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28 April 2013 Issue 0269 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Rising up the subject rankings attracts foreign students and makes money

In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha argues that student mobility patterns are changing as more and more ‘glocal’ students choose to receive an international education at home.
In Commentary, Arnaud Chevalier and Xiaoxuan Jia find that moving up the university subject rankings significantly affects student application numbers – especially for international students – and university income. Katherine Forestier contends that reforms to the Hong Kong education system have increased the diversity and number of students entering tertiary education, and David Zimmerman charts the history of a British organisation that helps refugee academics.
In Features, Suvendrini Kakuchi writes that conservatism and bureaucracy are stalling Japan’s progress on international education, sparking fears that the country is falling behind its higher education competitors. Ameen Amjad Khan wonders why, with politicians in Pakistan being jailed for possessing fake degrees, there has been no action against those who issued the fraudulent qualifications.
In South Africa, Peta Lee reports that the discovery of a human skull in an obsolete anthropology department has led to a major ‘racism in science’ research project, and Nicola Jenvey explains why the country has failed to reach its target of 1% of gross domestic product spent on research and development.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
María Elena Hurtado

Carolina Schmidt was appointed Chile’s new education minister last Monday and will face a formidable challenge despite her credentials as a top cabinet minister. On Thursday, student protests in the capital ended in violent clashes with police. Former minister Harald Beyer was recently impeached by the Senate and banned from public office for five years.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The major political parties in Denmark have signed a 10-point reform agreement aimed at strengthening the economy, job creation and competitiveness. When the reform is fully operational in 2020, student grants and loans spending will be reduced by DK2.2 billion (US$383 million). Students are angry, but rectors support the move.
Geoff Maslen

Every year around the world, scientists and other researchers are found to have committed various acts of fraud, often after they were discovered to have manipulated research findings. But rarely do they suffer any more severe punishment than being dismissed and, occasionally, having their reputations irreparably damaged in the media.
Ashraf Khaled

Academics at Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s and the Muslim world's oldest seat of higher learning, will soon get the opportunity to elect the massive institution’s president for the first time in its history.
Suluck Lamubol

Thailand’s government is continuing to allow universities more autonomy, claiming that this will deliver administrative flexibility and freedom from state bureaucracy. But it faces opposition from students and academics concerned about fees and lack of accountability.
Maina Waruru

Thousands of education-hungry refugees living in camps in northern Kenya are set to benefit from higher education in a groundbreaking initiative involving a non-profit organisation and a host of local and foreign universities.
Gilbert Nganga

The University of Nairobi, Kenya’s biggest by student numbers, is to construct a KSh1 billion (US$11.7 million) business complex to expand its revenue streams – a route also taken by its top rival, Kenyatta University.
Tunde Fatunde

There’s been a national outcry in Nigeria over a government proposal to scrap the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, which administers entrance exams for all of the country’s tertiary institutions.
Wagdy Sawahel

The UK-based Lancaster University is to open a branch campus in Ghana this year – believed to be the first British branch campus in West Africa and the second in Africa.
Suvendrini Kakuchi

It is bitterly ironic – Japan has the third largest economy in the world and is a leading exporter, but fails badly when it comes to international education. Experts have called for less bureaucracy and for curriculum reform to kickstart international engagement.
Ameen Amjad Khan

Bogus degrees are a problem worldwide, and Pakistan is certainly no exception. Following extensive media coverage, politicians are being prosecuted for possessing fake degrees – but no action is being taken against those who issued the ‘qualifications’ or were responsible for verifying them.
Dan Berrett, The Chronicle of Higher Education

When she learned that two bombs had been detonated at the Boston Marathon, one thought crossed Ifrah Inam's mind: "Oh God, don't let it be a Muslim." The day after the bombing, the Boston pharmacy student briefly considered visiting the site of the attack. She decided not to, in part because she worried what the reaction might be to her hijab.
Peta Lee

The discovery of a mysterious human skull in an obsolete department at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa has exposed links to Nazi Germany and led to a groundbreaking new ‘racism in science’ research project by the faculty of arts and social sciences.
Nicola Jenvey

South Africa needs to escalate its expenditure on research and development and increase its international competitiveness in science and innovation, according to Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom. Disappointingly, the lofty goal of raising R&D spending to 1% of gross domestic product by 2010 has not been achieved.
Rahul Choudaha

Patterns of international student mobility are changing and universities need to understand the different motivations of particular students – and the rise of ‘glocal’ students, who lack the resources to study abroad but want an international education.
Arnaud Chevalier and Xiaoxuan Jia

Changes to university rankings for subjects affect application numbers, particularly for international students, and can have a significant impact on institutional income. Universities need to take heed of them.
Katherine Forestier

Hong Kong education reforms, including lengthening the undergraduate degree by a year, have increased the diversity of students going on to further studies, and a new, broader curriculum is ensuring they are better prepared for those studies.
David Zimmerman

William Beveridge's Academic Assistance Council was established 80 years ago to help scholars under threat in Nazi Germany. Its services are still needed today and are being provided by the successor Council for Assisting Refugee Academics to scholars at risk around the world.

Three new climate studies published by different groups of researchers in refereed journals have provided a grim view of the future facing Earth and its inhabitants. The first involved a massive collaboration between 78 scientists from 60 institutions, and found that although Earth had been gradually cooling over millennia, the cooling trend reversed around the time humans started emitting heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

The most challenging areas for agricultural development and job creation in South Africa are the arid and semi-arid Karoo and Northern Cape, where only cactus appears to flourish. But researchers from the University of the Free State have found that the prickly plant could make the desert bloom.

The golden flesh of new sweet potato varieties is lifting living standards in one of the world’s poorest nations, Timor-Leste. Thanks to new varieties of the vegetable, farmers in the young tropical nation not only have a more reliable crop that out-yields local varieties of sweet potato, they can also produce a highly nutritious food.

Japanese baseball players with wide faces are more likely to hit a home run than those whose faces are narrower, according to research by two psychologists at Goldsmiths, University of London.
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Saying Canada’s future in science and research is threatened, a national association representing academics has launched a campaign to ‘Get Science Right’, in the hope of shaming the federal government into changing its science policy and funding formulas, writes Karen Seidman for The Montreal Gazette.

The power of funding alone should not be enough to override academic freedom, nor does open access automatically skew the world of scholarship, writes Curt Rice for the Guardian.

South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training is desperate to root out the distrust that its new transformation oversight committee has triggered, writes Bongani Nkosi for the Mail & Guardian.

Public university students in Florida will next year be able to start working towards college degrees without actually going to college, under a law Governor Rick Scott signed last Monday in front of educators and business lobbyists, writes Bill Cotterell for Reuters.

Less than half of 15-year-olds in Hong Kong expect to complete a university education, compared with more than 80% of their peers in South Korea, a study has shown. The city also trails rival Singapore, where more than seven in 10 youngsters expect to graduate, writes Ada Lee for South China Morning Post.

A faculty committee at Florida Atlantic University has made a preliminary finding that academic freedom was compromised when the institution banned a controversial classroom exercise that asked students to write ‘Jesus’ on a piece of paper and step on it, writes George Bennett for The Palm Beach Post.
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