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31 August 2014 Issue 0332 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Number of mobile Indian students to rise; Chinese transform US universities

In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha predicts that in the next few years there will be many opportunities for universities looking to attract more Indian students, and institutions need to be prepared to cater for the students’ needs.
In Commentary, Philip G Altbach writes that the rapid rise in Chinese student numbers at top-ranked University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – from 20 to more than 600 in eight years – makes it a good place to study internationalisation.
Helen Obaje finds that agents now recruit 30% of all international non-European students in UK higher education, and are playing an important role in preparing students. Sean Gallagher argues that companies increasingly hiring from an international pool of talent will start investigating which universities produce the best recruits.
Rajesh Tandon and Budd Hall contend that preserving diverse ways of knowing is crucial to humanity, that universities limit access to knowledge and that they should work to reverse what has been called ‘epistemicide’.
In Features, Shuriah Niazi describes large-scale fraud in India’s medical entrance examination, which has led to numerous arrests and has called into question the quality of medical qualifications.
Michelle Paterson reports on a major, 12-country mapping study of climate change by the Southern African Regional Universities Association – SARUA – that is the first of its kind in Southern Africa, with a focus on higher education institutions. And Makki Marseilles reports on a government move to deregister Greece’s 180,000 ‘eternal’ students.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Geoff Maslen

Higher education faces its biggest upheaval in decades if a bill introduced into the House of Representatives last Thursday is passed by parliament. But the chances of the reforms being adopted in total seem remote given the opposition the government faces in the Senate, where it lacks a majority.
Geoff Maslen

As well as generating alarm among Australia’s academics with his reform plans for higher education, federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has caused consternation among research masters and doctoral students by proposing to make them pay fees for the first time.
Karuna Narayan and Yojana Sharma

The battle to rein in Delhi University’s controversial four-year undergraduate degrees and revert to British-style three-year degrees has expanded to include the prestigious Indian institutes of technology and private higher education institutions.
Karen MacGregor

Universities around the world have been swept up in activities responding to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. Many are monitoring international students coming from the region, others have cancelled student and academic visits, and some are involved in cutting-edge Ebola research and vaccine trials.
Jane Marshall

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem became France’s new minister for national education, higher education and research in the government reshuffle announced on 26 August. Geneviève Fioraso remains as secretary of state for higher education and research.
Brendan O’Malley

An overwhelming majority of the British public say the government should not reduce international student numbers – whether or not that limits the ability to cut the overall number of immigrants. Even two thirds of Conservative voters are opposed to reducing student numbers, according to a new report by the think-tank British Future and Universities UK, which represents the country’s universities.
Wagdy Sawahel

Egypt has announced a US$5.87 billion higher education plan – to run in two phases from 2014 to 2022 and including 61 initiatives – aimed at producing more market-ready graduates and promoting a knowledge-based economy.
Emilia Tan

A political row has broken out in Malaysia over a previously unannounced reduction in the number of places in publicly funded medical schools, which typically attract the country’s brightest students. In what is becoming an annual issue, many students have to apply for substantially more expensive private medical schools, or abandon their hopes of qualifying as a doctor.

The European University Association has warned the Council of the European Union against making “considerable cuts” to proposed funding for research and innovation, including to the major framework programme Horizon 2020.
Francis Kokutse

The spread of the Ebola viral disease in West Africa has prompted the Ministry of Education to postpone reopening tertiary education institutions for the new academic year. But many believe the real reason for the two-week delay was an ongoing strike by university lecturers.
Geoff Maslen

Fourteen organisations from five nations have collaborated to launch a US$24 million research centre designed to develop new vaccines and improve drug delivery and disease detection. The Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology was opened in Melbourne last Thursday.

Malawi’s new president, Peter Mutharika, has done away with the controversial student quota system, saying that six more universities will be built to widen access to higher education.
Shuriah Niazi

Large-scale fraud in India’s medical entrance examination or the Pre-Medical Test – being described as India’s biggest education scam – is having serious wider repercussions, calling into question the quality of medical education and the qualifications of some recently graduated doctors.
Michelle Paterson

On a continent that is one of the most vulnerable to climate change, the Southern African Regional Universities Association – SARUA – has produced a comprehensive climate change mapping study that is the first of its kind in Southern Africa, with a focus on higher education institutions. It brings together information from 12 countries across a multiplicity of disciplines.
Makki Marseilles

Having ‘solved’, so to speak, problems that plague higher education – under-funding, lack of administration staff, conflicts arising from double-tier management and more – the Greek Education Ministry has turned its attention to 180,000 ‘eternal’ students who for various reasons have not completed their studies during the prescribed time – and is about to strike them off the register.
Sydni Dunn, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Weeks after the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign abruptly revoked a job offer to Steven G Salaita in the wake of his controversial tweets about Israel, two scholars have signalled their protest by pulling out of speaking engagements at the campus, and a programme that was set to host a national gathering there has called its conference off.
Rahul Choudaha

In the next few years there will be many opportunities for universities looking to attract more Indian students, driven not so much by government policy but by student demand. They need to be prepared to cater for the students’ needs.
Philip G Altbach

The rapid expansion in Chinese student numbers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, placed 25th globally by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, makes it a good place to study the pros and cons of internationalisation.
Helen Obaje

A growing number of international students use agents to find the course that is right for them. One of the most important roles of recruitment agents, however, is in preparing students before they leave for the United Kingdom.
Sean Gallagher

As firms increasingly hire from an international talent pool they will start to investigate which degrees from which institutions produce the best recruits.
Rajesh Tandon and Budd Hall

Just as the importance of biodiversity for the survival of the planet is recognised so we must preserve the diverse ways of knowing that exist among humanity.
Gregor Kennedy, The Conversation

Only the brave will make solid predictions about where MOOCs – massive open online courses – will end up and what they will become. But MOOCs have already shown how learning analytics research can inform our understanding of students’ engagement and learning in online environments – and this will become increasingly important, as online learning is destined to play a major role in the future of higher education.

French and Australian researchers have found that electromagnetic stimulation could be used to alter brain organisation in humans that would make the brain work better. They were able to demonstrate that weak sequential electromagnetic pulses on mice shifted abnormal neural connections in those small mammals to more normal locations.

A PhD student from Bangladesh has helped make a significant breakthrough in overcoming a global deficiency of the essential mineral and micronutrient in humans called selenium. Deficiency in consuming the element has been linked to diseases including some cancers, viral infections, heart disease and male infertility.

An international team of astrophysicists has successfully detected pulsed gamma rays from a neutron star, the Vela pulsar, using a newly upgraded telescope system located in Namibia. This is the first ground-based detection of pulsed gamma rays from the southern sky and was detected with a giant 28-metre diameter telescope added to the existing four 12-metre telescopes in Namibia last year.

The European Southern Observatory has blasted the top of a 3,000-metre high mountain, the Cerro Armazones in northern Chile. This will provide the flat surface for the observatory’s new €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) European Extremely Large Telescope that will be housed in a stadium-sized dome on the mountaintop.

Australian Policy Online is a database and alert service that provides free access to full text research reports, papers, statistics and other resources essential for public policy development and implementation in Australia and New Zealand. Last week, the journal won the ‘information’ category at the 2014 ANZIA awards, hosted by the web organisations .au Domain Administration Ltd and InternetNZ.
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Eight universities across northern Iraq have been shuttered and appear unlikely to open soon after the sweep of extremist fighters through the region, writes Gilgamesh Nabeel for Al-Fanar.

Turkey plans to airlift 129 students from Gaza who were granted scholarships for outstanding achievements, reports Daily Sabah. The students, who will study at universities in Turkey, cannot leave the Gaza Strip due to the deteriorating security situation in the wake of Israel's attacks.

Figures show that the number of British universities charging blanket £9,000 (US$14,900) tuition fees for all undergraduate courses will soar by 50% this year, writes Graeme Paton for the Telegraph.

The South African government will implement several measures to stop racism and discrimination in educational institutions, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said recently, reports Sapa.

Bolivian President Evo Morales handed out degrees to the first graduates of the country’s three indigenous universities recently at a joint graduation ceremony, asserting that they would fight colonialism as well as honour the memories of indigenous Bolivian heroes, writes Rick Kearns for Indian Country.

Duke Kunshan University, a new joint venture in higher education between China and the United States, welcomed its first students on 20 August, joining New York University Shanghai which opened in 2012, reports China Daily.

Welsh student leaders say they are "shocked" that funding for students in financial difficulty is being cut. Ministers had given universities £2.1 million (US$3.48 million) a year for the Financial Contingency Fund but now say higher tuition fee income means institutions can afford to fund the scheme themselves, reports BBC News – Wales.

Universities are being forced to teach overseas students who return home with skills that help build their countries to compete against the United Kingdom, a leading vice-chancellor has warned, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.

A former judge of the European Court of Justice has said the Scottish government’s plan to continue its existing tuition fee policy after independence would be “incompatible” with European Union law and “could not survive challenge” in the courts, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.

The chair of a universities task force on reforming admissions procedures in Ireland has admitted that colleges have been artificially inflating points by offering courses with a small student intake, writes Joe Humphreys for The Irish Times.
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