University World News Global Edition
26 April 2015 Issue 0364 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Leave behind the digital
dark ages – or face a
student rebellion

In our World Blog, John Traxler says universities are lagging so far behind people on the street in the use of digital technology that taxpayers are entitled to ask why they are subsiding a system that is so out of touch and why students at the end of three years must still sit silent, alone and use a pen to answer exam questions. Will the masses, connected by mobiles and social media, overthrow the established order with its institutions, officials and values?
In Commentary, Hayes Tang says the student leaders in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement are redefining the meaning of political participation and challenging the role of capitalism in higher education. Nigel Carrington says if the UK succumbs to growing political pressure to pull out of the European Union it could damage knowledge creation by re-introducing borders restricting the influx of staff and students from member countries. And Ranjit Goswami says scrapping the University Grants Commission will not ensure that quality follows quantity in India’s universities: the priority now is to focus on outcomes.
In Features, Linda Yeung finds out how the Asian University for Women judges candidates for admission on their reaction to injustice and ability to empathise with the downtrodden. And Wachira Kigotho reports on fears that with Africa offering some of the world’s most lucrative business opportunities, foreign business schools are opening up a new ‘colonial frontier’ and carving up the continent.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Mary Beth Marklein

The policy-making arm of the National Science Foundation last week poured a bucket of cold water onto the sometimes fiery debate about whether the United States faces a glut or a shortage of workers trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – typically known as the STEM fields.
María Elena Hurtado

Argentinian universities are graduating only three out of ten entrants – compared to six out of ten in neighbouring Chile and five out of ten in Brazil – and little is being done to increase retention rates, according to a new report.
Brendan O'Malley

Cost saving should not be the primary goal behind university mergers, the European University Association has warned in a new report. The academic mission must take precedence at all times, it says.
Wagdy Sawahel

Islamic universities are beginning to spring up in countries around the world with new institutions opening in the US, Italy and in some European countries. The aim is to provide higher education for immigrant Muslim communities and to tackle concerns about the spread of extremism among Muslim youth.
Yojana Sharma

A plan by the University of Hong Kong to bring in mandatory university exchange programmes to institutions in mainland China has caused an uproar among students, many of whom took part in last year’s pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong and fear they could be barred from crossing the border or be held in China if they do so.
Wagdy Sawahel

The Association of African Universities has “strongly urged” higher education institutions across the continent to strengthen security on campuses to ensure the safety of students and staff and the protection of property. The call came in the wake of numerous atrocities committed by religious fundamentalists against educational institutions.
Wachira Kigotho

In the wake of the attack on Garissa University College by Islamist al-Shabaab militants on 2 April, in which 148 people were massacred, churches in Kenya have accused Muslim scholars and clergy of not doing enough to condemn the insurgency or counter radicalisation.
Michael Gardner

Some 15.4 million students are studying German as a foreign language worldwide and German is becoming particularly popular in South America, notably Brazil, the Middle East and, above all, China and India, according to the latest survey.
Casey Fabris, The Chronicle of Higher Education

A new fellowship programme dedicated to supporting the humanities and social sciences will give scholars in those disciplines a major financial boost and time to explore some of the most complex issues in society today.
Karen MacGregor, Munyaradzi Makoni and Tunde Fatunde

Xenophobic violence that erupted in parts of South Africa this month, leaving seven people dead, has outraged university communities and the ministries of higher education and of science and technology, all of which have come out in full support of international students and academics. The attacks also exposed gaps in research into xenophobia.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Numerous foreign PhD students who apply for Swedish citizenship face years of delay or rejection, because they originally said on their application form when applying for a study visa that they did not intend to stay in Sweden.

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Hayes Tang

The passionate and fearless pursuit of social justice by the student leaders of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong is compelling academics and administrators to re-examine the university-state-market dynamics shaping higher education.
Nigel Carrington

Even in the digital age, knowledge happens because people with common interests can easily work alongside each other, wherever they come from. This open society is under attack amid widespread calls to restrict immigration and leave the European Union.
Ranjit Goswami

Until and unless there is a focus by government on tertiary education outcomes, neither replacing nor restructuring the University Grants Commission will solve the acute challenges confronting the higher education sector in India.
Patrick Blessinger

How can higher education help prepare students to live and work in a globalised world? International higher education provides a meaningful way to help accomplish that goal.
John Traxler

Will the technology revolution bring about the overthrow of the higher education system, and are university debates about mobile learning an attempt to make an education system work for a society that has literally moved on?
Wachira Kigotho

The risk of not being part of Africa’s fast-growing business opportunities is pushing business schools in Western Europe and the United States to start expanding onto a continent that is emerging as a force in the global economic enterprise.
Linda Yeung

The founder of the Asian University for Women is on a quest to break down barriers to women entering higher education, especially those who are the first in their family to enter university, and to help them achieve their potential.
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Australia's leading universities, including the prestigious University of Sydney and the Australian National University, have engaged corrupt education agents who are falsifying the academic records of prospective international students to ensure their acceptance into the Australian tertiary system, writes Lisa Visentin for Brisbane Times.

Germany’s ruling political parties have agreed to plough €5 billion (US$5.4 billion) more into science from 2018 to 2028. The deal, announced on 16 April, is not a government commitment, but it is a strong indication that the country will continue its healthy support for scientific research, writes Quirin Schiermeier for Nature.

More than 40,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey would have been college bound before the war, but attempts to continue university studies in Turkey have largely been a failure. Now, the head of a network of private higher education institutions, Enver Yucel, is offering an ambitious solution: an accredited university system, with coursework in Arabic and English as well as Turkish, on campuses along the Turkish border, writes Deborah Amos for National Public Radio.

The student protests at the University of Amsterdam have led to the resignation of management board chair Louise Gunning. Gunning, who was appointed in 2012, has been under fire for her handling of the dispute, particularly her decision to end the occupation of the university administration centre by sending in riot police, reports Dutch News.

Chilean students marched through Santiago on 16 April to demand the government fulfil pledges to guarantee free higher education, reviving a protest movement that captured global headlines three years ago, writes Javiera Quiroga for Bloomberg.

Students have been shut out of Yemen’s classrooms since the Saudi-led air attacks started on 26 March. Those attacks have also killed hundreds of schoolchildren and damaged schools and universities, writes Faisal Darem for Al-Fanar Media.

More than half of final-year undergraduates say they would never vote Liberal Democrat because of its U-turn on tuition fees which saw charges rise to £9,000 (US$13,500) a year, a new poll of more than 13,000 students has found, writes Sarah Cassidy for The Independent.

Hungary’s Ministry of Human Resources has completed the overhaul of university programmes, with the goal of harmonising higher education with the demands of the economy and society to improve the competitiveness of education, the labour market and the economy, reports Hungary Today.

The prospect of tuition fees being reduced to £6,000 (US$9,000) in England has been boosted by the Scottish National Party or SNP’s decision to support the policy, which is thought to have been motivated in part by anticipation of a significant funding windfall, writes Chris Havergal for Times Higher Education.

Realising the decades-old dream of expat parents, a Saudi business group led by Prince Saud bin Musaed has taken the initiative to open an international university in Jeddah, offering degrees in engineering, automobile mechanics and business management, writes PK Abdul Ghafour for Arab News.

The Commonwealth Youth Council chairperson, Ahmed Adamu, has urged Nigeria’s president-elect Muhammadu Buhari to abolish foreign scholarships in the country when he assumes office on 29 May, writes Wale Odunsi for Daily Post.

Academics and administration officials at Concordia and McGill universities are raising concerns over Course Hero, a note-sharing website for students which boasts more than just notes, reports CBC News.

Columbia University vice-chair of the department of surgery, Mehmet Oz, or ‘Dr Oz’ as he is better known, defended himself recently against criticism from other medical professionals, who say that some of the TV host's advice and product endorsements lack scientific backing, writes Jim Lenahan for USA Today.

Queen's University Belfast has said an event on the fallout from the Charlie Hebdo murders in France was cancelled as no risk assessment had been completed, reports BBC News.

Universities are going to have to cumulatively shoulder an extra NZ$330,000 (US$250,000) financial burden because of an increase in copyright licences, but the cost won't be passed on to students, writes Rebecca Quilliam for The New Zealand Herald. And a test case in the Court of Appeal will affect the universities' ability to negotiate future costs of copyright licence fees.

A proliferation of online services for third-level students offering “pay as you go” essays has prompted universities to review their policies against plagiarism, write Joe Humphreys and Michael O’Byrne for The Irish Times.
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