19 April 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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SWEDEN
Government does about-turn on HE quality assurance
The Swedish government has done an about-turn on quality assurance in higher education, announcing that the current model is to be reviewed. Last weekend 37 rectors – all of the members of the Association of Swedish Higher Education – and National Union of Students chair Erik Arroy signed an article in Svenska Dagbadet stating: “We are fully capable of undertaking the quality assurance of our degrees and courses ourselves.”
AFRICA
Bank approves US$150 million for excellence centres
The World Bank's board of executive directors on 15 April approved US$150 million to fund 19 university-based centres of excellence in seven countries in West and Central Africa. The bulk of the funding will go to universities in Nigeria, which won 10 of the centres.
DENMARK
New plans to attract, retain talented non-Europeans
Three ministers have presented the Danish government's new plans to attract highly qualified people to the country and retain international students from outside Europe after graduation, including tax perks, a fast-track employment system and simplified immigration.
GLOBAL
World threat as efforts to cut carbon emissions fail
Lacklustre efforts by governments around the globe have failed to stop greenhouse gases reaching unprecedented levels. The result will be a planet that continues to warm with possible disastrous impacts on all living things, according to the latest report from the world's leading climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
INDONESIA
New scholarships for study at world's top universities
In an effort to increase the number of people with postgraduate qualifications in Indonesia, the government this month launched the Indonesia Presidential Scholarships, which are tenable at the world's top universities.
RUSSIA
New twist in outspoken professor Zubov's dismissal
Professor Andrei Zubov, the leading historian and theologian at Moscow State Institute of International Relations who was fired last month following a critical media article on Russia's actions in Ukraine, has reportedly been temporarily reinstated after the dismissal proved to be unlawful. But he will reportedly still have to leave the institution at the end of June.
ALGERIA
First Arab astronomical observatory under way
Algeria is building the first astronomical observatory of its kind in the Maghreb region and the Arab world. The major observatory in Tamanrasset, which is located in the desert of the Hoggar region nearly 2,000 kilometres south of the capital Algiers, will be opened in 2019.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities failing to exploit social media
The United Kingdom's 10 top-ranked universities have a combined total of more than 400,000 followers on Twitter, according to new research – but they are failing to engage with potential students and “stand out from the crowd through social media”.
KENYA
Government kicks off review of tuition fees
Kenya has kicked off the search for trustees to head an agency that will review tuition fees in public universities, which have remained unchanged over the past 19 years.
LIBYA
More universities move towards gender segregation
Three years after the February 17 Revolution, some universities in Libya are moving from co-education to segregating male and female students on campus.
AFRICA
RUFORUM gets US$16 million for agricultural development
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, or RUFORUM – a research and training network on agriculture based in Uganda – has received US$16.2 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen agriculture in Africa.
GLOBAL
HE needs creative thinking and idea sharing
With higher education “the object of high hopes, the site of rapid change and the focus of intense scrutiny”, it was imperative to think creatively and share ideas about how to tackle the evolving issues faced today, Princeton University President Christopher L Eisgruber told a high-level global forum of university leaders and policy-makers in Paris last week.
GLOBAL
Key findings of global study on internationalisation
A survey of more than 1,300 institutions worldwide by the International Association of Universities has identified the biggest institutional risk of internationalisation as being that it primarily benefits wealthier students, and the most significant societal risk as the growing commercialisation of higher education.
TAIWAN
Occupation ends, students celebrate political impact
The student occupation of Taiwan's legislative building in protest against a trade-in-services agreement with China ended peacefully last week after mediation by the legislature's speaker. But the protests, dubbed the 'sunflower movement', could continue outside the building if student demands are not met.
EGYPT
Universities on alert after blasts, students expelled
Egypt's universities, rocked by months of anti-government protests, have toughened up on security following deadly explosions near the country's largest academic institution. Dozens of students involved in protests have been expelled in recent weeks.
GLOBAL
Rethinking private higher education
Economic stagnation and high youth unemployment in developed countries have contributed to emerging concerns over whether traditional models of higher education are capable of producing employable graduates, the International Finance Corporation's 6th International Private Education Conference heard in San Francisco this month.
ASIA
Australia-Japan agreement boosts university ties
The signing of a free trade agreement between Australia and Japan last Monday has boosted the prospects for greater involvement between the two nations' universities, with Australia seeking to accelerate university, research and business ties with Japan.
UNITED KINGDOM
Lords blame policy for drop in STEM foreign students
Numbers of international students seeking to study key subjects at universities in the United Kingdom are dropping because tighter immigration rules are creating an “unwelcoming” impression, an influential House of Lords committee says in a just-published report.
UNITED KINGDOM
Big 'Newton Fund' to boost research in emerging world
Universities in at least 16 countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, are to benefit from a GBP375 million (US$630 million), five-year Newton Fund aimed at boosting research and innovation in 'emerging powers' through international research collaboration.
KENYA
Major initiative to train university managers
Kenya's government has launched a major initiative to train senior university managers including council members, vice-chancellors, their deputies, deans, heads of departments and managers in a strategic project funded by the African Development Bank.
GLOBAL
Medical students demand universal health coverage goal
Medical students worldwide called for universal health coverage to be a specific health goal within the post-2015 global development agenda, at the general assembly of the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations held in Hammamet, Tunisia, last month.
TUNISIA
New Tunisia-US higher education initiatives announced
The United States is to expand a scholarship programme for Tunisian students and has agreed to create a centre for technological innovation and establish a Tunisian-American permanent committee for bilateral cooperation in the field of higher education and research.
UNITED KINGDOM
Fees, tough visa rules blamed for foreign students dip
A dip in international student recruitment – the first fall for 29 years – is raising questions for English universities and the United Kingdom government. The funding body for English universities blamed the decline on harsh visa rules and the sharp increase in tuition fees.
NEW ZEALAND
Students moving abroad risk arrest for loan defaulting
New Zealanders with student loans now run the risk of arrest if they move overseas and get behind on their loan repayments.
DENMARK
Mega-reforms to HE proposed by quality commission
Denmark's Quality Commission has proposed sweeping reforms to higher education, in its first report released last Thursday. Among them are tougher admission requirements and the extension of bachelor degrees to four years of full-time study. The response from universities and students has been negative.