30 April 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
INDIA: University fees may be hiked
Students enrolling for higher education in India may have to pay higher fees on a par with school fees, despite opposition from the human resource development ministry, reports Hindustan Times. The University Grants Commission has constituted a committee to examine a proposal to charge fees to meet up to 20% of university expenses.
INDIA: Most graduates unemployable, says Kalam
Skills deficiencies among graduating students is higher education’s biggest challenge, according to former President APJ Abdul Kalam, reports The Hindu.
KENYA: Student loans go to the rich
University loans do not benefit deserving students, a minister has claimed. Assistant education minister Dr Kilemi Mwiria said 97% of students who applied for loans were successful – but many came from rich families, while Kenya’s loans scheme was supposed to support students from impoverished families, report The Nation.
UK: Challenge extremism in debate, says Rammell
Universities must challenge violent extremism through open debate but accept that security requires limits to personal freedom, higher education minister Bill Rammell has urged, reports Education Guardian.
UK: Clashes as Holocaust denier appears at Oxford
Angry protesters clashed with police on Monday before an Oxford University student debate on free speech at which convicted Holocaust denier David Irving had been invited to speak, reports Reuters.
US: Calm down the intellectual rights frenzy
“Universities frequently spend considerable time (and enrich plenty of lawyers) worrying about the intellectual property implications of collaborations with businesses.
US: Professor pleads guilty to wife manslaughter
An Ivy League professor has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, for beating his wife to death with a chin-up bar as she wrapped Christmas presents last year, telling a judge he "just lost it" during an argument, reports Associated Press.
CANADA: Strikers reject university offer
Despite striking union members voting 85% to reject a University of Saskatchewan contract offer, university president Peter MacKinnon says he still believes workers’ pay increases should be tied to performance on the job, reports The Star Phoenix.
SAUDI ARABIA: Malaysians to help set up open learning
The Ministry of Higher Education has sought the collaboration of a Malaysian company in setting up an open university in the Kingdom, reports Arab News. Also, around 600 Saudi students are expected to pursue higher education in Malaysian universities at the by the end of this year.
SOUTH AFRICA: Law degree quality questioned
Concerns over the declining quality of law graduates are fuelling calls from top legal minds to probe the reintroduction of a five-year LLB degree, reports the Mail and Guardian. A top judge said there had been many complaints, including from the judiciary, that “standards are not as they used to be”.
NIGERIA: More must access higher education
N igeria should aspire to give 20% of eligible candidates access to higher education by 2020, according to former executive secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Peter Okebukola, reports This Day. Currently the country's higher education participation rate is only 8% of the eligible population.
SOUTH AFRICA: Wits starts first writer residency
Residence programmes are the best breeding grounds for good literature around the world - and the first South African university-based writers' residency programme has just been established, reports The Weekender. Pumla Gqola, associate professor of literary, cultural and media studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, and her colleague Thembinkosi Goniwe are spearheading the Wits Humanities Writers Residency.
US: Breakthrough could boost stem cell research
Rival scientists in Japan and the United States have announced that they successfully turned human tissue, rather than embryos, into cells that behave like embryonic stem cells. The research seems certain to accelerate the pace of stem cell research, and could lead the Bush administration to re-think its virtual ban on funding for this controversial field, reports the Boston Globe.
US: Man who helped start stem cell war may end it
If the stem cell wars are indeed nearly over, no one will savour the peace more than James A Thomson. Interviewed by the New York Times, he said he had ethical concerns about embryonic research from the outset, even though he knew that it offered insights into human development and the potential for powerful new treatments for disease.
UK: China the next higher education superpower
While the US is still the global higher education ‘superpower’, China now has the largest higher education system in the world and awards more university degrees than the US and India combined, reports the BBC from the Worldwide Universities Network conference in London.
UK: Union slams short contact ‘blight’
A University and College Union survey of research jobs in UK universities has shown that short-term contracts remain the norm for staff beginning their careers, report the Education Guardian. No less than 96.5% of the posts were found to be fixed-term.
SCOTLAND: Hopes raised for extra funding
The Scottish Government has moved to quell the growing storm over university funding by saying that ministers were “sympathetic” towards giving extra money to the sector, reports The Herald. Universities had slated low higher education funding levels in the new Scottish budget.
CANADA: Iraqi professors pick up new skills
The University of Alberta is part of a new United Nations project, called the Teacher Training Network for Iraq, that is designed to help rebuild education system in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation, reports the Globe and Mail.
DUBAI: Business slams higher education
Business leaders have vented their frustration at the region's higher education system, accusing colleges and universities of producing graduates ill-equipped to diversify the region's oil dependent economy, reports Gulf News.
AFRICA: Knowledge transfer partnerships underway
An Africa Knowledge Transfer Partnerships project, which the British Council is piloting in four African countries, is designed to help businesses improve their competitiveness through access to knowledge, technology and skills available in higher education, reports Business Day. The pilot projects are scheduled for Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.
US: International student at Chicago shot
Students stood in a circle on the campus quadrangle at the University of Chicago and held slender white candles as they remembered a gentle graduate student from Senegal who was killed weeks before he was to receive his doctorate, reports the New York Times.
SOUTH AFRICA: Campuses hit by crime
The Universities of Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal have been shocked by violent incidents in which a commercial law professor was murdered by robbers and an American international student was raped in a residence shower, reports Independent Online.
INDIA: Government boosts HE funding
Higher and technical education is to receive Rs840 billion (US$21.4 billion) in the Indian government’s 11th Five Year Plan, according to the Planning commission. There are to be major changes to higher education, and 30 new universities, reports The Times of India.
UK: OECD plans to measure teaching
Working out what students and taxpayers get for the money they spend on universities is a tricky business, reports The Economist. Now the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is planning to make the task a bit easier, by producing the first international comparison of how successfully universities teach.
UK: Universities should be greener
With a single medium-sized British university responsible for more than 12,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, the need for academics to do more than just study the problem of climate change was raised last week by the University and College Union, reports Education Guardian.