07 July 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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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.
EUROPE
Renewal fee agreement brings unitary patent closer
European member states have taken an important step towards negotiating a unitary patent – a key development for stimulating research, development and investment in innovation – by agreeing a rate for the renewal fee.
BANGLADESH
Anger as tax on private university education agreed
A government decision to charge 7.5% Value Added Tax or VAT on private universities, medical and engineering colleges has sparked anger among students who say it will hit middle and lower income families and curb the basic right to education.
KENYA
Six-month closure notices for eight satellite campuses
The fate of eight satellite university campuses established in the Kenyan capital Nairobi’s central business district hangs in the balance after the higher education regulatory body, the Commission for University Education, issued a six-month closure notice.
CANADA
Universities adopt principles on indigenous education
Canada’s universities have adopted a set of principles outlining their shared commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for indigenous students and fostering reconciliation across Canada.
SWEDEN
New call for a top foreign university in Stockholm
Two leading members of the Liberal Party in the City of Stockholm Council have called for the establishment of a branch of a world-leading foreign university in Stockholm. This is the third time since 2013 that high-ranking Swedish officials have called for such a development.
UNITED KINGDOM
Minister plans incentives for improving teaching
The new Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, has pledged to bring in a teaching excellence framework that creates incentives for universities to raise the quality of teaching, and to double the proportion of disadvantaged young people entering higher education.
UNITED STATES
Gay marriage ruling puts Christian colleges on edge
The US Supreme Court ruled on 26 June that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. While gay and lesbian students and faculty members will have more choices on where to enrol or seek a job, as a result of the ruling, religious colleges expressed fears about their tax-exempt status and accreditation.
MAURITANIA
High university spending but poor results – Report
Although the northwest African nation of Mauritania has a proportionately higher budget for universities than most neighbouring countries, it suffers from low education quality, weak management and governance and an aging student population, says a new government report.
GLOBAL
Hundreds killed in attacks on higher education – Report
Violent attacks on higher education students, staff and institutions around the world are occurring with “alarming frequency”, according to a new report, which documents 485 killings in 18 countries in the past four and a half years.
CHINA-UNITED STATES
Campus ‘will close’ if academic freedom is threatened
New York University’s flagship branch campus in Shanghai would have to be closed down if principles of academic freedom are not honoured in China, Jeffrey Lehman, the vice-chancellor of NYU Shanghai, told a US house subcommittee hearing on the threat to academic freedom by China’s growing influence on US universities.
EUROPE
EUA warns of research funds squeeze after EFSI vote
The European University Association, or EUA, fears a vote in the European Parliament to formally adopt the European Union European Fund for Strategic Investments, or EFSI, and divert EU research funding to EFSI’s budgets will mean a squeeze on other earmarked funds for collaborative research by universities and other research bodies.
AFRICA
Talent war intensifies across Africa – Report
A tight competition for professional and technical skills is emerging in Africa with most companies experiencing volatile labour mobility of highly skilled persons, according to a new study by EY, one of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited.
JAPAN
Universities pressed to streamline, and cut humanities
Universities will face pressure to streamline and refocus their mission on developing skills for the global jobs market under sweeping reforms announced last week. The education ministry wants to raise the standing of science and technology and said that humanities departments could be axed.
MYANMAR
Amended law excludes autonomy, union recognition
An amended National Education Law was approved by Myanmar’s union parliament last week after months of student protests. But it still excludes recognition of student and teachers’ unions – a key demand of demonstrators.
KENYA
German scholarships for 300 Garissa massacre survivors
Just months after a terror attack killed 148 people at Garissa University College in northeast Kenya, 300 of its surviving students have been awarded scholarships to complete their studies by the German Academic Exchange Service.
NORWAY
Iranian students sue over expulsions on spying claims
The case of two Iranian students appealing against a decision of the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board in spring 2014 to block renewal of their residence permits for PhD study at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology was heard by the Oslo District Court on 17-22 June.
FRANCE
New state secretary for higher education after hiatus
Thierry Mandon has been appointed as the new state secretary for higher education and research. He takes over at a time of austerity and low morale among the university community, after a period of three months during which the post was vacant.
AUSTRALIA
Senator bids to break deadlock on university fees
Palmer United Party Senator Zhenya Wang has proposed an opt-in/opt-out model for university fee deregulation in a bid to break months of deadlock between the government and opposition over higher education reform.
KENYA
US firm to build student hostels in US$11 million project
Kenyatta University – Kenya’s largest institution by student numbers – has teamed up with New York-based private equity firm Integras to build hostels with a total of 10,000 beds. The US$11 million project is to be executed under a public-private partnership.
NORWAY
Merger battles begin after parliamentary vote
The Council of State has ordered the merging of 11 higher education institutions into four new institutions, thereby establishing the Norwegian University of Science and Technology as the largest university in Norway. The mergers are intended to strengthen the institutional landscape.
CHINA
Universities expand ‘internet army’ to bolster party line
Students in China are being recruited in large numbers by their universities as an ‘army’ of online contributors to bolster the official party line, in a new drive by the Communist Youth League of China that will draw universities squarely into the country’s attempts to control the internet within its borders.
CHILE
New unrest wave as students protest at 20 universities
Chilean students from more than 20 public and private universities are on strike, pressing the government and universities to agree to a long list of national and internal demands. This year is witnessing a new phase of paralysing student unrest, which started with the massive protests that rocked the country in 2011.
INDIA
Crackdown on foreign-funded groups hits universities
Some of India’s premier universities that receive international funding are on a government blacklist for non-compliance with the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. In a crackdown against ‘misuse’ of foreign funds, the licences of more than 9,000 non-profit organisations have been cancelled, including universities such as Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Panjab, and some Indian institutes of technology.