21 August 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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‘Enigmatic’ bill criticised for centralised HE control
A national education bill passed by Myanmar’s parliament on 30 July has been criticised for maintaining centralised control of universities and for not going far enough to reform higher education. But student groups said the exact content of the bill covering all sectors from primary to tertiary is still shrouded in mystery, leaving many citizens perplexed.
New university reform law brews controversy
Peru’s new university law, promulgated by President Ollanta Humala on 8 July, has become a political hot potato in this South American country. The president called it a “fundamental step” on the road to quality higher education.
Heated debate over the value of masters degrees
In the past year there has been intense debate about masters degrees in Norway. The debate was launched by Professor Linda Lai at the BI Norwegian Business School, who introduced the concept of mastersyke – which in Norwegian means ‘masters degree illness’, with criticism of the degree supported by major surveys by Lai and Norwegian business.
Top US university in Africa graduates first students
Internationally respected Carnegie Mellon University became the first highly ranked American institution to operate a fully-fledged campus in Africa when it set up in tiny, post-conflict Rwanda in September 2011. The first batch of students graduated last month.
Can universities use data to fix what ails the lecture?
John R Barker paces the front of the lecture hall, gesturing at slides with a laser pointer and explaining to a room full of undergraduates how scientists use data to make predictions about global climate change. At the moment Barker, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Michigan, is facing a climate crisis of his own: the atmosphere in this lecture hall is dead.
Government rushes through Kashgar university plan
Beijing has rushed through plans for a new university in Kashgar, in Xinjiang – the Silk Road region dominated by the country’s Uyghur Turkic minority – as part of a raft of measures to stem rising discontent and unemployment which is fuelling violence in the region.
A revamped vision for international education
Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science Dr Jet Bussemaker has released a new vision for the internationalisation of education. It positions The Netherlands as a knowledge economy with a quality education system that offers opportunities for talented young people worldwide – who the country would like to attract permanently – and includes all levels of education.
Universities agree need for Arab world mobility scheme
An Erasmus-style exchange programme for the Arab world gained ground at the second Arab-Euro higher education conference held in Jordan last month. “It received substantial support from people who are at universities and also contribute to policy-making in the region,” said Michael Gaebel, head of higher education policy at the European University Association.
Driving tertiary change through country partnerships
The recently published Driving Change – The Story of the South Africa Norway Tertiary Education Development Programme, edited by Dr Trish Gibbon, describes a successful development partnership that after 10 years had activities in 16 universities in seven Southern African countries. Why did it work? The reasons start with the shared principles and values of the two country partners.
International student recruitment – Integrity questions
The agent debate is dead. Long live the integrity debate. For some time now, the discussion about whether American colleges could use commission-based agents when recruiting students abroad has been the hottest of hot-button issues in international admissions, with each camp staking out fiercely partisan positions.
EU exit would be ‘disastrous’ for higher education
Universities have warned that a British exit from the European Union would be “potentially disastrous” for higher education and the wider research community. Britain would not just lose access to billions of euros worth of research grants, but also the power to influence the European regulatory framework with an impact on research and higher education.
Junta is still threatening academics during ‘talks’
Thailand’s military regime pledged to bring ‘peace and order’ when it assumed power on 22 May, summoning more than 500 politicians, academics and activists and detaining them for up to seven days under martial law to ensure ‘cooperation’ and ‘attitude adjustment’.
Student support crucial to offset impacts of fee increases
A European Commission international study of nine countries has found that when balanced with student support, increased tuition fees do not have an overall negative impact on higher education enrolments. But it stresses that grants or loans are “crucial” in offsetting negative consequences of fee increases, particularly for vulnerable groups.
Crunch time for French universities
Following the election of François Hollande, a tidal wave of reform has been ploughing through the French higher education landscape. Academics have criticised former higher education minister Geneviève Fioraso for her reform, which they believe will lead to a more restrictive and bureaucratic legal system that is ultimately less representative of universities.
Research and innovation system could do better
France’s research and innovation programme to 2020 is taking the right general approach but is too complex, and universities should play a greater role alongside the powerful national research organisations. These are among the findings of a review of French innovation policies by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Spurious row over university redundancies
Four top officials – the education secretary and the administrative reform minister, the deputy prime minister and the prime minister himself – are arguing over how many administrative staff Greece’s universities need in order to operate properly and efficiently. Are universities themselves not in the best position to decide how many staff they need? Emphatically no, says the government.
World Bank calls for more entrepreneurship education
A new World Bank report has identified entrepreneurship education and training as a catalyst that could stimulate innovation and generate jobs among university graduates, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where graduate unemployment rates are high. The burning question is whether entrepreneurship can actually be taught.
North Africa lags in ‘entrepreneurial’ universities
The Arab world, and especially North Africa, has been late in joining the ‘entrepreneurial’ movement in higher education, which strives to enhance youth and graduate employment and provide young people with the knowledge and skills to start their own businesses. This is the conclusion of a recent report on Reforming the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Post-Revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia.
Scientists face access backlash over Facebook research
It was a remarkable result. By manipulating the news feeds of thousands of Facebook users, without their knowing consent, researchers working with the goliath of social media found that they could spur a significant, if small, effect on people’s behaviour in the world beyond bits.
Delhi University rolls back four-year degrees after row
The recruitment season at Delhi University – India’s top university – has been thrown into chaos. A number of its constituent colleges were forced this week to defer undergraduate admissions in a highly politicised row over the university’s attempt to switch to four-year degrees from a three-year British-style model.
Meet the world’s 3,215 hottest researchers
Meet Stacey B Gabriel, the high-flying director of the genomics platform at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in the United States. She’s a global scientist with multiple hot papers – 23 in all – and tops the latest list of the world’s 3,215 highly cited researchers, published by Thomson Reuters.
Social media and students – When should universities step-in?
An Australian study of whether or not universities should censor students’ social media activity has thrown up some interesting findings. There was a resounding ‘no’ from students on whether universities should monitor student-run sites, and the main message for universities was not to take too seriously what students say on personal sites.
MOOCs in the developing world – Pros and cons
Massive open online courses – MOOCs – have brought education from top universities to armchair scholars across the globe. Could they help elevate developing nations? Advocates say MOOCs could deliver quality instruction to poverty-stricken places where university attendance is a fantasy, but critics worry that the largely Western courses could equate to a new form of imperialism and push out more effective forms of education.
College lawyers confront a thicket of rules on assault
Lawyers representing universities and colleges in the United States have a host of worries about if and how their institutions can possibly meet a burgeoning list of federal rules for dealing with sexual violence on campuses. The new, and still evolving, laws and guidelines have set off a scramble at institutions across the country. Colleges that can afford it are hiring staff members to investigate and help resolve sexual assault complaints.
Sino-foreign universities’ group to advise government
Six international universities have come together in a select grouping to advise the Chinese government on how to absorb the lessons learned from Sino-foreign university collaborations, in order to modernise higher education.