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World Round-up
SOUTH AFRICA
President orders probe into university transformation
President Jacob Zuma is currently exploring the establishment of a formal commission of inquiry to look into transformation‚ free education and institutional autonomy at institutions of higher learning, as well as living conditions of students on campuses‚ reports RDM News Wire.
MALAYSIA
Public universities among world’s cheapest
Fees for Malaysian students in public universities are amongst the lowest in the world, with the government subsidising at least MYR16,000 (US$3,722) per student for the duration of their studies, reports Bernama.
GULF STATES
University rectors discuss common pan-gulf admission
Rectors of higher education in the Gulf Cooperation Council recently discussed the possibility of allowing GCC citizens to study at universities of member states with the terms of admission and privileges the same as their nationals, writes Abdul Hannan Tago for Arab News.
FINLAND
Minister defends call for universities to specialise
Education Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen has urged Finland’s universities to think seriously about which field of study they will specialise in by the year 2025. In an open letter urging universities to become the “best in the world” in a certain area, Grahn-Laasonen raps the learning institutions for their inefficient use of resources, asking for example why only 60% of university staff are employed in tuition or research, reports Yle.
INDIA
Chancellor calls for scrapping of European graduate gown
Governor Ram Naik has asked all universities in Uttar Pradesh to do away with Western attire at their convocations and opt for traditional ethnic wear, writes Ishita Mishra for TNN.
AUSTRALIA
Universities called to explain how they spend funds
Education Minister Simon Birmingham wants to make universities more accountable for how they spend their money after it was revealed billions of dollars a year are redirected from teaching to research, writes Matthew Knott for The Sydney Morning Herald.
NORTH KOREA
Major push for 'online' education at universities
North Korea is making efforts to spur online education at its major universities in a bid to better instil the North's ideology into young people and nurture their expertise, reports Yonhap News Agency.
ISRAEL
Launch of first social impact bond in higher education
Social Finance Israel and the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation recently announced the launch of a new social impact bond, the first of its kind in Israel in the field of higher education, which aims to reduce the drop-out rate and extend the studies of computer science students in Israel, writes Lidar Gravé-Lazi for the The Jerusalem Post.
ZIMBABWE
Staffer suspended over Mugabe graduation cap storm
A senior University of Zimbabwe official has been suspended for allegedly providing President Robert Mugabe with a small cap of knowledge during the recent graduation ceremony, writes Valentine Maponga for NewsDay.
VENEZUELA
18 universities on the brink of shutdown
The college year simply didn’t start for more than 300,000 students across Venezuela, amid a widespread faculty strike that has closed down 18 public universities, writes Franz von Bergen for Fox News Latino.
VIETNAM
Government seeks to expand university autonomy
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has urged the Ministry of Education and Training to tailor its policies on autonomy for public universities to the needs of each institution. At a workshop on tertiary education held in Ho Chi Minh City, he said that autonomy was necessary to ensure that universities planned their use of resources wisely, according to their purposes and goals, reports VietNamNet Bridge.
MALAYSIA
Minister urges universities to be less dependent
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh says there is no need for the public to be concerned regarding an increase in university fees. This came following the announcement that no additional allocations would be made for the ministry under the 2016 budget, writes Rajina Dhillon for The Rakyat Post.
RUSSIA
Universities to focus on subject-based rankings
Russian universities will aim to rise in international subject-based rankings, rather than institutional ones due to "a different organisational structure" of Russian institutions, writes Gleb Fedorov for Russia Beyond The Headlines.
UNITED STATES
Graduates seek job skills at community colleges
A surprising one out of every 14 people who attend community colleges – widely regarded as low-tuition options for the less well-prepared – has already earned a bachelor degree, according to the American Association of Community Colleges. That’s 770,000 students. At some community colleges, the proportion is as high as one in five, writes Matt Krupnick for The Hechinger Report.
AFGHANISTAN
Women’s studies offered at Kabul University
A group of Afghan students gathered on the leafy campus of Kabul University recently to embark on an unlikely course – the country's first masters degree in gender and women's studies, write Krista Mahr and Aimal Yaqubi for Reuters.
UNITED KINGDOM
University rejects petition to ban Germaine Greer
Cardiff University has rejected a petition to un-invite Australian expatriate academic Germaine Greer from giving a lecture, despite efforts by some of the university's students to have her banned, writes Melissa Clarke for ABC News.
CHINA
80% of universities open entrepreneurship courses
Around 82% of Chinese universities and colleges have opened compulsory or optional courses on entrepreneurship and innovation, according to statistics from the Ministry of Education, reports Xinhua.
CANADA
Universities commit to ‘real-world’ education
After years of pressure to demonstrate their continuing relevance and ability to prepare graduates for the labour market, Canadian universities are signalling a new willingness to embrace real-world education with a set of five new commitments released last week, writes Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.
ISLAMIC STATES
To boost science, broaden university education
To boost science, higher education institutions in the Islamic world must give students a broad education and become meritocratic, write Nidhal Guessoum and Athar Osama for Nature.
UNITED STATES
Costly maths textbook ignites academic freedom debate
The choice of a single textbook for one section of a course at one university might seem like a decidedly local issue. But a dispute over whether an academic department may impose such a selection on all faculty members in a multi-section course has set off a large debate over how textbook choices should be evaluated, who should select textbooks, whether price should be a factor, and academic freedom, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
INDIA
Students protest against end of fellowships
Since Tuesday last week, when news first broke out about the non-National Eligibility Test fellowship being discontinued for research scholars, students across universities have risen up in protest, writes Aranya Shankar for The Indian Express.
INDIA
Scrap quotas in speciality courses – Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has reinforced its earlier view that "there should really be no reservation" in super speciality courses in medicine in the general interest of the country, reports the Press Trust of India.
DENMARK
Universities suffer from too many weak students
Several Danish universities are struggling with poor students, increased absenteeism, a lack of motivation and a lower quality of education, reports The Copenhagen Post.
UNITED KINGDOM
Universities and key firms to recruit blind
Big employers, universities and the National Health Service will introduce blind recruitment policies to prevent bias against "ethnic-sounding" names. The policy is designed to guard against unconscious bias that is holding back those from a black or ethnic minority background, reports Sky News.
SAUDI ARABIA
Students face racism in European universities – Diplomat
Saudi students face racial discrimination at a number of European universities, a Saudi diplomat has alleged, writes Sounak Mukhopadhyay for International Business Times.