23 November 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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CHINA
New push to tighten up on study abroad agents
China is tightening up the licensing of China-based agents for overseas universities, with the sector sullied in recent years by allegations of falsified documentation and ‘conveyor belt’ essays produced as part of the application process to universities in Britain, the United States, Australia and other countries.
JAPAN
Not just international but ‘Super Global Universities’
Japan recently unveiled its Super Global Universities initiative in a bid to boost the lacklustre world rankings of its top universities. At the forefront of this ambitious plan is the rapid internationalisation of its inward-looking higher education sector, aimed at creating global universities and internationally minded students.
MALI
World Bank plans for Mali’s tattered universities
The World Bank is developing a comprehensive project to rehabilitate Mali’s struggling public universities, which have been drained of highly qualified teaching staff, lack degree diversification and are housed in inappropriate rental spaces in the capital Bamako.
UNITED STATES
Flood of students at recession peak – But poor results
Six years after a flood of students entered college in the United States, many seeking shelter from a sinking economy and a leg up in an uncertain job market, their progress report is in – and it isn’t encouraging. Only 55% of the students who enrolled in the autumn of 2008 had earned degrees or certificates by May 2014, according to a new report.
UNITED KINGDOM
Embrace digital age or face irrelevance – Martin Bean
Universities risk becoming irrelevant and irresponsible if they don’t equip staff to deal with the digital age, said Martin Bean, vice-chancellor of the Open University, in the 2014 Sir John Cass’s Foundation Lecture at the Cass Business School in London.
INDONESIA
Budget, administration issues cloud new HE ministry
Academics believe that Indonesia’s newly created Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education will have to overcome major budgetary and administrative hurdles before serious work can begin, after the country’s new president, in a surprise move, announced the uncoupling of higher education from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
UNITED STATES
Harvard used secret cameras to study attendance
A high-tech effort to study classroom attendance at Harvard University that used secret photo surveillance is raising questions about research ethics among the institution’s academics. The controversy heated up on 4 November, when a computer science professor, Harry R Lewis, questioned the study at a faculty meeting.
GLOBAL
Collaborative MOOC 2.0 is coming
Massive open online courses – MOOCs – offered by top universities have expanded worldwide. Their spread has the potential to disrupt the model of bricks-and-mortar universities each with their own courses. Now a new type – dubbed MOOC 2.0 – could even disrupt the way courses are devised.
SIERRA LEONE
Ebola – Diary of an MSF epidemiologist in Sierra Leone
After leaving Freetown, capital of Ebola-plagued Sierra Leone, for the airport by hydrofoil, I reflected on how I felt when undertaking this route at the start of my journey. It was night, and there was no electricity. We were disorientated by sensory overload: while trying to become accustomed to the darkness and warm, humid air, we were also contemplating getting used to frequent hand-washing and keeping a distance between ourselves, not touching each other or objects if at all possible.
EUROPE
More focus needed on higher education staff mobility
Staff mobility needs to be given the same kind of attention as is paid to student mobility if universities’ internationalisation strategies are to succeed, says a new report from the European University Association and the Academic Cooperation Association.
GLOBAL
Can universities survive the digital age?
The fifth annual international IE University conference on “Reinventing Higher Education” discussed Bologna, English as the lingua franca and engagement between business and universities. But perhaps it will be the ‘digital natives’ of the next generation who will be higher education’s greatest challenge.
UNITED STATES
Widespread Chapel Hill academic fraud laid bare
An academic fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took root under a departmental secretary and die-hard Tar Heel fan, who was egged on by athletics advisers to create no-show classes that would keep under-prepared and unmotivated players eligible, according to the findings of an eight-month independent investigation.
IRELAND
Making higher education financially sustainable
The biggest issue facing Irish higher education may not be the level of national investment but the mix of public and private funding. Ireland has a modest level of public investment when compared to other OECD countries and a very low level of private investment in the form of privately paid tuition fees. The key then for achieving sustainable policies in the future is for Ireland to increase its level of private investment while stabilising and maintaining public investment levels in higher education.
GLOBAL
Academic reputation affects citation count
An academic’s reputation plays a key role in generating increases in a scientific paper’s citation count early in its citation life cycle, before a tipping point, after which his or her reputation has much less influence relative to the paper’s citation count.
GLOBAL
Global postgraduate student mobility trends to 2024
India will have by far the most tertiary students in the world in 2024 – 48 million against 37 million in China – but China will still be the largest source of mobile postgraduate students, sending 338,000 abroad, according to a just-published study by the British Council. Nigeria will have the world’s strongest growth in outbound postgraduate mobility, at 8.3% a year.
GLOBAL
BRICS – Partnering to build education for the future
The five BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – have initiated a process of mobilising investment and collaboration that will provide quality higher education to around 40% of the world’s tertiary students.
UNITED STATES
For-profit giant’s competency-based ‘Open College’
One of the biggest for-profit college companies in the United States is creating an ‘Open College’ aimed at adults who may already have skills and experience that could qualify for college credits.
INDIA
Modi’s US visit yields more support – But nothing new
American help in setting up a new Indian institute of technology, academic exchange and knowledge sharing, and joint solutions towards skills development of Indian youth are some key takeaways of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States. But experts and political opponents were quick to say that the trip did not yield anything ground-breaking or different.
AUSTRALIA
Future of Australia’s universities at risk
Already struggling in the “shallows” of inadequate domestic financial support, Australia’s universities are facing rising, well-resourced and aggressive international competitors, a leading educationist told a conference on higher education deregulation last Wednesday.
NIGERIA
Boko Haram fear grips campuses, displaces students
The recent attack by Boko Haram insurgents on a higher education institution in Kano, northern Nigeria’s biggest metropolis, prompted President Goodluck Jonathan to order security agencies to protect university campuses. Ongoing confrontation between the Islamist sect and the military has compelled some students in the north to relocate to other universities in the country and elsewhere in West Africa.
JAPAN
Slow progress for women in university leadership
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s national pledge in June to increase the number of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2020 across all sectors, including higher education and research, was welcomed. But women still face an uphill battle in universities.
UNITED STATES
What you need to know about online ‘enabler’ companies
‘Publish or perish’ is an old saw that has been updated to reflect modern wisdom. The revised version of the phrase offers advice not to professors but to universities: ‘Partner or perish’. The growth of online higher education, the breakdown of competitive borders and the decline of public support have caused traditional institutions to reflect on strategies for survival. In the soil of this anxiety, online ‘enablers’ have taken root.
INDIA
National university rankings to include social contribution
India’s prestigious institutes of technology, or IITs, will spearhead a national system of university rankings, drawing up relevant parameters even though they are not themselves universities, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani announced last week at a meeting of IIT heads in Chennai.
EUROPE
Progress, problems with researcher mobility in Europe
There has been significant progress in alleviating obstacles to mobility for researchers in Europe – but advances have been uneven and challenges remain in some countries in the areas of recruitment, researcher skills, working conditions and career opportunities – says a Deloitte Consulting report prepared for the European Commission.
CHINA
Universities may exit Beijing under flagship plan
Some of China’s most eminent universities including Peking and Tsinghua are clustered around the Zhongguancun area in Beijing’s Haidian district, which likes to style itself as China’s ‘Silicon Valley’, attracting research institutions and thousands of high-tech enterprises.