31 October 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
AUSTRALIA
Exam cheats outsmarting universities
Universities must keep pace with technology and the ability it offers students to cheat, an expert said after a student cheating scandal involving iPads, writes Jordanna Schriever for The Advertiser.
MALAYSIA
Private higher education costs on upward spiral
In 1980, it cost RM12,999 (US$4,050) to get a degree from a local private college or university in Malaysia. That price tag has gone up, reaching about RM50,000 today. Private higher education might be getting too expensive, write Tan Choe Choe, Arman Ahmad and Suzanna Pillay in New Straits Times.
AUSTRALIA
Universities push for ‘flexibility’ in fees
Two influential vice-chancellors have renewed their push for “flexibility” in university fees to boost funding for cash-strapped higher education institutions, writes Tim Dodd for Financial Review.
GLOBAL
Pearson to develop ‘efficacy framework’
Pearson will spend the next five years developing a framework to measure and publicly report its products’ efficacy and impact on learning outcomes, the education giant announced, writes Carl Straumsheim for Inside Higher Ed. Although its road map is incomplete today, Pearson says its push for efficacy will in a few years permeate every way in which the company does business.
VIETNAM
Businesses criticise university training quality
A research team headed by Nguyen Ngoc Phuong from the Ly Tu Trong Technique Junior College in Ho Chi Minh conducted a survey on the qualifications of university and junior college graduates by consulting automobile maintenance companies in the city. What the research team found in the survey may hurt institutions’ pride, reports VietNamNet Bridge.
BULGARIA
Anti-government protesters padlock university
Angry students chained and padlocked the doors to Bulgaria's largest university in Sofia last Monday, demanding the resignation of the embattled Socialist-backed government, reports AFP. "We declare total and effective occupation," the students announced on their Facebook page amid efforts to reignite the mass anti-poverty and anti-corruption protests that swept the country earlier this year.
UNITED KINGDOM
1994 Group of universities disbands
Britain’s 1994 Group of small research-intensive universities has decided to disband 19 years after being set up, writes Simon Baker for Times Higher Education. In a statement released by the board, the group says that although it “was not an easy decision to make”, the body had come to its “natural end point”.
UNITED STATES
New university ranking for Middle East, North Africa
The American publication US News & World Report plans to develop a university rankings guide for the Middle East-North Africa, or MENA, region within three years, writes Christina Maria Paschyn for Al-Fanar Media.
INDIA
Higher education swamped by temporary teachers
Although it is a college recognised by India’s University Grants Commission, or UGC, only the two top earners in the economics faculty at Khaira College get UGC-prescribed pay scales, writes Subodh Varma for The Times of India. This story is repeated across the country.
TURKEY
New regulations target more student freedoms
Amid ongoing public debate over the Turkish government’s intention to intrude in the private lives of university students, new amendments to Higher Education Board, or YÖK, regulations will give students new headaches as they could be suspended from university during a legal probe, reports Hurriyet Daily News.
GREECE
Government poised to force universities to reopen
As a strike by administrative staff at Athens University and the National Technical University of Athens continues into its 10th week, placing the studies of thousands of students in jeopardy, the government is considering forcing the employees back to work by issuing civil mobilisation orders, reports Kathimerini.
UNITED STATES
Universities say sequester is hurting research
Federal budget sequestration is hitting public and private universities hard, with a new survey showing that 81% of institutions around the United States have been affected, writes Lynn O’Shaughnessy for CBS Moneywatch.
UNITED STATES
Can core values survive universities’ foreign expansion?
When outspoken economics professor Xia Yeliang was dismissed by Peking University last month, 136 faculty members at Wellesley College, an elite all-women's school outside Boston, took it personally, writes Peter Ford for Christian Science Monitor.
UNITED STATES
New council to develop standards for online learning
Carnegie Mellon University is convening a high-powered consortium of educators, researchers and technology-company executives that will spearhead efforts to develop standards and promote best practices in online education, writes Megan O’Neil for the Chronicle of Higher Education.
SWITZERLAND
University sacking sparks protest from abroad
About 600 academics from around the world have signed a petition asking for the reinstatement of Iris Ritzmann, a University of Zurich professor, after she was sacked amid accusations of giving confidential information to journalists concerning a colleague, reports http://Swissinfo.ch and agencies.
GHANA
Government to set up research fund
The National Council for Tertiary Education, or NCTE, said last week that it is working closely with universities and the Ministry of Education to set up a true research fund. The fund would be financed by Ghanaian taxpayers, reports Business Ghana.
UNITED KINGDOM
Edinburgh University to introduce US degree system
Long a staple of student banter, rhyming slang expressions such as the ‘Geoff Hurst’, ‘Attila the Hun’ and ‘Desmond Tutu’ – used to refer to first, 2:1 and 2:2 honours degrees – could be consigned to the dustbin if Edinburgh University’s radical pilot of the Grade Point Average system is successful, writes John-Paul Holden for Edinburgh News.
UNITED STATES
Michelle Obama edges into higher education policy role
Michelle Obama, after nearly five years of evangelising exercise and good eating habits, will begin a new initiative that seeks to increase the number of low-income students who pursue a college degree. The goals of the programme reflect the first lady’s own life and will immerse her more directly in her husband’s policies, writes Jennifer Steinhauer for The New York Times.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities cancel homophobic cleric’s visit
Universities in the United Kingdom have been forced to cancel a visit by a homophobic Muslim cleric after it emerged that he had preached that gay people were “worse than animals”, writes Miranda Prynne for The Telegraph.
UNITED STATES
Government teams with Coursera for global network
Coursera, a California-based venture that has enrolled five million students in its free online courses, recently announced a partnership with the United States government to create ‘learning hubs’ around the world, where students can go to get internet access to free courses supplemented by weekly in-person class discussions with local teachers or facilitators, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
MEXICO
Universities eye United States for expansion
In an ethnically themed shopping centre called Plaza Mexico, just south of Los Angeles, a public university from the Mexican state of Colima has planted its flag. Alongside the shopping centre’s stores and taquerias, Universidad de Colima offers mostly remedial education to about 100 adult Mexican immigrants. But a handful of students are also preparing to take final exams for Mexican degrees, just one of several recent efforts by Mexican universities to branch into providing fully fledged university education in the United States, writes Matt Krupnick for The Hechinger Report.
INDIA
Universities coached on how to improve rankings
Indian universities and institutes of higher education are now being coached on how to pitch for a place in the global top ranking lists, writes Smriti Kak Ramachandran for The Hindu.
AUSTRALIA
No streamlined visas for sub-degrees
Australia’s Abbott government has no plans to extend streamlined visa processing to sub-degree programmes, fearing that it would risk threatening immigration controls, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian.
SOUTH KOREA
North Korean top alumni gather in South Korea
Kim Il Sung University is the alma mater of most members of North Korea’s elite. Leader Kim Jong-un graduated from the 67-year-old institution named after his grandfather, the country’s founding leader. So did his father, Kim Jong-il. But there’s no alumni association for Kim Il Sung University in North Korea. In fact, such a thing would be a grievous breach of the law, reports the Korea JoongAng Daily.
UNITED KINGDOM
Cap on student tuition fees is 'unsustainable'
Ministers should consider increasing student tuition fees because the existing £9,000 (US$14,469) a year cap is “simply not sustainable”, the country’s leading vice-chancellor has warned, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.