23 September 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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GREECE: Public-private money to create new university
The University of Peloponnese, the newest higher education institution in Greece, was founded in 2003 and has been operating ever since out of temporary accommodation. Now the university is to get brand new €100 million (US$1.46 million) facilities in five locations in southern Greece. The project will be completed by the newly created Public/Private Co-operation Section at the Finance Ministry, a method hitherto applied successfully only in industry but now for the first time tried in education.
AUSTRALIA: Database bites the dust
A unique database for research on international education that began in 2003 and attracted thousands of visits from researchers around the world, has ceased being updated after federal government funding stopped last month. Although it will remain online, it seems unlikely to survive.
ISRAEL: Agreement ends 79-day senior lecturer strike
After an unprecedented 79-day strike and just before the ‘loss’ of an entire semester, senior lecturers at Israeli universities reached an 11th-hour agreement with Treasury officials and will be awarded a 24% pay hike to make up for salary erosion. Economists have estimated that the strike, which affected 4,500 academics working at seven universities and many more students, could have cost the economy up to six billion shekels (US$1.5 billion).
AUSTRALIA-US: Ultra-resolution broadband link opened
A global collaboration laboratory between the universities of California San Diego and Melbourne was launched last Wednesday with the opening of a super broadband network between the two nations. Scientists and engineers who demonstrated the new technology, 250 times faster than a standard broadband connection in Australia, said it had the potential to transform interactions between researchers on each side of the world.
SPAIN: Spicy new way to enter university
For years, students in Spain have complained about the lack of a web portal where they can find key 'inside' information about a particular university. Now an enterprising trio of journalism students from the Universidad Autónomo de Barcelona have stepped in to fill the gap. At the same time they have satisfied another student demand for good tips: where in the country they can find the best patatas bravas (a delicious tapas of freshly deep-fried chunks of potato, served with a spicy tomato sauce).
ARGENTINA: New law guarantees free access
A priority of Argentina's new government will be to introduce a law for higher education that guarantees free access to the state university system. This follows the election of Cristina Kirchner, who became the country's first elected female president on 10 December. But not all university rectors are happy about the prospect.
FRANCE: Plan to halve student failure rate
Reform of the licence, France's three-year bachelor's degree equivalent, will start next September as part of an effort by Valérie Pécresse, Minister for Higher Education and Research, to halve the high failure rate of first-year university students. The new degree will be less narrowly focused, more progressive and geared to professional needs, and will provide extra help for students in difficulty.
INDIA: New universities to follow US model
In a move to allay growing disenchantment with India's inflexible and old fashioned higher education system, the government proposes to open 16 new universities, based on American models. The new universities, to be set up over the next five years, will have six-year integrated courses with a two-year postgraduate and four-year doctoral programme.
UK: International recruitment now big business
Measuring international students' expectations, motivations and satisfaction levels has become big business in Britain, as concern grows among recruiters over increasing competition from around the globe. Two pioneering initiatives have been launched in Britain that between them will canvass the opinions of over 100,000 students a year on what universities in the UK have to offer and how good they are at delivering the kind of education and service today's students want.
GERMANY: New reforms producing tunnel-vision academics
A leading German sociologist has denounced present university reforms as fostering a culture opposed to academic freedom. Professor Heinz Steinert of Frankfurt University warns that the effects of the Bologna process, coupled with insufficient staff numbers, could breed a new generation of academics interested solely in personal achievement.
GERMANY: Support for women academics
The German government is to create 200 additional positions for women university professors over the next five years from an allocation of €75 million ($110 million). The German states will provide an equal share of the funding.
ISRAEL: Lecturers’ strike remains unresolved
Efforts by senior university academics and Finance Ministry representatives to resolve a dispute behind a 45-day-old stalemated lecturers’ strike over salary increases that has crippled Israel’s universities since October, have failed despite some progress.
GREECE: Militant students prevent democratic process
University students are determined to prevent the implementation of higher education legislation introduced last summer by the Greek government against strong and bitter opposition.
RUSSIA: British Council offices to be closed
The British Council is facing closure of its network of regional centres across Russia after the Foreign Ministry declared they were operating illegally.
UK: Foreign student market starting to slide
Foreign students make an important contribution not only to British universities but to the national economy. Around 356,000 are studying in Britain, they pay nearly £2 billion (US$4 billion) in fees, and they contribute more than £5 billion to the nation’s wealth. The majority come from China. But the UK is now facing stiff global competition.
AUSTRALIA: Facing a potentially catastrophic fall
Australia’s A$11 billion-a-year education export market, equal to US$9.6 billion, faces a potentially catastrophic decline as the flood of foreign students into the country becomes a trickle. Any collapse in the market would knock a hole in the national economy and leave many of the nation’s universities with a massive fall in revenues that could threaten their survival.
US: Growth in enrolments welcomed
America is experiencing a turnaround in the number of foreign students enrolling in its higher education institutions. According to a new report, overseas student enrolments increased at more than half of 700 colleges and universities surveyed.
SOUTH AFRICA: Huge growth in foreign students
With the end of apartheid and sanctions, South African universities opened up to the world. A dozen years later foreign students comprise more than 7% of enrolments at public universities – a proportion in line with the world’s leading ‘destination’ countries – and, among US students, South Africa entered the top 20 most popular study-abroad countries.
IRELAND: The Green Isle looks overseas
Ireland is becoming an increasingly popular destination for students from overseas but has yet to fully exploit the potential market. Official figures show that almost 12,000 students from 115 countries were studying at Irish universities and other public sector colleges during the last academic year, an increase of 170% over the past decade.
FRANCE: Adapting to the global battle of intelligence
France does not earn large sums of foreign currency from international student fees. Under the present system it would be illegal to make foreigners pay more than French and European Union students.
NIGERIA: Researchers want more funding
Without proper funding from their governments, university-based researchers and scientists cannot undertake meaningful research. And without research, a country cannot make substantial economic and industrial progress, a conference in Nigeria was told last week.
EU: Austria and Belgium to justify study quotas
Austria and Belgium have been granted an extra five years to satisfy the European Commission that they are not practising unjustified restrictions in admissions to their universities.
GERMANY: East-west divide cause for concern
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a special new programme to boost higher education institutions in East Germany. The east-west divide has long been a source of anger to educationists in the East.
RUSSIA: Election bounty for universities
Russian universities have been promised a research bounty following the crushing victory for President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party in last week's parliamentary elections. The landslide – which gave United Russia a clear two-thirds majority in the state Duma – should guarantee that pre-election promises Putin gave to double funding for science and research are kept.
EUROPE: Digital library under construction
The creation of a European digital library has begun at the University of Leuven in Belgium, where a group of doctoral students is using a dome scanner to produce digital images that can be used remotely by researchers. Leuven University, a leader in IT technology in the Benelux countries, is at the forefront of the development of 3D digitisation.