24 April 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
Microsoft connects universities with broadband
Microsoft has announced a TV white spaces pilot project in Tanzania to provide affordable wireless broadband access to university students and faculty. The IT giant has tied up with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology and UhuruOne to provide affordable broadband access to students and faculty in Dar es Salaam, reports Telecom Lead.
Students call for boosting grant, not loan, schemes
Students across Europe have called for more investment in higher education grant systems, rather than the introduction of a new loan scheme as the European Commission has proposed, reports Malta Today.
Four die in latest round of university clashes
Four people at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University died of gunshot wounds and 25 were injured when an armed fight broke out between students last Monday at the Maan-based university, also resulting in the suspension of classes, reports The Jordan Times.
Court convicts students in veil standoff
A Tunisian court last Thursday convicted two veiled students of destroying public property in the office of a university dean they accused of slapping one of them. The court dropped the case against the dean of the faculty of humanities at Manouba University, ruling that there was no proof of an assault, reports Associated Press.
Faculty backlash against online courses
San Jose State University has publicly committed to using online courses to bring in more students – and bring down costs – but its philosophy department is balking. Faculty members issued a blistering statement last week about why they will not use materials from an online course called “Justice”, taught by academic superstar Michael Sandel of Harvard, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
University heads doubtful of MOOCs’ benefits
It would be easy to think that the leaders of American higher education are all in when it comes to MOOCs. But it turns out that, when asked privately, most presidents don't seem at all sure that MOOCs are going to transform student learning, or reduce costs to students – two of the claims made by MOOC enthusiasts and an increasing number of politicians and pundits, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
Jimmy Wales: Boring university lectures 'are doomed'
The boring university lecture is going to be the first major casualty of the rise in online learning in higher education, says Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. The custodian of the world's biggest online encyclopaedia says that unless universities respond to the rising tide of online courses, new major players will emerge to displace them, in the way that Microsoft arrived from nowhere alongside the personal computer, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.
Coursera to offer new MOOC options for teachers
A leading platform for the popular massive open online courses offered by elite universities is moving into a new realm – the expansive field of continuing education for teachers, writes Justin Pope for Associated Press.
University reputations: Will teachers pay the price?
With student fees trebling in the past year in England, universities say they are focusing on the ‘student experience’. But academics at some universities warn that the race for research status is pushing good teachers into the shadows, writes Anna Fazackerley for the Guardian.
Three charged in relation to Boston bombing
Three college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arrested and accused last Wednesday of removing a backpack containing hollowed-out fireworks from Tsarnaev’s dorm room three days after the attack, to keep him from getting into trouble, write Denise Lavoie And Bridget Murphy for Associated Press.
Universities attract growing numbers of Americans
With strained family budgets and the soaring cost of tuition fees at American universities, the coveted university degree often comes with just too much debt for many students. The heavy debt load is persuading a growing number of young people to look north to Canada for an education they can better afford, write Rehema Ellis and Jeff Black for NBC News.
Study shows few PhD graduates will find teaching jobs
Ontario’s universities are not adequately preparing doctoral students for the reality that few of them will find jobs as professors, a new study has found. Over the past decade, the number of students enrolled in PhD-level programmes has doubled, even as the demand for professors “does not even come close to meeting the supply”, writes Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.
Second mass food poisoning angers students
In the second mass food poisoning case to hit Egypt’s Al-Azhar University this month, 131 students fell ill last Monday night, according to the Ministry of Health, reports Al Arabiya.
University degree shake-up call
A leading economist has called for a radical shake-up of Scotland's traditional four-year university degree, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland. Jeremy Peat, director of the Edinburgh-based David Hume Institute, said a more intensive, three-year degree would save money and get graduates into the workforce more quickly.
Universities must be compassionate to poor students
The Commission on Higher Education has ordered universities in the Philippines to institutionalise more compassionate policies in providing assistance to poor students, following the death of University of the Philippines student Kristel Tejada last month, writes Helen Flores for The Philippine Star.
University heads in first-time cooperation talks
Dozens of university presidents from China and Europe were brought together last Thursday to share success stories and concerns in establishing cooperation projects, so as to provide policy suggestions and enhance compatibility between their higher education systems, reports Xinhua.
Ministers woo Latin American students
Two British ministers are mounting a charm offensive in Latin America in an attempt to attract potential students to universities in the United Kingdom. Business Secretary Vince Cable and Universities Minister David Willetts were to travel to the emerging economies of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia last Monday, writes Hannah Richardson for the BBC.
Tribal clashes at universities add to tensions
They may begin with a slur, a passing glance or an accidental shove. Student brawls that turn into tribal confrontations have become an increasingly worrying phenomenon on university campuses across Jordan, writes Rana F Sweis for The New York Times.
Scholarly body approves Israeli universities boycott
The general membership of the Association for Asian American Studies has unanimously approved a resolution endorsing a boycott of Israeli universities, making it the first scholarly organisation in America to do so, according to the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.
US billionaire to give US$300m to fund scholarships
Stephen Schwarzman, founder of investment firm Blackstone Group LP, is launching a US$300 million scholarship programme to send students from the US and other countries to study at China’s Tsinghua University, writes Samantha Stainburn for Global Post.
New Nobel-type prize planned for teaching
Entrepreneurs seeking to build an elite global university based on new ways of teaching online announced last Monday the creation of a US$500,000 prize to be awarded each year to an educator “whose innovations have led to extraordinary student learning experiences”, writes Nick Anderson for The Washington Post.
University has change of heart on Dalai Lama visit
The University of Sydney is set to host a lecture by the Dalai Lama in June, ending a dispute over whether he would be welcome on campus. In a statement, Institute for Democracy and Human Rights Director John Keane said the university was looking forward to hosting the Tibetan spiritual leader at a lecture for students, reports ABC.
Student wrongly tied to Boston bombings found dead
A body pulled from the water off India Point Park in Rhode Island has been identified as the Brown University student mistakenly linked by amateur sleuths on a social media site to the Boston bombings, writes Doug Stanglin for USA Today.
Six mega universities approved
Nigeria’s National Economic Council last Thursday approved the upgrade of six federal universities into mega tertiary institutions with capacity to enrol 150,000-200,000 students each, reports PM News.
University participation rate hits record high
The proportion of young people accessing higher education hit a record high of 49% as students scrambled to avoid last year’s tuition fee hikes, a new study says, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.