28 March 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
JAPAN
Government looks to end taboo on military research
Japan's military is prying open long-closed doors at university research labs, boosting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's US-backed effort to cast off some of the country’s pacifist constraints, write Eric Pfanner and Chieko Tsuneoka for The Wall Street Journal.
UNITED KINGDOM
Overseas students queue en masse to collect visas
International students are being forced to queue in their thousands to collect visas from post offices, writes Rebecca Ratcliffe for the Guardian.
MALAYSIA
Police and universities monitor students' IS links
Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the police are working with public and private universities to prevent students from joining and supporting the IS militant group, especially via social media, reports Bernama.
MIDDLE EAST
Report shows limited social sciences in universities
A new report has found that despite the rapid growth of universities in the Arab world, the social sciences are only offered by 55% of them, reports Rasha Faek for Al-Fanar.
UNITED KINGDOM
Welsh ministers to monitor vice-chancellors’ pay
The grip on vice-chancellor salaries is tightening after ministers agreed to monitor senior pay and awards in Wales’ university sector, writes Gareth Evans for Wales Online. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has been tasked with reporting annually to the Welsh government on the money being paid to university leaders. It follows a report by the University and College Union that found that all but one of Wales’ eight vice-chancellors was last year paid more than £200,000 (US$298,000).
TURKEY
Probe into favouritism claim at Istanbul University
The Turkish Higher Education Board, YÖK, has launched an inquiry into allegations that about 450 students, most of whom are relatives of government officials, were enrolled at Istanbul University’s open and distance education faculty even though they did not meet the enrolment criteria, reports Today’s Zaman.
INDIA
University lures more foreigners despite rape case
Delhi University has seen a steady rise of late in the number of foreign students, especially women candidates, enrolling for courses. University officials claim that, despite perceptions that Delhi was the "rape capital' of India in the wake of the 16 December 2012 gang-rape here, women candidates consider it to be a safe destination for pursuing higher education, reports the Press Trust of India.
AFGHANISTAN
Private universities meet rising demand for education
Afghan authorities announced recently that more than 130,000 students, a third of them female, had passed exams to enter university in the upcoming academic year, bringing into focus Afghanistan's challenge to rebuild its education system, reports World Bulletin.
GLOBAL
US again increases lead in patent applications
Spurred by the rebound of the economy and strong research results by universities, the United States remained the world’s top inventive country in 2014, accounting for 28.6% of all international patent applications, up from 27.9% a year earlier, writes John Zarocostas for McClatchy DC.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities under fire over zero-hours contracts
Scottish universities which use zero-hours contracts to employ staff have been urged to outlaw the controversial practice, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.
CHINA
Mainland students flock to Macau universities
Just as casinos have proliferated across Macau in the past 15 years, so too have colleges. When the city returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1999, it was home to two universities and two tertiary institutions. Since then the total has more than doubled to 10. That's a lot of college places for a city of just 600,000 people. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the slack is being taken up by students from mainland China, writes Elaine Yau for the South China Morning Post.
CHINA
Probe starts into textbooks with ‘Western values’
China is launching a nationwide investigation on the use of foreign textbooks at Chinese universities and colleges, following a previous government pledge to reject texts spreading “Western values” at the nation’s centres of higher education, writes Laura He for MarketWatch.
UNITED STATES
Oklahoma is latest to address racism at fraternities
Their reputations sullied by race-tainted incidents, many colleges are clamping down on campus fraternities. Despite some swift and tough actions by colleges – and in some cases, public humiliation – episodes such as the racist chants by members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Oklahoma keep surfacing, write Kimberly Hefling and Jesse J Holland for Associated Press.
JAPAN
US$15 million for Japan studies in soft power push
Japan's government has budgeted over US$15 million to fund Japan studies at nine overseas universities, including Georgetown and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as part of a ‘soft power’ push to counter the growing influence of China and South Korea, writes Takashi Umekawa for Reuters.
UNITED KINGDOM
Oxford's postponed divestment decision faces protest
Former students occupied an Oxford building recently to protest the university's failure to decide about divesting funds from fossil fuels, writes Roger Harrabin for BBC News.
UNITED KINGDOM
Deputy PM blocks ban on extremists at universities
Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has blocked tough new laws intended to stop extremist speakers brainwashing university students for terrorism, raising fears that Britain will be left more vulnerable to attack, write Tim Ross and Robert Mendick for The Telegraph.
MOROCCO
More universities seek external accreditation
Roughly 40 miles, or 64 kilometres, from the bustling, historic city of Fez, a public university in a Moroccan mountain range is seeking American accreditation, writes Sarah Lynch for Al-Fanar.
SOUTH AFRICA
Rage against Rhodes heritage shifts up a gear
After a week of student protest, the University of Cape Town's vice-chancellor has given the clearest indication yet that he believes the controversial statue of Cecil John Rhodes should be moved from its "pride of place, at the focal point of the campus". But this will do little to quell the spread of protests against the lack of transformation to other campuses, write Reitumetse L Pitso, Shaun Smillie and Poppy Louw for Times Live.
SOUTH AFRICA
Universities give backing to longer degrees proposal
Seventeen of South Africa’s public universities have backed a proposal to extend undergraduate degree and diploma qualifications by a year, writes Leanne Jansen for The Mercury.
INDIA
Universities body pushes career-oriented courses
The University Grants Commission is encouraging implementation of skill-based and career-oriented courses in colleges and universities through several new schemes, reports PTI.
PAKISTAN
Blacklisted scholar lands ‘best research work’ award
Plagiarism at the higher education level has been an open secret, with many suspected plagiarists holding senior faculty positions in different universities across the country. But in a comical turn, the Higher Education Commission recently gave its best research paper award to a scholar who had been blacklisted by the regulatory body in 2008 for publishing a plagiarised paper, writes Riazul Haq for The Express Tribune.
ZIMBABWE
Government scrambles to pay striking lecturers
The cash strapped government said last week it had released outstanding salaries of university lecturers and support staff as it scrambled to prevent the riots which rocked the University of Zimbabwe from spreading to other institutions, reports NewZimbabwe.
INDIA
Poor higher education forcing students abroad – Study
In the absence of quality higher education and with none of the Indian Institutes of Technology making it into the rankings of the world's top research institutions, Indian students spend US$6-7 billion (approximately Rs45,000 crore) annually in seeking greener pastures in foreign universities, writes Anuradha Himatsingka for The Economic Times.
CHINA
Legislators call for less state meddling in universities
China’s legislators have called for the government to reduce its intervention in university management, which they warned will pose an obstacle to technological innovation, writes Nectar Gan for the South China Morning Post.
MIDDLE EAST
Women seeking higher education are dupes – ISIS
Marriage and motherhood – not college degrees and careers – are the paramount goals for young girls living in the territory controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the fledgling terrorist organisation known as ISIS. And girls need not wait until they’re in their 20s or 30s to attain either goal. That much can be gleaned from a "manifesto" on women that was recently disseminated by the group, writes Jamaal Abdul-Alim for The Atlantic.