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World Round-up
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities see rise in managers
Who runs Scotland’s universities? Most people probably assume that academics take most of the key decisions. You might also suppose that academics make up most of the workforce. Figures released last week suggest that both assumptions are wrong, writes John Field for The Scotsman.
UNITED KINGDOM
New universities continue to flourish
Two decades ago last week, a former Conservative government enabled polytechnics to become universities. There were worries that allowing them to award their own qualifications could devalue degrees, besmirch Britain’s reputation for educational excellence and dilute their distinctive purpose. But they have proven popular, reports The Economist.
KENYA
Shock of tribalism in public universities
An audit of public universities has revealed that they have become incubators of ethnicity, writes Peter Opiyo for The Standard. The institutions are in total violation of the constitution, which demands ethnic and gender balance for all public appointments.
SOUTH AFRICA
Ministry plans further education college audit
Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said last week he would conduct an audit of all further education and training (FET) colleges, as part of plans to transform them into institutions of choice for tertiary study, writes Sbu Mjikeliso for Business Day. The government aims to boost college enrolment to four million students by 2030.
SINGAPORE
University ‘welcomes’ rights discussion with Yale
The National University of Singapore said it welcomes a discussion with Yale University after professors at the Ivy League institution expressed concern about civil and political rights at a branch campus scheduled to open in the Asian city-state next year, writes Dan Hart for Bloomberg.
UNITED STATES
Court rejects sceptic's bid for climate science emails
The two-year legal pursuit of climate scientist Michael Mann by Virginia's climate-sceptic attorney general ran into a dead end at the state supreme court recently, writes Suzanne Goldenberg for the Guardian.
UNITED KINGDOM
Researcher unearths suffragette’s 140-year-old access plea
A 140-year-old missive written by a suffragette calling for her to be allowed to study medicine at St Andrews University has been discovered by researchers, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
GLOBAL
Elsevier backtracks on research bill
One of the largest academic publishers in the world withdrew its support last Monday from a controversial United States bill, the Research Works Act, that critics feel would restrict public access to published, publicly funded research, reports CBC News.
CZECH REPUBLIC
Thousands of students protest university reform
Thousands of students protested against draft university reforms in the centre of Prague and marched to the government office last Wednesday, reports the Prague Daily Monitor. Students carried banners against Education Minister Josef Dobes, the planned introduction of tuition fees and other reform steps.
SOUTH KOREA
Universities cut tuition fees for first time
South Korean universities cut annual tuition fees by 4.5% on average this year, government data showed last week, caving in to domestic pressure to lighten the financial burden on students, reports Yonhap News Agency.
UNITED STATES
Republican attack on college education bucks trend
US Republican candidate Rick Santorum’s attack on President Barack Obama’s promotion of a college education conflicts with the broad appeal and economic value that higher education holds for young Americans, write William Selway and Timothy R Homan for Bloomberg.
UNITED STATES
Colleges cut training for scarce skills
As state funding has dwindled, public colleges in the United States have raised tuition fees and are now resorting to even more desperate measures – cutting training for jobs the economy needs most, writes Catherine Rampell for The New York Times.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities scramble for information on postgraduates
Crisis, danger and possible “severe and long-term impacts for the UK” are some of the comments contained in a report on postgraduate education published last week by the 1994 Group of leading research universities, writes Harriet Swain for the Guardian.
UNITED KINGDOM
University expansion 'failing to benefit the poor'
Research shows that teenagers from middle-class homes have benefited the most from the expansion of higher education over the past 15 years, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
UNITED KINGDOM
Scottish universities oppose poor-student recruitment plan
Scottish universities have opposed plans for new legislation to force them to recruit more students from deprived backgrounds or face fines, writes Andrew Denholm for The Herald Scotland.
UNITED KINGDOM
Scots seek ‘value for money’ at foreign universities
Growing numbers of Scottish school pupils are applying to study overseas to maximise their chances of finding a job after graduation. Despite similar levels of tuition fees and expensive travel costs, more young people are choosing universities in Europe, the United States and even Australia, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
AUSTRALIA
Abortion paper led to death threats
Two Melbourne academics have received death threats after writing a theoretical paper arguing that killing a newborn baby should be allowed in cases where an abortion would have been granted, writes Henrietta Cook for the Sydney Morning Herald.
FRANCE
Paris university avoids ‘Israel-bashing’ seminar
A French university last week closed its doors for two days to avoid hosting an event designed to encourage a boycott of Israel, writes Cnaan Liphshiz for The Jerusalem Post. CRIF, the representative body of French Jewry, called the closure of the University of Paris VIII “a victory in the fight against the boycott campaign”.
SOUTH AFRICA
Minister calls for review of academic retirement age
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said last week that the retirement age of academics needed to be reviewed as part of a broader plan to attract experienced scholars to two new universities, to be built in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape provinces, writes Bekezela Phakathi for Business Day.
SOUTH AFRICA
Technology director turns cellphones into classrooms
Getting a university degree remains a huge challenge for many South African students, especially those who don't have money to spend on textbooks and laptops. So students have become creative about closing the tech gap with the help of cellphones, writes Jennifer Howard for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
BOTSWANA
US universities explore educational collaboration
At least 11 American universities, including Harvard, are visiting Botswana this year to explore possibilities of doing business there, the country’s ambassador to the United States, Tebelelo Seretse, has announced, writes Victor Muyakwabo for The Monitor.
INDIA
University of Tokyo opens Bangalore office
There are just 35 Indian students studying at the University of Tokyo, but the university authorities intend to drastically increase the number soon, reports the Deccan Herald. Last Monday, the university opened an India office in Bangalore to engage students, academics, businesses and others on educational opportunities in Japan.
UNITED KINGDOM
Oxford benefits from Led Zeppelin’s comeback concert
Oxford University has been given one of its biggest ever donations after £26 million (US$41 million) was handed over to create scholarships for humanities students – with help from Led Zeppelin’s comeback concert, writes Richard Harley-Parkinson for the Mail Online.
UNITED STATES
No posthumous degree for expelled Harvard gay students
Harvard University isn't backing down – and neither is Their Day in the Yard, writes Ricardo Lopez for The Los Angeles Times. The group of Harvard students, alumni and faculty has been urging the Ivy League school to award honorary posthumous degrees to seven students expelled more than 90 years ago for being gay or for being perceived as gay.
CANADA
Climate sceptic report raises academic freedom issues
A climate change sceptic is slamming an educational charity, known for a controversial advertising campaign on city buses that challenged the existence of God, after it produced a report questioning the legitimacy of a class he taught at Carleton University, writes Mike de Souza for Postmedia News.