30 July 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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TAIWAN
Education minister resigns over research fraud scandal
Taiwan’s Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling resigned on Monday 14 July over his links to a researcher whose papers were retracted from an international scientific journal because of alleged fraud.
UNITED KINGDOM
UK universities minister quits
David Willetts, the United Kingdom universities and science minister in David Cameron's coalition government since 2010, has quit to return to the back benches and will leave parliament at the next general election in 2015.
CAMBODIA
Anti-corruption unit to police university exam
The Cambodian government’s Anti-Corruption Unit has been called on to police next month’s national school-leaving exam in a bid to stamp out systemic cheating that has for decades compromised the quality of high school students applying for university places.
NIGERIA
US diaspora scholars pledge help for home universities
Top Nigerian scientists based in the United States have entered into a formal agreement to assist universities at home, with a view to supporting postgraduate programmes. Academics in Nigeria have welcomed the move because of its potential positive multiplying effects.
UNITED KINGDOM
Top universities fail to attract poorer students
The United Kingdom’s élite universities are failing to attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds despite making “considerable” efforts and offering financial support to offset the impact of higher tuition fees.
GLOBAL
Universities link with UN environment programme
Britain’s Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges has signed a three-year agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme under UNEP’s Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability scheme. The partnership will deliver training and networking opportunities and will put the association’s Green Gown Awards for universities before a global audience.
VENEZUELA
Poor conditions blamed for Venezuelan scientist exodus
Government-funded universities in Venezuela are witnessing a flight of scientists and professors, leaving them unable to fill posts, according to recent reports.
SOUTH AFRICA
Bitter race rows follow 20-year democracy celebrations
In the wake of 20 years of democracy celebrations, two occurrences in universities starkly reminded South Africans of how far the country has yet to go to overcome apartheid. The death of popular Stellenbosch Vice-chancellor Russel Botman sparked accusations that he had been ‘killed’ by Afrikaner conservatives, while Cape Town was fiercely attacked by black intellectuals after unveiling a new student admissions policy.
AFRICA
New West African higher education quality project
The German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, has signed an agreement with the Association of African Universities, Ghana’s National Accreditation Board and the Nigerian National Universities Commission to promote internal quality assurance in higher education in a new project for the West African region.
KENYA
Kenyatta launches virtual learning ‘Anywhere School’
Kenyatta University has become the first in East Africa to have a fully-fledged digital school, offering a wide range of courses through virtual and open learning. A free tablet uploaded with course materials for every student is expected to be a huge drawcard.
CHINA
Anti-corruption watchdog targets top university
Some of China’s top universities are coming under scrutiny as part of the country’s anti-corruption drive, with Shanghai’s prestigious Fudan University last week named and shamed by anti-graft watchdog the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
IRAN
Professors back embattled science minister
Nearly 900 professors in Iranian universities have issued a statement in support of embattled Science Minister Reza Faraji Dana who is facing an impeachment vote in parliament. In a letter to the parliamentary speaker, the academics expressed dismay that conservative MPs were trying to remove the “rational” minister who is also responsible for higher education.
UNITED STATES
International students seek pathway to HE via schools
An Institute of International Education study has confirmed a rapidly growing number of international students enrolling in United States schools to boost their competitiveness ahead of entering higher education. American universities might need to turn more recruitment attention to foreign students on their doorsteps.
EGYPT
New president scraps election of university leaders
Egypt’s recently elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has controversially scrapped a long-fought but short-lived policy that allowed academics to elect the leaders of public universities, replacing it with a system giving him the right to appoint leaders to top positions.
AFRICA
Heads of state adopt continental science strategy
Heads of state adopted the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa – 2024 at an African Union assembly in Equatorial Guinea late last month. The continental framework is aimed at accelerating transition to innovation-led, knowledge-based economies.
BANGLADESH
Study of corrupt university practices sparks anger
A recent study by the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International’s Bangladesh chapter looking into private universities’ alleged ‘monetary irregularities’ has triggered a heated public debate, with education authorities disputing the claims.
AFRICA
New partnership to support 10,000 new PhDs in Africa
A high-level forum hosted by the Senegalese government in collaboration with the World Bank has recommended training 10,000 new PhD holders in applied sciences, engineering and technology in the next 10 years, in a bid to boost Africa’s capacity for socio-economic transformation and development.
GLOBAL
Professor deleted MOOC to ‘raise student engagement’
The University of Zurich says it has cleared up the bizarre case of the MOOC – massive open online course – that went missing. But the university is offering few clarifying details to the public, which has been left to piece together theories from the university’s statements and from cryptic tweets by the course’s professor about an unspecified experiment he might have been trying to conduct.
EUROPE
Record 270,000 study abroad through Erasmus in a year
A record 270,000 students obtained European Union grants to study or train abroad in 2012-13, according to statistics released by the European Commission last Thursday. The most popular destination countries were Spain, Germany and France.
IRAN
EU court orders sanctions against university lifted
The European Court of Justice has ruled that sanctions against Iran's Sharif University of Technology should be lifted because of lack of evidence from the European Union that the university is involved in Iran's nuclear energy programme, which Western countries claim is aimed at producing weapons of mass destruction.
INDIA
Regulator admits political pressure over Delhi degrees
An official of the University Grants Commission, India’s higher education regulatory and funding body, has openly admitted that political pressure from the country’s newly elected government was behind the move to scrap four-year undergraduate degrees at Delhi University, which attracts the country’s brightest students.
SRI LANKA
Student suppression worst since insurgency – Report
In the last four years suppression of Sri Lankan students has been at its highest since the 1990s Marxist insurgency which left many students dead, according to a report released this week by student and human rights groups.
EAST AFRICA
Countries step closer to harmonisation
The five East African Community member countries have taken the biggest step yet towards harmonising higher education by crafting a draft credit transfer system and a qualifications model. The new qualifications system – which awaits several approvals before being rolled out – means Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda will harmonise the courses offered in their universities.
EUROPE
More university-business collaboration needed – Study
The business sector should be more involved in designing higher education curricula and universities should work more closely with industry partners to promote entrepreneurship, mobility between business and academia and lifelong learning. There should also be more assessment and better monitoring of university-business collaborations and programmes.
CHINA
Business degrees affected by anti-corruption campaign
Executive business degrees have traditionally been a money-spinner for China’s universities, charging high fees. But this year has seen a sharp drop in applications as an ongoing government anti-corruption campaign has curbed funding for officials eligible for the courses.