20 April 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
US: California dreamer
Much of the news surrounding the University of California system has involved whether the network of universities will be able to survive its current budgetary crisis without shrinking in size or quality, writes Steve Kolowich for Inside Higher Ed. In that context, it is no surprise that Christopher Edley Jr's plan to use online education to expand the university's footprint "from Kentucky to Kuala Lumpur" has turned some heads – and churned some stomachs.
US: Getting into medical school without hard sciences
For generations of pre-med students, three things have been as certain as death and taxes: organic chemistry, physics and the Medical College Admission Test, known by its dread-inducing acronym, the MCAT, writes Anemona Hartocollis for The New York Times. So it came as a shock to Elizabeth Adler when she discovered that one of America's top medical schools admits a small number of students every year who have skipped all three requirements.
BANGLADESH: VAT withdrawn from students' tuition fees
Bangladesh's Finance Minister AMA Muhith last week ruled out the possibility of exempting non-government universities from 15% income tax and other taxes in the current fiscal year, reports The New Nation. The tax charges sparked student protests late last month.
ICELAND: Probe into role of universities in recession
Icelandic Minister for Education and Culture, Katrin Jakobsdottir, has provided a small grant to help investigate the role of Icelandic universities in the country's economic collapse, reports Ice News.
US: Academic outcomes of study abroad
In 2000, US researchers began an ambitious effort to document the academic outcomes of study abroad across the 35-institution University System of Georgia, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed. Ten years later, they've found that students who study abroad have improved academic performance on returning to their home campus, higher graduation rates and improved knowledge of cultural practices and context compared to students in control groups.
US-INDONESIA: Obama begins rebuilding academic ties
US President Barack Obama has postponed travel to Indonesia, his childhood home, three times since taking office, the latest visit sidelined in June by the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, writes Karin Fischer for The Chronicle of Higher Education. But a "comprehensive partnership" to deepen relations between the two countries is steaming ahead, one that has as a critical tenet the expansion of higher-education ties.
BANGLADESH: Parliament passes private university bill
Bangladesh's parliament last weekend passed a bill providing detailed rules for establishing private universities, their proper management and improving education quality, reports The Financial Express.
CHINA: 'Elites' accused of fabricating degrees
The resumes of about 100 Chinese 'elites' have been revised on Hudong Wiki, a pilot Chinese-language encyclopedia website, after the former president of Microsoft China, Tang Jun, was accused of fabricating his academic credentials, writes Chen Jia for Xinhaunet.
PAKISTAN: Problems in identifying fake degree holders
Pakistan's Higher Education Commission, or HEC, is experiencing difficulties in identifying parliamentary and provincial assembly politicians holding fake degrees, even after sending the degree documents for verification to universities across the country, writes Adnan Lodhi for the Daily Times.
UK: Treasury examines possibility of graduate tax
The Treasury is examining the possibility of introducing a graduate tax for students rather than raising the tuition fee cap, writes Patrick Wintour for the Guardian. Its work is at a preliminary stage, with Lord Browne's report on how to finance higher education due in the autumn.
UK: Nobel winners' protest halts funding change
The government has put on hold controversial plans to re-work the way England's university science research is funded, writes Hannah Richardson for BBC News. Thousands of academics, including Nobel prize winners, campaigned against them, saying they would lead to major discoveries being missed.
SAUDI ARABIA: Research chairs boost knowledge economy
Saudi universities have established more than 200 research chairs with the support of individuals and private organizations as part of efforts to transform the Kingdom into a knowledge economy, writes PK Abdul Ghafour for Arab News.
CANADA: Companies to help solve student housing woes
Canadian universities are turning to the private sector to solve their campus housing problems, writes Steve Ladurantaye for The Globe and Mail. They are looking at adopting an American trend that has seen dozens of schools partner with private equity firms to construct buildings that fill the need for student living and also provide investors with the types of returns generally associated with apartment complexes.
JAPAN: Thousands delay graduation to try to find jobs
At least 79,000 senior university students are believed to have intentionally stayed in school an extra year so they have a better chance of finding a job, a Yomiuri Shimbun survey has found. Because the mass employment of new graduates by major corporations is still rooted in tradition, many senior students unsuccessful in finding work are repeating a year to engage in job-hunting activities as new graduates.
CHINA: Students still look to Britain despite limits
A controversial plan by the British coalition government to cap the number of skilled immigrants from non-EU countries seems unlikely to stop enthusiastic Chinese from pursuing higher education in the UK, write Ma Liyao and Zhang Haizhou for Xinhuanet.
US: California online degree rattles academics
Taking online higher education courses is, to many, like eating at McDonalds: convenient, fast and filling. You may not get filet mignon, but afterward you're just as full. Now the University of California wants to jump into online education for undergraduates, hoping to become America's first top-tier research institution to offer a degree over the internet comparable in quality to its prestigious campus programme, writes Nanette Asimov for the San Francisco Chronicle.
US: Google finances projects to test digital library
Google Inc is giving researchers nearly a half-million dollars to test the academic value of its rapidly growing online library, writes Michael Liedtke for Associated Press. The grants announced on Wednesday will help pay for 12 humanities projects studying questions that will require sifting through thousands of books to reach meaningful conclusions.
PUERTO RICO: Student victory unleashes backlash
As many Americans geared up for Fourth of July fireworks last weekend, the US territory of Puerto Rico roiled from a brutal civil rights showdown unleashed by a right-wing government seemingly hell-bent on destroying the recent, unprecedented victory of a two-month long student strike against privatisation of higher education at the University of Puerto Rico, writes Dr Maritza Stanchich for The Huffington Post.
DUBAI: Michigan shuts most of its branch campus
Michigan State University's branch campus in Dubai International Academic City says it is terminating all of its undergraduate programmes immediately, after losing millions of dollars since opening two years ago, writes Melanie Swan for The National. The move affects more than 100 undergraduate students and 24 staff and faculty in five subjects including business, media management and research, and computer and electrical engineering.
UK: 'Climategate' scientists cleared of dishonesty
The climate scientists at the centre of a media storm were cleared in the UK last week of accusations that they fudged their results and silenced critics to bolster the case for man-made global warming, writes David Adam for the Guardian.
CANADA: Universities see India as land of opportunity
In a rocky field dotted with mango trees, five minutes from southern India's gleaming new Hyderabad airport, Dezso Horvath sees a solution for Canadian universities struggling with limited public dollars, writes Elizabeth Church for The Globe and Mail. The York University business dean has struck a deal with a developer to build an outpost for the Schulich School of Business, making it one of the first foreign campuses in the world's fastest growing market for higher education.
TAIWAN: University improvement to continue: President
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou said on Monday that the government would honour its commitment to provide additional funding to upgrade the quality of local universities and enable them to join the world's top institutions, reports Channel News Asia.
BRAZIL: University growth eroded by drop-out rates
The average cost of tuition at Brazil's private universities has fallen by almost a third over the last 10 years, and the number of students has risen above five million for the first time, according to research by Semesp, an organisation of higher education institutes in the state of So Paulo, writes Andrew Downie for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
UK: Thousands of academic jobs on the line
Thousands of people working for universities in England could lose their jobs if ministers press ahead with 25% funding cuts, a union has warned, reports BBC News. Analysis by the University and College Union concluded that 22,584 jobs – academic and otherwise – would be lost. It warned that the quality of students' university experience would be reduced.
UK: Graduates warned of 70 applicants for every job
UK graduates are facing the most intense scramble in a decade to get a job this summer, as a poll of employers reveals the number of applications for each vacancy has surged to nearly 70 while the number of available positions is predicted to fall by nearly 7%, writes Jeevan Vasagar for the Guardian.