23 March 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
RUSSIA
Church, scientists clash over theology for physicists
Physics and theology are hard to combine – and an attempt to open a theology department at a prestigious Russian nuclear physics institute has stirred up a storm of protest and verbal sparring between scientists and clerics, highlighting Russia’s increasingly tense religious-secular divide, writes Alexey Eremenko for RIA Novosti.
UNITED STATES
MOOC ownership raises intellectual property debate
Colleges broadly threaten faculty members' copyrights and academic freedom in claiming ownership of the massive open online courses their instructors have developed, Cary Nelson, a former president of the American Association of University Professors, argued last week at the group's annual conference, writes Peter Schmidt for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities face more complaints since fee hikes
Students have become more willing to issue formal complaints about their treatment at the hands of universities since the imposition of £9,000 (US$14,000) annual tuition fees, the higher education watchdog has revealed in its annual report, writes Richard Adams for the Guardian.
UNITED STATES
China’s ‘incredible influence’ on US higher education
A source close to blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has hit back at an article in the New York Post, describing it as a "hatchet job" on embattled New York University President John Sexton, whom the source also described as a "hero" for the role he played in accepting Chen in the first place, writes Adam Taylor for Business Insider.
CHINA
China setting up first university campuses abroad
In the capital of tropical Laos, two dozen students who see their future in trade ties with neighbouring China spent the academic year attending Mandarin classes in a no-frills, rented room. It’s the start of China’s first, and almost certainly not its last, university campus abroad, reports Didi Tang for AP.
INDIA
Currency weakness puts study-abroad plans on hold
India’s rupee devaluation has hit the foreign education plans of many students. While those pursuing higher education from a foreign university have no choice but to bear the brunt, those who have plans are putting them on hold. And people looking out for jobs abroad too are finding it tough to sail through, reports TNN.
IRELAND
Former RCSI head questions ethics of universities’ ties
Irish post-school institutions are “intimately engaged with regimes that have human rights questions to answer”, the former head of the Bahrain campus of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has said, writes Joe Humphreys for The Irish Times.
SOUTH AFRICA
Only 15% of university students graduate
The graduation rate among students in South Africa’s 23 public universities is 15%. The rate for masters students is 20% and for doctoral students 12%. These figures are contained in the Department of Higher Education and Training’s first annual statistical report, which looked at the size and shape of the post-school sector, writes Nontobeko Mtshali for The Star.
UNITED KINGDOM
Scottish universities' social mix ‘changed little’
Access to Scotland’s universities remains as socially unequal as it was in the mid-1990s, despite the scrapping of tuition fees and attempts to encourage more working-class students, a major study has found, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities ban payday loans advertisements
Payday loans lenders have been banned from advertising at three UK universities for exploiting ‘vulnerable’ students, after some were found to have interest rates of more than 4,000%, writes Lucy Sherriff for The Huffington Post UK.
UNITED KINGDOM
Academics pay to be cryogenically preserved
The belief that death is the only certainty in life is a concept senior academic staff at an Oxford University institute are hoping to dismantle, by paying to be cryogenically preserved and brought back to life in the future, writes Heather Saul for The Independent.
KENYA
Engineering and medical students set to pay more
Engineering and medical students in public universities are to pay more than those studying arts-based courses, under a new government plan. Cabinet Secretary for Education Jacob Kaimenyi said last week that the plan, commonly referred to as ‘Differentiated unit costing’, would be in force in three months, writes Benjamin Muindi for Daily Nation.
TURKEY
Erdogan criticises decision to delay university exams
Several prominent Turkish universities have announced the postponement of university finals amid ongoing Taksim protests across the country, in a move that was interpreted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as encouraging students to join in the protests, reports Hürriyet Daily News.
PALESTINE
University head appointed prime minister
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed Rami Hamdallah, president of Al-Najah National University in the West Bank city of Nablus, as prime minister, writes Fadwa Hodali for Bloomberg Businessweek.
UNITED KINGDOM
Tighter student visas rules could cost billions – Study
The British government's hardening of international student visa rules could cause long-term damage to universities and cost £2.4 billion (US$3.71 billion) over the next decade, writes Richard Adams for the Guardian.
UNITED KINGDOM
Students head to US in record numbers for better value
Record numbers of teenagers are deserting British universities in favour of leading institutions in the United States, amid concerns over rising fees and the quality of degree courses, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
AUSTRALIA
Labour university cuts fail to impress voters
Redirecting money from universities into schools to pump up Julia Gillard's troubled Gonski school education reforms has not impressed voters any more than it has impressed state governments, with one in four saying they may shun the Australian Labor Party because of it, writes Mark Kenny for The Sydney Morning Herald.
UNITED STATES
The lessons of the megalomaniac university president
If you want a glimpse into what has gone wrong with higher education in America, look no further than the brilliant career of E Gordon Gee, who as of 1 July will be the ex-president of the Ohio State University (and of Brown and Vanderbilt, as well as the flagship public universities of Colorado and West Virginia), writes Paul Campos for TIME.
INDIA
New satellite campuses open ahead of elections
India’s central universities are opening satellite campuses in remote locations in a move ostensibly driven by the desire to provide quality education to people in those areas, writes Prashant K Nanda for Livemint.
INDIA
University investigated for fake PhDs
Police are investigating an Indian university suspected of issuing fake PhDs after it awarded more than 400 doctorates in a single year, reports New Straits Times.
JAMAICA
Move to register all tertiary institutions
Jamaica’s education administrators are hoping that parliament will this year pass legislation empowering them to ensure compulsory registration of all tertiary institutions and to close those performing below standard, in order to protect students, writes Nadine Wilson for the Jamaica Observer.
THAILAND
Universities join forces to bid for digital TV
A group of 33 Thai universities has jointly invested 200 million baht (US$6.5 million) to bid for free digital TV channels, reports the Bangkok Post. Somkid Lertpaitoon, president of the Association of University Presidents and rector of Thammasat University, said the group comprised 27 state universities and six private campuses.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities told to do more for poor students
Les Ebdon, the access ombudsman for higher education in England, has told universities and colleges to step up their efforts to attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as official statistics show affluent applicants outnumbering those from deprived areas by three to one, writes Richard Adams for the Guardian.
WALES
Despite constraints, universities boost economy
Universities in Wales continue to “punch above their weight” in their contribution to the economy, new research has found. The 12th annual Higher Education-Business and Community Interaction survey shows how universities are defying financial constraints to develop their expertise and facilities, writes Gareth Evans for Wales Online.
AUSTRALIA
Universities to woo more international students
The University of Canberra says attracting more international students will help the city's higher education sector overcome federal funding cuts. The Australian Capital Territory government allocated A$2 million (US$2 million) in last Tuesday's budget to promote Canberra as a study destination, reports ABC News.