26 May 2016 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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UNITED KINGDOM
New providers and teaching quality at heart of HE reforms
The government's plans to increase competition in provision, widen access to university and improve student choice are one of the centrepieces of the government’s programme announced in the Queen’s Speech last week. Under the proposals teaching quality will be rated and universities will be given the ability to raise tuition fees but only if they meet certain standards.
CHINA
‘Equitable’ university admissions quotas backfire
Changes to university admissions to allow in more students from poorer areas to universities in around a dozen richer provinces have backfired as thousands of parents demonstrated in the streets in several cities fearing the out-of-province quotas will be at the expense of local students.
Photo credit: ImagineChina
NIGERIA
Top academic slams accreditation body for negligence
A top Nigerian academic has generated heated debate after publicly criticising the country’s university accreditation agency for lack of autonomy, negligence and double standards in its annual accreditation of courses. All accusations have been denied by the agency.
NORWAY
Professors publicly add to pressure for elected rectors
Seven professors at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences publicly questioned the suitability of the Board Chairman Siri Hatlen and several board members due to their lack of academic skills and experience.
GERMANY
Rectors demand better funding in university medicine
University heads have warned that a continuous underfunding of universities and their clinics could seriously harm performance in the healthcare sector. They also call for better academic career prospects for young medical graduates.
DENMARK
Bid to stem rise in student loans for migrant workers
A sharp increase in the number of European Union citizens coming to Denmark to study has prompted Higher Education and Science Minister Ulla Tørnæs to look into whether the programmes on offer are “too big a draw” for foreign students and whether there are loopholes which need to be closed.
AFRICA
Universities to gain from 59 new diaspora fellows
A total of 59 African-born scholars based in the United States and Canada have been selected to join universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda to work on academic projects with their peers as part of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities urged to set male student entry targets
Universities should set targets for male recruitment to improve the proportion of male entrants to United Kingdom higher education institutions, according to a new report that says the male share of entrants has reached a record low. The gender gap is biggest among the poorest, and young white males from disadvantaged families are performing worst.
EUROPE
EU eases visa rules for researchers and students
The European Parliament has passed a new visa directive on European Union entry and residence that makes it easier and more attractive for people from third countries to study or do research at EU universities.
KENYA
Spike in university enrolment brings new challenges
Kenya’s total university student enrolment rose 22.8% last year, marked by increased female enrolment and driven by massive infrastructure development, the introduction of new courses and the opening of more satellite campuses.
EUROPE
Brexit could scupper EU investment funding for universities
Huge European Investment Bank loans to British universities – among the biggest recipients for higher education loans in Europe – could mostly dry up if the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in next month’s referendum.
SWEDEN
New call for scrapping of unregulated tuition fees
Media reports that university tuition fees can vary up to twice the cost of courses have led to calls by the main students’ union to scrap the fees and a call by the former education minister to investigate whether students are being overcharged.
EGYPT
University students expelled over anti-president slogans
Egypt’s state-run Beni-Suef University has expelled three students after they were found to have painted slogans on campus criticising the country’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, over the controversial transfer of two strategic islands to Saudi Arabia.
GLOBAL
Rankings ‘must disaggregate data to drive performance’
Multi-indicator rankings provide a rich data set, but because the link between effort in a particular area and ranking outcome is not transparent, they cannot drive a coherent performance regime. To drive performance improvement, multi-indicator rankings should be disaggregated, Professor Simon Marginson told the IREG-8 conference on university rankings and international academic relations in Lisbon on Thursday.
AUSTRALIA
Blueprint to expand international education unveiled
The government has released a 10-year blueprint for expansion of its international education sector with the aim of making Australia a global leader in education, training and research. It places a heavy emphasis on expanding transnational education through online courses.
HONG KONG
University in row over undeclared offshore companies
University officials at Hong Kong Polytechnic University – a publicly funded institution – have been scrambling to explain its use of companies registered in secretive offshore tax havens, after revelations in the Panama Papers that it set up two companies offshore to channel funds.
NIGERIA
Universities move to contain spreading student protests
Public universities in Nigeria that remain open have been advised to urgently begin semester exams in an attempt to contain student action that has swept across campuses over the past few weeks. Students have been protesting over a lack of electricity and water, and fee increases. At least one student has died in a violent clash with police and several campuses have been shut.
SWEDEN
Integrated work practice key to raising employability
The strongest measure universities can take to improve employability is to increase 'professionalisation' of links to working life, according to a new international comparative report by the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis. In particular, it highlights the value of collaborating with industry to ensure students have integrated periods of work practice during their degree studies.
DENMARK
Government to monitor universities on employability
The government has ordered a review of the regulatory framework for universities to see how well higher education prepares young people for work options. It will look at how the legal framework and the development contracts of universities are supporting the political objectives of high quality and will examine the relevance of higher education provision.
NEW ZEALAND
Universities worried by productivity investigation
New Zealand’s universities have warned that a government review aimed at increasing the productivity of the tertiary education system could undermine them.
UNITED KINGDOM
English students have highest debt in Anglophone world
English students in universities in England now face some of the highest tuition fees in the world – higher than in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – and the highest average debts at graduation, according to a new study. The typical English student faces debts of over £44,000 (US$64,500) at graduation, £15,000 more even than graduates of US private for-profit universities.
MEXICO
Probe into student massacre suspects drug traffickers
A report published last week by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts on the killing and disappearance of dozens of students in Iguala, Mexico, suggests a clash with drug traffickers over the use of buses on narcotics routes may have led to the attack.
SWEDEN
Nobel decision paves way for advanced research centre
The three major universities in Stockholm plan to form a new research centre for advanced studies following the decision by the City of Stockholm to give the go-ahead for a Nobel Centre to be built on its waterfront. University leaders said the research centre, to be located inside the Nobel Centre, would be “an institution of the highest international rank”, enabling the region to "compete with Oxford and Cambridge".
AFRICA
Ghana’s vice-president calls for move from liberal arts
Universities across Africa must move away from liberal arts courses in order to make higher education relevant and ensure the continent is not left behind in today’s technological world, Ghana’s Vice-president Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said while opening the second Times Higher Education Africa Universities Summit in the capital Accra.
RUSSIA
Industry presses ministry to address HE jobs outcomes
Russia's largest employers are demanding improvements in higher education teaching and changes to university curricula to address the low demand for graduates in the jobs market. In Moscow, for instance, one in two young graduates are unemployed.