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World Round-up
MIDDLE EAST
Survey exposes weaknesses in university quality control
Only five out of 17 Arab countries surveyed by Al-Fanar Media have a follow-up mechanism in place to monitor quality once a university has been established, writes Rasha Faek for Al-Fanar Media. The survey aimed to examine the legal requirements for opening and operating universities.
NIGERIA
State to probe universities operating multiple accounts
The federal government says it will immediately begin to investigate universities operating multiple accounts in violation of the Treasury Single Account policy of the government in order to tackle corrupt practices in the nation’s universities, adding that concrete efforts would be made to protect whistle-blowers, reports The Nation.
PAKISTAN
Higher education body closes 110 PhD programmes
The Higher Education Commission has closed down as many as 110 PhD programmes in public and private sector universities over lack of quality. This was said by the commission’s chairman, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, on 13 September at a seminar organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, reports Daily Times.
AUSTRALIA
Disillusion among Chinese has HE sector on edge
The worsening job prospects for graduates returning to China could send a chill through Australia’s third largest export market – international education – which is worth AU$21.8 billion (US$17 billion) annually, Australian trade officials have told Fairfax Media. The trend is so marked that the once affectionate moniker for Chinese students returning home, “sea turtles”, has changed to “seaweed”, writes Kirsty Needham for The Sydney Morning Herald.
SINGAPORE
New plans to drive commercialisation of innovation
The Singapore government has announced new plans to drive the commercialisation of deep tech projects developed by startups and research agencies, as well as help polytechnic students and alumni grow their business ventures, writes Yon Heong Tung for e27.
EGYPT
University students forced to salute national flag
Egypt’s public universities started the academic year last week by forcing all students to salute the flag and sing the national anthem in an effort to boost patriotism, reports Ahram Online. The new tradition was announced recently by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar.
UNITED KINGDOM
How can universities nurture international students?
There’s never been a more important time for United Kingdom universities to nurture their international student population. With the number of applications from European Union students falling after Brexit and the government’s approach to immigration deterring some of those from further afield, the quality of the student experience is key for recruitment and retention, writes Ruth Stokes for the Guardian.
UNITED STATES
Is China punishing a US university for Dalai Lama visit?
There is speculation that the Chinese government may be punishing the University of California, San Diego, for inviting the Dalai Lama to be its 2017 commencement speaker after claims emerged that the China Scholarship Council may have put a freeze on funding scholars to the institution, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.
SOUTH AFRICA
Students await president’s verdict on tertiary fees
President Jacob Zuma’s delay in releasing the Heher Commission report on the feasibility of free higher education has left tertiary students worried that institutions could increase fees next year, writes Msindisi Fengu for City Press.
UNITED STATES
Universities face risks by protecting DACA recipients
Hundreds of higher education leaders, from the Ivy League to community colleges and advocacy groups, have vowed to protect students on their campuses affected by the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, programme – announced on 5 September – and have urged congress to pass new legislation before the programme expires in March, writes Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.
AFRICA-MIDDLE EAST
Refugee scientists and researchers are being ‘lost’
Many refugee scientists and researchers fleeing conflict in the Middle East and North Africa have been lost in the diaspora – neither continuing their research, nor being welcomed by the countries of forced exile, write Mohamed Elsonpaty, Tareq Hmaidi and Adel Fakhir for SciDev.Net.
INDIA
Jobs, harassment push up PhD dropouts
Nearly 40% of researchers in some of the country's top institutions may be dropping out because of personal problems, job opportunities and alleged harassment by guides or supervisors, according to data on admissions versus granting of PhDs, writes Basant Kumar Mohanty for The Telegraph India.
PAKISTAN
Universities body stresses need to curb radicalisation
The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has urged universities to institute effective protocols and programmes to curb opportunities for radicalisation of students and university staff, while strengthening security arrangements on campuses, reports The News.
INDIA
National agriculture project to benefit 75 universities
In a move to revolutionise higher education in agriculture in India, the World Bank and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research have recently launched the National Agricultural Higher Education Project, an INR11 billion (US$171 million) project that will benefit all 75 agricultural universities under the research council, reports Express News Service.
VIETNAM
Move to standardise university data to help rankings
A draft amendment to the higher education law proposes clarifying university assessment measures and making them uniform so that university rankings can be more precise in the future, reports VietNamNet Bridge. The amendment follows the recent launch of the country’s first university ranking by a group of independent experts.
UAE
Top Australian university opens campus in Dubai
An Australian university that is ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide has opened its campus in Dubai, writes Sarwat Nasir for Khaleej Times.
AFRICA
Top African universities slip on rankings list
The University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand – the top two universities in Africa – dropped in the Times Higher Education 2017 rankings, with researchers warning South African universities could disappear from the top 200 if the trend continues, writes Michelle Gumede for Business Live.
KENYA
Universities begin biometric registration of students
It will now be easier to identify students in universities after a number of the institutions rolled out a biometric registration of learners this month. The move to register students biometrically was due to terror threats after it emerged that university students were easy targets of terror networks, writes Ouma Wanzala for Daily Nation.
GREECE
100 university students caught cheating
More than 100 Greek university students have been caught in a mass cheating scandal, reports AFP.
SOUTH AFRICA
MPs demand answers after R14 million student deposit
Members of Parliament have rejected assertions by the Walter Sisulu University‚ service provider Intellimali and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme that there was foul play in the ‘erroneous’ payment of R14 million (US$1 million) into a student’s account, writes Thabo Mokone for Times Live.
UNITED KINGDOM
Cambridge considers typed exams as handwriting worsens
The increasing illegibility of students’ handwriting has prompted Cambridge University to consider ending 800 years of tradition by allowing laptops to replace pen and paper for examinations, writes Mattha Busby for the Guardian.
UNITED STATES
California universities win grant to develop bionic suit
People with paraplegia may someday be able to hit their stride in a so-called bionic suit thanks to an US$8 million federal research grant to three Southern California universities, officials announced on Wednesday, writes Dana Bartholomew for the Los Angeles Business Journal.
UNITED KINGDOM
Student suicide rate hits record levels at universities
A new study has shown that a record number of students in higher education in the United Kingdom have killed themselves in recent years. The alarming statistics also claim that the number of undergraduates who have disclosed mental health problems during their first year has grown to a total of over 15,000 in a decade, writes Oliver Cragg for the International Business Times.
CHINA
More rural youngsters entering top universities
China has launched three special projects to broaden rural students’ access to universities, helping 100,000 poor youngsters enter their dream universities in 2017, reports People’s Daily Online.
SOUTH AFRICA
Parliament committee slams R14m payment to student
The parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education and training has slammed the R14 million (US$1 million) accidentally paid from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme into a Walter Sisulu University student's account as "dubious" and "unacceptable", writes Khanyisile Ngcobo for Independent Online.