29 November 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
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.
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.
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.
More students fight for places in public universities
A total of 119,658 candidates attained a minimum grade of C+ in school-leaving exams last year, making them eligible for admission to Kenya’s public universities, up 20% on the year before. But more than 87,000 may miss out on slots in the seven public universities as there are only 32,000 vacancies, writes Benjamin Muindi for Daily Nation.
Interest from foreign universities shifts into high gear
Malaysia is morphing into a key destination for foreign universities, with 25 applications received to set up campuses in the country. The latest applicants allowed to set up campuses are the United Kingdom’s University of Reading and Heriot-Watt University, reports New Straits Times.
Mayor, academics clash over Muslim surveillance
The mayor of New York faced off with the president of Yale University last Tuesday over an effort by the city's police department to monitor Muslim student groups for any signs that their members harboured terrorist sympathies, write David B Caruso and John Christoffersen for Huffington Post.
US and Iraq commit to academic ties despite challenges
University officials from Iraq and the United States pledged last week to deepen their academic ties. But they said there are significant challenges to increasing opportunities for Iraqi students to study in America and creating dynamic university partnerships, writes Ian Wilhelm for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
High stakes in college affirmative action case
Twenty-five years passed between the decisions of the US Supreme Court in the Bakke and Grutter cases. Both rulings upheld the right of colleges to consider race and ethnicity in admissions, but only in certain circumstances (and a companion case with Grutter rejected the use of race in other circumstances), writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
Academics weigh global-versus-local options
Across the Nordic countries, academics are under pressure to publish in English. While some believe this is a necessary step towards improving standards and attracting international students and scholars, there is a growing backlash against Anglicisation, amid fears for the future of the Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish languages if they cease to be used in academia for critical analysis and the exploration of complex concepts, writes Ed Dutton for Times Higher Education.
Local universities losing appeal in ‘Asian century’
The “comprehensive failure” of Australian universities to engage with Asia is rapidly unravelling their appeal to the biggest market of international students, an expert in Asian education, Professor Greg McCarthy, told a conference on higher education last week, according to Justin Norrie writing for The Conversation.
Steep rise in Chinese student numbers
The number of foreign students from outside the EU studying at Scotland’s universities has risen by more than 11% in the past year, new figures show, with the biggest rise in students from China – a 33% rise from 4,680 to 6,145, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
Split over higher education harmonisation bill
A rift between East Africa’s legislative arm, the East African Legislative Assembly, and the Council of Ministers could derail the enactment of a bill that seeks to harmonise higher education systems in the region, writes Jeremiah Kiplang’at for The East African.
World’s largest university struggles to meet demand
The campus of the largest university in the world, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in southern Delhi, is surprisingly small and modest. Down the road, however, construction workers heave bricks at a building site, and across the Indian countryside, satellite campuses are cropping up, writes Sarah Garland for The Hechinger Report.
Teenagers fail in fees challenge
Two teenagers who want to go to university have failed in their High Court bid to overturn regulations introducing the coalition government's proposed increase in tuition fees, writes John Aston for The Independent.
University access tsar will be monitored – Minister
David Willetts, the universities minister, has promised that the new controversial access tsar will be monitored by a parliamentary select committee and "called to account" for his decisions, reports The Telegraph.
University apologises for violent campus protests
The University of KwaZulu-Natal has apologised to its students and their parents for the violent protests that have rocked its Westville campus. It also pledged to look into accusations that its security guards had been heavy-handed in attempting to suppress the mass action, writes Leanne Jansen for The Mercury.
Country signs higher education agreement with Cuba
The South African Department of Higher Education and Training has signed an agreement with Cuba that will see both countries undertake exchange programmes among tertiary institutions, reports the official Bua News.
Private universities call for end to red tape
Private universities are lobbying the Ministry of Education to increase efficiency in handling paperwork. The request was made by 10 proprietors and rectors of private universities, under their umbrella body the Rwanda Association of Private Institutions of Higher Education during a meeting with Minister of Education Dr Vincent Biruta, reports Ivan R Mugisha for The New Times.
University fined for lax admissions standards
Bar-Ilan University was fined by the Council of Higher Education last week for admitting students without bachelor degrees to graduate programmes. The council's oversight and enforcement committee rejected Bar-Ilan's appeal of an earlier decision to forbid any special exceptions for students without bachelor degrees from applying to advanced programmes, writes Talila Nesher for Haaretz.
Gujarat University head arrested on atrocity charge
Gujarat University Vice-chancellor Dr Parimal Trivedi was arrested last week in a three-year old atrocity case filed against him by a college professor. A local court later granted him conditional bail after asking him to furnish a Rs25,000 (US$509) bond and surrender his passport, writes Mahesh Trivedi for Khaleej Times.
Company promotes outsourcing work to academics
A company that employs researchers to work on a complex problem can instead outsource it to scientists and researchers from top Indian academic institutions to find a solution. That's what Xerox India Research, the youngest global research lab of the US$22-billion leading company, is doing, writes TE Raja Simhan for The Hindu Business Line.
The future of academic publishing
These are the most uncertain times in living memory for academic publishing. After decades of bumping along with an antique publishing model, researchers have suddenly woken up and found that they are strong. More than 4,700 have signed a pledge not to write, review or edit for Elsevier journals, in a movement The Economist has called the Academic Spring. How did we get here? asks Mike Taylor in The Independent.
Professor retention a major challenge for universities
Attracting and retaining the world's brightest students is on the mind of every university official. But a new, unprecedented study in the journal Science suggests leaders in higher education face an understated, even more pressing challenge: the retention of professors, reports Science Codex.
Innovation: The best and worst of times
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." The opening line of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities is perhaps an apt description of the status of innovation in China today. In terms of political stability and research funding, few would argue that China is in "the best of times", free from the upheavals and setbacks that checkered the first 30 years of the modern People's Republic of China, writes Cong Cao for China Daily.
Private universities multiply to meet demand
Hundreds of private colleges and universities have opened in China in the past decade in response to soaring demand for higher education. The private institutions offer millions of students a no-frills education and a better shot at a paycheck after graduation as China continues its quest to gain influence in the world economy, writes Sarah Butrymowicz for The Washington Post.