23 October 2016 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
Universities sue president for not naming professors
Charles University and the University of Economics have filed a criminal complaint with the Prague Municipal Court against Czech President Milos Zeman for not appointing three nominated professors, reports CTK.
Loophole-ridden retirement system threatens HE
Having barely recovered from the protests over the history curriculum in July, the Ministry of Education finds itself under pressure again – this time over failing to prevent the undue influence of high-ranking officials who serve in positions at private universities right after their retirement, writes Christine Chou for The China Post.
English students pay world’s highest tuition fees
Students in England now pay, on average, the highest university tuition fees in the world, around six times more than those studying in Switzerland and Italy, and fees could rise even higher after it was announced universities could decide how much they charge if they can prove they offer good-quality teaching, writes Lucy Sherriff for The Huffington Post.
Leak shows president supported liberal scholar’s bid
The president of the University of Hong Kong showed support for Johannes Chan Man-mun shortly before the institution's governing body blocked him from taking up a key managerial post, a new recording of a key closed-door meeting in September leaked last week revealed, writes Stuart Lau for the South China Morning Post.
University chiefs punished for ‘hedonism and dishonesty’
Three Chinese university chiefs have been ‘named and shamed’ for allegedly engaging in illicit acts of “hedonism and dishonesty”. The punishments – the latest example of President Xi Jinping’s offensive against corruption within the Communist Party – were dished out to top officials at the Communication University of China, state media reported last week, writes Tom Phillips for the Guardian.
Job-hunting students report dirty dealing by employers
More than 60% of universities in Japan received complaints from students this year about a practice known as owahara, in which companies coerce applicants into halting their job hunt elsewhere in exchange for an informal offer of employment, reports JIJI.
More degrees from India to be recognised
The Malaysian government will take necessary actions to recognise more degree programmes from India, especially in information technology and engineering, reports Bernama.
Review proposes single agency for science funding
A government-commissioned review says United Kingdom science funding should be determined by a single independent agency. It argues this body should liaise with a committee of ministers, chaired by a senior cabinet figure, writes Pallab Ghosh for BBC News.
First gender-focused university to be established
The Kerala government is getting ready to set up a first-of-its-kind university in the country, exclusively for research-oriented studies related to gender, reports PTI.
University vice-chancellors' earnings 'out of control'
Revelations that leading academics in the UK are earning more than £600,000 (US$916,000) while other staff have seen their pay cut, is evidence that the benefits awarded to vice-chancellors are “completely out of control”, according to a universities union, writes Richard Adams for the Guardian.
Universities warned over alleged 'gaming' of rankings
Several universities are being threatened with tough penalties for allegedly providing data that would artificially boost their performance on prestigious research rankings used to allocate government funding, writes Matthew Knott for Sydney Morning Herald.
Students, staff still in limbo over university closures
Normally buzzing with youthful high energy, Professor Blas Dorta's biology classroom at the Central University of Venezuela is eerily quiet. The university has been closed by administrators since September because of what they say is insufficient government funding. So are nine other Venezuelan public universities, leaving a total of 380,000 students in limbo, write Mery Mogollon and Chris Kraul for Los Angeles Times.
Robot competes for top university places
Researchers in Japan are one step closer to their goal of getting an artificial intelligence accepted by Tokyo University. The artificial intelligence, called Todai Robot Project, has passed the standardised Japanese universities entrance exam with higher than average marks, making it clever enough to get into most Japanese universities, writes Cara McGoogan for Wired.
Inefficiencies take higher education to breaking point
A flawed higher education system has been an issue in Lithuania for many years, but the recent data and a growing discontent with inefficiencies in the higher education system among prominent education specialists, economists, students and the heads of the state, suggests it has reached a breaking point, reports Xinhua.
Universities to create Chinese-language academic index
Several universities in Taiwan and China signed an agreement last week, with the aim of establishing a system to index Chinese-language academic journals, write Stanley Cheung and Kay Liu for CNA.
Scottish universities branded ‘fundamentally unfair’
All Scottish universities should consider accepting poorer pupils with significantly lower grades than middle class applicants to address a "fundamental unfairness" in the system, according to a new government-backed commission, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.
Professor loses management job, allegedly over blog posts
A Chinese professor who was dismissed from his management position after writing social media posts that “critique social issues” has claimed that an academic rival reported him to the authorities, it has been reported, in a case that is fuelling fears over intellectual control by the ruling Communist Party, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.
University of Illinois and Salaita reach settlement
A professor who had his job offer rescinded over a series of tweets critical of Israel's 2014 bombardment of Gaza will receive US$600,000 plus legal costs under an agreement approved by University of Illinois trustees, report Al Jazeera and Associated Press.
Universities failing to commercialise research
A university’s performance is judged by its overall success in achieving primary goals, such as teaching and research. On that score Hong Kong’s publicly funded universities fulfil their mission reasonably well, but they are let down in one area – turning research into commercial applications, writes Elaine Yau for South China Morning Post.
Ministry introduces compulsory courses for universities
All government and private universities and higher education institutions will include ‘innovation and business leadership’ as part of their curriculum starting from January 2016, reports Emirates 24/7.
Universities need balance in accepting corporate money
More Canadian institutions will face controversy over the influence of donors on programmes if they do not rethink their relationship with private funders, warn academics who have studied the relationship between donations and educational institutions, writes Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.
University students divided over refugee resolution
The student government at the University of Southern California has been left divided over a resolution which will request the institution to set aside spaces and scholarships for Syrian refugees, with one member describing it as having ‘poor timing’, writes Aftab Ali for the Independent.
Ideological grip at odds with educational aims
A new government plan to create ‘world class’ universities in the coming decades could be undermined by the Communist Party's determination to keep a firm ideological grip over education, writes Li Jing for South China Morning Post.
Education department beefs up accreditation
The Department of Education unveiled a slate of executive actions it's taking to beef up accountability in the higher education accreditation system, which Education Secretary Arne Duncan said is filled with "watchdogs that don't bite", writes Lauren Camera for US News and World Report.
Journal impact factors ‘no longer credible’
Trickery by editors to boost their journal impact factor means that the widely used metric “has now lost most of its credibility”, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.