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NewsletterQA in Sweden scores low marks; some international students face prejudice
In Commentary, Carlos Felipe Escobar Roa writes that in reforming higher education, stakeholders around the world need to rise above narrow interests, listen to one another and share ideas. Phil Baty says complaints that rankings favour old universities has prompted Times Higher Education to publish a new league of the world’s top 100 institutions under 50 years old. Lorraine Brown and Gurhan Aktas describe a study of Turkish exchange students that revealed the need for support to counter possible prejudice and for links between tourism bodies and universities.
In Features, Jan Petter Myklebust says Sweden’s new quality assurance system has been rated ‘unsatisfactory’ by European experts, and Michael Gardner looks at new laws in Germany that will improve prospects for foreign academics and students – though many students report discrimination. Also, Brendan O’Malley outlines a new report that shows knowledge exchange embedded within the higher education sector as a strategic, integrated activity driven in part by the research impact agenda.
We report on the QS-MAPLE conference for university leaders in the Middle East and Africa, held in Durban last week, and in World Blog William Patrick Leonard argues that a disconnect in the US between student fees and the value of qualifications could be resolved by including parents, students and employers as voting members of university boards.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
Syrian forces targeted student dormitories during an anti-government protest at Aleppo University early on Thursday, firing teargas and bullets into the crowd. Four students were killed in the attack, 28 people were injured and around 200 students were reportedly arrested.
Egypt’s authorities detained 300 people, hundreds were wounded and a soldier died on Friday during bloody clashes between security forces and protestors – including student movements from several universities.
Almost 500 academics in Taiwan have signed a statement in support of environmental engineering professor Tsuang Ben-jei, after one of the country’s largest conglomerates filed a libel lawsuit saying Tsuang’s research had damaged its reputation. The move has had a chilling effect on researchers.
Australian National University Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young has backed away from imposing an A$40 million cut in spending this year, including $25 million in salary savings that would have cost an estimated 150 jobs.
NEW ZEALANDJohn Gerritsen
University leaders and staff in New Zealand are sceptical of government plans to focus their institutions more on STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.
A strategy for setting up world-class teaching universities, with an outline for evaluating teaching and learning quality, was formulated at an international conference on higher education held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last month.
SOUTH KOREAHan-Suk Kim
Students and professors at South Korea’s Kookmin University, the centre of a plagiarism scandal involving two recently elected legislators, have joined opposition politicians in demanding that the lawmakers give up their seats after being found to have copied material for their doctoral dissertations.
In an effort to control increasing cases of plagiarism and low quality research, the All India Council for Technical Education, AICTE, is to launch Project Factory – an online repository aimed at capturing abstracts of all postgraduate projects.
Kenya will admit 7,000 extra students to its universities in the next academic year, making use of additional capacity in the form of new colleges. This brings to 41,000 the number of students who will join universities in the coming academic year, up from 34,000 admitted last year – a 20% jump.
The second QS-MAPLE – Middle East and Africa Professional Leaders in Education – conference was held in Durban on South Africa’s east coast from 3-4 May, hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The theme was “Meeting the Global Challenges in Higher Education” and the event attracted 140 participants from 40 countries. University World News journalists were there.
More and more countries are striving to secure a bigger share of the international student market. But while the market is attractive and growing, it is also “very competitive, highly risk-prone and not the only growth area in higher education – far from it”, said Richard Yelland, head of the policy advice and administrative division of the OECD.
SOUTH AFRICASharon Dell
Increased requests for joint and double degree programmes are encouraging South African universities to address policy vacuums and join the growing number of institutions around the world offering such degrees – as a way to deepen international partnerships, attract top international students and better prepare students for a globalised future.
Governments have grasped the fact that innovation and economic growth will be generated from growing global networks of researchers, students and institutions. It is an accepted fact that nations are increasingly dependent on higher education to produce the highly skilled labour their economies need. In Africa, however, there are significant challenges.
A South African university’s collaborative certificate in community-based work with vulnerable children and youth has mushroomed following the success of a pilot study, and is currently being implemented in 10 Sub-Saharan countries through the work of the African Centre for Childhood.
SWEDENJan Petter Myklebust
More than one in five of 189 study programmes evaluated by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education have been graded 'unsatisfactory'. And to the embarrassment of the Swedish government, the system of quality assurance itself has been rated unsatisfactory by a panel of European experts.
New legislation adopted by the German parliament is set to improve prospects for foreign students and academics, just as the results of a new survey show that many international students are put off staying on in Germany due to discrimination.
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O’Malley
Every pound invested in higher education innovation funding adds at least £6 (US$9.70) in knowledge exchange income to the economy, according to a new report sponsored by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
UNITED STATESWilliam Patrick Leonard
University boards appear to be ignoring the fundamental importance of exchanging value added for tuition charged. Including parent, student and employer representatives – and giving them voting rights – could focus governing bodies’ minds more.
GLOBALCarlos Felipe Escobar Roa
Many higher education stakeholders around the world agree on the need for reform. But they do not listen to one another's perspectives enough or share ideas about the way forward. Ultimately, the mission of universities is human development, equality and quality of life.
International university rankings are criticised for their focus on established elite institutions. Now Times Higher Education is preparing to publish the world’s top 100 institutions under 50 years old and showcase the universities to watch in the future.
TURKEYLorraine Brown and Gurhan Aktas
Little research has been conducted into the growing international exchange student market – particularly on Muslim exchange students. A study of Turkish students revealed the needs for more support to counter possible prejudice and for more links between tourism bodies and universities.
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UNITED STATESThe New York Times.
UNITED STATESInside Higher Ed.
UNITED STATESThe New York Times.
UNITED KINGDOMTimes Higher Education.
MALAYSIAThe Star-Asia News Network.
SOUTH AFRICAPretoria News.
UNITED STATESThe Chronicle of Higher Education.
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