23 June 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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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.
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.

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Berkeley to build a global campus, 10 miles from home
The University of California at Berkeley plans to open a global campus, but it intends to do so without going very far from home. Under the plan, partner universities from around the world would set up shop at a new outpost just 10 miles from Berkeley’s main campus.
Liberty, equality, fraternity in the wake of Charlie Hebdo
France today is a fabulously colourful mixture of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists. This is the situation all over Europe. Yet many Europeans are deeply uneasy with this diversity, with the media and government often still referring to Muslims as “them”: tolerated foreigners, immigrants graciously accorded rights by the state. Muslims often respond by considering themselves unwanted outsiders, even enemies.
Newspaper archives: a unique research resource
Captivating content sourced from digital newspaper archives is being used by students nationwide to radically transform and enrich the quality of their essays and dissertations.
Peshawar attack spreads fear in higher education
Schools and universities in Pakistan closed early and delayed their reopening until this week over security fears after the Taliban attack on a Peshawar school on 16 December, with many remaining closed until mid-January. But students and academics are questioning whether they will be any safer when they open.
Big data scientists face ethical challenges after Facebook study
The media storm over the Facebook study on the impact of emotive language has left big data scientists searching for ways to resolve the ethical questions their research can raise.