University World News Global Edition
16 November 2014 Issue 0343 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Research – Schizophrenic universities, unintended rankings consequences

In a Special Report on the first continent-wide study of the impact and influence of rankings, co-author Ellen Hazelkorn writes that despite much criticism, European universities are avid users of rankings, and David Jobbins finds that the report recognises an unintended consequence of rankings – the role they may play in improving higher education.
In World Blog, Hans de Wit and Elspeth Jones argue that employers are missing the wider benefits of internationalisation because higher education is not using the right language to describe them. In Commentary, Anne Corbett attends a British-German-French event in London promoting the benefits to higher education of the European Union, at a time when the UK is moving towards an EU exit.
Marcus Tannenberg reports on the recent Poznan Declaration aimed at mainstreaming ethics and anti-corruption in higher education. Laura W Perna, Kata Orosz and Zakir Jumakulov examine the pros and cons of poorer countries’ efforts to stem the brain drain brought about by study abroad.
Ard Jongsma looks at how community engagement can help to involve traditionally underrepresented groups in higher education, ahead of the Talloires Network conference, and we interview TrustAfrica's Omano Edigheji about 2015's major summit on “Revitalising Higher Education for Africa’s Future”.
In Features, Brendan O’Malley delivers a warning from Open University Vice-chancellor Martin Bean that universities risk becoming irrelevant if they do not embrace the digital age, and Ria Nurdiani describes challenges faced by Indonesia’s new Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Wachira Kigotho

China is forecast to overtake the European Union and the United States in research and development spending by the end of the decade, according to an OECD report on the global state of science, technology and industry published last Wednesday.
Yojana Sharma

The president of Fudan University in Shanghai, one of China’s most prestigious institutions, has resigned in the wake of a government investigation into corruption. Yang Yuliang is the most high profile university head to be removed after President Xi Jinping pledged late last year to go after major officials – ‘tigers’ – and not just ‘flies’ or minor officials.
Mushfique Wadud

Students and guardians fear that much of the current academic year will be wasted, just as studies were affected in previous years by political conflicts. In particular, general nationwide strikes called after political leaders of the largest Islamic party were sentenced to death over their role in the country’s liberation war in 1971 have halted university classes.
Alecia D McKenzie

The World Library of Science, launched by UNESCO and two partners on 10 November, will give students and teachers around the world access to the latest science information and the opportunity to create a “global community for science education”, the developers say.
Suluck Lamubol

Freedom of expression has again come under attack in Thailand, with a 24-year-old student sentenced to imprisonment for a single Facebook post deemed defamatory to the country’s monarchy.
Jan Petter Myklebust

In its budget for 2015, the Norwegian government has proposed that universities and public colleges claim tuition fees from students from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, starting in autumn next year. But rectors have opposed the plan.
Suvendrini Kakuchi

Japanese students are just as interested in overseas study as their counterparts in the United Kingdom and the United States – a finding that pours cold water on the popular theory that Japanese students are averse to study abroad.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Prime ministers from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom met in Helsinki on 6-7 November for the fourth Northern Future Forum. The main topics were how to promote the creation of new innovation firms, and how to ensure the competitiveness of the countries’ education systems.
Wachira Kigotho

Economic experts meeting at the 9th Annual African Economic Conference in Addis Ababa have urged African governments to enhance the image of universities by providing high quality infrastructure and facilities that would enable creative and innovative research.
Munyaradzi Makoni

South African vice-chancellors have called for a stakeholders’ debate that tackles the enormous challenges of financing student enrolment targets, sustaining student financial aid and releasing adequate funding in the face of tight fiscal demands as the country strives for vastly expanded higher education with equity and quality.
Wagdy Sawahel

The so-called ‘Free University of Nigeria’ – popularly known as FUN and described by several reports as Africa's first cloud-based, virtual, tuition-free, not-for-profit university – has turned out to be illegal.
Ard Jongsma

Community work by university staff and students is often seen as an add-on to academic core business. But can it actually be more than that? Can it help to attract students from traditionally underrepresented groups? Can it bridge the gap between higher education and communities that have traditionally been excluded from it? And can it even benefit the core curriculum?
Brendan O’Malley

Universities risk becoming irrelevant and irresponsible if they don’t equip staff to deal with the digital age, said Martin Bean, vice-chancellor of the Open University, in the 2014 Sir John Cass’s Foundation Lecture at the Cass Business School in London.
Ria Nurdiani

Academics believe that Indonesia’s newly created Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education will have to overcome major budgetary and administrative hurdles before serious work can begin, after the country’s new president, in a surprise move, announced the uncoupling of higher education from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Rebecca Koenig and Steve Kolowich The Chronicle of Higher Education

A high-tech effort to study classroom attendance at Harvard University that used secret photo surveillance is raising questions about research ethics among the institution’s academics. The controversy heated up on 4 November, when a computer science professor, Harry R Lewis, questioned the study at a faculty meeting.
Hans de Wit and Elspeth Jones

Employers are missing the wider benefits of internationalisation – at home and abroad – because we are not using the right language to describe them. Academics may also be reluctant to promote internationalisation due to the perception that it will increase their workload. This must be tackled.
Karen MacGregor

Consultations with stakeholders across Africa have thrown up shared challenges that will be tackled at next year’s major summit on “Revitalising Higher Education for Africa’s Future”, says Dr Omano Edigheji, consultant for lead summit organiser TrustAfrica. Among the big issues are harmonisation, investment, regulatory frameworks, the private sector, graduate employability and the curriculum.
Ellen Hazelkorn

Despite much criticism, European universities are avid users of rankings, particularly for strategic purposes, says the first continent-wide study of the impact and influence of rankings on European higher education.
David Jobbins

This month the European University Association published a significant piece of research that highlights one of the unintended consequences of university rankings. It validates the activities of national and international ranking agencies by recognising the role they play – or potentially play – in the process of the continual improvement of higher education.
Anne Corbett

A recent event in London, which brought together German and French cultural institutions and British universities, aimed to promote the European Union at a time when the United Kingdom is moving closer to an EU exit. A case needs to be made for the collective good of Europe rather than narrow national interests.
Marcus Tannenberg

Universities can play a vital role in combating corruption and instilling trust and promoting positive collective action worldwide. But first they need to put their own house in order.
Laura W Perna, Kata Orosz and Zakir Jumakulov

Requiring international scholarship recipients to return to the home nation is meant to stem brain drain from poorer to wealthier countries. But there are potential downsides, such as narrowing the range of students who apply and locking them into jobs for which they might not be best suited.

At the heart of controversial events that have unfolded at Perth-based Murdoch University in Australia is the nature of the relationship between chancellors and vice-chancellors, writes the higher education correspondent for the investigative publication, Inside Story.
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Furious protesters tried to break into Mexico City's National Palace during nationwide demonstrations over the deaths of 43 students that have angered the nation, reports Aljazeera.

Thousands of Greek students and teachers took to the streets of the capital Athens to protest the government’s planned reforms to the education system, reports Press TV.

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities is suing the United States Department of Education and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan over rules the government released recently that penalise career training programmes for burdening students with massive debt while offering few job prospects, writes Claire Zillman for Fortune.

Inattentive college and university governing boards are putting American higher education at risk, according to a new set of guidelines for trustees issued last week by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, writes Ry Rivard for Inside Higher Ed.

Recent changes to the temporary foreign workers programme, aimed at slowing down a tide of low-skilled workers, have made it more difficult for some Canadian universities to recruit international faculty, writes Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.

Leading academics have flayed the Higher Education Commission’s attempts to stifle debate in Pakistan’s universities by prohibiting any activities that challenge the “ideology and principles of Pakistan, and-or perspective of the government of Pakistan”, writes Kashif Abbasi for Dawn.

Drop-out rates at universities will rise as a result of the government's plan to lift the cap on student recruitment, a leading British vice-chancellor has warned. Professor Sir David Eastwood of Birmingham University said he feared a growing number of universities would be forced to merge as competition for places increased, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.

Whistleblowing academics have accused universities of contributing to systemic cheating by welcoming international students who are ‘functionally illiterate’, because they rely so heavily on their fees, write Amy McNeilage and Lisa Visentin for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Students are often keen to exercise their rights but recently there has been an interesting twist – some in India are talking about their right to cheat in university exams, writes Craig Jeffrey for BBC News Magazine.

Hit by a drop in Indian students in its universities due to a stricter visa regime, the United Kingdom has sent a minister to India to reverse the unwelcoming image of Britain, reports the Press Trust of India.

The Higher Education Transformation Network has threatened to take legal action against the University of Cape Town if it goes ahead with the implementation of a new student admissions policy, writes Ilse Fredericks for the Cape Argus.

Japan’s government plans to embark on a local revitalisation plan that enlists the help of municipality-run public universities in fighting depopulation outside metropolitan areas, reports The Yomiuri Shimbun.
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