22 September 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
UNITED KINGDOM
More universities grow interested in modern China
The Bodleian Library received its first Chinese book in 1604, though it was 80 years before anyone arrived who could read it. Now many of the Bodleian’s China books have a new home – in the library of the new £21 million (US$34 million) University of Oxford China Centre at St Hugh’s College, which opened on 8 September. The new building, largely paid for by Hong Kong tycoon Dickson Poon, is part of a much-needed revival, reports The Economist.
CHINA
Uighur scholar goes on trial on separatist charges
Prominent ethnic Uighur economics professor from Beijing, Ilham Tohti, went on trial last Wednesday in the far western region of Xinjiang on charges of separatism. A conviction for separatism can result in the death penalty, but in this case life imprisonment is likely to be the maximum punishment because of the specific charges, writes Edward Wong for The New York Times.
UNITED STATES
The Salaita case and the Big Money takeover of universities
Responding to an academia-wide furore about the ‘firing’ of Steven Salaita over a series of provocative tweets on Israel and Gaza, the University of Illinois board of trustees recently voted eight to one to uphold the decision. This can be seen as a blow to the very concept of academic freedom, but there's another sinister undercurrent to the case: evidence that major donors put pressure on the board and the university administration to dump the professor, writes Michael Hiltzik for the Los Angeles Times.
INDIA
Delhi in tit-for-tat over UK degrees
India is rethinking its commitment to recognise the one-year masters degrees awarded in Britain because British universities do not universally accept Indian Class XII certificates, writes Basant Kumar Mohanty for The Telegraph India.
INDIA
Ministry plans higher education overhaul
In a bid to create uniformity among central universities, India’s Human Resource Development Ministry has decided to frame guidelines for common admission, common curricula, student and faculty mobility and a national system of credit transfers. It has also been decided to develop a national ranking system of central universities, reports TNN.
INDIA
Enrolment in higher education rises to 16%
The gross enrolment ratio for higher education rose to 16% in India last year, as compared to 11% in 2008. The ratio is expected to increase to 21% by 2021, according to research by Frost & Sullivan, reports The Hindu.
MYANMAR
Teachers back student opposition to draft education law
A key group representing Myanmar’s teachers said last week it had joined students in opposing a proposed law aimed at revamping the country's education system, saying strong government controls under the draft law contradicted reforms that have been implemented by President Thein Sein’s administration, reports Radio Free Asia.
UNITED STATES
New York reaps benefits of university construction
Spending on higher education construction in New York City will top US$2 billion this year and will continue near that level for the next three years, according to a survey by a building industry trade group, write Mike Vilensky and Laura Kusisto for The Wall Street Journal.
UNITED KINGDOM
Money is the key to being a top university, says study
Analysis by Times Higher Education magazine, ahead of its 2014 world university rankings, suggests that money is key to being a top university, writes Judith Burns for BBC News.
UNITED KINGDOM
Attempts to ‘gag and silence’ academics commonplace
There is “a tremendous atmosphere of gagging and silencing” in UK universities that prevents academics from speaking out when they feel that they have been treated unfairly. This is according to Marina Warner, until recently professor of literature, film and theatre studies at the University of Essex, writes Chris Parr for Times Higher Education.
AUSTRALIA
Fee-hike fear sees universities lock in tuition costs
Universities are tempting students with tuition-fee guarantees as the federal government moves to deregulate fees from 2016, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian.
AUSTRALIA
Universities are most expensive for foreign students
Australia is the most expensive place for an international student to go to university – but it is not seen as the best place for a top quality education, writes Ashley Hall for ABC.
SOUTH AFRICA
Application deluge of first-years
With two weeks left until the application deadline for universities, hundreds of thousands of prospective first-years must contend with the fact that they need to come up with a plan B because of limited space, writes Nontobeko Mtshali for The Star.
ZIMBABWE
First lady’s doctorate questioned
Grace Mugabe, wife of President Robert Mugabe who is also the chancellor of all state universities, was conferred earlier this month with a doctor of philosophy degree at the University of Zimbabwe – but insiders are querying the academic award, reports The Zimbabwean.
HONG KONG
Students’ strike is ‘final warning to the regime’
The University of Hong Kong’s student union has called on students to co-sign the ‘Declaration of the Students’ Strike’ which demands open elections in 2016 and 2017 and which students say is their “last warning to the regime”, writes Jeffie Lam for South China Morning Post.
CANADA
Most undergraduates taught by poorly paid part-timers
In Canada today, it is estimated that more than half of all undergraduates are taught by contract lecturers. Not all of those people live on the margins. But there are many thousands who are trying to cobble together a full-time salary with part-time work, writes Ira Basen for CBC News.
UNITED STATES
College in a box – Textbook giants teach classes
This summer, Chad Mason signed up for online general psychology at the University of North Carolina. This spring, Jonathan Serrano took intro to psychology online at Essex County College in Newark. Although the undergraduates were separated by nearly 1,000 kilometres, enrolled in different institutions and paying different tuitions, they were taking what amounts to the same course – a sophisticated package devised by publishing giant Pearson PLC and delivered through a powerful online platform called MyPsychLab, writes Gabriel Kahn for Slate.
AUSTRALIA
Opposition party vows to block higher education changes
The Palmer United Party in Australia has vowed to do “everything possible” to block the Tony Abbott government’s higher education changes, pointing to the deregulation of fees and increases to student loan costs as elements it cannot support, writes Daniel Hurst for the Guardian.
AUSTRALIA
Nationals seek more help for regional universities
Nationals MPs are quietly lobbying Education Minister Christopher Pyne in a bid to ensure that regional universities get a fair deal under his higher education reforms, writes Katina Curtis for Australia Associated Press.
GREECE
Rectors report chaos in universities
In an average university, in any country of the Eurozone, the new academic year starts with scientific research. In Greece, however, newly elected senate authorities are forced to face phenomena that can only be described as ‘third world’ situations, brought on by the Greek financial crisis, writes Ioanna Zikakou for Greek Reporter.
UNITED STATES
Hong Kong group behind Harvard’s largest gift
Harvard University announced the largest gift in its history, US$350 million to the School of Public Health, from a group controlled by a wealthy Hong Kong family, one member of which earned graduate degrees at the university, writes Richard Pérez-Pena for The New York Times.
UNITED STATES
Salaita speaks out, asks for his job back
After more than a month of public silence – even on the Twitter account that apparently cost him a job at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Steven Salaita spoke out last week, writes Colleen Flaherty for Inside Higher Ed.
ISRAEL
Professor’s dismissal contravenes university rules
Last week Ariel University informed Professor Amir Hetsroni, who on 27 August was told of his dismissal from the institution, that his salary would not be paid after that date. That decision, as well as the dismissal itself, is in apparent contravention of university regulations as well as a ruling by a labour court on the case, writes Yarden Skop for Haaretz.
ISRAEL
Leading academics call for rethink of budget cut
Leading members of Israeli academia penned a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calling on him to reconsider intended budget cuts to higher education, reports Lidar Grave-Lazi for The Jerusalem Post.
CANADA
Doctor resigns after team caught ‘manipulating’ data
In what may be a Canadian record, a celebrated and prolific doctor has retracted nine University of Calgary studies that contained bogus data, writes Margaret Munro for Postmedia News.