01 October 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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ASIA
Huge growth in eLearning in Asia, market report says
Booming enrolment in online higher education, rapid content digitisation, the rollout of national online education networks and teacher shortages in rapidly developing countries have led to huge demand for eLearning products, according to a just-released market research report on eLearning.
CHINA
Condemnation of Uighur scholar’s jail sentence
An unusually harsh life sentence was imposed on soft-spoken Uighur economics professor Ilham Tohti last week for ‘separatism’, or attempting to split the Uighur region of Xinjiang from the rest of China. The verdict took human rights groups by surprise, leading to strong condemnation of the sentence and treatment meted out to Tohti.
MALAYSIA
Students found guilty amid spate of sedition cases
The clamour of voices calling for the Malaysian government to repeal its controversial Sedition Act grew louder as a law student recently received a one-year jail term under the Sedition law – the second student to be found guilty of sedition this month.
FRANCE
Student success a priority, but HE has funding fears
In the wake of criticism from university presidents over lack of resources, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the new national education, higher education and research minister, and Geneviève Fioraso, secretary of state for higher education and research, defended their budget and promised priority for ensuring student success during the academic year that is just beginning.
AUSTRIA
University leaders concerned over lack of funding
University leaders in Austria are urging the government to provide higher education and research with extra funding. They are above all concerned that without extra support, the country could fail to keep pace with international developments. Universities Austria has called for a boost for the sector of an additional €1 billion (US$1.3 billion).
EGYPT
Politics and protests banned from university campuses
Egypt’s higher education authorities have banned political activities in universities in a series of measures apparently targeting Islamist students accused of staging violent protests against the military-backed government last year.
GLOBAL
Asia leads QS ranking of top 50 universities under 50
Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University overtook Hong Kong University of Science and Technology into first place in the new QS ranking of the world’s top 50 universities under 50 years old. There were 25 countries with at least one university in the ranking, and with 10 places, Australia had the most excellent young universities.
SWEDEN
To fee or not to fee in Erasmus Mundus collaborations?
Whether Swedish students may be charged fees for courses that are part of international collaborations involving several universities across countries – many of which themselves levy fees – has been tying Sweden with its free higher education in knots. The government has proposed a law specifying when a study fee should not be regarded as a student fee.
EUROPE
Employment prospects rosier for Erasmus graduates
The findings of The Erasmus Impact Study, released last Monday, are indisputable – young people who study or train abroad are half as likely to face long-term unemployment as their non-mobile peers. And five years after graduation, the jobless rate of these students is an impressive 23% lower.
GLOBAL
Higher education and the post-2015 development goals
In a new briefing report, UNESCO has identified tertiary education as a fundamental element towards progress in each of 16 proposed post-2015 global sustainable development goals. The report highlights how higher education can reduce poverty, improve health, empower women and protect the environment.
SPAIN
Economic crisis sparks increase in student volunteers
Fifty-five percent of people in charge of social action in Spanish universities say that the economic crisis has provoked a growth in student volunteering, according to initial reports from a study being published next week by the Fundación Mutua Madrileña.
UNITED STATES
Scholars deny student evaluations’ ‘air of objectivity’
Student course evaluations are often misused statistically and shed little light on the quality of teaching, two scholars at the University of California at Berkeley argue in the draft of a new paper. "We’re confusing consumer satisfaction with product value," said Philip B Stark, a professor of statistics at Berkeley.
HONG KONG
Academics back students’ pro-democracy shut down
Hong Kong’s universities and colleges – almost 20 of them – are gearing up for a student organised pro-democracy boycott of classes due to begin on 22 September and to last at least a week, with academics supporting the student movement.
THAILAND
Academics, students arrested for democracy forum
Amid a series of attempts by the Thai military junta to control public gatherings, a number of academics and student activists were detained on 18 September for holding a public forum on democracy.
UNITED STATES
Alliance to boost graduate numbers, save money
If the University Innovation Alliance achieves its goals, high quality degrees will become more accessible for all students, particularly first-generation and low-income students. Thousands more will graduate each year, and additionally they could shave time off their studies, taxpayers could save US$100 million in educational costs, and over the next five years another 850,000 students could graduate from America’s colleges.
GLOBAL
‘Best-ever’ performance of British HE in QS ranking
On the tenth anniversary of its rankings, British universities notched up their “best-ever performance” in the British company QS Quacquarelli Symonds’ global rankings. And graduates of two British universities were rated the most employable in the world.
NORWAY
Official study slams university rankings as ‘useless’
A government-commissioned study of the placement of Norwegian universities in global rankings – in particular compared to other Nordic institutions – has concluded that even the top rankings are so based on subjective weightings of factors and on dubious data that they are useless as a basis for information if the goal is to improve higher education.
TUNISIA
New science, university and medical ‘cities’ unveiled
Tunisia has officially unveiled an economic development mega-project that will house research and science, university and medical ‘cities’ and will include a range of research centres, science institutes and branches of foreign universities.
BANGLADESH
Higher education body warns 12 private universities
Private universities are trying to shore up their credibility with publicity campaigns and newspaper advertisements, following a warning from Bangladesh’s higher education apex body the University Grants Commission naming and shaming a dozen private institutions.
KENYA
Private university under the hammer, others in trouble
A private university in Kenya is facing an auction of some of its prime property by banks and several other institutions are in financial trouble, in what some fear is a signal that the rapid expansion of higher education in the country has reached a sustainability limit.
GERMANY
OECD report praises German vocational education
According to the OECD, Germany is still lagging behind other member countries in academics statistics. Furthermore, the majority of students still tend to come from an academic family background. But the Paris-based organisation is full of praise for the country’s vocational education system.
NIGERIA
Ebola fear ‘infects’ campuses, affects mobile students
The deaths in Nigeria of two medical doctors associated with teaching hospitals, both victims of the dreaded Ebola virus in the horrifying outbreak of the disease in West Africa, has created panic and unsettled nerves on campuses.
UGANDA
Universities must focus on science, not ‘useless’ arts
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, once a student of the arts but now a champion of science, has advised universities funded by the government to develop more science courses and to drop many in the arts and humanities.
EGYPT
Government slated over delays to new semester start
The decision by Egyptian authorities to postpone the start of the new academic year by two weeks has drawn sustained criticism from lecturers and students. Minister of Higher Education Sayed Abdel Khaleq said universities would open their gates on 11 October instead of 27 September as scheduled.
ASIA
Can Asia lead the future global knowledge economy?
Asian economies can draw on the demographic advantages of a youthful population in some countries, a growing middle-class, an expanding services sector and creative industries to leapfrog more advanced countries and take the lead in the “knowledge-based economy of the future”, says a just-released report from the Asian Development Bank.