18 August 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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AUSTRALIA
Funding package to cost universities a billion dollars
Federal spending on higher education looks set to fall by AU$1 billion (US$797 million), according to Universities Australia Chair Professor Margaret Gardner, who said government’s spending on higher education would cut funding for universities and increase fees for students so they would pay more for less.
JAPAN
Regional universities a new focus of research excellence
A Japanese government plan to set up world-class centres for basic research in regional universities will strengthen its international competitiveness and narrow the gaping divide between Japan’s elite research institutions and regional universities.
INDIA
IIMs gain greater autonomy, can award MBAs under new law
India’s prestigious Indian Institutes of Management or IIMs are set to gain increased autonomy after the lower house of parliament passed a bill anointing them ‘institutions of national importance’.
SINGAPORE
University suspends professor after foreign spy charge
The National University of Singapore has terminated the employment of Professor Huang Jing, identified on 4 August as a spy by Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs. The university said in a statement on the same day that Huang had been suspended without pay “with immediate effect”.
NORTH KOREA
US travel ban will hit teaching at private university
A United States decision to ban all travel by US citizens to North Korea from September will affect Pyongyang’s only private university, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in the North Korean capital, which employs a significant number of US citizens on its teaching staff.
NORWAY
Debate over foreign researcher numbers, quota proposal
Summer time in Norway, from June to mid-August, is normally quiet for universities. But not this summer – possibly due to general elections looming in September. Internationalisation has been high on the agenda, with controversy over the growing number of international researchers and a proposal to impose a quota on their numbers.
ZIMBABWE
Criticism over planned Robert Mugabe university
In a widely criticised move, the Zimbabwean government has announced plans to build a US$1 billion science and technology university named after its long-time ruler, 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
EUROPE
19 cities bid for European Medicines Agency post-Brexit
Nineteen European cities have bid to host the European Medicines Agency, which will be relocated from London as a result of Brexit. The agency does not conduct research but draws on hundreds of top scientists from across the world for expert working groups.
RUSSIA
Government cuts 40% of state-funded university places
The Russian government is pushing on with plans to cut 40% of state-funded places in domestic universities in 2018 and to cut teaching jobs at state universities.
UNITED KINGDOM-UNITED STATES
Google accused of paying millions for research backing
Google, the global internet company, has paid academics at United States and United Kingdom universities millions of dollars to produce hundreds of papers supporting its policy interests, according to a report by the Campaign for Accountability, a non-profit watchdog, which has published a database of alleged beneficiaries.
CHINA
Cash rewards soar for research published overseas
Cash rewards to China’s scientists for research published in overseas journals have risen dramatically – reaching more than US$160,000 for papers appearing in the most prestigious Western journals, according to a just-published analysis, and dwarfing the average professor’s salary of US$8,600.
UNITED STATES
International students may have to renew visas yearly
A change to foreign student visa policies reportedly being discussed at the United States Department of Homeland Security would require international students to reapply annually for permission to stay in the United States.
UNITED KINGDOM
Sharp fall in university applications from UK and EU
Applications to United Kingdom higher education undergraduate courses for 2017 are down 4% on last year. This includes a 4% drop in applications from the UK and a 5% drop in applications from the European Union. But applications from other countries have risen by 2%.
AFRICA
New university to produce experts on regional integration
In a bid to hasten the slow pace of regional integration in Eastern and Southern Africa, the first cohort of students of a virtual university focused on the study of regional integration are to be admitted in September.
MALAYSIA
Universities do not have genuine autonomy, report says
Despite 17 of 20 public universities in Malaysia being awarded ‘autonomous’ status, academics have questioned whether there has been a real commitment by the government to devolve more powers to universities.
AFRICA-CHINA
Self-reliance a key to successful academic partnerships
African universities should establish clear guidelines and timelines to ensure greater self-reliance when entering partnerships, especially with partners in the Global North, according to higher education and policy experts attending the inaugural Africa-China-World Bank Education Partnership Forum.
NORWAY
Strong punishment for misuse of the title ‘Professor’
The Ministry of Education and Research is proposing new legislation to punish unauthorised use of the title of professor. Those falsely using the title in full or in part will be punished by fines of up to NOK188,000 (US$22,700).
EUROPE
High Level Group says EU must double research budget
A group of experts selected by the European Commission to recommend what changes to make to the current European Union research programme Horizon 2020 when it ends in three years' time, has called for a doubling of the budget and for it to pay more attention to the gap between science and innovation.
UNITED STATES
Surveys split on outlook for international enrolment
The results of two surveys give conflicting messages about the willingness of international students to take up places they have been offered on courses in United States universities, with cautious optimism over undergraduate enrolment and widespread gloom over postgraduate enrolment.
UNITED KINGDOM
Tuition fee regime is no longer progressive, says IFS
The current regime of high tuition fees and large student maintenance loans is giving universities 25% more funds per student per degree, but is leaving poorer students with debts one-third higher than richer students, according to an Institute for Fiscal Studies or IFS report.
AFRICA
Governments called to invest more seriously in research
Academics attending the inaugural Africa Conference for Research, Innovation and Development, organised by the University of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the European Alliance for Innovation, urged African countries to invest more in research and innovation to help in the continent’s development.
NORWAY
One in four humanities academics have not published
There are pockets of excellence but no institutions reached the highest levels of international performance and more than one in four research staff have not published, according to the first critical evaluation in three decades of Norwegian research and higher education in the humanities.
INDIA
Government rushes closure of Kashmir universities
The government has rushed colleges and universities in Kashmir into a surprise early summer break in advance of expected political protests on the anniversary of the death of a popular rebel commander, which last year pushed Kashmir into five months of curfews, demonstrations and shutdowns.
EGYPT
Engineering union to introduce test for graduates
Egypt’s engineering union is planning to introduce licensing tests for graduates in an effort to boost professional standards and curb the number of engineers attending private engineering schools, amid complaints about the quality of graduates.
KENYA
Universities in push to meet new PhD coursework rules
Kenyan universities are rushing to enforce a new rule requiring that their PhD programmes include at least one year of coursework, but questions are being raised over the practicality of the new rule and the impact it might have on the rate at which Kenyan PhDs are produced.