University World News Global Edition
17 November 2013 Issue 0296 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Open doors: International students on the rise in America, now top 820,000

In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha unpacks the latest Open Doors report and finds that the record number of international students in America mostly come from a few countries and are concentrated in research universities – more diversity is needed. In News, Geoff Maslen reports on the 40% increase in international enrolments in the US over the past decade.
In Commentary, Maurits van Rooijen argues that today’s higher education leaders need to strengthen the university as an academic institution and as a business – the two are mutually dependent – and must build an emotional link with the community if their visions and values are to be achieved.
Grace Karram describes a new interactive website for mobile students in Canada, which aims to provide comprehensive information and create an international student community, and John Hopkins reports on research using Google Analytics that has revealed the multicultural character of academics at – or interested in working at – Australian universities.
In Features, Nic Mitchell investigates a ‘postgraduate crisis’ among domestic students in the UK, which the government has responded to with a string of initiatives. Lucy Hodges interviews Qatar University Vice-chancellor Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad about the institution’s and country’s well-funded drive to make higher education internationally competitive.
Colleen Kimmett looks at how online ‘classrooms’ in China are breaking the MOOCs language barrier, and Alecia D McKenzie finds students and academics in the Italian town of Naples getting involved in the fight against environmental pollution.
We publish the first of two Special Reports on PhD education in Africa, including findings of research by Johann Mouton and Nico Cloete, reflections on quality, ranking and PhD training by Cheryl de la Rey, and a commentary by Dorothea Rüland on enhancing African research through international collaboration.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Geoff Maslen

Higher education institutions across the United States have experienced an astonishing 40% increase in international student enrolments over the past decade. In the current academic year, nearly 820,000 foreigners are studying in US universities and colleges, a record number and up from less than 590,000 10 years ago.
Alya Mishra

India is poised to become the largest provider of global talent, with one in four graduates in the world a product of the Indian education system by 2030, according to a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Carmen Paun

The European Research Council will be able to recruit top young scientists from South Korea following an agreement signed by the European Commission and the South Korean government in Brussels.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Denmark’s Minister for Research, Innovation and Higher Education Morten Østergaard has announced that he will retract a proposal to fundamentally change the budgeting system for international students and for Danish students abroad – at least, in the way it was proposed. The retraction followed sharp warnings from universities.
Tunde Fatunde

The four-month strike in Nigeria’s public universities may end soon, following the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan. He decided to lead the government team in negotiations with academics, in an effort to find practical solutions to the industrial action.

Following their first global meeting in Shanghai earlier this month, 33 higher education research and policy experts from around the world published the ‘Shanghai Statement’ calling for greater intellectual input, data, policy analysis and professional training for the world’s expanding and increasingly important higher education sector.
Gilbert Nganga

Kenya’s profile as a research hub has received a major boost with two mega research centres that are expected to generate hundreds of innovations. The centres will provide a platform for top-notch researchers to offer their skills in developing solutions to challenges facing Kenya and Africa. And the government is planning to double its research funding within two years.
Tricia Oben

A decision to ban 15 medical schools in Cameroon from training doctors has sparked anger – although it has been welcomed by the country’s medical profession.
Ishmael Tongai

The BRICS Think Tanks Council, comprising representatives from the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, met near Stellenbosch in South Africa last week to review plans for the body’s operation.
Gilbert Nganga

Major reforms are looming for student loan schemes in East Africa as governments seek to raise enrolments and ease the fees burden on parents. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda have announced plans to restructure their student loan systems or are already doing so, also aiming to raise more funds and achieve efficiencies in loan recovery.
Nic Mitchell

The British government has woken up to what some universities are calling a ‘postgraduate crisis’ with a pledge of £75 million (US$120 million) to fund a string of initiatives aimed at reversing falling demand for masters courses among UK students.
Lucy Hodges

As skyscr apers rise from the sand and Qatar prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, higher education has become a hot topic in this Gulf state with the highest GDP per capita in the world. Mindful that its oil and gas wealth gives it the opportunity to arm its citizens with the highest educational standards, the ruling Thani family is pouring money into making Qatar University a world-class institution that will attract researchers globally.
Colleen Kimmett

China is the number one country worldwide in terms of growth potential for massive open online courses – MOOCs. This is something the largest North American MOOC platforms know well, and the past year has seen a flurry of activity to capture this market.
Jeffrey R Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Buried in all the hype about MOOCs is a somewhat surprising admission by some of the world's leading universities – that their teaching methods may not be very good.
Alecia D McKenzie

Students and academics in the Italian town of Naples have long seen their city used as a textbook case of what not to do for the environment. Now they have joined the fight against environmental pollution caused by illegal waste disposal and garbage-strewn streets.
Rahul Choudaha

Last week’s Open Doors report shows growth in international student numbers coming to the United States. But a closer look at the statistics demonstrates that many are from just a handful of countries and are concentrated in certain types of institution. US universities need to diversify their international policy better in order to plan for the long term.
Maurits van Rooijen

Higher education leaders need a vision that embraces everything from internationalisation to online and continuous learning. They need to enhance the university as an academic institution, as a business and, most importantly perhaps, they need to create an emotional link with the community – without the latter, values and vision will not be as effective.
Grace Karram

A new interactive website for mobile students aims to do more than just provide comprehensive information to international students. It hopes to give students more of a voice and make them feel less isolated.
John Hopkins

Research using Google Analytics shows much more accurately than before how multicultural the pool of academics interested in moving to Australian institutions is.
SPECIAL REPORT: PhD education in Africa
Doctoral training in Africa has become a focus of universities, researchers, policy-makers, governments and donors across Africa and around the world. In this, the first of two Special Reports, we look at the topic as discussed at a gathering hosted by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and South Africa’s National Research Foundation, and at a Volkswagen Foundation grantees' meeting in Hanover, Germany.

Karen MacGregor

There is a real danger that by focusing on national and institutional policies and strategies to expand PhD production, a truism will be lost, says Professor Johann Mouton of the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. “It is that supervisors graduate PhD students.”
Dorothea Rüland

Quality higher education can only emerge when the research dimension in universities is improved. How can graduate education, as a precondition for research in Africa, be strengthened?
Peta Lee

African universities need to rethink how they understand success factors, according to Professor Cheryl de la Ray, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Pretoria and former chief executive of South Africa’s Council on Higher Education. Perceptions of quality affect university reputations, “but what we regard as quality is not exact”.
Peta Lee

Are African universities doing enough to encourage and support doctoral studies? A recent survey of eight institutions indicated increased vigour in their efforts to do so, particularly over the past five years.
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Angry students chained and padlocked the doors to Bulgaria's largest university in Sofia last Monday, demanding the resignation of the embattled Soc ialist-backed government, reports AFP. "We declare total and effective occupation," the students announced on their Facebook page amid efforts to reignite the mass anti-poverty and anti-corruption protests that swept the country earlier this year.

Britain’s 1994 Group of small research-intensive universities has decided to disband 19 years after being set up, writes Simon Baker for Times Higher Education. In a statement released by the board, the group says that although it “was not an easy decision to make”, the body had come to its “natural end point”.

The American publication US News & World Report plans to develop a university rankings guide for the Middle East-North Africa region within three years, writes Christina Maria Paschyn for Al-Fanar Media.

Although it is a college recognised by India’s University Grants Commission, only the two top earners in the economics faculty at Khaira College get UGC-prescribed pay scales, writes Subodh Varma for The Times of India. This story is repeated across the country.

Amid ongoing public debate over the Turkish government’s intention to intrude in the private lives of university students, new amendments to Higher Education Board regulations could give students new headaches as they could be suspended from university during a legal probe, reports Hurriyet Daily News.

As a strike by administrative staff at Athens University and the National Technical University of Athens continues into its 10th week, placing the studies of thousands of students in jeopardy, the government is considering forcing the employees back to work by issuing civil mobilisation orders, reports Kathimerini.

Federal budget sequestration is hitting public and private universities hard, with a new survey showing that 81% of institutions around the United States have been affected, writes Lynn O’Shaughnessy for CBS Moneywatch.

When outspoken economics professor Xia Yeliang was dismissed by Peking University last month, 136 faculty members at Wellesley College, an elite all-women's school outside Boston, took it personally, writes Peter Ford for Christian Science Monitor.

Carnegie Mellon University is convening a high-powered consortium of educators, researchers and technology-company executives that will spearhead efforts to develop standards and promote best practices in online education, writes Megan O’Neil for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

About 600 academics from around the world have signed a petition asking for the reinstatement of Iris Ritzmann, a University of Zurich professor, after she was sacked amid accusations of giving confidential information to journalists concerning a colleague, reports and agencies.

Ghana’s National Council for Tertiary Education said last week that it is working closely with universities and the Ministry of Education to set up a true research fund. The fund would be financed by Ghanaian taxpayers, reports Business Ghana.

Long a staple of student banter, rhyming slang expressions such as the ‘Geoff Hurst’, ‘Attila the Hun’ and ‘Desmond Tutu’ – used to refer to first, 2:1 and 2:2 honours degrees – could be consigned to the dustbin if Edinburgh University’s radical pilot of the Grade Point Average system is successful, writes John-Paul Holden for Edinburgh News.

Michelle Obama, after nearly five years of evangelising exercise and good eating habits, will begin a new initiative that seeks to increase the number of low-income students who pursue a college degree. The goals of the programme reflect the first lady’s own life and will immerse her more directly in her husband’s policies, writes Jennifer Steinhauer for The New York Times.

Universities in the United Kingdom have been forced to cancel a visit by a homophobic Muslim cleric after it emerged that he had preached that gay people were “worse than animals”, writes Miranda Prynne for The Telegraph.
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