29 May 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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EUROPE
Bologna progress report says ‘much more to be done’
Much more needs to be done to harmonise Europe’s higher education system, according to a new report into the state of implementation of the Bologna Process across the European Higher Education Area. There has been progress on quality assurance and the credit transfer system, but in other spheres, including equity of access, the record of progress is patchy.
PAKISTAN
Authorities raid firm over fake degree claims
Following an investigation by The New York Times into an alleged global fake degrees business, Pakistan law enforcement agencies have raided the offices of Karachi-based IT company Axact and have also begun probing the company’s accounts. Records, computers and electronic devices were seized for forensic investigation. Axact denied the allegations.
AFRICA
Talent of study abroad graduates is under-used – Study
African and European cooperation has produced a growing number of African graduates who have studied abroad. But the continent is not benefitting as much as it should from their world-class talent because, although the graduates want to contribute to capacity building in their fields, local conditions are not conducive, a recent study found.
UNITED STATES
Foreign students take high school route to university
Fed by growing demand abroad among parents who hope a US high school education will boost their child's attractiveness to top US universities, a small but growing number of US secondary schools are recruiting international students. But a new report suggests school counsellors are uncertain of giving them the advice they need to progress.
NIGERIA
Lecturers urge new president to solve security crisis
University lecturers in Nigeria are increasingly concerned about the destruction of lives and property on campuses and the disruption of academic activities by the extremist Islamic sect Boko Haram, especially in the northeast. The university community has urged President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, a former general, to find urgent short- and long-term solutions to security challenges in the region.
NEPAL
Devastated university takes self-help route to reconstruction
In the wake of the 25 April earthquake and huge aftershocks that jolted the country, Nepal’s largest public university has set up a fund – and staff are donating a proportion of their own salaries – to help with reconstruction. Students and alumni are helping to clear rubble, salvage materials and perform other tasks.
NORWAY
Mergers might ‘never succeed with an elected rector’
Having an elected rector could be a barrier to university mergers succeeding, a leading expert told the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education last week. Experts on university mergers in other countries were invited to add to the national debate on government plans to merge 14 universities and colleges into five institutions.
SOUTH AFRICA
Government to accelerate transformation in universities
South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande has announced that he is paying close attention to “accelerated transformation in universities, including setting concrete targets and transformation indicators”. The demographics of the professoriate needs to be radically changed, discrimination eliminated and student success and support improved.
UNITED STATES
Groups allege systematic anti-Asian bias in Harvard
More than 60 Asian-American groups have accused Harvard University of discriminating against applicants for their ethnic backgrounds in complaints filed with the Justice Department and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. Harvard said it has a strong record of recruiting and admitting Asian-American students.
UNITED KINGDOM
Income from non-EU foreign students dwarfs costs – Study
International students in London are contributing £2.8 billion (US$4.3 billion) a year to the UK economy through fees and spending that they, their friends and families bring to the UK. Although they do consume public services, this is dwarfed by their contribution to the economy.
AFRICA
UK foundation launches health research excellence fund
Britain’s Medical Research Foundation has launched a new £2.7 million (US$4.2 million) health research fund for Africa. The fund will support scientists to pursue projects at centres of excellence outside their current places of work. The Africa Research Excellence Fund will promote outstanding health research by Africans in Africa.
RUSSIA
Universities denied access to West's science journals
Science departments in Russia’s universities are facing a crisis of information following the decision last week of a Western publisher to lock them out of access to thousands of unique scientific journals and magazines because the government can no longer afford to foot the bill.
GLOBAL
New global survey picks fastest-improving universities
Four US and two UK universities are among the most improved in the world over the past five years in an analysis of Thomson Reuters academic reputation surveys, with King’s College London and New York University the most significant climbers.
ZIMBABWE
Universities brace for 50% government cuts to salaries
State-owned universities in Zimbabwe have started gearing up for commercialisation of their activities after the cash-strapped government warned that it could cut its salary obligations to state higher education institutions by 50% in the near future.
JAPAN
Scholars welcome global challenge to revisionism
Japanese academics worried about the country’s growing revisionist mood have welcomed an open letter by an international group of scholars to conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling for an end to nationalistic interpretation of the sexual slavery practised by the Imperial Army in World War II.
THAILAND
Bills to ‘privatise’ four major universities passed
Thailand’s military-dominated National Legislative Assembly has passed bills granting four major public universities increased autonomy, which opponents regard as a step towards privatisation. Students criticised the move arguing that it lacked proper scrutiny.
NEPAL
Earthquake aftershocks extend university closures
Nepal’s academic calendar from the school to university level has been thrown into uncertainty by the devastating earthquake and the strong aftershocks that have shaken the Himalayan nation over the past three weeks. The crippling damage to the sector could have long-term effects on students’ career plans.
SWEDEN
Inequity persists in top universities, says report
There is a significant correlation between the quality of higher education undertaken and the income of graduates ten years after graduating, a new report says. But access to the top universities is still heavily weighted in favour of students from families with a higher level of education.
NEW ZEALAND
Universities act to stem sharp drop in entrants
New Zealand’s universities are urging high-school students and their parents to make sure they understand exam requirements following a 17% fall in the number passing the entrance exam in 2014 compared to the year before.
KENYA
Universities ordered to stop non-degree courses
Kenya’s Commission for University Education has directed universities to cease teaching diploma and certificate courses and other non-degree courses by July. But universities could lose large amounts of fee income as a result.
GLOBAL
Campaign calls on states to end military use of universities
A global coalition of UN agencies and international NGOs has called on governments to bring an end to the military use of universities and schools in war – because it puts the lives of students and staff at risk and causes long-term harm to education.
DENMARK
Rectors oppose luring students with income data
University leaders and student unions have criticised the government for publishing graduate salary levels in its new online universities guide, arguing that it could misinform applicants and push them to base their choices on “where the money is”.
UNITED KINGDOM
Cameron victory raises EU exit risk for universities
The United Kingdom general election in which Prime Minister David Cameron swept back into power – this time with a majority – could have far reaching consequences for universities due to a manifesto pledge to hold an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union in 2017.
GLOBAL
India overtakes China in outbound student growth
The growth rate in the number of students from India heading to universities abroad has outpaced China for the first time, according to a new report on Indian student mobility trends to the main English-speaking countries – the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
BURUNDI
Universities close, students suffer in poll protests
The decision by Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza to stand for a third term in office, despite a constitutionally established two-term limit, has sparked street protests that have disrupted almost all universities in the capital Bujumbura.