14 October 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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China leaps ahead of UK, Germany in global rankings
US research universities dominate US News & World Report's second annual global higher education rankings, and an expansion in the numbers of institutions included this year helped to catapult China into the number two slot, ahead of the United Kingdom and Germany.
Crises over degree recognition, fee hike, student loans
When Amos Ngila, a second-year law student at Moi University in Kenya, phoned his father recently to update him on campus events, what he said was so shattering that his dad hung up. The news was that the law school had been closed down, there was an impending tuition fee increase and Ngila was yet to receive his student loan, more than a month into the semester.
German and Indian universities step up cooperation
The German Academic Exchange Service and the Indian University Grants Commission are stepping up cooperation. A new higher education partnership programme has been signed during a visit by a German delegation headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Universities demand bold innovation strategy
Australia’s universities are calling for a bold new research and innovation investment strategy, arguing that it is vital to the economic transformation that the government and opposition parties both say the country must make.
Ban on niqab-wearing lecturers sparks academic row
A ban by Cairo University, Egypt’s biggest public higher education institution, on women lecturers wearing the full-face veil – the niqab – has sparked controversy among academics in this mostly Muslim country.
Scientific impact of EU projects is ‘outstanding’
The scientific impact of Danish publications linked to the European Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes is “outstanding”, according to a ministry report.
President announces task team to probe student funding
South African President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday announced the creation of a national task team “to explore solutions to short-term student funding challenges”. The decision was taken during a meeting with vice-chancellors and university council leaders increasingly concerned about issues such as student violence, politicisation of campuses and insufficient financial aid.
MIT to use its own MOOCs as masters admissions test
MOOCs may soon become a prominent factor in admissions decisions at selective colleges, after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced last week that it plans a pilot programme in which students who do well in its MOOCs will enhance their chances of admission to MIT's masters programme and be able to finish the degree in one semester instead of two.
New head for international francophone university agency
The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, which promotes higher education and research in French-speaking universities throughout the world, has appointed a new director, Jean-Paul de Gaudemar.
US dominance slides as THE ranking becomes top 800
The United States showed “signs of decline” in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016, as did Japan and South Korea. Countries with improved performances in an expanded ranking that examined 1,128 universities worldwide and doubled its list to 800, include the United Kingdom and Germany.
High-level meeting proposes ways to boost universities
Recommendations for strengthening African universities were agreed at a high-level event last weekend, held alongside the United Nations General Assembly meeting to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. The proposals include promoting student mobility, postgraduate research, centres of excellence and partnerships.
Indigenous university ranking framework launched
A country specific framework for ranking Indian higher education institutions has been rolled out by the government. This initiative is a response to global rankings in which Indian universities and colleges usually do not fare too well.
Government backs down on deregulation of tuition fees
The new government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has backed away from plans to allow universities to set their own tuition fees and announced that funding arrangements for 2016 will not be changed, ruling them out before the next election. The government will hold further consultations with the sector on future reforms.
Pro-democracy academic rejected for university post
A decision last week by the University of Hong Kong’s governing council to reject the proposed appointment of a liberal former law faculty dean as pro-vice-chancellor has triggered accusations of external interference in the university’s governance.
Groundswell of support for increasing study abroad
Some 77,000 more students from the US will study abroad annually over the next five years as a result of rising support for the Institute of International Education or IIE's Generation Study Abroad initiative. This will bring the total studying abroad each year to 452,000, but more is needed to raise that number to the target of 600,000 a year, the IIE told University World News.
Uproar over heavy cuts in university research
The research world has reacted angrily to the government’s 2016 budget proposal to cut DKK1.4 billion (US$210 million) off the DKK22 billion research budget. Universities and institute research will be hit the hardest.
Budget restores €100 million cut from universities
As a record number of students start the new university year, the government has announced that higher education and research are priorities and their 2016 budget has been spared from cuts and an extra €100 million (US$113 million) for higher education will be made available.
Anglicans to open country’s fifth church-run university
The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe is to open its first university, in the east of the country – the latest of several church groups to establish a higher education institution. The new university will open next academic year and will specialise in health-related disciplines.
Defence minister denies claims of plagiarism
As yet another German politician is facing allegations of lifting material, law experts have started to discuss whether a statute of limitation would make sense for cases of academic plagiarism. Meanwhile, Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen has denied the allegations and is taking action to clear her academic reputation.
Scholarship programme extends push on study abroad
The Council on International Educational Exchange, Japan chapter, is to offer scholarships for Japanese university students to take up during the summer from 2016. The focus on international study reflects a growing commitment by universities to increased internationalisation under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Reforms to vocational education to be completed soon
Reforms aimed at streamlining technical and vocational education and training in Kenya could be fully implemented by the end of this year with the creation of a funding board. The government hopes that revitalising the sector will help tackle a huge unemployment problem – there are an estimated five million youths jobless or under-employed.
Universities to be ranked in three tiers on quality
Vietnam will rank all universities in one of three tiers from next month as part of the education ministry’s bid to improve quality at each level. In each of the three tiers universities will also be assigned labels designating them as being research oriented, applied or professional and vocational in type.
New PM set to review higher education reform package
The new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has signalled that the government will review its higher education proposals, which include deregulation of the higher education sector and university fees and cuts in government funding for bachelor degrees, in order to ensure that the legislation is passed by the Senate.
Foreign students fuel graduate school enrolment rise
International students continue to fuel enrolment growth at US graduate schools, a study out last week by the US Council of Graduate Schools found.
Bill for institutes of management sent for redrafting
Following widespread criticism of its clauses, a landmark bill that would allow the famed Indian Institutes of Management to award MBAs and PhDs – making qualifications internationally recognisable – has been sent back to the drafting table.