20 August 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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NORWAY
Humanities to be strengthened and made more relevant
A broad consensus was reached in parliament this month on a White Paper on the strengthening of the humanities in universities, including in research, making them contribute more to the grand societal challenges and be more relevant to working life.
GERMANY
NRW brings back tuition fees for non-EU students
North Rhine-Westphalia’s new conservative-liberal government has become the second of Germany’s 16 states to reintroduce tuition fees for non-European Union students in order to raise funds for higher education. Fees were abolished under the predecessor Social Democrat-Green government.
UNITED KINGDOM
UK leads rivals on international student satisfaction
The United Kingdom ranks number one for overall international student satisfaction among rival destination countries – ahead of Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United States – according to a new report drawing data from 137,000 students internationally, published last week.
UNITED STATES
How the right twists faculty views into national news
Conservative media outlets, feeding off each other, are taking liberal academics’ views and distorting them to the point where they mutate into controversial news stories, which in some cases leads to campus violence or death threats against professors. How do these stories metastasise?
UNITED KINGDOM
Vice-chancellors set out priorities for Brexit talks
Ahead of the formal start of Brexit talks on Monday, university leaders have said that the United Kingdom's world-leading university sector should help shape the negotiations and that UK universities provide the “antidote to the UK’s Brexit challenges”.
IRELAND
Cuts may force cap on Irish (but not foreign) students
The president of one of Ireland’s leading universities has warned that it is relying on recruiting non-European Union students to pay for staffing increases and may have to limit the number of places available to Irish students if the government fails to improve funding for universities.
KENYA
New guidelines set high publishing bar for academics
Kenya’s Commission for University Education has issued stringent new guidelines for the appointment and promotion of academic staff in a system that gives heavy emphasis to publication in reputable, peer-reviewed journals and discourages publication in so-called predatory journals. While the move is intended to raise academic standards, it has also raised concerns about the hurdles to publication facing many Kenyan academics.
NORWAY
Government to ban niqab at schools and universities
University and student leaders have voiced opposition to a government proposal, announced on 12 June, to outlaw the covering of the face in learning institutions, from kindergarten to universities, which would prevent the wearing of a niqab.
CHINA
TNE and study abroad may perpetuate inequality – Study
Overseas study and transnational education, or TNE, may perpetuate social inequality because most of the students come from advantaged family backgrounds and attain their first job through their social network after graduation, according to a paper written by researchers at two universities in China.
FINLAND
Universities provide key contribution to economy – Study
Finnish universities make a “very substantial” contribution to Finland’s economy – more than 6% of economic output and 5% of employment – but this could increase or decrease in response to future changes in university funding, a new report has warned.
UNITED KINGDOM
Open University set to go digital and shrinks budget
The Open University – the world’s first successful distance teaching university – is going digital and being streamlined in a bid to “radically reinvent itself” and find savings of £100 million (US$128 million) from its £420 million budget in the run-up to its 50th anniversary.
UNITED STATES
DeVos softens accountability for for-profit colleges
The Trump administration is rolling back on two of former president Barack Obama’s key protections for students against fraud and unscrupulous loan providers. For-profit colleges are hailing the change as an end to the ‘ideological assault’ on the sector – but so are black advocacy groups.
AUSTRALIA
Claims of high drop-out rates are alarmist – Report
Claims by critics in the Australian media that universities are facing a crisis of rising student drop-out rates because of poor admission standards, ill-prepared students and increasing enrolments have been rejected by a new report, which describes the claims as “unnecessarily alarmist and not borne out by the facts”.
GLOBAL
US and UK universities slip in new QS world rankings
United States universities take all top four positions, and five of the top 10, in the QS World University Rankings 2018, released last week, with the United Kingdom also taking four top 10 spots. However, both the US and UK are losing ground lower down the rankings, which, QS says, provides evidence that “both nations are at risk of becoming less international”.
UNITED STATES
Universities defy Trump and sign up to climate action
Hundreds of university leaders have signed up to a commitment to continue to help meet America’s carbon emissions reduction pledge under the Paris Agreement in defiance of President Donald Trump’s decision to cease implementation of the accord.
CHINA
International students must study language and culture
International students enrolled in universities in China will have to attend compulsory courses in Chinese language and culture beginning from next month, according to new rules announced by China’s ministry of education in conjunction with the ministries of foreign affairs and public security.
UNITED KINGDOM
One in three HE students say university is poor value
Nearly as many United Kingdom students (34%) now think they are receiving poor value as good value (35%) from their higher education. However, two-thirds (65%) of students in UK higher education say they have learnt ‘a lot’, according to the 2017 Student Academic Experience Survey.
AUSTRALIA
Elite universities say budget is an ‘incoherent mess’
The Group of Eight, representing Australia’s eight leading universities, has described the government’s budget plans for higher education as “a contradictory, incoherent mess” and warned that they will mean students paying more for less and leave universities with less capacity to assist those who most need it.
AFRICA
Pan African space sciences institute forges ahead
Amid plans to open two new institutes and deliver seven more postgraduate programmes, an agreement regarding the establishment of a fifth Pan African University institute, focused on space sciences, is due to be signed later this month.
BAHRAIN
Grave concern over academic given 10 years in jail
Scholars at Risk along with the Committee of Concerned Scientists and three other human rights organisations have expressed grave concern over the case of Bahraini academic and activist Khalil Al-Halwachi, who they say has been tortured, wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
ALGERIA
Students eager to study in US but put off by high costs
The United States began a charm offensive in Algiers last month, hosting the first higher education exhibition in the Algerian capital in an attempt to woo what appeared to be very eager students to the United States, but the high cost of courses shocked some potential applicants.
SWEDEN
High court eases restriction for foreign PhD students
A high court ruling will put an end to a bureaucratic catch-22 implemented by the Swedish Tax Agency that ultimately has made it more difficult for foreign PhD students to live and study in the country.
AFRICA
AAU celebrates 50 years as voice of higher education
African governments should never have to make a choice between basic and higher education and would not want to get into arguments with foreign agencies about priorities around education, according to Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the opening of the 50th anniversary conference of the Association of African Universities in Ghana last week.
AUSTRIA
Vice-chancellors fear ‘worst-case scenario’ on funding
A collapse in talks over universities’ new funding arrangements in advance of the summer recess and federal elections due in the autumn could force universities to freeze admissions and suspend teaching of some subjects, vice-chancellors have warned.
AUSTRALIA
Universities too heavily reliant on foreign students
Of the more than 520,000 international students enrolled in Australian universities, colleges and schools this year, nearly one in three are from China. Of these, more than 50,000 are enrolled in the nation’s universities. Foreign students now contribute more than AU$5 billion (US$3.7 billion) annually to university incomes which amounted to AU$28 billion in 2015.