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14 July 2013 Issue 0280 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
With tight visa controls, UK universities shift focus to students abroad

This week in Commentary, Martin Priestley and Gayle Ditchburn find that many universities in the United Kingdom have increased overseas activities in response to the government’s tightening of border controls.
Tom Kvan argues that MOOCs will not replace campuses because much learning and research is social – although universities will need to adapt. Catherine da Silveira and David Patient describe an award-winning forum of the Lisbon MBA that takes an experimental approach to developing ‘soft skills’.
In World Blog, Serhiy Kvit suggests that recent proposals by the Ukrainian education ministry threaten to undermine higher education and fundamental reform is needed. In Student View, Michael Tolentino Frederiksen and Nevena Vuksanovi; contend that debates about employability are being distorted to suggest that all higher education should be tied to economic needs.
In Features, Yojana Sharma reports on Turkey’s effort to nurture world-class universities and science and innovation, in order to break out of the ‘middle-income trap’ and become a knowledge economy, and she and Emilia Tan probe the implications for Singapore of a major American business school’s decision to relocate to Hong Kong.
Ishmael Tongai charts the use, by South Africa’s government and several universities, of incentive schemes that reward high-performing academics in order to boost research production, and Hiep Pham investigates Vietnam’s twin problems of youth unemployment and the ‘over-education’ of growing numbers of graduates who are unable to find jobs that use their skills.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Ard Jongsma

In an effort to bolster Europe’s position in international higher education, the European Commission has launched a new strategy for the internationalisation of higher education. It promises stronger policy support and financial incentives, and calls on countries to use immigration rules to enhance rather than create obstacles to mobility.
Peta Lee

Expansion is in the pipeline for Erasmus, the European Union’s higher education exchange programme. Since its launch in 1987, more than three million students have benefited from the system, which supports cooperation between 33 countries.
Yojana Sharma

Protests in Turkey spilled over into a higher education conference recently when students supporting the Gezi Park movement demonstrated outside Istanbul Technical University against the presence there of Council of Higher Education President Gökhan Çetinsaya.
Peta Lee

The most comprehensive study yet of the UK higher education sector’s international student visa costs has revealed a complex system characterised by confusion and inconsistencies. The estimated cost to universities in 2012-13 was a whopping £66.8 million (US$87 million) – £26 million higher than the most recent estimates.
Michael Gardner

More than 600 academics in Germany have signed a petition demanding that cases of plagiarism and data manipulation be settled in discourses at subject level. The campaign is critical of a move by the German Rectors’ Conference to have such issues treated confidentially in university committees.
Alya Mishra

India’s University Grants Commission has come in for fierce criticism for its decision to withdraw a scheme that supports setting up and running Centres for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies in institutions across India. There are 32 centres in 24 states.
Suvendrini Kakuchi

Bringing Japan’s academic calendar in line with universities around the world, in particular replacing the traditional April enrolment date with September or October entry, has been seen as important for internationalising higher education and promoting exchange opportunities for students and academics between Japan and other countries. But it is proving difficult.
Emilia Tan

A joint degree run by New York University and the National University of Singapore, awarding a master of laws degree from both universities, had benefited just nine Singaporeans since the one-year postgraduate degree was launched in 2007, Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang revealed last week.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The European Commission has started an infringement process against Slovenia, requesting that legislation be aligned with the European Union treaty and the Service Directive in the field of education. The issue is over access to Slovenia for education franchise operations.
Geoff Maslen

The first fully operational precursor telescope to the giant Square Kilometre Array was officially launched last Tuesday by Australia’s Federal Education Minister Kim Carr.
Kudzai Mashininga

A new university is to open in Zimbabwe in September, bringing the country a step closer to President Robert Mugabe’s dream of establishing an institution of higher learning in every province.
Yojana Sharma

Turkey is attempting to rise from being the world’s 17th largest economy to the 10th largest within a decade – but can only break out of the ‘middle-income trap’ by becoming a knowledge economy. That means nurturing world-class universities, science and innovation and links with industry, Davut Kavranoğlu, deputy minister for science, industry and technology, told a conference in Istanbul in early July.
Emilia Tan and Yojana Sharma

A major US business school caused consternation in Singapore when it announced last week that it would relocate to Hong Kong, sparking renewed questions about the Singaporean government subsidies used to attract international branch campuses and about Singapore’s competitiveness as an international hub.
Ishmael Tongai

Stellenbosch University in South Africa is cementing its reputation as a leading research institution by rewarding its most productive researchers with handsome incentives, to boost publication rates. Several universities – and the government – are employing incentive strategies to drive up research production.
Hiep Pham

As a new batch of graduates emerged from Vietnam’s universities in recent weeks, the country was facing twin problems of increasing unemployment among young people and a phenomenon of ‘over-education’ – graduates who fail to find jobs that use their skills. By last October, Vietnam had 165,000 unemployed graduates, or 17% of the jobless total.
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education

It was big news last autumn when Colorado State University-Global Campus became the first institution in the United States to grant credit to students who passed a MOOC, or massive open online course. For students it means a chance to get credit on the cheap – yet almost a year later, no student has taken the university up on its offer.
Serhiy Kvit

The Ukrainian Ministry of Education's recent proposals and opinions suggest that its higher education agenda is not centred on boosting academic quality. Instead, the sector is being undermined.
Martin Priestley and Gayle Ditchburn

Tightening of border controls has prompted many UK universities to increase their activities overseas, according to a survey. It also shows that favoured locations include more mature higher education markets where institutions have strong personal relationships.
Tom Kvan, University of Melbourne

MOOCs can never replace the campus because much learning and research is social. However, the campus of the future will need to change and adapt. It is often in the spaces between lecture halls that much learning takes place.
Catherine da Silveira and David Patient

The Lisbon MBA takes an experimental approach to developing the much-in-demand ‘soft skills’ that today's managers need.
Michael Tolentino Frederiksen and Nevena Vuksanović

Debates about employability are sometimes manipulated to suggest that all higher education should be tied to economic needs. Education is a much wider social good and one in which all members of society have a stake.
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When Ali Anbori heard last week about the killing of his friend and colleague Ahmed Shaker, a professor at the University of Baghdad, he recalled how he had also at times in the past few years been the target of death threats, writes Cathy Otten for Al Fanar.

America’s wealthiest universities are venturing into Africa’s fast-growing frontier markets, in search of outsized investment returns that will allow them to offer scholarships, lure star professors and fund research, writes Tosin Sulaiman for Reuters.

Fourteen thousand foreign students are studying at Iran’s universities and efforts are under way to attract more international students, according to Minister of Science, Research and Technology Kamran Daneshjoo, reports Tehran Times.

A renowned professor has confirmed online rumours that his peers will decide whether he will be expelled from China's most eminent university after he made a series of remarks in favour of free speech and constitutional governance, writes Patrick Boehler for the South China Morning Post.

Although talk of providers of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, has centred mostly on American companies and non-profit organisations like Coursera and edX, MOOC platforms in other countries have made it clear that they are also looking to stake a claim in this growing realm of higher education, writes Sara Grossman for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Forget about teacher’s pet. Online education company Coursera is fast becoming an investor’s pet with a new US$43 million round of funding, writes Melissa Korn for The Wall Street Journal.

Britain’s National Union of Students has been asked to help regulate institutions, as part of the government's latest bid to reform higher education. The move is part of a plan by ministers to give more powers to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, reports the Press Association.

Almost one year into the new fees regime, formal appeals and complaints against UK universities by students have shot up, and several campuses have seen protests against the way institutions are organising their finances. Meanwhile, dissatisfaction with the National Student Survey is growing, writes Rebecca Ratcliffe for the Guardian.

The Israeli Defence Force’s Human Resources Directorate chief, Major General Orna Barbivai, has sent a sharply worded letter to the Council for Higher Education revealing the large amounts of money inadvertently invested in funding draft dodgers' education, writes Telem Yahav for YNet News.

Only a third of people who have earned doctoral degrees in Israel are employed by universities and colleges, according to a survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics for the National Council for Research and Development, writes Judy Siegel-Itzkovich for the Jerusalem Post.

Autonomy for universities in Myanmar is likely to be granted soon, although the extent to which higher education will be allowed to operate free of state interference remains unclear in a country where students have long agitated against unpopular governments, writes Nyein Nyein for The Irrawaddy.

Education ministers from Ethiopia, Guinea, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan and Tanzania met last week in Addis Ababa with experts from Brazil, China, India and Korea to discuss how to produce market-relevant skills in Africa, writes Andualem Sisay for Africa Review.

The Papua New Guinea government is pouring K500 million (US$222 million) into universities to roll out and upgrade programmes, in order to increase the intake of students coming out of secondary schools, Higher Education, Science and Research Technology Minister David Arore said last week, reports The National.

Despite all the hand-wringing about the long-term financial viability of higher education institutions, one group of institutions views universities as a rock-solid bet on which to stake their futures: museums. And that’s likely because many of them face larger existential threats than their counterparts in higher education, writes Kevin Kiley for Inside Higher Ed.

Almost three-quarters of universities in England are planning to charge the maximum £9,000 (US$13,600) tuition fee for some or all of their courses, according to figures from the Office for Fair Access. The average fee level for 2014-15 will rise by around £150 to about £8,650, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.

Applications from older and part-time students to study at UK universities continued to lag while overall applications increased by 3% this year, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, writes Richard Adams for the Guardian.

The introduction of fees of up to £9,000 (US$13,600) a year has failed to deter applicants to Scotland’s universities, new figures show. Details released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show a 6.1% increase in applications to Scottish institutions by the 30 June deadline compared to last year, writes Chris Marshall for

The University of Denver still plans to honour George W Bush at a fundraising dinner in September but has renamed the award that the former president will receive, after students and staff protested, writes James Eng for MSN News.

Alberta’s auditor-general says Medicine Hat College’s international education division has been an out-of-control programme that has put the college at “reputational, legal and financial risk”, writes James Wood for Calgary Herald.

A British university has spent nearly £1 million (US$1.5 million) acquiring the manuscript of the first published novel by Samuel Beckett, writes Sam Marsden for The Telegraph.
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