19 November 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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GREECE: Higher education in crisis
After almost a month of unrest, conflict and violence in Greek universities, all parties in the dispute - government, political parties, trade unions, lecturers and students - are seeking a way out of the crisis so the student examination period can go ahead unhindered.
INTERNATIONAL: Universities opt for i-Tunes
Universities in Australia, Britain, Ireland and New Zealand have followed US institutions and joined with Apple to make their teaching and research available free to a global audience, using the giant company's distribution system, iTunes U on the iTunes Store.
UK: Oxford's new vice-chancellor
Oxford University has nominated the Provost of Yale University, Professor Andrew Hamilton, as its next vice-chancellor. Provided the university dons approve the appointment, Hamilton will replace the current vice-chancellor, Dr John Hood, who retires next year after his five-year appointment ends.
GERMANY: Donors' association warns against scrapping fees
Germany's 'Stifterverband' has warned against the abolition and reduction of tuition fees in the Federal states of Hesse and Hamburg. The Stifterverband, the country's donors' association for sciences and the humanities, stresses the importance of long-term funding horizons to safeguard teaching and is concerned that doing away with fees, or lowering them, could jeopardise study conditions.
FRANCE: An 'act of aggression', unions say
Unions representing staff of the CNRS, France's national centre for scientific research, walked out of a ministerial meeting to discuss reform of the centre after Valérie Pécresse, Minister for Higher Education and Research, made public her plans for its future before consultations had been completed.
NEW ZEALAND: Budget disappoints universities
New Zealand's universities will lobby hard for a big boost in their annual funding after last week's government budget delivered only minor increases for staff salaries and research. The eight universities are pushing for a $230 million (US$181 million) funding increase they say will restore them to the level of per-student funding they enjoyed some 15 years ago.
UK: Oxford launches call for £1.25 billion
Oxford University has launched a massive fundraising campaign for £1.25 billion (US$2.5 billion), the largest bid for cash by any European university, in an effort to keep up with institutions such as Harvard and Stanford. Famous Oxford alumni including Richard Dawkins, Michael Palin and Sir Roger Bannister have backed the appeal, which the university says is vital to maintain its world-class reputation.
UK-AUSTRALIA: First British campus down under
University College London will next year become the first UK university with a campus in Australia. This follows the signing of an agreement in London on Thursday with the South Australian government to establish a UCL school of energy and resources in Adelaide.
AUSTRALIA: Foreign graduates fail job search
Overseas students whose first language is not English are graduating from Australian universities unable to find work in the fields for which they are qualified. As is happening elsewhere, the universities have been accused of allowing students to graduate without the communication skills needed in the workplace.
EU: Figel says students key to quality
Students are to be taken more seriously in higher education. It may sound like a superfluous comment but the EU's Tempus conference on quality in higher education in Cairo earlier this month showed that student involvement in higher education is still too weak to guarantee true outcome-oriented and student-centred learning. Commissioner Jan Figel reiterated a call for greater involvement of students in the quality enhancement process.
UK: Call for scholarship re-think
British vice-chancellors have called on the UK government to reverse a decision to cut funding for two major scholarship programmes which attracted students from Canada and Australia. During a debate in the House of Lords, Diana Warwick, Chief Executive of the vice-chancellors' organisation Universities UK, said the cuts would affect Britain's ability to attract highly talented students and the competitiveness of British universities in the global education market.
GERMANY: Asia and Bologna
Germany has hosted the first get-together of Asian and European education ministers in the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting network. The meeting focused on closer links between education and the labour market to promote employment and co-operation in higher education among the partner countries.
AUSTRALIA: A first for Flinders
Britain's Higher Education Academy has awarded two of its senior fellowships to overseas recipients for the first time - and both have gone to academics at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia.
CHINA: Sichuan universities hit by quake
In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake, with casualties in the tens of thousands and rising, some local universities have mobilised to assist recovery efforts, while others require aid themselves. University activities in the disaster area remain suspended, and the number of teachers and students from the province's universities injured or killed has yet to be determined.
BURMA: Exhibition to help refugees
In Melbourne, a student at RMIT University is helping raise funds for Burmese refugees through an exhibition of haunting photographs taken during his travels to refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border.
US: Foreign students face higher visa costs
A plan by the American Department of Homeland Security to double visa fees for foreign students seeking to study in the US has raised concern among colleges that the increased cost may cause a decline in enrolments.
CHINA: Beijing cancels anthropology congress
An international anthropology conference to be held in Beijing has been suddenly cancelled at the behest of Chinese authorities. The first academic meeting to be so affected, the world congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, is one of a number of events, seen as potentially disruptive, to be blocked in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games. The Olympics are the focus of great national pride and any major slip-ups could damage the government's authority.
GREECE: Anger over short sharp shock remarks
A series of provocative remarks by Greek Education Secretary Evripidis Stylianidis, indicative of his intentions to proceed with unpopular reforms at a particularly sensitive time, have ended the relatively mild climate currently prevailing in higher education and caused a sharp reaction among the academic community.
AUSTRALIA: Budget disappoints academics and students
In its annual budget handed down last Tuesday, the federal government failed to meet the expectations of academics and students. The government, however, has abolished a unique $6 billion (US$5.64 billion) investment fund set up last year by the former conservative government and then replaced it with its own $11 billion 'education endowment fund'.
US: Public health 'whistleblowers' recognised
A leading microbiologist at the University of California at Berkeley and a campaigning journalist are among a group of public health 'whistleblowers' who were to be recognised in Washington DC last week for their work in exposing fraud in AIDS research.
RESEARCH: Adding 3D to online journals
The world's researchers now have a startlingly novel method of presenting their data as interactive, three-dimensional visualisations in online publications. Developed only this year by Melbourne-based astrophysicists Dr Christopher Fluke and Dr David Barnes from Swinburne University of Technology's centre for astrophysics and supercomputing, the system enables researchers - and any other writer or publisher - to embed 3D illustrations into their PDF files.
JORDAN: Soaring enrolments create problems
University enrolments in the Middle East are soaring as large youth cohorts try to find a better future through higher education. In Jordan, the number of tertiary level students has jumped from around 40,000 to 160,000 in just 17 years while the number of universities increased from only four to 26. But just as in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, this leap in educational attainment comes at a price, at least in the short term. Graduate unemployment is rampant.
GREECE: Dispersing students increases costs
In an effort to achieve a more even distribution of the student population in Greek higher education, a major shift will be initiated this year. While the overall number of student places will not be increased, more students will be allocated to provincial universities while fewer will be placed in the major central and more popular universities such as Athens and Thessaloniki.
GERMANY: New stem cell law lowers restrictions
The German Federal Parliament has reduced strict regulations on stem cell research. Scientists can now use younger embryonic stem cells from abroad, the qualifying date for procurement being 1 May 2007 and no longer 1 January 2002.
UK: Council responds to clash with Russia
Britain's international education, science and culture agency, the British Council, has reviewed its legal and taxation status worldwide after a long-running clash with Russian authorities forced the closure of all its offices outside Moscow.