University World News Global Edition
28 June 2015 Issue 373 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Where fear and coercion are being used to threaten even the freedom to think

In Features, Brendan O’Malley outlines a new report from Scholars at Risk, which documents how not only militant groups but state forces in many countries are using violence, imprisonment and intimidation to silence students and academics and close down the space in which alternative ideas or critical thinking can emerge.
In News, Yojana Sharma reports on the fears being raised over the upholding of academic freedom on foreign campuses in China in the wake of its ideological tightening of freedoms in its own universities.
In Commentary, we offer two opposing points of view on the proposed academic boycott of Israel. John Kelly argues that a total boycott could ensure Israeli academics and students force their government to ease restrictions on Palestinian universities; while David Newman argues that the activities of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement serve only to weaken the chances of Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement.
Also in Commentary, Peter Tindemans says we should think in novel ways about reshaping doctoral training to cope with the reality that many doctorate holders will end up in non-research positions.
In World Blog, William Patrick Leonard says international students looking to study in South Korea should shop around to find the institutions which run courses in English at their level, because some institutions are better prepared than others to offer them.
In our Special Report on the 14th General Assembly of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, Wachira Kigotho hears a warning that the quality of education in African universities must be improved to reduce the increased risk of brain drain stemming from internationalisation.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Brendan O’Malley

Violent attacks on higher education students, staff and institutions around the world are occurring with “alarming frequency”, according to a new report, which documents 485 killings in 18 countries in the past four and a half years.
Yojana Sharma

New York University’s flagship branch campus in Shanghai would have to be closed down if principles of academic freedom are not honoured in China, Jeffrey Lehman, the vice-chancellor of NYU Shanghai, told a US house subcommittee hearing on the threat to academic freedom by China’s growing influence on US universities.
Alan Osborn

The European University Association, or EUA, fears a vote in the European Parliament to formally adopt the European Union European Fund for Strategic Investments, or EFSI, and divert EU research funding to EFSI’s budgets will mean a squeeze on other earmarked funds for collaborative research by universities and other research bodies.
Wachira Kigotho

A tight competition for professional and technical skills is emerging in Africa with most companies experiencing volatile labour mobility of highly skilled persons, according to a new study by EY, one of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited.
Suvendrini Kakuchi

Universities will face pressure to streamline and refocus their mission on developing skills for the global jobs market under sweeping reforms announced last week. The education ministry wants to raise the standing of science and technology and said that humanities departments could be axed.
Naw Say Phaw Waa

An amended National Education Law was approved by Myanmar’s union parliament last week after months of student protests. But it still excludes recognition of student and teachers’ unions – a key demand of demonstrators.
Maina Waruru

Just months after a terror attack killed 148 people at Garissa University College in northeast Kenya, 300 of its surviving students have been awarded scholarships to complete their studies by the German Academic Exchange Service.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The case of two Iranian students appealing against a decision of the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board in spring 2014 to block renewal of their residence permits for PhD study at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology was heard by the Oslo District Court on 17-22 June.
Jane Marshall

Thierry Mandon has been appointed as the new state secretary for higher education and research. He takes over at a time of austerity and low morale among the university community, after a period of three months during which the post was vacant.
Barbara Barkhausen

Palmer United Party Senator Zhenya Wang has proposed an opt-in/opt-out model for university fee deregulation in a bid to break months of deadlock between the government and opposition over higher education reform.
Gilbert Nganga

Kenyatta University – Kenya’s largest institution by student numbers – has teamed up with New York-based private equity firm Integras to build hostels with a total of 10,000 beds. The US$11 million project is to be executed under a public-private partnership.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The Council of State has ordered the merging of 11 higher education institutions into four new institutions, thereby establishing the Norwegian University of Science and Technology as the largest university in Norway. The mergers are intended to strengthen the institutional landscape.
Brendan O'Malley

A new report from the Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitoring Project has not only highlighted the targeted killing in conflict countries but has revealed that in many places state authorities are using violence, imprisonment and lower levels of intimidation to silence students and academics with opposing points of view.
Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education

It’s hard for Charles K Ross to shake his first image of the University of Mississippi. He was watching a televised football game in 1994, and the Ole Miss stadium was a sea of Confederate-flag-waving fans. Ross was appalled. A flurry of changes since then have made the campus a more welcoming and inclusive place.
Michael Gardner

The German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, celebrated its 90th anniversary this month. Although it was once hijacked by the Nazis, it now plays a key role in the academic world, and contributes to peace-building by enabling students from war-torn countries to continue their higher education.
John Kelly

An international academic boycott of Israel provides a chance, however slight, to bring academic freedom to Palestinian universities, which are severely restricted by the Israeli government.
David Newman

Calls for an academic boycott of Israel only serve to weaken liberal voices on campuses and allow the government to shift the spotlight away from its policies on the West Bank and the Palestinians.
Peter Tindemans

A change is needed in how we deal with doctoral education in the light of funding shortages across Europe, as the reality is that many doctorate holders will end up in non-research positions.
William Patrick Leonard

Korea offers a growing number of courses in English, which is a good draw for international students, although it can present problems for some Korean students.
More than 500 delegates attended the 14th General Assembly of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, or CODESRIA, held in the Senegalese capital Dakar from 8-12 June under the theme “Creating African Futures in an Era of Global Transformations: Challenges and prospects”.
Karen MacGregor

This month, at Africa’s biggest gathering of social scientists, the quality of papers and depth of reflection made it clear that universities are turning a corner. “It indicated significant recovery taking place in higher education systems,” said Dr Ebrima Sall, executive secretary of CODESRIA – the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.
Wachira Kigotho

The quality of education in African universities must be urgently improved in order to stem the brain drain and reduce risks stemming from the internationalisation of higher education, delegates at the 14th General Assembly of CODESRIA – the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa – were told.
Wachira Kigotho

Nollywood, Nigeria’s vibrant film industry, has come of age by attracting tertiary educated audiences and can be used effectively as an integration tool in West Africa and beyond, says Dr Oluyemi Oyenike Fayomi, a senior lecturer at Covenant University in Nigeria.
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Students are flocking into Islamic-based higher education institutions as the government plans to turn Indonesia into a global centre for Islamic study, writes Hans Nicholas Jong for The Jakarta Post.

Figures from 2014 reveal that more than 2,000 students submitted complaints against universities in the UK, up 3% on last year and the highest number recorded in the report's 10-year history, writes Josie Gurney-Read for The Telegraph.

Funded by a US$40 million investment from Microsoft Corporation, the University of Washington and China’s elite Tsinghua University will launch a new programme in Seattle in 2016 to focus on technology and design innovation – a cooperative move between nations for whom technology has been a sore point in recent years, writes Melissa Korn for The Wall Street Journal.

The college and university accommodation crisis in Ireland has become “so chronic” that students are being forced to sleep rough, share a bed with strangers – or give up on studying altogether, writes Aftab Ali for The Independent.

A group of senior United States university representatives has visited Iran, in what is believed to be the biggest academic delegation since the 1970s, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.

The number of Chinese mainland students applying to Hong Kong universities has dropped by more than 30%, according to several local universities, with observers claiming the decline was likely prompted by the region's unstable political environment, writes Yuen Yeuk-laam for Global Times.

High-tech collaboration between British universities and China’s aerospace sector is under scrutiny as US authorities investigate links between Beijing’s biggest military aircraft manufacturer and Iran’s ballistic missile programme, writes Charles Clover for Financial Times.

Ethiopia’s higher education infrastructure has mushroomed in the last 15 years. But the institutions suffer from curricula being abandoned due to funding cuts, unqualified – but party-loyal – lecturers, and shoddily built institutions. The rapid growth of Ethiopia’s higher education system has come at a cost, but it is moving forward all the same, writes George West for the Guardian.

Ahead of the new academic year, leading Armenian universities are holding rector elections with new promises and new expectations, writes Gohar Abrahamyan for Armenia Now.

The University of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo was once a status symbol for the whole country – today it is a symbol of state failure and viewed as a stronghold of resistance to President Joseph Kabila's controversial third term bid, reports Deutsche Welle.

The genome of the superbug that has put hospital authorities across the globe on alert has been mapped, raising hopes that scientists could finally tame the bacterial bandit that has been linked to Australian deaths, writes Bridie Smith for The Age.

Japan has not yet decided if it will resume killing whales as part of its Antarctic research whaling programme, but the country believes it has the right to do so, writes Dennis Normile for Science.

Medical marijuana advocates and researchers are celebrating a surprise decision by the Obama administration to scrap reviews that delayed – sometimes for years – private and state-funded research into marijuana’s medical value, writes Steven Nelson for US News and World Report.
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