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15 June 2014 Issue 0324 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Global university leaders – ‘Creating the future of higher education’

The triennial conference of the International Association of University Presidents, or IAUP, was held in Yokohama from 11-14 June under the theme “Creating the Future of Higher Education”. Suvendrini Kakuchi reports that educational innovation and technology was on the minds of leaders, and Yojana Sharma interviews the Chancellor of JF Oberlin University in Tokyo Toyoshi Satow, who has taken over the IAUP presidency.
Conference speaker Gulsun Saglamer writes that while women in Turkey are better represented than many of their European colleagues in academia, much still needs to be done to attain equality. Matthew Zingraff and Anne Schiller describe how South Korea’s new Incheon Global Campus is working to promote student mobility in the region, and Junya Ogasawara profiles the ASPIRE movement through which students are working to bring together universities and United Nations ideals.
In Commentary, Goolam Mohamedbhai argues that it is not necessary to sacrifice quality to achieve quantity in African higher education, and that the challenges involved can be overcome through collaboration.
In Yangling in China, John Richard Schrock experiences the tension and trauma of the college entrance exam, the gaokao, which is a life-defining moment for young Chinese. Also in Asia, Chiao-Ling Chien and David W Chapman look at the rapid growth of graduate education in Malaysia and Thailand.
In World Blog, William Patrick Leonard contends that teaching the ‘soft skills’ that are much in demand in the workplace will give universities a competitive edge and ensure that higher education is worth the debt burden students accrue.
In Features, Nic Mitchell looks at Britain's search for solutions to the problem of falling applications for postgraduate courses, especially from local students, and Peta Lee outlines a new report on British transnational education in the United Arab Emirates, which has seen astonishing growth in recent years.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Yojana Sharma

In a bid to reduce the huge number of university graduates with similar academic degrees competing with each other for the same jobs, China has announced that it will turn at least half of its public universities into institutions of applied learning or polytechnics to produce more technically trained graduates. The radical move will transform the country’s higher education landscape.
Mushfique Wadud

After considerable delay, Bangladesh’s Education Ministry has finally formulated a rule that allows foreign universities, branch campuses or study centres to operate academic activities in the country, fulfilling a long-standing demand by local representatives of foreign universities and some students.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The pilot project in which nine Finnish universities and 10 polytechnics charged tuition fees from some non-European masters students closes at the end of this year. But already most of the institutions have announced that they will not claim fees from students admitted this coming autumn.
Wagdy Sawahel

The African Development Bank has approved a four-year ‘Human Capital Strategy’ for 2014-18 that identifies education, skills development, science, technology, innovation and youth employment as areas of urgent priority.
Wachira Kigotho

Measures to improve the quality of education and learning outcomes are set to become a focal point of the post-2015 development agenda, according to Education International, the world’s largest federation representing teacher trade unions.
Wachira Kigotho

Higher education has the capacity to become a major liberating force against an epidemic of gender-based violence and systemic poverty, says a key World Bank report that sheds new light on social and economic constraints facing women and girls worldwide.
Maina Waruru

Yet another Kenyan politician has become embroiled in a row over the legitimacy of his academic qualifications. It is the latest in a string of scandals involving politicians trying to meet the legal threshold for holding public office using sometimes dubious means.
The International Association of University Presidents, or IAUP, held its Triennial Conference 2014 in Yokohama, Japan, from 11-14 June under the theme “Creating the Future of Higher Education”. University World News was there and covers the conference in this Special Report and another to be published next week.
Suvendrini Kakuchi

The development of innovation and technology in higher education to meet the world’s rapidly changing needs emerged as the main focus of higher education leaders who gathered in Japan’s port city of Yokohama for the conference of the International Association of University Presidents, or IAUP.
Yojana Sharma

The Chancellor of JF Oberlin University in Tokyo Dr Toyoshi Satow took over the three-year presidency of the International Association of University Presidents at its 2014 conference held in Yokohama in Japan last week. He outlined his vision for the IAUP, known as the ‘global voice of higher education’.
Gulsun Saglamer

Women in Turkey are better represented than many of their European colleagues in academia, bolstered by cultural and historical factors. However, there is still a long way to go to attain equality with men.
Matthew Zingraff and Anne Schiller

Low birth rates in Korea present an opportunity for those seeking to promote regional student mobility. The new Incheon Global Campus brings together several international institutions in one place and seeks to offer a diverse programme to students from the region.
Junya Ogasawara

Students around the world are mobilising to bring together universities and United Nations ideals. They are providing a forum called ASPIRE for students to learn about international collaboration and communication.
Nic Mitchell

Concern is mounting in the United Kingdom over falling applications for postgraduate courses, especially from British students. A key concern is the decline in UK-domiciled students enrolling on full-time masters courses, which fell by 13% in 2012-13, and the increasing dependency on international students to sustain many postgraduate courses.
Peta Lee

The number of students studying for a British transnational education award in the United Arab Emirates has seen astonishing growth over the past few years. This includes a 37% increase in students during the past two years – bringing to 15,000 the number studying there for United Kingdom awards.
Jack Stripling, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Campuses may seem to be unlikely laboratories for viable Tea Party candidates, but this election season the record is surprisingly good. A Randolph-Macon College professor’s unexpected primary election victory over Eric I Cantor, a Republican and majority leader of the United States House of Representatives, came less than a month after Midland University’s president won the Republican nomination for the US Senate in Nebraska.
William Patrick Leonard

Universities that teach their students the soft skills employers are crying out for will have a competitive advantage and will ensure that going to university is worth the debt burden students are accruing.
Goolam Mohamedbhai

The challenges for achieving quality in African higher education are enormous, and need to be tackled as student enrolment will – and must – continue to increase to meet the continent’s development needs. But they can be overcome through collaboration at all levels, within and outside Africa. It is not necessary to sacrifice quality to achieve quantity.
John Richard Schrock

Police cars blocked the street, parked front bumper to back bumper, forming a barricade to traffic. Five blocks ahead, a similar barricade prevented any oncoming traffic. I had told my taxi driver "Yangling High School" and we had arrived, to an eerie quiet. This was the week of the gaokao, the most critical time in the life of Chinese youth.
Chiao-Ling Chien and David W Chapman

The need for lecturers for growing numbers of undergraduate students was the initial spur for increasing graduate education in Malaysia and Thailand. This has now been eclipsed by concerns over national development – but there are subtle differences between the two countries’ approaches.
John Long and Kate Trinajstic, The Conversation

We humans use the euphemism for s ex that “we like to get a leg over” but the first jawed vertebrates – the placoderms – they liked to get a leg in. They were the first back-boned creatures to evolve male g enital organs, or claspers, supported by a bony internal skeleton.
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A group of leading medical journal editors, convened by the National Institutes of Health, last week endorsed a set of guidelines intended to tackle the widespread problem of scientific findings that cannot be replicated, writes Paul Basken for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Militants stormed a university filled with hundreds of students in Iraq's restive Anbar province last weekend, briefly taking students hostage before withdrawing amid gunfire, according to officials and witnesses, writes Sameer N Yacoub for Associated Press.

A Palestinian university lecturer who led a delegation of Palestinians to the Auschwitz concentration camp has resigned, reportedly following weeks of pressure and threats, writes Yifa Yaakov for The Times of Israel.

Both sides in the Scottish independence debate stepped up their campaigns last week as they marked the milestone of 100 days to go until the referendum, writes Jill Stephenson for Times Higher Education. A ‘yes’ vote on 18 September could have major effects on Scottish universities: financially, for research and for teaching.

A charity that gave £3.7 million (US$6.23 million) to Cambridge University to endow a professorship for Chinese development studies is run by members of the family of the country’s former prime minister Wen Jiabao, according to a well-placed source in Beijing, write Simon Montlake and Peter Foster for The Telegraph.

Comprehensive school pupils should be allowed into universities on the back of lower GCSE and A-level grades than students from grammars and fee-paying private schools, according to new research, writes Richard Adams for the Guardian.

It takes a long time for a country to build a strong base in science, but only a short time to destroy it. Germany was a sad example. It was a world leader in the sciences for more than a century, until its science base was demolished during the Nazi era, and the country ceded its position to the United States. It has taken decades for Germany to rise again to its current level of excellence, writes Torsten Wiesel for Nature.

Staff-student ratios in higher education in Ireland are now “considerably out of line” with international norms “and the national implication is incredibly serious”, the recently appointed president of University College Dublin has said, writes Joe Humphreys for The Irish Times.

Fee deregulation will reverse the “dumbing down" of higher education and the era of "one-size-fits-all" universities, according to one of the icons of Australian science, writes Matthew Knott for The Sydney Morning Herald. Harry Messel, who was head of physics at the University of Sydney for 35 years, was last week awarded the Academy Medal, one of the Australian Academy of Science's highest honours.

South Australia’s three public universities will lose A$78 million (US$74 million) over the next four years as local students are forced to pay thousands and even tens of thousands more for their degrees, writes Sheradyn Holderhead for The Advertiser.

More than a century after Friedrich Nietzsche urged us to cast aside the standard rules of morality and move Beyond Good and Evil, a college philosophy society named in his honour has been banned for being too nasty, writes Nico Hines for The Daily Beast.

A book owned by Harvard University has been bound in human skin, scientists believe, reports the BBC. Des destinees de l'ame – Destinies of the Soul – has been housed at Houghton Library since the 1930s.
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