30 January 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
Universities to launch foreign student recruitment hub
The 15 Russian universities that make up the Global Universities Association are creating a unified centre to recruit foreign applicants, writes Gleb Fedorov for Russia Beyond the Headlines.
Government to cut higher education enrolment by 35%
Taiwan plans to cut enrolment at universities and graduate institutes by around 35% over the next decade due to a shrinking population caused by a notoriously low birth rate, write Hsu Chih-wei and Ted Chen for Focus Taiwan.
Reduced cuts offer fails to win support for deregulation
Key senate crossbenchers say they remain opposed to the deregulation of university fees even if the Abbott government reduces, or scraps entirely, a planned 20% cut to university funding, writes Matthew Knott for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Record numbers of women going to university
A record number of women started university courses in September – with the result that the gap between male and female acceptances for places is at it its highest level ever, according to the first official analysis of the latest intake into universities, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.
‘Nature’ publisher to merge with Springer
The publisher of Nature is to merge with the world’s second largest science publisher, Springer. The merger of Macmillan Science and Education and Springer was announced on 15 January, writes Paul Jump for Times Higher Education.
Universities ramp up offers to lowest tier
Two out of every five students with a tertiary admission rank of 50 or lower who applied for university last year were offered a place, a figure that has quadrupled since 2009, when the figure was one in 10, writes Julie Hare for The Australian.
Multimillion rand grant scheme for black universities
South Africa's historically black universities will get government help to finally make their “backlog of underdevelopment” disappear, writes Bongani Nkosi for the Mail & Guardian.
Communist Party orders Marxism course for universities
Mainland universities have been told to step up propaganda and teaching of Marxism and Chinese socialism, amid calls from President Xi Jinping for greater “ideological guidance” for teachers and students, writes Li Jing for South China Morning Post.
Politically active professors face dismissal
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a presidential decree recently amending Law 45/1972 that regulates university affairs, to include provisions to dismiss university professors who participate in on-campus political party activities, writes Mahmoud Mostafa for Daily News Egypt.
Task force seeks science reform at Muslim universities
A task force of 11 experts on science research in Muslim nations is seeking to jump-start a discussion on how to reform science education in universities throughout the Muslim world. The Task Force on Science at Universities in the Muslim World met for the first time on 16 December 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, reports SciDevNet.
Sex differences in academia
Women are scarce in some, but not all, academic disciplines. New work suggests the cause may be a special kind of prejudice – one that also applies to black people, reports The Economist.
Quality of European research ‘threatened by cuts’
British universities risk losing their position as world-leading institutions if proposed cuts to the European Union research budget go ahead, according to the president of the umbrella organisation Universities UK, writes Rebecca Ratcliffe for the Guardian.
Worrying fall in students from key overseas markets
The number of overseas students from key countries studying at Scottish universities has fallen in the wake of tough new immigration rules introduced by the Westminster government, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.
State secrets law could constrain researchers
The spirit of Japan’s new state secrets law may officially be about protecting national security by restricting the release of information about defence and diplomacy, or keeping information needed to prevent terrorist attacks and “specified harmful activities” confidential. However, lawyers warn the letter of the law, which took effect on 10 December, and especially the required background checks on those handling state secrets, could impact a broad range of academic research as well, writes Eric Johnston for The Japan Times.
PhD thesis of university chief goes missing
Amid raging controversy over the quality of PhD theses submitted by those who hold the reins of several universities in the state, the PhD thesis of Kerala University Vice-chancellor PK Radhakrishnan is reportedly missing from the university. The university awarded him the doctorate in 1985, reports TNN.
Universities dig in for long fight over open access
Dutch universities have vowed not to soften their groundbreaking demands for publishers to permit all papers published by their academics to be made open access for no extra charge, writes Paul Jump for Times Higher Education.
Will free community college plan put students to work?
The Obama administration is proposing to make community college free for as many as 9 million students nationwide, with a plan modelled on a new programme in Tennessee launched by the state’s Republican governor, writes Catherine Dunn for IBTimes.
In search for students, universities test personality
As schools aim to boost graduation rates, some have lost confidence in the power of the standardised exams to predict which students will succeed in college. At the same time, the tests have been criticised for bias because, on average, white and Asian students, as well as those from wealthier families, score higher than African-American and Latino students and those from poorer families, writes Douglas Belkin for The Wall Street Journal.
Student debt to cost Britain billions within decades
New statistics show that the cost to the country of paying for student debt will rocket to billions of pounds a year over the next three decades, almost equalling the entire higher education budget, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.
Universities see steady increase in Indian students
Australia seems to be back in the reckoning for Indian students pursuing higher education, with the state of Victoria alone registering a 20% increase in student enrolment in 2014 compared to the previous year, reports the Press Trust of India.
Stanford professors urge end to fossil fuel investments
Three hundred professors at Stanford, including Nobel laureates and last year’s Fields Medal winner, are calling on the university to rid itself of all fossil fuel investments, in a sign that the campus divestment movement is gathering force, writes Suzanne Goldenberg for the Guardian.
Academics’ report exposes dictatorial rectors
A group of academics has compiled a report on widespread rights violations at universities in Turkey, claiming that rectors have turned into “rectotators” – a combination of rector and dictator, reports Hurriyet Daily News.
University body to get more teeth
The University Grants Commission is set to be remodelled, and the three-member committee set up to recommend its restructuring has readied a blueprint of the changed structure giving the body more teeth, writes Brajesh Kumar for the Hindustan Times.
Higher education bill facing senate delays
Education minister Christopher Pyne’s second attempt to push through his higher education reforms faces significant delays in the senate with Labor and the Greens planning to again refer the bill to a committee inquiry. The inquiry would also scrutinise the government’s A$8 million (US$6.6 million) “information” campaign promoting the reforms that the opposition has condemned as political advertising, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian.
Same performance, better grades
It’s raining As in America’s higher education system, and not necessarily because students are particularly smart. In fact, many of them probably don’t deserve the high marks they’re getting. They have grade inflation to thank, writes Aina Katsikas for The Atlantic.