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NEWSLETTERJamil Salmi – Can young universities compete with the best in the world?
This week in Commentary, Jamil Salmi investigates the global race for excellence and suggests that upgrading an existing university to world-class status poses greater challenges than developing a new institution from scratch.
Ranjit Goswami argues that while India has made great strides in improving access to education, a vicious cycle of poor quality is affecting the system right through to higher education, and Vangelis Tsiligiris writes that Greek legislation on academic asylum has led to abuse and corruption and is beginning to be dismantled.
In World Blog, William Patrick Leonard contends that international ranking systems are failing to give parents and students the information they need to choose the right courses at universities in the United States.
In Student View, Kitso Rantao describes the hurdles she faced in gaining admission to university, and asserts that lack of knowledge on how to get educated is as much a problem for South Africa’s youth as lack of access.
In Features, Yojana Sharma charts the rapid rise in the number of universities using the massive microblogging platform Sina Weibo to reach out to students in China – with an eye to international recruitment – and Chrissie Long reports that there is much untapped potential for collaboration between universities and the private sector in Mexico.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
In a case that has rocked the academic community in Taiwan and put many scientific research projects in jeopardy, 22 professors at some of the country’s top universities – including the prestigious National Taiwan University – have been charged with using false receipts to claim reimbursements out of research funds.
SINGAPOREAdele Yung and Yojana Sharma
A former academic at the National University of Singapore has been found guilty of fabricating more than 20 research papers published in international academic journals, the university has concluded after a major investigation lasting almost two years.
Australia’s major non-medical research funding organisation has adopted a new, open access policy that means the results of all the research it backs must be made freely available. This will require the published results to be deposited in an ‘open access institutional repository’ within 12 months of the date of publication in a journal.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
Denmark’s student finance system is up for reform, with completion rates and the proportion of the total spend on education devoted to student loans the key targets. Ministers are concerned that 85% of masters students do not complete on time and that spending on loans makes up 28% of the total investment.
The University Center of Samaria in Ariel has received approval to be upgraded to the status of a fully fledged university – pending a decision of Israel’s High Court. The move that will create Israel’s first settler university was rubber-stamped last week at a special meeting of the Council for Higher Education.
Endowment funds are gaining popularity among Russian universities as they attempt to attract new, long-term sources of funding and reduce dependence on the state. Such activities are a part of massive reform of the higher education system currently being implemented.
The University of Buckingham in the UK last week announced that it had stopped accreditation of courses for a private university in Uganda over freedom of speech issues and the controversy surrounding the bill on homo-s exuality in the East African country. Three-quarters of the Ugandan university’s students have been affected.
A decree by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to establish a national scientific research project has fuelled a 20-month dispute between the private Nile University and a research institution managed by Nobel Prize for Chemistry laureate Ahmed Zewail.
Tanzania’s Higher Education Students’ Loans Board has moved to have beneficiaries who have not started to repay their loans charged in court. The decision came soon after the board announced that Sh1.09 trillion (US$684 million) was owed in outstanding loans.
Public universities in Nigeria will face harsh financial times yet again this year. The National Assembly recently approved a paltry 8.7% of the nation’s entire budget for the education sector, and only around 3% of this low allocation will go to tertiary institutions.
Lebanon and the European Union have launched a three-year partnership called IDEAL – Innovation and Development of Academic-Industry Partnerships through Efficient Research Administration in Lebanon – aimed at boosting research and development in universities.
Academics in Tunisia have demonstrated in support of Habib Kazdaghli, dean of the faculty of letters, arts and humanities at La Manouba University, who appeared in court on 2 January accused of assaulting a woman student who was wearing a niqab, the Islamic face covering.
Recent surveys of universities in the US, the UK and Australia have shown a rapid rise in the number of institutions using China’s most popular microblogging platform Sina Weibo to reach out to students in China and use social media as a tool for international recruitment.
Education experts in Mexico say universities are not doing enough to collaborate with the private sector and that there is much untapped potential in research and development, consulting and teacher training.
Higher education in Nigeria is in crisis and one of the causes is the lack of a ‘social contract’, according to a recent high-level policy dialogue. It resolved to hold a biannual summit involving all stakeholders in forging a common front aimed at tackling challenges facing the sector.
UNITED STATESWilliam Patrick Leonard
Students and parents investigating study abroad in the United States need information that shows the value added of an institution and the quality of the experience offered – not the kind of data in the major international university rankings.
Most of the world’s top-ranked universities are centuries old, but can younger universities rise to the top if they focus on niche areas or innovate? And is it easier to create an excellent new institution than to upgrade an existing one?
India has made great progress in increasing access to primary education for socio-economically disadvantaged children, but it has not invested enough in quality. The result is a vicious cycle of poor quality education that affects the system right through to higher education.
A law on academic asylum that came into force after the military dictatorship in Greece has opened the door to corrupt and abusive practice as well as political influence. Changes to the way universities are governed could mark a step towards greater academic freedom.
SOUTH AFRICAKitso Rantao
I am the offspring of South Africa’s current generation of domestics and garden workers, mine labourers, security guards, waitresses and cashiers. We are commonly referred to as the ‘born frees’ – children who have grown up post-apartheid. Our parents worked to free us from the harsh socio-economic conditions they were victim to, nurturing hopes of a better future for us through higher education.
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How is major provider of free online courses Coursera going to tell whether you are who you say you are? By how you type, writes Jeffrey R Young for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Turkish hacker group RedHack has leaked over 60,000 documents in its latest attack on the Council of Higher Education of Turkey website, unravelling hundreds of corruption investigations and documented incidents, reports Hurriyet Daily News.
Vladimir Franz, a 53-year-old professor at Prague's Academy of Performing Arts, is tattooed from head to toe, his face a warrior-like mix of blue, green and red. An opera composer and painter, he has also been running in a surprising third place ahead of the Czech presidential elections, reports Associated Press.
Comments linked with an announcement on a new ‘bogus students’ crackdown threatened the UK’s multi-billion university sector, according to a group that represents British universities, reports The Telegraph.
An annual survey of colleges and universities in the US found that a growing number of institutions face declining enrolment and less revenue from tuition, writes Andrew Martin for The New York Times.
Governor Jerry Brown's budget plan announced on Thursday has given California's colleges and universities good news for the first time in years, writes Katy Murphy for the Oakland Tribune.
Foreign degrees taught in Hong Kong are set to be recognised in mainland China, potentially opening up a huge new market for UK universities, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.
Eight members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former Cornell University president are among the faculty slated to teach at New York University's Shanghai campus starting in September, writes Hu Haidan for China Daily.
Law reform is required to support innovation and enable Australian universities to compete with the rest of the world in online education, say leading Australian educators, writes Fernando Stankuns for The Conversation.
Research is fundamental to a university's reputation, ranking and – with the introduction of the Research Excellence Framework – future funding. But are UK universities really doing enough to promote and inform the public of the research they do? asks Claire Shaw in the Guardian.
In a study with leather-bound books and busts of ancient Greek scholars, an 18-year-old British student is getting an assignment: a 2,000-word essay on democracy and Fukuyama’s The End of History? Yet just five years ago Jane Odera was living in social housing and considering dropping out of school to become a hairdresser, writes Sonia van Gilder Cooke for TIME.
A new web TV collaboration between Stockholm University and the Royal Institute of Technology is the latest innovative idea for reaching a broader pool of future talent, promoting the universities to a wider international audience and providing a new platform for academic discussion, reports The Local.
Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Emory University and probably all of their peers have laudable missions: for their graduates to contribute to society. But these five institutions share another thing: none of their endowments is a member of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, write Robert G Eccles and George Serafeim for Bloomberg.
About 40% of the more than 17 million students enrolled in Indian higher education are women, many of them struggling against great odds to pursue academic careers. Academic ambition beyond a masters or a professional education is frowned upon. But for those who do manage to stay on, the university often comes to be the first public space for the articulation of their rights as women, writes Ayesha Kidwai for The Globe and Mail.
The compiler of a controversial list of rich alumni said the ranking helps promote entrepreneurial education at universities, reports China.org.cn. A total of 183 graduates of two universities have become billionaires in the past three decades, according to a report from cuaa.net, a website focusing on university ranking and evaluation.
The University of Anbar is participating in a World Bank project that seeks to help universities in the Middle East develop reforms that will allow them to be more responsive to the needs of young people and become the sources of knowledge and innovation that will drive future growth, writes Saif Ahmad for Mawtani.
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