20 October 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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FINLAND
Tuition fees and cuts hit internationalisation of HE
Finland is facing a sharp drop in applications by non-European Union and European Economic Area students and an outflow of scientists, according to media reports. The introduction of tuition fees for international students and cuts in university funding are being blamed.
NIGERIA
University admission reform – Pushing private education?
Two civil society organisations have said they will jointly mount a legal challenge to recent changes to university admissions criteria that require all candidates to list at least one private university in their applications for admission.
EUROPE
Universities should be flexible on admitting refugees
National authorities and higher education institutions should take a flexible approach to the recognition of degrees, periods of study and prior learning of refugees, in line with the Lisbon Recognition Convention, according to a new study by the European Students’ Union.
BANGLADESH
New semester system forced on private universities
Bangladesh’s private universities are opposing a government move to reform the existing academic year ostensibly to streamline the curriculum and reduce tuition costs for students. In April Bangladesh’s University Grants Commission sent letters to private universities directing them to introduce a two-semester system by 2018.
MOROCCO
Student protest over ‘sex for marks’ scandal
Protesting students at the public Abdelmalek Essaâdi University have called for an investigation into allegations against a professor of mathematics accused of promising female students high marks in exchange for sexual relations, in a case that has rocked the institution and reignited concerns about sexual harassment in Moroccan universities.
CHINA-UNITED STATES
Close Confucius Institutes on US campuses, NAS says
Universities in the United States should close down their Confucius Institutes – teaching and research centres funded directly by the Chinese government – says a report by the National Association of Scholars or NAS, which examines details of the institutes' often-secret operations from contracts signed with dozens of US universities.
UNITED KINGDOM
MPs warn against Brexit brain drain of EU academics
The government must end the uncertainty for European Union staff, to avoid a brain drain, and seek continued involvement in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ – but develop contingency plans in case agreement is not reached – if it is to avoid damage to the international competitiveness of United Kingdom universities from Brexit, the parliamentary Education Select Committee has warned.
UNITED KINGDOM
Higher education shake-up gets go ahead from MPs
The bill heralding the biggest shake-up of higher education in decades, marking a shift towards a market approach by establishing a system of rating the teaching quality of universities, has been pushed through parliament with last minute compromises to secure assent before MPs disband for the General Election.
CHINA
Record retractions put focus on research misconduct
The research ethics of China’s scientists has come under the spotlight after a major international publisher retracted 107 medical research papers by Chinese authors – the single largest number of retractions ever recorded – after discovering irregularities in the peer review process.
SOUTH AFRICA
Government aims to double R&D spending by 2020
The government aims to increase the percentage of gross domestic product spent on research and development to 1.5% by 2020 – still below the average spend of 2.4% for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, but more than double the latest figure of 0.77%.
AUSTRALIA
Universities demand ‘No more cuts’ after AU$4bn saved
As Australians prepare for the release of the annual federal budget on 9 May, universities point out that over the past six years they and their students have faced cuts that have contributed AU$3.9 billion (US$2.95 billion) in net savings in government spending and are now saying “enough is enough”.
UNITED STATES
March for science leaders pledge to build on momentum
Following the global March for Science, which was staged in 600 cities across seven continents on 22 April, the organisers have pledged to translate their volunteer network into a global outreach movement. In a joint statement, more than 30 United States science organisations have pledged to carry on fostering public support for engagement in science through their global memberships.
LATIN AMERICA
Governments must take responsibility for HE – Rectors
Rectors of the 37 universities that make up the Network of Macro-universities of Latin America and the Caribbean have expressed concern that some governments and parliaments are trying to avoid fulfilling their obligation towards public universities and are delegating responsibility to the private sector.
DENMARK
Public-private research drives international citations
International papers involving public-private collaboration have on average substantially higher impact than international collaborations involving only public research. But for national papers, there is no clear difference in citation impact between public-private collaborations and public research papers, according to new analysis.

KENYA
Ministry puts a brake on opening of new campuses
Kenya has banned the establishment of new satellite campuses by universities without a thorough review by the government.
UNITED STATES
Trump at 100 days – More shadow than substance for HE
As President Donald Trump approaches his 100th day in office, several observers say his administration has yet to scratch the surface of setting or pursuing significant higher education policy. However, the Education Department, and the Trump administration writ large, have made moves that directly affect various sectors of higher education.
GLOBAL
UNESCO – Affordability is key to inclusive HE expansion
UNESCO has called on governments never to allow student loan repayments to rise above 15% of their monthly incomes and has recommended a package of measures to ensure that the current rapid expansion of higher education globally does not leave the disadvantaged behind.
AUSTRALIA
Government listens to universities’ fears over visas
The government has agreed to address concerns raised by universities over proposed changes to 457 work visas, Universities Australia said on Thursday. The Group of Eight, comprising Australia’s eight leading research-intensive universities, voiced fears that the changes would put at risk Australia’s AU$21.8 billion (US$16 billion) international education industry.
PAKISTAN
University officials linked to lynching of student
Pakistan's apex court has started hearing of the case of the mob lynching of Mashal Khan, a student at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, after the crowd heard false accusations that he committed blasphemy. One student has alleged that university officials put pressure on him to testify that Mashal had committed blasphemy, which helped to stir up the mob.
DENMARK
Ministry backs down on greater control of universities
Minister of Higher Education and Science Søren Pind has dropped the ministry’s controversial proposal to select the heads of the governing boards of universities after an agreement in parliament with the Danish People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party. The proposal was strongly opposed by universities and professional organisations.
ZIMBABWE
New bill seeks to turn universities into industrial hubs
Zimbabwe’s cabinet has approved a new Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Bill that will, among other impacts, turn universities into industrial hubs and criminalise the issuing or receiving of degrees from unaccredited institutions, according to the country’s higher education minister.
GERMANY
Refugee university student numbers rising steeply
Whereas overall numbers of refugees entering Germany have been on the decline since last year, five times more are enrolled on university courses than six months ago, says a survey by the German Rectors' Conference.
AFRICA
World Bank forum calls for private sector to build skills
The private sector should expand its support for skills-building in Africa, with both resources and technology, the World Bank said at its Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology forum in Nairobi.
UNITED KINGDOM
EU students given pledge on loans and fee status
The government on Friday confirmed that European Union students will continue to remain eligible for undergraduate, masters, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support in the academic year 2018-19 and will pay the same fees as United Kingdom students throughout their course, including after the UK leaves the EU.
SWEDEN
Employment status given to nearly all PhD candidates
The Swedish government has changed the university law to ensure all doctoral candidates – except a few who are on scholarships – are made an employee of the university with a salary. This should strengthen the position of PhD students, including international students, who typically make up 40% to 50% of the country’s 19,000 doctoral candidates.