23 August 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
University makes indigenous language study compulsory
A prominent university in South Africa will make learning the Zulu language compulsory for all incoming students starting next year, the first time ever that the country’s higher education sector has made such a move to impose the teaching of an indigenous African language, writes Palash Ghosh for International Business Times.
IT expert jailed for Oxford and Cambridge cyber attacks
A man who used his IT expertise to launch cyber attacks on the websites of Oxford and Cambridge universities has been jailed for two years, reports the Press Association.
Hollande’s higher education reforms face test
François Hollande’s embattled administration faces a major test this month as it attempts to push sweeping changes to higher education through the French parliament, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.
SAT scandal shines spotlight on academic competition
The recent cancellation of US college entrance exams in South Korea – the first time SAT tests have been called off nationwide anywhere in the world for suspected cheating – is throwing the spotlight on the country's hyper-competitive academic environment, writes Jeyup S Kwaak for The Wall Street Journal.
Myanmar's educators reach out to the world
Yangon Technological University has come a long way since it was the site of anti-government student protests in 1988 that eventually spread across Myanmar. The campus has been refurbished and a sense of normality is beginning to return. One important question is how the university is going to forge links with the outside world, writes Lara Farrar for The New York Times.
Government to send 10,000 students abroad
Problems in Libya’s higher education system, which is plagued by overcrowding and poor teaching standards, have prompted the government to send thousands of promising students abroad to complete their studies, reports the Libya Herald.
US and Mexico forge higher education partnership
US President Barack Obama and Mexico's President Pena Nieto have announced a partnership to expand economic opportunities for citizens of both countries and to develop a 21st century workforce for mutual economic prosperity, according to a statement from the US State Department, reports Celia Baker for Deseret News.
Eight new research tie-ups on the cards
At a summit in June, India and the US will announce eight new agreements between top research universities, in a bid to give fresh impetus to their education diplomacy under the US$10 million Singh Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, reports One India.
MIT and Russia team up to open a graduate school
During the Cold War, Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists produced ideas and inventions, such as distant early-warning radar and satellite-tracking systems, to help the United States prevail over the Soviet Union. Today, MIT is working with the Russians, not against them, writes Oliver Staley for Bloomberg News.
University secures key China partnership
Australia's top ‘China Ready’ university, the University of New South Wales, has signed the latest in a series of strategic partnerships with China's National Academy of Education Administration, cementing the Sydney-based university as China's premier higher learning partner from Down Under, reports Xinhau.
Furore grows over Hawking’s Israel boycott
Celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking became embroiled in a growing furore last week over his decision to boycott a prestigious conference in Israel in protest over the state's occupation of Palestine, write Harriet Sherwood, Matthew Kalman and Sam Jones for the Guardian.
University reform to hurt students
The Australian government’s recent proposed cuts to university funding and student loans will cost universities A$1 billion (US$1,02 billion) a year by 2017 and make it harder for people to balance study and work, the chief of the peak body for Australian universities said last week, write Bella Counihan and Sunanda Creagh for The Conversation.
Universities step up fundraising campaigns
The University of Sydney has amassed more than A$300 million (US$306.5 million) in philanthropic donations since quietly embarking on a $600 million fundraising campaign in 2008. The university announced the result at a dinner to mark the going-public phase of its campaign, write Sarah-Jane Collins and Daniel Hurst for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Colleges offer discount to entice students
Private non-profit colleges in America are offering students tuition fee discounts of 45%, on average, in response to a changing financial environment that stems from the weak economic recovery, writes Janet Lorin for Bloomberg News.
Coursera tests new textbook partnerships
Massive open online courses company Coursera last week announced a pilot programme with several education publishers, who will make some of their e-textbook content available free to students while they take an online Coursera class, writes Ellis Booker for InformationWeek.
Call to give students more say in governance
Academics and students should have more say over how much university principals get paid, according to the chair of an influential report on the sector, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.
Loan policy forcing some off black campuses
A change in US federal education loan policies has left many students at some of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities struggling to fill a gap in their financial aid and is forcing hundreds to leave, writes Renee Schoof for The Washington Post.
Microsoft connects universities with broadband
Microsoft has announced a TV white spaces pilot project in Tanzania to provide affordable wireless broadband access to university students and faculty. The IT giant has tied up with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology and UhuruOne to provide affordable broadband access to students and faculty in Dar es Salaam, reports Telecom Lead.
Students call for boosting grant, not loan, schemes
Students across Europe have called for more investment in higher education grant systems, rather than the introduction of a new loan scheme as the European Commission has proposed, reports Malta Today.
Four die in latest round of university clashes
Four people at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University died of gunshot wounds and 25 were injured when an armed fight broke out between students last Monday at the Maan-based university, also resulting in the suspension of classes, reports The Jordan Times.
Court convicts students in veil standoff
A Tunisian court last Thursday convicted two veiled students of destroying public property in the office of a university dean they accused of slapping one of them. The court dropped the case against the dean of the faculty of humanities at Manouba University, ruling that there was no proof of an assault, reports Associated Press.
Faculty backlash against online courses
San Jose State University has publicly committed to using online courses to bring in more students – and bring down costs – but its philosophy department is balking. Faculty members issued a blistering statement last week about why they will not use materials from an online course called “Justice”, taught by academic superstar Michael Sandel of Harvard, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
University heads doubtful of MOOCs’ benefits
It would be easy to think that the leaders of American higher education are all in when it comes to MOOCs. But it turns out that, when asked privately, most presidents don't seem at all sure that MOOCs are going to transform student learning, or reduce costs to students – two of the claims made by MOOC enthusiasts and an increasing number of politicians and pundits, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
Jimmy Wales: Boring university lectures 'are doomed'
The boring university lecture is going to be the first major casualty of the rise in online learning in higher education, says Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. The custodian of the world's biggest online encyclopaedia says that unless universities respond to the rising tide of online courses, new major players will emerge to displace them, in the way that Microsoft arrived from nowhere alongside the personal computer, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.
Coursera to offer new MOOC options for teachers
A leading platform for the popular massive open online courses offered by elite universities is moving into a new realm – the expansive field of continuing education for teachers, writes Justin Pope for Associated Press.