25 April 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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HONG KONG
Police prosecute pro-democracy students and scholars
Nine academics, former student leaders, former and current legislators involved in the 2014-15 pro-democracy protests are facing criminal prosecution, launched a day after Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s new chief executive, was elected on 26 March by a mainly pro-Beijing 1,194-member electoral college. More than 200 academics from universities in Hong Kong and abroad have criticised the move.
TURKEY
State attorney seeks life sentence for leading scholar
A prominent academic who has been detained for more than eight months will appear in court on Monday facing charges related to the failed coup attempt last July. He says the state attorney has asked for a life sentence penalty and he fears for his life if the death penalty is re-legalised.
SWEDEN
Court rules that half of US student's fee must be repaid
The Court of Appeal has endorsed the verdict in the lower court that Mälardalen University College has to repay tuition fees paid by an international student for a course that was found not to be of sufficient quality – but only half of the fees – plus court costs.
AUSTRALIA-CHINA
Professor allowed to leave after being questioned
A Chinese academic barred from returning to his home in Australia after a research trip looking into China’s crackdown on its human rights lawyers, has been allowed to return to Sydney after a week of being prevented from boarding a flight home. Feng Chongyi said on his return he would continue his work in China.
AFRICA
Call to end government research investment 'inertia'
African governments need to invest heavily in research in order to provide solutions to improve the lives of its people, Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said at the recent launch of the African Research Universities Alliance.
DENMARK
Cut in study places aimed at culling EU student intake
The Minister for Higher Education and Science, Søren Pind, has decided to cut the intake of business academies and professional universities for higher education courses by a quarter – a cut of 1,600 study places. The impact will be to reduce the number of European Union students claiming support grants, which has risen steeply.
ALGERIA
Ministry imposes tougher rules on PhD students
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has announced strict new rules for doctoral students who fail to submit their theses in the requisite four years after ministry figures revealed that over 1,000 PhD projects were outstanding – some for up to nine years.
EGYPT
Ministry sees value in international students
While international students studying in Egypt currently generate US$186 million for the Egyptian economy, this figure is low by international standards. An ambitious government plan aims to double the number of international students by 2020-21 and increase their contribution to the country by as much as US$700 million.
HUNGARY
International university ‘in danger’, Ignatieff warns
A leading international university could be forced to shut down or leave the country after the government tabled a proposal to force foreign-funded universities to meet tough new conditions, including having campuses and offering a similar course in their home country. The Central European University is "in danger" of ceasing operations, according to the rector Michael Ignatieff.
INDIA
Uproar over violent mob attack on African students
An attack on African students in India last week has caused an uproar among students in the country and has sparked an investigation by India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who called the attack “deplorable”, while students said if the authorities failed to curb attacks, India’s aim to be an international higher education destination would be affected.
AUSTRALIA-CHINA
Sydney professor barred from leaving China
The barring of China scholar Feng Chongyi from travelling back from China to Australia where he holds a position at the University of Technology Sydney has unsettled academia and could have an impact on China research and collaborations between Australian and Chinese universities generally, academics fear.
GLOBAL
New data creates world’s largest university ranking
U-Multirank has published a new release of data drawn from 1,500 universities, creating the world’s largest university ranking, and throwing a spotlight on high-performing universities that might not be picked up by traditional international university rankings.
AFGHANISTAN
American University reopens, defying threats of attack
Defying threats of another deadly attack, the American University of Afghanistan has re-opened in Kabul with upgraded security. Classes restarted on Tuesday, seven months after militants stormed its compound, leaving 13 dead, including seven students and one lecturer, which forced the university to close down.
SOUTH AFRICA
Universities pay tribute to struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada
South African veteran activist Ahmed Kathrada, who died on Tuesday aged 87, has been hailed by universities for selflessly dedicating his life to fighting for freedom, justice, non-racialism and democracy.
GERMANY-KENYA
Stipend delays cause hardship for Kenyan students
Kenyan students studying in Germany on government of Kenya scholarships are facing serious difficulties – including losing their accommodation – because of the failure of the Kenyan government to pay its share of their scholarship stipends on time.
TAIWAN
Ministry tackles research integrity after NTU scandal
Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology has said it will set up an Office of Research Integrity to hold researchers to ethical academic standards in the wake of a major academic fraud scandal at the country’s top institution, National Taiwan University or NTU, which has severely damaged its research reputation.
UNITED STATES
Universities fear Trump indirect research payment cuts
The Trump administration’s plan to cut billions of dollars in research spending by eliminating indirect cost reimbursements – costs reflecting the legitimate expenses of providing scientists with labs and of complying with a host of essential services – would devastate university science, especially at public institutions, experts warned.
AFRICA
UN fellowships realigned to building Africa’s capacity
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has relaunched its fellowship programme in line with Africa’s transformative agenda to provide a platform for young African graduates to gain professional on-the-job experience in a range of development-related fields.
GERMANY
Controversial German professor ‘hounded by commissars’
The University of Bremen's student union has the right to call Berlin Professor of History Jörg Baberowski a ‘right-wing radical’, according to a ruling by Cologne District Court, but not to take his controversial statements about refugees out of context.
AUSTRALIA
Government recommits to long-term support for science
The Australian government has unveiled its new National Science Statement, which emphasises the long-term importance of science to the nation’s economy and society, and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos has reassured universities by pledging that the government will act “strategically and systematically” to support it.
GERMANY
University tuition fees back on the election agenda
With elections ahead in Germany, the issue of tuition fees in higher education has resurfaced. Across the board tuition fees were abolished for public-funded universities in all of Germany’s federal states by 2014, but while Social Democrats reject fees, views are split among, and even within, some of the other parties.
AFRICA-TURKEY
Turkey’s ‘soft power’ reaches North African universities
A recently published higher education cooperation plan with Tunisia represents the latest milestone in Turkey’s plan to set up joint universities with North African Arab states in what is seen as an expression of cultural diplomacy or 'soft power' aimed at building regional alliances and partnerships.
GLOBAL
Dozens of academic journals appoint fake editor
Dozens of academic titles have offered a sham scientist a place on their editorial board during a sting operation by researchers investigating exploitation of academics by predatory journals. Their findings were published by Nature, the international weekly journal of science.
UNITED STATES
Education Department erodes student protections
Betsy DeVos, the new education secretary, hasn’t said much about her plans for higher education. But some observers already see a pattern in the department’s actions, deconstructing Barack Obama’s student loan protections and hiring employees from the profit sector.
SOUTH KOREA
Students end 150-day protest over for-profit campus
A five-month student protest over plans for a for-profit branch campus at South Korea’s most prestigious university came to an end after the university administration turned a water hose on the students the day after the country’s president Park Geun-Hye was ousted from office. Credit: Yonhap News