21 August 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
SOUTH AFRICA: Team to probe Mangosuthu university
South Africa's Education Minister Naledi Pandor has appointed a crack team to investigate the running of Durban's Mangosuthu University of Technology after its vice-chancellor, Aaron Ndlovu, was sent on forced leave, comments the Mail & Guardian. Former council chair of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and academic, Vincent Maphai, will serve as an independent assessor after "discrepancies" in Ndlovu's leadership were uncovered.
CANADA: Asian immigrants' kids most likely to get degrees
Children of Asian immigrant parents have the highest rate of university completion in Canada, more than double the rate of other ethnicities, Canadian-born or otherwise, says a Statistics Canada study. CBC News reports that university completion rates were 65% for youth of immigrant parents from China and India. Among children of Canadian-born parents, the rate was about 28%.
CANADA: Ministers launch new foreign student effort
Provincial education ministers are banding together under one national brand in a bid to attract more foreign students to study and possibly stay in Canada, reports Canada Press. The brand - a stylised red maple leaf with a bilingual slogan that says "Imagine education in Canada" - was revealed last week at a meeting of education ministers in Fredericton.
SINGAPORE: Plans to attract 150,000 international students
Singapore has chalked out an ambitious plan to attract over 150,000 international students to its universities and educational institutions by 2015, reports The Hindu. There are currently 90,000 foreign students from 120 countries in in Singapore.
US: Economy down, aid applications up
Jim Belvin has seen this movie before, writes Jack Stripling in Inside Higher Ed. As a long-time director of financial aid at Duke University, Belvin recalls a number of past economic downturns that caught families off guard, and invariably they've turned to his office for help. "I've always referred to the financial aid office as the canary in the economic mine," said Belvin. This year, Duke saw a 6% increase in the number of students who said they intended to apply for need-based aid. While Belvin speculates that only about 1% of the new applicants will ultimately qualify for institutional aid, the increase reflects growing anxiety among students and their families amid a period of economic turmoil.
US: Students could hold keys to White House
It is voter registration day on the campus of Kutztown university in Pennsylvania and a small but dogged group of students are trying to persuade classmates to sign up for the November presidential election, writes Ed Pilkington in The Guardian. Ostensibly, the voter drive is non-partisan, but it is clear from flyers on the table this group backs Barack Obama. They are part of the Students4Obama movement that has swept through more than 700 campuses across America in a revival of youth engagement that could be decisive on polling day.
UK: Record increase in part-time students
Universities have been recruiting record numbers of part-time students to meet the government's target of getting 50% of young adults into higher education by 2010, reports Anthea Lipsett in The Guardian. Part-time enrolments at undergraduate level have grown more rapidly than full-time students in the past 10 years and now make up nearly half of the student population, according to the latest trends report from Universities UK.
UK: Universities should teach basic skills
Universities should teach students about the world of work because many lack the ability to "get up in the morning", according to business leaders, reports The Telegraph. Some universities have already launched courses to drill undergraduates in skills needed in the workplace, such as team-building, writing CVs and impressing in interviews.
VIETNAM: Universities boom leads to staff shortage
The rapid increase in numbers of institutions of higher learning in Vietnam cities over the last few years has sparked concerns about the quality of education and training, according to local educators, reports Vietnam News. Speaking at a conference in Hanoi for newly-established private universities and colleges, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thien Nhan said there was a severe shortage in teaching staff at these schools even as new institutes were being established.
INDONESIA: Privatised universities may spark classism
A proposed bill to advance the privatisation of top universities in Indonesia may lead to classism and conflict, as higher tuition fees will prevent underprivileged students from undergoing higher education, reports The Jakarta Post.
ISRAEL: Universities to set own tuition fee level
The Council for Higher Education announced last week that it will allow universities to determine their own individual tuition fees this coming academic year, until the government passes legislation regulating it, reports Ynetnews. This means that each university will be able to decide whether or not to raise its tuition fee level next year, or leave it unchanged. But students have threatened to launch protests if fees go up.
US: Gates accepting proposals for bold research
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that it is now accepting grant proposals for the second round of Grand Challenges Explorations, a five-year US$100 million initiative to encourage "bold and unconventional research" on new global health solutions.
US: Pennsylvania snuffs out campus smoking
With virtually no warning, smoking at 14 of Pennsylvania's state-owned universities has been banned anywhere on campus - even outdoors - reports Associated Press. The action has sparked protests around the state by some of the 110,000 students in the higher education system, who received word of the ban by e-mail last Wednesday, a day before a new state law forbidding smoking in most workplaces and public spaces took effect.
UK: University role is not social justice: Cambridge
Universities should not be expected to promote social justice, the vice-chancellor of Cambridge has said, igniting a debate over the role of universities, reports The Telegraph. Professor Alison Richard said the growing stature of universities in Britain had "encouraged meddling" from the government, which was putting academic standards at risk.
US: Bayh-Dole patent act under scrutiny
The law of unintended consequences is perhaps less a 'law' than a simple statement of fact: we cannot accurately predict all the results of our actions, writes Anet Rae-Dupree in the New York Times. We may do something with the best of intentions, and sometimes even accomplish the good toward which we aim. Yet, at the same time, we are all too often surprised by results that didn't occur to us beforehand. The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 (aka the University Small Business Patent Procedures Act) started out with the best of intentions - but now it is under scrutiny by swelling ranks of critics.
US: Kent State faculty get bonuses to meet goals
Kent State University is offering financial bonuses to professors if they help student retention numbers and attract more research dollars, an incentive usually given to school presidents and top administrators, reports Associated Press.
US: Diverse medical schools = stronger doctors
Medical students who attend racially and ethnically diverse medical schools say they are better equipped to care for patients in a diverse society, reports a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Led by the University of California, Los Angeles, Higher Education Research Institute, the research is the first to examine the link between medical school diversity and educational benefits, reports Science Daily.
VIETNAM: Universities must produce 20,000 PhDs
When Vietnam released its seventh draft outlining national strategies to develop the country's education from 2008 to 2020 at an August conference in Hanoi, some experts said the plan was simply a wish list, reports Thanh Nien Daily. Among the 11 solution packages to boost the education system in the next decade, two goals aim to make Vietnam's higher education more internationally competitive - to produce 20,000 doctorates, and to have at least 30% of university academics PhD graduates in 2020.
AUSTRALIA: Academics in freedom rally
A national campaign to promote academic freedom was launched last week, with the academics' union calling on universities and vice-chancellors to stand by their staff and protect the vital role they play in public commentary, reports The Age.
NIGERIA: Nearly three dozen universities illegal
The National Universities Commission recently announced the existence of 33 illegal universities in Nigeria, reports Punch. In May, the NUC had declared 16 of these institutions illegal and warned people against patronising them. Also declared illegal were unlicensed satellite campuses, outreach campuses and study centres countrywide. The universities' regulatory body further stated that it had not approved any offshore universities, and that five owners of such institutions had been arrested and were being prosecuted to dissuade others.
SOUTH AFRICA: Intellectual property laws being drafted
The Department of Science and Technology is drafting legislation that will encourage the development of local intellectual property by providing public funding, reports ITWeb. The legislation will also ensure the country and innovators will benefit from intellectual property being developed into commercial products.
UGANDA: Minister calls for more education funding
Higher Education Minister Gabriel Opio has called for more investment in higher education, saying it plays a vital role in development, reports New Vision.
"The way forward is to accept that higher education is critical to our future. Therefore, it should be made a major area of national investment," he said.
WALES: Shame on high-tech university cheats
Around 1,600 students have been caught cheating at Welsh universities in the last three years, a new study has revealed, reports Western Mail. The majority were found guilty of plagiarism while dozens of others were caught cheating in the exam hall.
UK: University test fails to help poorer pupils
A US-style intelligence test seen by government advisers as helping disadvantaged youngsters get into university actually favours white boys from grammar schools, research has found, reports The Independent.
UK: Further education students less satisfied
Students at further education colleges are less satisfied with their courses than their university counterparts, research has suggested, reports The Press Association. More than half (58%) of students at further education colleges said their courses were well organised and running smoothly, compared with 71% of those at university, the annual National Student survey showed.