27 August 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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AUSTRALIA
Controversial higher education reforms in doubt
In a universally unpopular budget last May, Australia’s deeply conservative government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced savage cuts to federal spending on universities, higher fees for students and a revised loans system that would have imposed increased costs on students. But, lacking a majority in the senate, the government has been forced to back down – with the outcome likely to be known when parliament resumes in the coming week.
CHINA
Cost rise hits students as university fees freeze ends
The end of a government-imposed five-year ban on university tuition fee rises has seen annual fees for some degrees rise by up to 50% this year in China, official sources have reported.
IRAN
Reformist science minister impeached by hardliners
Iran’s Minister for Science, Research and Technology Reza Faraji Dana was impeached last Wednesday after conservative-led factions in Iran’s parliament, known as the Majlis, held a no-confidence vote to dismiss him from his post.
SWEDEN
Urgent calls to close the gap between research and teaching
There is a risk that higher education in Sweden will collapse, warned University Chancellor Harriet Wallberg in a recent article in Dagens Nyheter. “The widening gap between investment in teaching at basic levels and research is creating ever-more distress,” she wrote. Agreement across the political divide was needed that would guarantee increased investment in higher education for at least 20 years.
RUSSIA
Economic sanctions not ending Russian study abroad
Economic sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries after Ukraine’s Maidan revolution do not appear to be disrupting Russian students in foreign universities. Most will continue to study in Europe and elsewhere under numerous initiatives, including one known as Global Education that was recently approved by the government.
GERMANY
Rectors’ conference head slams EU funding priorities
A leading German higher education official has spoken out against the European Union’s funding priorities for next year. According to Professor Horst Hippler, president of the German Rectors’ Conference, the EU is doing too much for agriculture while neglecting research and innovation.
EGYPT
Unions warn of rise in pharmacy, dentistry admissions
Egypt’s professional unions have warned against an increase in numbers of new students attending the country’s schools of pharmacology and dentistry, saying that graduates of both majors already surpass the market needs.
GREECE
Blind student’s battle to study physics at university
Although universities in theory are obliged to facilitate disabled people to pursue their studies, in practice very few are equipped to do so. Moreover, although the Greek constitution provides for equal treatment and in certain cases the state has even established favourable conditions, in reality it is not always easy for disabled students to follow their chosen field of study without difficulties.
BOTSWANA
New science university fully operational, and growing
The Botswana International University of Science and Technology is now operating at its permanent home in the country’s central district, having moved from temporary premises near the capital Gaborone. It has bold ambitions, and is luring research students from around the world to drive a strong postgraduate and research agenda.
SENEGAL
Crisis at top university after student dies in clash
Senegal’s leading university, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar was in crisis last week after a student was killed in a violent confrontation with police during protests over non-payment of grants and other grievances linked to government reforms.
GLOBAL
US universities top Shanghai ranking, China on rise
American universities have again outranked more than 1,250 other higher education institutions around the world in the annual Shanghai Jiao Tong listing of the global top 500 universities. And for the 12th year running, Harvard was placed number one.
AUSTRALIA
Thousands of foreign students in visa fraud racket
Tens of thousands of foreign students have become permanent residents in Australia as a result of fraud and corruption within the federal Immigration Department. Investigations by academics and journalists revealed that foreigners have avoided federal regulations and been granted illegal permanent residency visas – and that the huge numbers involved has led directly to rising unemployment levels among young Australians.
THAILAND
University leaders appointed to ‘military government’
Rectors from nine of Thailand’s top public universities have joined the junta-picked lawmaking assembly established three months after the military staged the country’s 13th coup d'état on 22 May.
GLOBAL
Pilot global quality platform for ‘non-traditional’ HE
A global quality platform to review non-institutional education providers is to be piloted by America’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation and its International Quality Group. The platform is aimed at protecting students and is a response to the explosion of non-traditional provision – including MOOCs – and increasingly international higher education.
EGYPT
Academic anger over pro-Morsi student expulsions
Dozens of lecturers and students recently held a protest at Cairo University against the public institution’s decision to expel 94 anti-government students. The action by Egypt’s top institution follows the expulsion of 160 students from the University of Al-Azhar.
GLOBAL
Trends in students online – Not such digital natives?
A study of trends in student digital use has confirmed the need for universities to deploy a range of tools in communicating with prospective students. Laura Bridgestock, author of the report just published by university rankings body QS, warned institutions not to “underestimate the importance of traditional communication methods even in the Web 3.0 era”.
NIGERIA
Lagos State University’s tuition fee fiasco
At a Lagos State University graduation ceremony this month, the state’s Governor Babatunde Fashola – who is also the university visitor – ordered a sharp rise in tuition fees to be reversed. The announcement was unprecedented in the annals of higher education fee regimes in Nigeria and is bound to have far-reaching effects.
KENYA
University regulator slams growing inequality
Kenya’s higher education regulator has raised a red flag over growing inequality in the sector that it worries could reach crisis levels in the next four years, locking out thousands of women and vulnerable groups.
AUSTRALIA
UN-RMIT agreement to boost urban sustainability
A five-year agreement between the United Nations Global Compact and RMIT University in Melbourne will strengthen efforts to tackle the world’s urban challenges.
GLOBAL
Open science network calls for Global South studies
The just launched Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network is calling for case studies that use “innovative and transformative open processes in generating knowledge and actions” aimed at tackling challenges in the Global South. The broad aim of OCSDNet is to see whether and how open and networked research could support development.
AFRICA
African Virtual University to launch 29 e-learning centres
In an effort to provide African learners with greater access to higher education opportunities, the African Virtual University, in partnership with the African Development Bank, is launching 29 new open, distance and e-learning centres in 21 African countries.
TAIWAN
Education minister resigns over research fraud scandal
Taiwan’s Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling resigned on Monday 14 July over his links to a researcher whose papers were retracted from an international scientific journal because of alleged fraud.
UNITED KINGDOM
UK universities minister quits
David Willetts, the United Kingdom universities and science minister in David Cameron's coalition government since 2010, has quit to return to the back benches and will leave parliament at the next general election in 2015.
CAMBODIA
Anti-corruption unit to police university exam
The Cambodian government’s Anti-Corruption Unit has been called on to police next month’s national school-leaving exam in a bid to stamp out systemic cheating that has for decades compromised the quality of high school students applying for university places.
NIGERIA
US diaspora scholars pledge help for home universities
Top Nigerian scientists based in the United States have entered into a formal agreement to assist universities at home, with a view to supporting postgraduate programmes. Academics in Nigeria have welcomed the move because of its potential positive multiplying effects.