30 August 2016 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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CHINA
G20 summit to underpin China’s innovation drive
For China, a great deal is riding on the G20 Economic Summit taking place in Hangzhou in China next week and intended to showcase China’s ability to take a world economic leadership role. Alongside the usual G20 summit themes of finance and trade, China is keen to push global innovation-driven growth as a topic at the summit, with the top item on the expected summit outcome list the drafting of a blueprint for innovation-driven growth.
AFGHANISTAN
American University of Afghanistan closed after attack
The American University of Afghanistan has temporarily suspended operations “in the wake of the despicable terrorist attack on the university”, the university said in a press release issued Friday, two days after a horrendous attack on the university which killed 16, including seven students and a professor, and injured 53 in a 10-hour long raid by unidentified militants.
RUSSIA
Donations-for-places to be allowed under university law
Private businesses and investors will be able to reserve study places in Russian universities in return for donations to endowment funds, under amendments to an existing education law recently drafted by the ministries of economic development and of education.
GERMANY-TURKEY
Lower Saxony concerned over Turkish relations
Recent disruptions in Turkey’s higher education sector are having an increasing impact on Turkish academics and students in Germany. The government of Lower Saxony in northern Germany is concerned that these developments are obstructing exchange and research programmes.
AFRICA
Will the new African passport boost academic mobility?
The African Union has launched an African passport, signalling visa-free access to all 54 of the continent’s nations. But if this free passage is to benefit higher education and science, it must be accompanied by harmonised qualifications, bureaucratic efficiency and infrastructure to support academic mobility.
HONG KONG
Universities warned about ‘independence’ discussions
When Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying met with leaders of the governing councils of Hong Kong’s eight public universities in mid-August, just weeks before Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections on 4 September, students were alarmed it was an attempt by China to put pressure on universities to curb overt displays of “pro-independence” sentiment on campuses.
SWEDEN
Conversations on research policy
The Expert Group for Studies in Public Economics, a think-thank under the Ministry of Finance, gathered the academic and political elite, including the minister of higher education and research, in Stockholm last week for a conference called “Conversations on Research Policy”.
TANZANIA
Student loans halted as probe finds over 2,000 'ghosts'
Tanzania has suspended student loans amounting to TZS3.2 billion (US$1.5 million) affecting over 2,000 students, some of whom are believed to be non-existent as they failed to show up during a verification exercise.
SOUTH AFRICA
Fees fiasco threatens future of top African universities
South Africa’s battle over tuition fees is far from over, generating instability across the sector and simmering student protests. Last week the government revealed that 16 out of 26 public institutions – including Africa’s top universities – could face financial distress if fees do not rise, and could have a nearly R4 billion (US$279 million) funding shortfall for 2017-18.
AUSTRALIA
National sexual harassment survey of university students
The Australian Human Rights Commission is to conduct an independent survey of the nation’s university students to gain greater insight into the nature, prevalence and reporting of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The survey will also investigate the effectiveness of services and policies that address sexual assault and harassment on campus.
UNITED STATES
Ruling pushes door to grad-student unions ‘wide open’
Many more private universities can expect to see their graduate employees move to form unions in the wake of last Tuesday’s National Labor Relations Board decision on such an effort at Columbia University.
EUROPE
UK’s pledge on EU science funding ‘not enough’
British universities and scientists say a United Kingdom government statement promising to underwrite funding for approved European Union science projects “applied for before the UK leaves the EU” will only partially address concerns that they are being excluded from EU consortia following the British referendum to leave the EU.
SINGAPORE
Foreign student defaulters face work and residency ban
Foreign students who received generous scholarships from the Singapore government could be banned from living and working in Singapore if they deliberately default on their ‘bond’ obligations, a senior education ministry official said last week after it was revealed that a number of students were in default.
MALAWI
President slashes university fees after student protests
Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika has bowed to pressure and slashed university fees following nationwide student protests that began last month and resulted in the arrest of more than 30 students.
RUSSIA
Ministry denies plan to fire 10,000 scientists in cuts
The Russian Ministry of Education and Science has officially denied reports in some Russian media outlets that the national government plans to fire about 10,000 scientists over the next three years, due to lack of funds in the Russian federal budget.
KENYA
Mobile phone platform set to enhance university access
Prospective students with smartphones will soon be able to access and undertake degree programmes from anywhere in the world under an innovative new distance learning initiative offered by a Kenyan private university and a United States company.
GLOBAL
China, Singapore break into top 100 in Shanghai ranking
There was little change at the top of the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities, or Shanghai ranking, published last week, but China and Singapore both broke into the top 100 for the first time.
SOUTH AFRICA
Fees protests close campuses, minister seeks solution
Two universities closed in South Africa last week following student protests against possible tuition fee hikes for 2017. Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande warned that universities could face financial crisis, retrenchments and operational cuts.
AUSTRALIA-INDIA
Row over Australian visa rejection for top researcher
Indian officials say Australia is treating the country like a "rogue state" by barring its researchers, following the denial of a visa to a top Indian researcher seeking to take up a prestigious scholarship award at the University of Melbourne, ostensibly due to fears his work could be "associated with weapons of mass destruction".
UNITED KINGDOM
Study abroad benefits UK peers and institutions
After study abroad, United Kingdom students gain confidence, develop communication skills and seek to share experience with their peers, to the benefit of their peers and UK institution, new research has found. It concluded that the impact of study abroad is vast, varied and transformative.
UNITED STATES
Experiment tests new ways to measure HE quality
The US Department of Education has chosen four computer coding boot camps and the global conglomerate General Electric to take part in an experiment partly using unaccredited providers to supply higher education but also employing some very unusual quality assurance providers to measure quality.
INDIA
New minister puts internationalising HE on agenda
Internationalising higher education curricula is high on the agenda for India’s new Minister for Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar, along with the establishment of foreign universities in the country and collaboration between Indian universities and the world’s best.
GLOBAL
Experts call for action to combat academic corruption
Alarmed by the growing frequency of news reports about academic corruption, an international panel of experts is calling for "action on a broad front" to combat the problem, arguing that dishonest practices are "undermining the quality and credibility of higher education around the world".
BANGLADESH
Private universities must set up anti-extremism cells
Bangladesh’s higher education regulatory body, the University Grants Commission, has ordered all private universities in the country to form a ‘monitoring cell’ to create awareness among students “against terrorism, extremism and militancy”. The new units will have to send monthly monitoring reports to the education ministry and the University Grants Commission.
EUROPE
Science talent to leave UK post-Brexit, survey warns
A survey of academics in the United Kingdom has found that some world-class scientists have already turned down posts at universities in the UK since the referendum in June that voted in favour of Britain leaving the European Union and one in five were planning to leave UK research posts, citing Brexit as the reason.