28 June 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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SUDAN
Amnesty urges end to persecution of Darfuri students
International human rights group Amnesty International is calling on the government of Sudan to launch urgent investigations into allegations of arbitrary arrests, detention, torture and persecution of students from the country’s troubled Darfur region by Sudanese security forces.
GLOBAL
Rise of autocratic leaders poses threat to academia
Concern over the widening persecution of researchers and journalists under autocratic governments was raised by a panel of higher education and NGO representatives at a meeting in Bonn, Germany on 25 January, who called on Germany to apply more leverage to promote academic freedom abroad.
BANGLADESH
Graduate unemployment ‘is stoking religious extremism’
Amid recent incidents of university graduates being engaged in terrorist attacks, researchers have warned that a growing number of economically inactive graduates in Bangladesh could be turning to extremism.
SWEDEN
Introducing fees for non-EU students is a game-changer
The introduction of tuition fees for foreign students had only a marginal effect upon the more than SEK23 billion (US$2.6 billion) higher education budget in 2015. But it has been a game-changer at the vast majority of Swedish higher education institutions, which now take internationalisation work more seriously.
TUNISIA-UNITED STATES
Harvard Middle East centre opens first overseas office
The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University opened its first overseas office this month, in Tunisia, in what has been hailed by the university’s president as an opportunity to “bring the world to Harvard and Harvard to the world”. Among local higher education experts canvassed by University World News, hopes for the initiative seem equally high.
UNITED STATES
Syrian voices students’ fears over Trump crackdown
A 21-year-old senior at the University of Evansville has a job waiting for him when he graduates, but he doesn’t "know what is going to happen" as a result of an expected presidential order halting resettlement of Syrian refugees and suspending travel from six Muslim countries.
PAKISTAN
Authorities reopen Axact fake degrees investigation
After a United States court charged Umair Hamid, an executive of Axact, a Pakistan-based IT company that allegedly defrauded tens of thousands of people in many countries including the US by selling fake diplomas and degrees, Pakistani authorities decided this month to revisit the case.
EUROPE
Brexit strategy 'offers hope on Horizon 2020, Erasmus+'
The European University Association sees positive signals on United Kingdom participation in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy. The Scientists for EU group is less optimistic but sees other ways the UK can strengthen its partnership with the European Union – by collaborating to build up Europe’s science infrastructure.

EUROPE
Research guild calls for radical improvements to H2020
The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities has called for significant increases in European funding through Horizon 2020 and the next Framework Programme, FP9, and improved success rates for applicants, to ensure continued applications and optimal impact.
UNITED STATES
‘Uncharted waters’ for higher education in Trump era
There has been no shortage of predictions about what to expect under the administration of President Donald J Trump. But any forecast of how a man with no experience in elected office, no demonstrated interest in the process of policy-making, and a record of contradictory and dishonest pronouncements will govern should be read with caution.
CHINA-HONG KONG
New HE and technology park for ‘disputed territory’
A new technology park is to be set up on formerly disputed territory along Hong Kong’s border with China to enhance research collaboration between universities on both sides and establish an international higher education and technology hub.
KENYA
Drop in student numbers rattles private universities
A massive drop in the number of secondary school leavers qualifying for entry into universities in 2017 means that Kenyan private universities may have to turn to fee-paying foreign students or offer more diploma courses to keep themselves afloat.
KENYA
Massive audit set to shake up universities
In what is being billed as one of the most comprehensive institutional reviews in Kenyan higher education history, the Kenyan Commission for University Education is to start the process of auditing all public and private universities on 23 January.
AUSTRIA
Austrian chancellor presents ‘Plan A’ for universities
Higher education funding in Austria is to be based more strongly on enrolment and performance agreements, according to a new paper submitted by the country’s Chancellor Christian Kern. Entry restrictions would be applied where necessary, although tuition fees are ruled out.
AUSTRALIA
Minister strives to lift student success rate
The federal Education and Training Minister has urged students to research where they choose to study if they plan to go to university, as the government released new data on Wednesday showing university student completion rates have dipped and a third of students do not complete their studies within six years.
UGANDA
Makerere students struggle to meet fee payment deadlines
Just weeks after Uganda’s flagship Makerere University recommenced operations after a government-ordered shutdown, thousands of its final-year students now face the possibility of failing to graduate as they struggle to meet stringent new fee payment policy requirements.
PHILIPPINES
Budget scraps tuition fees for all state universities
The first budget under the administration of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, signed into law on 22 December, includes allocations to scrap tuition fees in all state universities and colleges from the 2017 academic year, as part of a significant increase in the country’s education budget.
AFGHANISTAN
Video appeal by professors abducted by armed group
Two professors of the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul who were abducted last year, have called on the United States government to free Taliban fighters in exchange for their release, in a video released on Wednesday. Officials have declined to comment amid ongoing efforts to liberate them.
EUROPE
Research bodies seek changes to EU copyright proposals
Five key European research organisations have called on legislators to modify current European Union copyright reform proposals, including broadening exceptions from copyright on text and data mining, to facilitate research and innovation in a digital environment – or risk impeding progress in one of the most dynamic parts of the economy.
NIGERIA
State agency takes the lead in university corruption cases
A recent series of investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission into allegations of corruption against high-level university staff is challenging the traditional autonomy of university governing councils.
JAPAN
Rapid expansion of defence research divides academics
Academics in Japan are bitterly divided over defence ministry grants to universities for defence-related research, with such funding receiving a dramatic boost this year amid declining general research budgets for universities over the past decade.
EGYPT
Supreme Council pushes to secure university autonomy
Despite reports of thousands of students and scholars remaining in prison and a tightening of control of universities, the Supreme Council of Universities is pushing for autonomy and academic freedom to be established through governance reform.
ZIMBABWE
Government funds unlikely to meet campuses needs
A fiscally constrained Zimbabwe government has allocated a meagre US$23.2 million to both kick-start new and complete existing infrastructure projects at its burgeoning universities. The amount is far less than what is needed to effect real physical improvements on all of the country’s campuses.
UNITED KINGDOM
Choppy waters ahead for international student demand
Demand from international students for places at United Kingdom universities will be hit by the impact of Brexit and other global changes, but could the negative effects be softened by the Trump effect in the United States? Two new pieces of analysis offer some interesting insight.
NORWAY
Survey reveals high unmet demand for study abroad
There is a huge mismatch between student aspirations to study abroad and the number of students actually doing so, according to a new survey. It found that most students have thought about taking a whole or part of their education abroad, but currently only 10% of Norwegian students study abroad.