23 March 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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CHINA
Talent drive looks to bring in international students
China has stepped up its drive to lure overseas talent in its bid to become an innovation economy. New measures include allowing foreign students to stay on in China after their degrees to take up jobs or internships and reducing red tape around residence permits.
NIGERIA
Students emerge as prime targets for Ponzi fraud
The government is facing calls for stronger action to prevent students being targeted by Ponzi scheme fraud, after at least 4,000 students from one university were threatened with expulsion for diverting their tuition fees, worth a total of US$6.5 million, into a Ponzi online scheme which has since suspended its operations without explanation.
SOUTH AFRICA
Addressing language barriers is key to student success
By focusing on the quality of their note-taking in and out of class, researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, have established that poor English language competence is hindering the academic performance of a significant number of undergraduate students for whom the language is not their mother tongue.
INDONESIA
Researchers grapple with 40% cut in science funding
Despite an election pledge to double funding, the government has cut the research budget for state universities by 40%, leaving researchers in poor parts of the country grappling with the challenge of how to produce meaningful research with little money – for some pooling resources between universities is the answer.
ZIMBABWE
Higher education in a failed economy – Students at risk
Five bunk beds… one room – not more than 15 square metres in size. The beds look as if they might fall apart at any second; it’s a good thing there is no one on them – at least not yet. Students are yet to move in after a three-month-long vacation, but they will come.
UNITED KINGDOM
Do universities support their autistic academics?
Around 3% of students in higher education are autistic and universities are working hard to listen, understand and meet their needs. But the fact that autistic students can become autistic academics appears to have gone unnoticed.
UNITED STATES
17 top global universities vs the Trump immigration ban
This month 17 American universities joined a court challenge to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. Their brief revealed the extraordinary extent of – and dependence on – internationalisation at many of the world’s top-ranked institutions.
NIGERIA
Academics reject local language plan for sciences
In a rare show of solidarity, university teachers on almost all campuses of both public and private universities throughout the country have rejected a ministerial proposal that science be taught in three indigenous languages commencing at primary school level.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities take their own inventions to market
Ten years after the United Kingdom's then chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown told universities to earn income by setting up businesses based on their own research discoveries and inventions, there are now 2,000 university spin-outs generating more than £1 billion (US$1.2 billion) a year.
PHILIPPINES
Universities develop approach to fighting fake news
One of the Philippines’ most prestigious universities is working to combat the spread of misinformation online as academics use their subject knowledge and authoritative expertise to fight against fake news on the internet. Fake articles played a crucial role in the Philippines election last year.
AFRICA
Preparing Arab-nation students for study in the West
Despite facilitating several scholarship initiatives aimed at students, most Arab universities in Africa are not adequately preparing students to optimise learning opportunities at foreign universities or serve as cultural ambassadors, according to higher education experts, scholars and students.
CANADA-ETHIOPIA
Partnership offers a lifeline to students with disabilities
In Ethiopia it is difficult for young people living with disabilities to succeed at university. Even if they gain access to institutions they face enormous challenges once there. A new inclusive higher education initiative is aiming to change that.
JAPAN
A model of how to lure high-quality foreign students
The share of foreign students is five times higher at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University’s global campus than the average in Japan’s universities and its foreign students are nearly three times as successful in gaining employment. So what is its secret?
SOUTH AFRICA
Universities hope for more stable academic year
While it is unlikely that South Africa will escape student unrest at the start of the 2017 academic year, authorities are hoping such action will be moderated by the progress made in addressing some of the key challenges that sparked and sustained last year’s violent and highly disruptive protests over fee-free higher education.
AUSTRALIA
New science minister needs to push innovation agenda
The challenge for the new science minister, Arthur Sinodinos, is to defend and champion the nation-building role of research infrastructure within the cabinet and secure the necessary financial commitment.
UNITED STATES
The challenge libraries face in an era of fake news
Since the 19th century academic librarians have helped students navigate the complex world of information. In today's unpredictable information environment, how might they rethink their role? A new approach is to teach students to put in the time and effort required to determine the credibility and appropriateness of each information source for the use to which they intend to put it.
AFRICA
Urgent need to decolonise intellectual property curricula
There is an urgent need for decolonised intellectual property law curricula in order for African states to build intellectual property expertise that is Afrocentric and development oriented. A South African university is making progress in developing an appropriate model.
AFRICA
No easy way out of the higher education ‘trilemma’
Governments face a ‘trilemma’ in higher education policy as they can always only reach two out of three politically desirable goals – low public costs, low private costs (tuition fees), and mass access. Student movements such as #FeesMustFall in South Africa must demand both free higher education and matching increases in public spending, or risk incentivising governments to take the easy way out and compromise higher education quality.

EUROPE
Cut red tape and raise funding in Erasmus+, says EUA
The European Union’s showpiece Erasmus+ mobility and cooperation programme should be simplified and its “cumbersome” processes streamlined, according to a survey by the European University Association or EUA. Members complained that funding did not cover the full costs of cooperation and exchanges.
UNITED STATES
The far right’s ‘new offensive against academia’
George Ciccariello-Maher, a scholar of revolutionary movements, was engulfed in a far-right twitter storm, along with family and friends, when he tweeted “All I want for Christmas is white genocide”. He believes it reflects a new offensive against academia by far-right and neo-Nazi groups.
AFRICA
North Africa women researcher share among world highest
The overall share of women researchers at universities and science centres in North Africa is above world, European and developed country averages, a study has revealed.
CHILE
University system improves but grave problems remain
The quality of Chile’s university system is improving, according to two rankings released recently. Many problems remain however, which critics say are not being addressed by the government’s higher education reform now under discussion.
FRANCE
Sciences Po plots to reconfirm world-class position
Three and a half years after taking over as director of Sciences Po, Frédéric Mion explains to University World News how the institution is carrying out its strategic plan due for completion by 2022, the 150th anniversary of its foundation.
EUROPE
Why some Dutch students are living in nursing homes
A Dutch nursing home has established a programme providing free rent to university students in exchange for 30 hours a month of their time “acting as neighbours” with their aged residents. It is just one example of how students can make an impact on their local community and gain a sense of connection with an older generation.
CHINA-FRANCE
French institutions push into China, boost business
French higher education’s presence in China, including branch campuses, has lagged behind the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. However, with the backing of the French government interested in boosting French companies abroad, a flurry of collaborations, particularly by business schools, has been evident this year.