17 September 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
SINGAPORE
Universities set to dig deep for expansion
At universities in land-strapped Singapore, students may one day borrow books from an underground library, attend lectures in a subterranean auditorium or even swim in an Olympic-size swimming pool below sea level, writes Calvin Yang for The New York Times.
THAILAND
Minister criticises ‘unfair’ university entrance exams
Thailand’s Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng has repeated his call for universities to cut the number of recruitment rounds held through direct admissions, to ensure fairness to poor students, writes Lamphai Intathep for Bangkok Post.
UNITED STATES
Universities struggle to make patents pay
In the push to get academic research out of the ivory tower – and to make money – university technology transfer offices are becoming less choosy about their partners, writes Heidi Ledford for Nature.
UNITED KINGDOM
England has ‘too many’ universities
England has “too many” universities and some are likely to close, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry has warned. John Cridland was given a rough reception over his views at a fringe meeting at the Labour conference in Brighton last week, with the Million+ group of newer universities rejecting his argument, writes John Morgan for Times Higher Education.
UNITED KINGDOM
University acceptances bounce back
Information from the admissions service, UCAS, shows that 445,820 UK and European Union students had been accepted for degree courses 28 days after A-level results. This is up from 408,480 at the same point last year, but slightly down on 2011, the final year before tuition fees rose, when the figure was 465,070, writes Katherine Sellgren for BBC News.
UNITED STATES
Stanford asks court to resolve Kai-shek papers dispute
Stanford University has asked a US district court to help resolve a dispute among the descendants of Chiang Kai-shek over who owns the former Chinese leader’s diaries and private papers, writes David Knowles for New York Daily News.
GLOBAL
Harvard sues Milton Keynes school over rights to name
One is a world-renowned American university. The other is a technical college in a Buckinghamshire town known for having lots of roundabouts. But now a cross-Atlantic David versus Goliath fight that pits Harvard University in Massachusetts against Havard School in Milton Keynes is being waged at the High Court in London, writes Sam Masters for The Independent.
TURKEY
Anti-Erdogan student protesters face possible jail term
An Ankara prosecutor has demanded six years in prison for 45 university students who held a protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the launch ceremony of a Turkish satellite in December 2012, reports Hürriyet Daily News.
EGYPT
Cabinet clarifies origins of campus security proposal
Egypt's interim cabinet said last Wednesday that a proposal to grant university security guards arrest powers was requested by the Supreme Council of Universities and not the Ministry of Justice, reports Ahram Online.
UNITED KINGDOM
College reverses Muslim face-veil ban after protests
A college has abandoned its ban on Muslim face veils after a storm of local protest, a planned demonstration and the involvement of the prime minister, writes James Meikle for the Guardian. Birmingham Metropolitan College climbed down despite Prime Minister David Cameron and the Department for Education endorsing its right to have such a policy.
INDIA
Government scuppers university's China plans
Following home ministry orders, India’s University Grants Commission asked Manipal University to scrap plans for academic collaboration involving exchanges of students and academics with Beijing Institute of Technology, one of the world's top engineering schools, writes Seethalakshmi S for The Times of India.
BANGLADESH
Six new universities approved, despite concerns
Six new private universities with reported links to Bangladesh’s ruling party have obtained the government’s approval. With only a few months left of tenure, the government approved the universities despite claims that most existing private higher education institutions are underperforming and struggling to attract students, reports Dhaka Tribune.
CHINA
Two top universities to offer free courses online
Two of mainland China’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, Peking and Tsinghua universities, will start offering free online courses in partnership with edX, a major open course provider, writes Raymond Li for South China Morning Post.
UNITED STATES
MIT to offer MOOC curricula on edX
MOOC companies are hardly universities unto themselves, but now a provider wants to move beyond offering one-off courses, writes Steve Kolowich for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
UNITED KINGDOM
Move to protect teaching of languages in universities
Any Scottish institution that wants to cut languages in future will have to alert funding bosses before a decision is made. The Scottish Funding Council – the body that distributes public funding to higher education – would then assess whether the closure was detrimental to the range of languages taught in Scotland, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.
UNITED STATES
Entrepreneur sets out to reinvent university experience
Former Snapfish CEO Ben Nelson’s online education start-up, the Minerva Project, is reinventing the university experience for the brightest, most motivated students in the world. The American entrepreneur wants to disrupt higher education and last week he announced four years of free tuition for the first matriculating class of Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute, reports The Irish Times.
CANADA
$120 million gift to widen reach of Rhodes scholarship
For more than 100 years, the Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University has been one of the most prestigious academic awards in the world, but it has been open only to students from the Commonwealth, the United States and Germany. Now, thanks to a CA$120 million (US$118 million) donation from a Canadian businessman, the Rhodes scholarship could soon expand to students from China, Russia, Brazil and elsewhere, writes Paul Waldie for The Globe and Mail.
VIETNAM
Concern over lower bar for medical students
Many low-tier and private Vietnamese universities have recruited students via a lax selection process, raising concerns over the quality of future doctors and pharmacists, reports Tuoi Tre.
EGYPT
Short-term solution for Nile University rejected
A short-term solution to the Nile University crisis, proposed during a meeting with interim Minister of Higher Education Hossam Eissa, was turned down by Zewail City last Monday, writes Rana Muhammad Taha for Daily News Egypt.
WALES
Universities agree to put lectures and research online
Universities in Wales have agreed to upload lectures and research to the internet in future so they can be freely accessed around the world. It means students and teachers in poorer nations will be able to use expensive research carried out by academics in Wales, writes Arwyn Jones for the BBC.
UNITED KINGDOM
University students a safe bet
The pressure on university students in the United Kingdom is set to grow, as friends and family can now place bets on the final outcome of their degrees, reports the Press Association.
CHINA
Working-class students find low-cost education abroad
With universities and colleges in European and Asian countries providing low-cost overseas study programmes, an increasing number of working-class parents are sending their children abroad, which means that studying overseas is no longer the exclusive privilege of students from rich families, writes Zhao Xinying for China Daily.
GREECE
University of Athens on strike over government cuts
The rector of Greece’s largest university has said that it has no choice but to strike against the government's plans to remove hundreds of administrative staff. Theodoros Pelegrinis, head of the University of Athens, said the government's so-called mobility scheme would leave the university unable to function, reports eNetEnglish.
UNITED STATES
edX teams with Google for free online courses
The free online learning initiative overseen by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week added technology giant Google as a partner, writes Nick Anderson for The Washington Post.
UNITED STATES
Higher education headed for a shakeout, analysts warn
Facing sceptical customers, declining enrolments, an antiquated financial model that is haemorrhaging money, and new kinds of low-cost competition, some American universities and colleges may be going the way of the music and journalism industries, writes Jon Marcus for the The Hechinger Report.