huge challenges, given the social, political, cultural and economic context, but, by tapping into the right support from internal and external stakeholders, it can transform societies.
Special Report
Education at a Glance
The Education at a Glance 2017 report, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, on 12 September, provides key information on the state of education around the world. University World News highlights its findings on tertiary education.
Tertiary enrolment exploding but benefits vary – OECD
Brendan O’Malley
Tertiary enrolment is expanding rapidly, with very strong returns for individuals and taxpayers, but new evidence shows that universities can fail to offer, and individuals fail to pursue, the fields of study that promise the greatest labour market opportunities, according to a new OECD report.
Most university students in OECD now pay tuition fees
Geoff Maslen
Full-time university students in America pay the highest tuition fees among the 30 nations covered in the latest OECD report, Education at a Glance 2017. The United States is by far the most expensive, while public universities in a third of the countries evaluated by the OECD do not impose any charge at all for bachelor degree students.
What HE students pay and what support they are given
Countries around the world can be roughly divided into four groups according to two factors: the level of university tuition fees charged and the financial support available through each country’s student financial aid system, according to the latest OECD report, Education at a Glance 2017.
Higher education spending among world’s lowest – OECD
Geoff Maslen
Australia spends a smaller share of its national income on public investment in tertiary education than countries like Estonia, Turkey and Latvia, according to the OECD’s latest Education at a Glance report. The report ranks Australia’s public investment in tertiary education among the bottom four of the world’s advanced economies – 30th out of 34 nations at 0.7% of gross domestic product.
Germany has leading position in tertiary STEM subjects
Michael Gardner
Germany has attained a leading position in education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM subjects, according to the latest OECD Education at a Glance report, with 40% of first-year tertiary students choosing them. However, the report criticises stagnation in upward mobility in the country’s education system.
World Round-up
Universities face risks by protecting DACA recipients
The Globe and Mail
Refugee scientists and researchers are being ‘lost’
Jobs, harassment push up PhD dropouts
The Telegraph India
Universities body stresses need to curb radicalisation
The News
National agriculture project to benefit 75 universities
Express News Service
Move to standardise university data to help rankings
VietNamNet Bridge
Top Australian university opens campus in Dubai
Khaleej Times
Top African universities slip on rankings list
Business Live
Universities begin biometric registration of students
Daily Nation
100 university students caught cheating
MPs demand answers after R14 million student deposit
Times Live
Cambridge considers typed exams as handwriting worsens
California universities win grant to develop bionic suit
Los Angeles Business Journal
Breaking News
Experts call for radical changes in higher education
Bianka Siwinska
Experts say Poland needs to take radical steps to address underfunding, mission diversity, quality assurance weaknesses and gender bias, and improve research excellence, doctoral training and internationalisation. But not all of their ideas made it into the higher education law proposed this week.
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 this week urged university vice-chancellors to step up anti-radicalisation measures on campuses.
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.
SDGs – Universities are moving from what to do to how
Rebecca Warden
The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, including one on education, were agreed at a United Nations summit two years ago and aim to solve the world’s biggest problems by 2030, but how far have universities gone in helping to achieve them?
One in six state-funded university places axed
Eugene Vorotnikov
The number of state-funded places at domestic universities has been cut by 17% this academic year in line with Ministry of Education and Science proposals under the ongoing reform of the Ukrainian national system of higher education, which includes dropping specialist degrees.
Public backs higher funding for university research
Brendan O’Malley
The overwhelming majority of Canadians believes in the importance of university research for Canada’s future as an innovation leader and its importance in tackling pressing global challenges, and that university research should be funded at globally competitive levels, according to a new survey.
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.
Up to 88 Makerere staff face degree forgery prosecution
Christabel Ligami
Up to 88 people at Makerere University, one of Africa’s most prestigious universities, have been apprehended for possible prosecution over the alteration of student marks in an investigation that is expected to see the withdrawal of some of the university’s law degrees dating back to 2011.
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.
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.
Election pledges address student fees and allowances
John Gerritsen
New Zealand’s opposition parties are promising more financial support and lower fees for tertiary students in an attempt to woo youth voters – and their parents – ahead of this week’s general elections. But little is being offered for universities and other tertiary institutions.
Pressure mounts as universities hike residence fees
Ashraf Khaled
Egyptian authorities have announced an increase in accommodation fees for students living in university dormitories, putting mounting pressure on students and their families living through the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.
Students to mobilise against university budget cuts
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Education Alliance, comprising more than 40 Danish student organisations, is calling for a demonstration in central Copenhagen and elsewhere in Denmark on 5 October against government education cuts that are resulting in ‘quality deterioration’ in higher education.
Universities told to issue regular financial reports
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya’s universities have been ordered to publish regular financial performance reports as part of sweeping regulations which take effect this year, aimed at lifting the veil of secrecy that has shrouded institutions’ financial status and effectively put millions of dollars at risk.
Anne Frank honours given to JRS and Scholars at Risk
The Jesuit Refugee Service, an NGO providing higher education to refugees in their camps and urban settings, and Scholars at Risk, a scholar rescue organisation, have been given the Anne Frank Award and Anne Frank Special Recognition Award respectively for their commitment to the rights of refugees.
Opposing far-right and openly fascist groups on campus
Clayton J Plake and Edna Bonhomme
In the United States, Europe and Asia, far-right and openly fascist formations have ventured into the political mainstream and are recruiting at universities. Defeating them requires coordinated actions by networks of scholars and activists to promptly mobilise their forces on campuses and beyond.
Serving the knowledge industry or the public good?
Peter Scott
The controversy over vice-chancellors’ pay is painting universities as knowledge businesses run by corporate elites rather than institutions that serve the public good. That is the damaging message being received and rejected by many. It is undermining university leaders' legitimacy, making them less effective.
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.
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.
Research – The lost mission of African universities
Harris Andoh
Due to periods of military dictatorship, research at African universities has been held back. To establish themselves as research universities, African universities will need to overcome enormous challenges, including lack of funding, and define what their research priorities are.

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