21 April 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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AUSTRALIA
Should only 'bright' students gain entry to university?
The question of who should go to university is lurking behind Australia’s contentious funding and fees debate that has wracked higher education for the past year. This is also the issue that will determine how well higher education supports the nation’s future.
AFRICA
Higher education is key to development – World Bank
The returns on higher education are growing globally and they are highest in Africa, says Claudia Costin, a senior director at the World Bank. There is an urgent need for Africa to build quality and capacity in universities and to create skills that remain on the continent.
AUSTRALIA
Science: Aspiring to something magnificent
Over the past four years as Australia’s Chief Scientist, I have had a consistent message – that science matters. And it is too important to leave to chance. Whether it is our environment, our health, our ageing population, our food supply, our economy or our security, it will be scientific discovery and the use of scientific knowledge that will form the core of our ability to respond.
ASIA
New hub for international education research
In line with a growing push to foster collaboration with Asia, an international education research hub developed in Australia has recently been expanded to promote participation from countries across the Asian region.

SOUTH AFRICA
Student revolt against the statue of Cecil John Rhodes
The statue of Cecil John Rhodes has a commanding presence. Sitting at the focal point of the University of Cape Town campus, Rhodes – heroic 19th century politician and businessman, or cold-blooded capitalist imperialist, depending on your point of view – gazes out over the rugby fields, eyes set on the African interior. The statue has torched a storm of controversy in recent weeks, with students insisting that it must go.
GLOBAL
Challenges to origin of languages
A team of international researchers has shed new light on the origins of some of the most widely spoken languages in the world. The results raise questions about existing views of their relationships.
GLOBAL
Even university competitors are joining forces
The idea of universities collaborating with others around the world is no longer unusual but, increasingly, university faculties and schools are also forming alliances with their counterparts in other institutions to boost research output, improve graduation rates, attract students to potentially unpopular programmes and improve existing curricula.

SWEDEN
Tooth of `Peking Man’ found again after 90 years
It took 90 years but the Museum of Evolution in Uppsala finally located a canine tooth of Peking Man that had been stored in a box since it was excavated in a dig in China in the 1920s. First discovered in the box in 2011, the finding has now been reported in the journal Acta Anthropologica Sinica.

GLOBAL
Pioneer on a mission to democratise higher education
Troubled by UNESCO estimates that millions worldwide are denied a college education due to lack of places, Shai Reshef designed an alternative where no seats are required, tuition is free and thousands of volunteer academics – some of them from the world’s top universities – design and teach the curriculum.
GLOBAL
Lifelong learning as a human right
Higher education systems around the world have been undergoing dramatic changes over the past few generations. In fact, the changes have been so dramatic that one could argue we are experiencing an educational revolution that has impacted on every aspect of higher education.
FRANCE
Foreign students to pay full fees for higher education?
Most foreign students from outside the European Union should pay full tuition fees, and these resources – estimated at €850 million (US$940 million) – should be invested to ensure France adapts to the new challenges of internationalising higher education while offering a fair, high-quality, attractive system, says a new report.
GLOBAL
Taking income contingent loans to the world
At least eight countries around the world have adopted versions of Australia’s Higher Education Contribution Scheme which requires students to pay some of the cost of their degrees and the rest through a government loan. The same method could be applied in many other fields.
UNITED KINGDOM
Time off for baby need not stall a research career
The London School of Economics is pioneering new ways to ensure that research careers are not stalled by maternity or paternity leave, including allowing a term free of teaching to catch up on research, a phased return to work and taking into account the impact of leave on output in decisions on probationary periods and promotion.
MIDDLE EAST
Does new ranking ignore Middle East progress?
Only one Saudi university out of more than 600 Arab universities located in the 22 Arab states was included in the U-Multirank ranking based on ‘international orientation’. But what is the real position of Arab universities in international orientation performance?
AUSTRALIA
Giving students and industries a future at Flinders
In countries around the world, high-cost manufacturing is under threat from low-cost mass production in areas of Asia. This is the situation confronting South Australia which is facing the demise of its car industry, a mining sector yet to fulfil expectations, and the potential end to its historic ship-building plants. Now Flinders University has stepped in with some innovative solutions.
ASIA
Women enrol in sciences but not STEM
Gender differences in learning achievement contribute significantly towards girls’ and women’s low participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, based careers in Asia, according to a study conducted by UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific regional bureau.
UNITED STATES
International students bring money, skills and jobs
International students contributed almost US$27 billion to the US economy in 2014, up 12% on 2013, an impact that goes way beyond money spent on tuition fees and living expenses.
SWEDEN
HE minister’s hands are tied on funds for teaching
Leading Swedish academics are calling for a major shift in higher education and research policies under the new government. But can it deliver?
GREECE
Minister prepares to address ‘human crisis’
While new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his economy ministry’s staff are scouring the European capitals in search of support for an alternative policy to Greece’s austerity programme, top bureaucrats at the education ministry are poring over plans to deal with immediate problems before releasing their long-term targets.
AFRICA
New Arusha convention sparks hopes for degree mobility
The recognition – or not – of qualifications when a student moves from one country to another has long caused headaches in the academic world and hampered the mobility of students, especially in developing or middle-income countries. UNESCO believes there was a breakthrough for Africa last December when 16 countries signed an amended version of the ‘Arusha Convention’ on the recognition of qualifications across the continent.
SWEDEN
Rector’s outstanding performance at Lund University
A mantra at university conferences and in policy documents, and at the heart of university reforms over the last decade in the Nordic countries, is the belief that university leadership is the most crucial factor for success. Professor Per Eriksson has demonstrated that, after six years as rector of Lund University, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities.
MOZAMBIQUE
Back to the future – Uneven changes in HE governance
After 10 years of being split under Armando Guebuza’s two terms as Mozambique’s head of state, under the new President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, higher education has been reunited with science and technology, and technical and professional education, in a newly established ministry. The ministry needs to institutionalise practices and coordinating structures, and to promote a more bottom-up approach with input from universities and other key stakeholders.
GLOBAL
Rich world attainment rising fast but not for all
There has been a sharp rise in education attainment across the world’s wealthy nations, driven by young adults studying longer. But at the same time, nearly one in six young adults in OECD nations does not have the skills essential to function in the modern world, according to an interim Education at a Glance report for the OECD.
UNITED STATES
The day the purpose of university changed
California boasted a system of public higher education that was the envy of the world. But after 28 February 1967, when State Governor Ronald Reagan announced that “there are certain intellectual luxuries that perhaps we could do without”, the main reason to go to university was to get a job.
SOUTH AFRICA
Top academics well paid, new generation falling behind
South Africa’s senior academics are better rewarded than comparable staff in the public and private sectors, and they are relatively better paid than lower-ranked lecturers, a study by the vice-chancellors' association Higher Education South Africa has revealed. This is good news for retaining senior staff but bad news for building the next generation of academics.