22 August 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
SOUTH AFRICA: New body to coordinate artisan training
South Africa's Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande last week launched a National Artisan Moderation Body that will coordinate artisan training countrywide for the first time since sectoral education and training authorities were established in 2000, writes Sue Blaine for Business Day. Estimates are that the country needs to produce 20,000 to 25,000 artisans a year but only trains between 8,000 and 10,000.
BANGLADESH: 32 universities get innovation fund
Thirty-two universities in Bangladesh will get grants from the Academic Innovation Fund provided by the World Bank through the University Grants Commission by next month, Mizan Rahman reports for Gulf Times. Among the universities, 29 are public and three are in the private sector, officials of the Education Ministry said.
RUSSIA: Scientists protest luring foreign researchers
Russian scientists and university researchers are protesting a Kremlin effort to attract scientists from overseas to work in Russia, saying the government should raise the wages it pays to Russians instead, writes Anna Nemtsova for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
PHILIPPINES: Protests erupt over university funding cuts
Students, academics and officials of state universities in the Philippines on Thursday protested against a billion-peso (US$25 million) cut to the budgets of state universities and colleges, reports ABS-CBN.
INDONESIA: Mixed reviews for private universities
Motorbikes deliver students - some with helmets over their head-scarves, others with laptops slung across their shoulders - down the wide, tree-lined boulevard, past the mosque's gold dome, around a fenced-off excavation site where a ninth-century Hindu temple was uncovered this year, and onto the campus of the Islamic University of Indonesia, writes Liz Gooch for The New York Times.
INDIA: Top universities improve research index scores
At a time when scientific and research agencies are worried about fewer academics taking up research, it comes as a surprise that most of the top 50 Indian universities have remarkably improved their H-index scores in the latest rankings by the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies in New Delhi, writes D Suresh Kumar for The Times of India.
INDIA: 44 million higher education students in 10 years
India's higher education enrolment will increase to 44 million from the current 14 million in a decade, the central government said recently. Private players, distance education and foreign education providers will play key roles in ensuring this growth, reports LiveMint.
US: Low graduation rates at for-profit colleges
A new report on graduation rates at for-profit colleges by a non-profit research and advocacy group charges that such colleges deliver "little more than crippling debt", citing federal data that suggests only 9% of the first-time, full-time bachelor degree students at the University of Phoenix, the nation's largest for-profit college, graduate within six years, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
US: AIDS-tainted razors sent to animal researcher
The FBI and University of California at Los Angeles police are investigating a new round of threats from anti-animal research activists who claimed to have sent AIDS-tainted razor blades and a threatening message to a research professor, a university spokesman said on Tuesday, writes Michael Martinez for CNN.
US: Yale set to return 4,000 Inca treasures to Peru
As Peru counts down to the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Machu Picchu by the American explorer Hiram Bingham, thousands of artefacts taken from the breathtaking lost city of the Incas could soon be returned to the country, writes Stephen Foley for The Independent.
SOUTH AFRICA: University divided on affirmative action
The University of Cape Town was once a citadel of white privilege on the majestic slopes of Devil's Peak. At the height of apartheid, it admitted few black or mixed-race students, and they were barred from campus dormitories, even forbidden to attend medical school postmortems on white corpses, writes Celia W Dugger for The New York Times.
IRELAND: Country looks to academe to re-ignite economy
In an audio-research lab strewn with guitars, Dan Barry and his colleagues at the Dublin Institute of Technology fiddle with a computerised tool that can comb the Irish Traditional Music Archive and locate a jig by its tempo or other traits. An Irish company has already licensed the technology, and the researchers are hoping other companies will follow suit, writes Goldie Blumenstyk for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
UK: Aimhigher brought down by coalition axe
A national programme that aims to widen participation in higher education in the UK is to be scrapped, writes Rebecca Attwood for Times Higher Education. Speaking at a Universities UK conference in London last week, David Willetts, the universities and science minister, said funding for the Aimhigher programme would cease next year.
CHINA: Top universities to use common entrance exam
Seven prestigious universities in China announced last Sunday that they would begin using the same independent examination - besides the national one - to test students hoping to gain entrance to them in 2011, reports the official Xinhua agency.
CHINA: Seven universities to assist Tibet University
Seven of China's inland universities, including Peking University, signed 'pairing' assistance agreements in Beijing with Tibet University on 21 November, reports the Chinese government newspaper People's Daily.
SWEDEN: Universities suffer enrolment drop
The number of first-time students in Sweden's universities declined in the autumn session overall, but the number of new students from other countries increased ahead of the introduction of tuition fees for non-EU students next year, reports The Local.
AFRICA: Reclaim the African academy
African higher education needs to move away from traditional, and unequal, north-south partnerships and forge ties with new partners to truly counter the African brain drain, writes Professor Johann Groenewald, a flagship projects coordinator for Stellenbosch University's graduate school and the African Doctoral Academy, in The Sunday Times.
GLOBAL: Questionable science behind academic rankings
For institutions that regularly make the Top 10, the autumn announcement of university rankings is an occasion for quiet self-congratulation, writes DD Guttenplan for The New York Times. When Cambridge beat Harvard for the number one spot in the QS World University Rankings this September, Cambridge put out a press release. When Harvard topped the Times Higher Education list a week later, it was Harvard's turn to gloat.
RUSSIA: Poor rankings performance riles universities
Russian universities are seething after failing to win international recognition in a year when the country has been galvanised by Kremlin calls for modernisation, writes Alexandra Odynova for The Moscow Times. So angry are they that some are calling for the creation of Russia's own university ranking system.
GLOBAL: Science's fight to win over climate sceptics
This was simply "the worst scientific scandal of a generation" - a bid by researchers to hoodwink the public over global warming and hide evidence showing fossil fuels were not really heating up our planet. These were the dramatic claims made by newspapers, websites and blogs across the globe a year ago, following the hacking of emails from a computer at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, writes Robin McKie for The Observer.
US: 30 college presidents topped $1-million in 2008
Nearly four decades after Bernard Lander founded Touro College with a class of 35 students, the trustees decided that he had been underpaid during his tenure as president, writes Andrea Fuller for The Chronicle of Higher Education. To make up for the difference, they awarded him more than US $4-million in deferred compensation in 2008, making him the highest-earning private college president in the 2008-09 fiscal year.
US: Big win for undocumented students
The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld a state statute affording some undocumented students in-state tuition status, overturning an earlier decision by an appellate court last Monday, writes David Moltz for Inside Higher Ed. California is one of only 10 American states in which undocumented students are eligible to pay in-state tuition.
CROATIA: University legislation ignites stormy debate
Over the past few months, the academic and scientific communities of Croatia have been voicing displeasure with proposed revisions to national legislation governing the country's universities and science organisations, writes Mico Tatalovic for Science. Critics have argued that the changes would take away university autonomy and freedom of scientific expression because universities and research priorities would come under direct governmental control.
INDIA: Plans for major survey of higher education
A country getting younger has decided to map its youth population. From who is in college and who has been left out and why, to which student earned a scholarship, to which candidate graduated from where - a kind of pan-India census would plot the lives and performance of all those attached to the higher education sector - reports The Times of India.
UK: 'Xenophobic' students shun foreign universities
British students may be shunning foreign universities because of "innate xenophobia", according to a report, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph. Research published last week suggests that Britain's "history of colonial mastery and insularity" could be preventing people taking higher education courses abroad.