University World News Global Edition
23 March 2014 Issue 0312 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Partnering with China, UK student mobility, and Japan’s unreal HE contest

In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha argues that there should be less focus on international branch campuses and more on developing online and open learning as affordable global engagement strategies.
In Commentary, Benoît Millot compares rankings of universities and higher education systems, and argues that Universitas 21’s systems ranking could be a useful policy tool. Takehiko Kariya contends that Japan should worry less about ‘imagined competition’ with universities in the West and strengthen what is unique about its higher education.
In a Special Report on higher education partnerships with China, Daniel Julius and Mitch Leventhal look at factors that influence the success of collaborations. Mandy Garner interviews a former international student who has set up an international education business linking China and the UK, and James Holloway and Amy Conger describe an award-winning University of Michigan partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University that stresses collaboration over competition.
In Features, Yojana Sharma looks at a new plan from the Chinese government to boost the advisory role of universities and think-tanks. We outline the pros and cons of developing a single set of global quality standards, as debated by the US Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s International Quality Group.
Nic Mitchell attended a seminar on implementing the United Kingdom's outward student mobility strategy. There were discussions around the benefits of study abroad, and barriers and opportunities. European students challenged the UK to develop a broader and bolder strategy, while representatives from Mexico and Brazil called for more balance in student mobility.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Mimi Leung

University students who stormed into Taiwan’s legislative building last Tuesday evening said they were prepared for a prolonged battle against attempts by the ruling Kuomintang party to ram through a trade agreement with China. They brought sleeping bags and other equipment to hunker down in the assembly hall, calling for a detailed review of the pact.
Eugene Vorotnikov

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has finally approved a package of measures aimed at improving the national higher education and science system. Among them are introducing a new competitive research grants system, and boosting funding and researcher salaries.
Hiep Pham

An announcement by Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training that 207 undergraduate programmes at 71 universities and colleges will be axed in the forthcoming academic year – in part because of under-qualified academics – has rocked the higher education community.
Peta Lee

Europe's E4 Group of leading higher education associations last week published a joint proposal for "Revised Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area", aimed at clearing up potential confusion and making a more direct link to the learning and teaching process.
Wagdy Sawahel

The number of Libyan-funded graduate students in the United States studying in areas of critical need will be increased along with collaboration between universities in the two countries. This was announced at the first meeting of the US-Libya Higher Education Task Force held in Washington DC.
Ashraf Khaled

Egypt's military-backed government is under increasing pressure from student unions to release hundreds of students detained in recent months amid tensions that gripped academic institutions after the army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July last year.
Michael Gardner

German higher education leaders have called on European politicians to resume negotiations on the participation of Swiss academic and research institutions in the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ programmes of the European Union.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Three vice-rectors at Uppsala University in Sweden have been relieved of their duties following several months of strife over a reported lack of confidence in Rector Eva Åkesson, who has been in the position since 1 January 2012.
Jan Petter Myklebust

On 1 July this year, new legislation will come into force in Sweden that includes measures which will make it considerably easier for foreign doctoral candidates and students to stay and work in the country after graduating.
Yojana Sharma

China’s Ministry of Education has released a new plan to boost the role of universities in advising government, including setting up special university-based centres and think-tanks to carry out research for ministries and contribute to policy-making.
Karen MacGregor

Whether a rapidly changing higher education world needs a single set of quality standards was a major topic of debate at a meeting of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s International Quality Group held in Washington DC. There was some consensus around developing global standards that are able to articulate with strong national quality systems.
Megan O’Neil, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The costs of a cyberattack on the University of Maryland that was made public last month will run into millions of dollars, according to data security professionals who work in higher education. Such a financial and reputational wallop threatens many institutions that are vulnerable to serious data breaches, experts say.
UK outward student mobility
Around 130 representatives of leading UK universities and a range of countries, as well as students and parliamentarians met in London at a seminar on "Implementing the Outward Student Mobility Strategy and Engaging with the Reformed Erasmus Programme". University World News was there.
Nic Mitchell

With countries like Germany and the United States launching ambitious campaigns to encourage more of their students to study abroad, the United Kingdom is redoubling its efforts to increase the tiny number of British students venturing to overseas universities or work placements.
Nic Mitchell

The United Kingdom is proving increasingly attractive to mobile students from Latin America and Mexico, a seminar hosted by the Westminster Higher Education Forum heard in London this month.
Nic Mitchell

European student leaders have challenged British higher education to come up with a broader and bolder strategy to encourage more outward student mobility. Relying on UK students to see the potential benefit of increased employability is not enough, according to Rok Primožic, chair of the European Students’ Union.
Nic Mitchell

George Leech (23) started a two-year masters degree in international and European studies at Linköping University in Sweden 18 months ago. He is among the 1% of Brits who study abroad full-time – a tiny percentage compared to most European and international partners.
Rahul Choudaha

There is a lot of focus on international branch campuses, despite the fact that they only form a small part of universities’ internationalisation activities. There should be more emphasis on developing online and open learning as affordable global engagement strategies.
Benoît Millot

Universitas 21’s attempts to rank higher education systems are to a certain degree flawed, like other international rankings. But if the number of countries included could be widened and systems contextualised better, U21 could provide a useful tool for policy-makers.
Takehiko Kariya

Japanese higher education needs to focus on what it can offer that is unique and adds value, rather than on imagined competition with universities in the West.
Partnering with China
With universities around the world forging partnerships with institutions in China, University World News looks at features of successful collaborations, a start-up that links students in China to entrepreneurial learning in Britain, and an award-winning partnership between a Chinese and a US university.
Daniel Julius and Mitch Leventhal

The number of partnerships between Chinese and United States universities has grown hugely in recent years. What defines a successful partnership? Faculty involvement is key as well as a committed leadership and good channels of communication.
Mandy Garner

Universities are playing a more active role in encouraging students to be enterprising and in promoting internationalisation of education with the involvement of students and alumni in different countries. Pan Xiaohan, a former student from China, has successfully combined both into an international education company that she founded in April 2013.
James Holloway and Amy Conger

The University of Michigan has just won a Heiskell Award for its approach to internationalising higher education. It focuses on a partnership approach in China rather than on creating a branch campus, emphasising collaboration over competition.

Researchers in Hungary have shown that not only do dogs and humans ‘read’ emotions in each other’s voices, but that both are more attuned to happy sounds. The researchers say that humans and dogs are social species with a shared history and it is not surprising that they pick up each other’s emotions in ‘voices’ – but humans are more sensitive to ‘happy’ sounds.

Danish, American and Canadian researchers have challenged the widely held belief that low levels of atmospheric oxygen delayed the origin of animals up until around 700 million years ago. There is experimental evidence suggesting that a common ancestor of animals could have thrived in the low oxygen levels likely on Earth long before animals evolved.

A team of four Australian researchers has found that older men who consume alcohol are not more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment in later life. The team, from the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing at the University of Western Australia, found that alcohol itself was not a direct cause of impairment.

South African scientists say they have debunked two big myths around climate change. They have shown that tropical storms are not increasing in number and that although global warming is causing frost to be less severe, late season frost is not receding as quickly as flowering is advancing, resulting in rising frost risk that could threaten food security.
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Russia has announced plans to create a 10th federal university in Crimea in a year from now on the basis of Tavrida National University, a leading classical academic university based in the Crimean territory, reports The Voice of Russia.

In many ways, Musab Al-Jamal makes for an unassuming rebel, writes Daisy Carrington for CNN. The former law professor from Damascus University has joined other academics to start offering lectures to students in liberated regions inside ravaged Syria and in neighbouring countries.

The Barack Obama administration is facing a torrent of criticism over its new ‘gainful employment’ rule, a sweeping regulation designed to crack down on for-profit colleges while protecting taxpayer money from being wasted, writes Ben Wolfgang for The Washington Times.

Forty percent of students who enrol in an Italian university fail to graduate from their chosen course, a report released last Wednesday has shown, reports The Local.

The University of Sydney plans to spend A$2.5 billion (US$2.26 billion) transforming its historic campus, as a building arms race between higher education institutions reaches unprecedented levels, writes Heath Gilmore for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Hoping your big sister will help you out with your latest assignment? If you're studying online with Coursera, you'd better not let her do the typing. Special software that recognises students' typing speeds and rhythms is used to verify identity, preventing somebody else from taking an assessment on their behalf, writes Harry Slater for the Guardian.

Days after biology major Gillian Carll arrived at Stony Brook University, she encountered a young woman on a bench outside her dormitory who said she had nothing to eat. Carll got the student some food and later volunteered at Stony Brook's new food pantry – one of dozens cropping up at colleges as educators acknowledge the struggles many students face as the cost of higher education continues to soar, writes Frank Eltman for Associated Press.

Major investigations are underway into allegations that local private education institutions have been tricking foreign students into paying large sums of money by making false promises about opportunities to study in Fiji, writes Mika Loga for FBC.

Universities are facing major competition from Britain’s largest companies to recruit bright school-leavers, writes Graeme Paton for the Telegraph. Sir David Bell, vice-chancellor of Reading University, said that on-the-job training was seen as an increasingly attractive option to 18-year-olds who want a good wage without being "saddled with debt".

Three vice-chancellors have recently stepped down amid growing condemnation over their high salaries, writes Tom Fenton for Palatinate.

The representative body for Ireland’s seven universities has said that moves to reduce fees for the children of Irish emigrants living outside the European Union could have a significant financial impact on institutions, writes Fiach Kelly for The Irish Times.

A Westminster committee has said independence would have a damaging effect on higher education and research in Scotland, reports BBC News. MPs on the Scottish affairs committee said the impact would be "far greater than that acknowledged by the Scottish government".

Universities ban students from citing Wikipedia in papers, and even the website itself warns academics against referencing its articles, which any internet user can alter at any time. But a new Canadian study has found that thousands of peer-reviewed papers in medical journals have cited Wikipedia in recent years – and the number of references is increasing fast, writes Tom Blackwell for National Post.

Genetically modified plants should be licensed in the same way as medicinal drugs under a sweeping reform to the regulatory system that hands powers currently held by the European Union back to individual countries, according to a report led by Cambridge scientists, writes David Wilcock for Cambridge News.

Kyoto University is set to select a new president from outside its academic staff, doing away with a nearly century-old tradition of voting only for an in-house candidate, writes Tsuyoshi Sato for The Asahi Shimbun.

Twelve new further education and training colleges will be built across South Africa because of increasing enrolments at universities and colleges, President Jacob Zuma said last week, reports Sapa.

Universities say nursing education has reached a ‘tipping point’, with proposed funding cuts putting the quality of courses and ultimately the quality of nursing care at risk, writes Jo Stephenson for Nursing Times.
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