03 August 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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UNITED STATES
Psychologists in crisis over findings on ‘torture’ allegations
Critics are predicting mass resignations from the American Psychological Association over its role in supporting the use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques by US national security agencies, detailed in the findings of an independent investigation.
EGYPT
Mass violations against university students – Report
Egyptian university students are suffering from a sharp rise in harsh actions taken against them by security forces and university administrations. A new report documents a total of 1,552 violations against students arrested during the past academic year.
RUSSIA
Plan to expand military universities, student places
The Russian government plans to make national military universities the most prestigious higher education institutions in the country, triple their funding and add to their number during the next several years, according to an official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
GLOBAL
Accord urges rebuilding of higher education after war
A group of senior academics, university leaders and scholar rescue organisations and scholarship providers from around the world met at York University, England, on Friday 17 July to agree an accord on protecting higher education during conflict and rebuilding it afterwards.
UNITED KINGDOM
Embed data skills across disciplines to plug jobs gap
There are gaping holes in data analysis skills training which should be addressed by an upgrading of data analysis and skills provision at schools and universities, according to two new reports. They call for the embedding of quantitative analysis skills across university disciplines and recommend a kite marking system to identify relevant courses to prospective university applicants and employers.
IRAN-UNITED STATES
US-Iran thaw set to pave way for more academic links
The nuclear accord announced last Tuesday among Iran, the United States and five other countries faces political hurdles before becoming a done deal. But the possibility of a warmer relationship between America and Iran after more than 30 years of animosity will very likely benefit fledgling efforts to develop links in higher education.
NIGERIA
President orders payment of lecturer salary arrears
Calls for the payment of salary backlogs by staff in state universities resumed after the recent elections in Nigeria. There had been a lull during pre-election campaigns, when soon-to-be President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to pay all salary arrears of public servants if his party was voted into power.
INDIA
Nobel laureate steps down from Nalanda after run-in
As Nobel laureate Amartya Sen last week stepped down as chancellor of the new Nalanda University, which is being revived on the site of the ancient institution in Bihar state, he slammed the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “extraordinarily large” interference in Nalanda and other higher education institutions in the country, accusing the government of jeopardising academic autonomy.
AFGHANISTAN
Officials ‘tempered’ education data to obtain US aid
A senior US official has called for independent verification of Afghan government figures on the use of US education aid following claims by Afghan ministers that the previous government had provided data on US-funded school and higher education projects that were flawed, tempered and exaggerated, and had interfered with university entrance exams.
GERMANY
Research bodies criticised for employment practice
Germany’s federal and state governments have called on the country’s major research institutions to review their employment conditions and career structures. They are particularly critical of the underrepresentation of women in these institutions.
GHANA
Foreign institutions warned over PhD admissions
Foreign tertiary institutions in Ghana have been directed by the National Accreditation Board to ensure that only students with certificates awarded by institutions accredited by the board be admitted to PhD courses. It is also concerned about a spate of honorary degrees awarded to personalities by some unaccredited or unqualified institutions.
UNITED KINGDOM
Axe for grant will hit government access target
The Labour opposition in England has warned that the latest efforts by universities to increase the numbers of students from low-income families and other disadvantaged groups may not be enough to offset the effect of the abolition of maintenance grants announced in the 8 July Budget.
INDIA
Shocking cash-for-admissions racket
In a huge cash-for-admissions racket, the enrolments of 1,080 students in a pre-medical course in Madhya Pradesh state in central India have been cancelled. The scam, initially exposed in 2013, and two recent high-profile deaths linked to it have sent shock waves across the country. There have been more than 2,000 arrests so far.
RUSSIA
Parliament seeks ban on foreign foundations, scientists
The Russian Council of the Federation – the upper house of the Russian Parliament – is proposing to ban certain foreign scientists and organisations operating in Russia who may pose a threat to the country’s national security. Some of them are organisations which search for talent in Russian universities and schools and encourage them to study abroad.
GLOBAL
China extends dominance in latest BRICS ranking by QS
China is even more dominant than last year in the QS University Rankings: BRICS, which compares the top 200 institutions in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. China took seven of the top 10 places.
FRANCE
Fees freeze and plan to improve students’ conditions
University students will not have to pay more for their studies in the 2015-16 academic year in spite of an inspectors’ proposal for a substantial rise in fees. Students’ representatives applauded the decision and have given a qualified welcome to recommendations for a national plan to improve students’ living and studying conditions.
AFRICA
University student and graduate extremism on the rise
Extremism among higher education students and graduates across North Africa is on the rise. Growing numbers of educated young people from countries including Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Morocco are joining the Islamic State, or Daesh as it is known in Arabic, figures show.
UNITED STATES-VIETNAM
US-backed university in Vietnam cements diplomatic ties
Plans for a United-States-backed university in Vietnam reached a milestone on Friday when Vietnamese officials granted an operating licence to the US non-profit organisation that is spearheading the initiative.
SOUTH KOREA
Fear that cyber university contest could lead to ranking
South Korea’s Ministry of Education plans to hold a contest searching for the best teaching and learning practices at cyber universities. The official objective is to improve quality but there is some concern that it could lead to a system to evaluate and rank cyber universities that provide online courses.
AFRICA
South Africa leads first ‘snapshot’ university ranking
South Africa dominates an initial, ‘snapshot’ ranking of African universities, produced by Times Higher Education and based only on research influence. A future Africa league table will be drawn from THE's global rankings but will use “bespoke metrics” to be thrashed out at a continental summit being held in Johannesburg at the end of this month.
UNITED STATES
Democrats unveil bill to make college free
A team of congressional Democrats last Wednesday introduced a bill that would make community college free for two years and help cover the costs of a four-year degree at minority-serving institutions, pushing forward the free-college proposal that President Barack Obama unveiled in January.
KENYA
US$1 billion universities research kitty coming soon
Kenya plans to set up a US$1 billion National Research Fund to strengthen research in universities, with an eye to boosting innovation to push the country to become a middle-income economy by 2030.
MOROCCO
New pre-selection system for university admission
Morocco is moving away from its current university entrance tests from next year, with admission to higher education in future to be primarily based on student performance in baccalaureate examinations using a ‘pre-selection’ system.
CHINA
New law could hit research collaboration, exchanges
China’s new draft law on ‘managing foreign NGOs’ has sparked alarm in academic circles with many overseas universities fearing it could have a severe effect on collaboration with Chinese institutions and research organisations by bringing their activities under the remit of China’s national security authorities.
UNITED STATES
Concern at low share of foreign students taking PhDs
Surprising new figures suggest foreign students are favouring masters programmes over PhDs by two to one, a reverse of the expected balance, and a concern because masters students are typically more vulnerable to economic volatility at home than PhD students and are less likely to go on to fuel innovation in the US.