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NEWSLETTERReconstructing higher education post-conflict is a global responsibility
In Commentary, Sultan Barakat and Sansom Milton argue that rebuilding higher education in the aftermath of conflict is a top priority that requires collective national and international effort.
Jamil Khader contends that the magnitude of the attack on academic freedom in the occupied Palestinian territories has been underestimated. Carolina Guzmán-Valenzuela writes that student protests in Chile have impoverished higher education quality and could produce a generation with a strong political formation but without a robust academic background.
Abi Mandelbaum describes how colleges in America are using virtual reality and augmented reality to attract students and create a community. In World Blog, Margaret Andrews makes the case for marketing universities in ways that reflect a strong, unique identity rather than making them all look the same.
In Features, Nic Mitchell outlines a report from the European Students’ Union warning that patchy implementation of the Bologna process could render it obsolete. Suvendrini Kakuchi finds a new era of university-industry collaboration in Japan, and Munyaradzi Makoni looks at university involvement in innovation and inclusive development in marginalised African communities.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
In an ongoing investigation into a cash-for-admissions racket, the enrolments of 1,080 students in a pre-medical course in Madhya Pradesh state in central India between 2009 and 2013 have been cancelled. The scam, initially exposed two years ago, and two recent high-profile deaths linked to it have sent shock waves across the country. There have been more than 2,000 arrests so far.
The Russian Council of the Federation – the upper house of the Russian Parliament – is proposing to ban certain foreign scientists and organisations operating in Russia who may pose a threat to the country’s national security. Some of them are organisations which search for talent in Russian universities and schools and encourage them to study abroad.
China is even more dominant than last year in the QS University Rankings: BRICS, which compares the top 200 institutions in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. China took seven of the top 10 places.
University students will not have to pay more for their studies in the 2015-16 academic year in spite of an inspectors’ proposal for a substantial rise in fees. Students’ representatives applauded the decision and have given a qualified welcome to recommendations for a national plan to improve students’ living and studying conditions.
NORTH AFRICAWagdy Sawahel
Extremism among higher education students and graduates across North Africa is on the rise. Growing numbers of educated young people from countries including Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Morocco are joining the Islamic State, or Daesh as it is known in Arabic, figures show.
UNITED STATES-VIETNAMMary Beth Marklein and Mai Van Tinh
Plans for a United-States-backed university in Vietnam reached a milestone on Friday when Vietnamese officials granted an operating licence to the US non-profit organisation that is spearheading the initiative.
SOUTH KOREAUnsoo Jung
South Korea’s Ministry of Education plans to hold a contest searching for the best teaching and learning practices at cyber universities. The official objective is to improve quality but there is some concern that it could lead to a system to evaluate and rank cyber universities that provide online courses.
South Africa dominates an initial, ‘snapshot’ ranking of African universities, produced by Times Higher Education and based only on research influence. A future Africa league table will be drawn from THE’s global rankings but will use “bespoke metrics” to be thrashed out at a continental summit being held in Johannesburg at the end of this month.
UNITED STATESColleen Murphy, The Chronicle of Higher Education
A team of congressional Democrats last Wednesday introduced a bill that would make community college free for two years and help cover the costs of a four-year degree at minority-serving institutions, pushing forward the free-college proposal that President Barack Obama unveiled in January.
Kenya plans to set up a US$1 billion National Research Fund to strengthen research in universities, with an eye to boosting innovation to push the country to become a middle-income economy by 2030.
Morocco is moving away from its current university entrance tests from next year, with admission to higher education in future to be primarily based on student performance in baccalaureate examinations using a ‘pre-selection’ system.
The European Students’ Union has warned that the Bologna process, which seeks to harmonise and reform higher education across the continent, is in danger of becoming obsolete because of uneven implementation and poor follow-up of commitments by many European countries.
Research collaboration between Japanese universities and businesses is expanding, with increasing industrial funding for technology and the government pushing for scientific development to underpin local and national economic growth.
Through innovation and inclusive development, universities could be instrumental in fighting poverty and expanding opportunities for marginalised African communities, ongoing research has shown. An array of factors contribute to the success of initiatives, such as communication, enabling access to knowledge, steady funding and aligning activities with national priorities.
GLOBALSultan Barakat and Sansom Milton
The protection and rebuilding of higher education in conflict-affected settings is a neglected issue and should be a global responsibility.
UNITED STATESAbi Mandelbaum
Colleges are using virtual reality and augmented reality for everything from creating a community before students matriculate to virtual tours and educational activities.
The magnitude of the attack on academic freedom in Palestine has been underestimated despite the right to education being one of the key universal human rights.
Chile’s students have been protesting for years about the marketisation of higher education and for a fairer society, but has this come at the expense of their academic formation?
Why do so few higher education institutions use marketing to create a strong, unique identity?
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The vice-chancellors of all public sector universities in Lahore have beefed up security and vigilance on campuses and hostels following a directive of the provincial home ministry with a warning that terrorists may use students and campuses for their ‘evil designs’, writes Shabbir Sarwar for Daily Times.
The latest victims of Greece’s crisis have been students and academics who have lost access to electronic journals, a vital source to continue their research and studies, due to non-payment, writes Anastasios Papapostolou for the Greek Reporter.
Universities in the Netherlands are preparing to ask their researchers to resign from editorial positions with Elsevier journals amid a deadlock over a new subscription deal with the publisher, writes Paul Jump for Times Higher Education.
Amid the Kremlin's mounting fears of ‘colour revolutions’ – a term favoured by Moscow to describe political protests that toppled Russian-backed administrations in several former Soviet states in recent years – the defence ministry has proposed educating all Russian students on how to combat any such revolts in their own country, writes Anna Dolgov for The Moscow Times.
A former Iowa State University researcher who fabricated the results of an experimental HIV vaccine was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison recently. He was also ordered to pay US$7.2 million to the US National Institutes of Health that funded the research, writes Vishakha Sonawane for International Business Times.
The Higher Education Commission plans to set up five new universities and 36 campuses besides upgrading nine existing institutions into fully-fledged university campuses across the country, writes Riazul Haq for The Express Tribune.
With no end in sight for the conflict in Syria, a growing number of Syrian refugees in Jordan realise they can no longer put their education on hold. But the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against them, and not only for those living in refugee camps with scant electricity and few material resources, writes Michael Pizzi for Al Jazeera.
Lahcen Daoudi, the minister of higher education, said earlier this month in Rabat that holders of a BA in arts and humanities will be a burden on their families and on the community, writes Larbi Arbaoui for Morocco World News.
Establishing the BRICS Network University will broaden access to higher education for the young people from the bloc's member countries, the head of the Russian federal agency for international cooperation, or Rossotrudnichestvo, said earlier this month, reports Sputnik International.
Is the Presidential Scholarship still relevant? That is the million dollar question as the Zimbabwe government fails to pay fees at South African universities on time, resulting in some beneficiaries turning into destitutes, writes Phyllis Mbanje for The Standard.
The US risks missing innovation opportunities if it doesn't lower corporate taxes and move to reinvent higher education, including creating a new university accreditation process, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said last week, reports John McCormick for Bloomberg.
The fierce competitiveness of today's job market has driven one university dean to look online, write Jessica McKay and Edward Chow for Mail Online. He Hua, the dean of Kunming University in south west Yunnan, has set up a store on the digital marketplace Taobao where employers can browse and “buy” young graduates.
The head of Cambridge University Sir Leszek Borysiewicz says the attitude towards overseas students is damaging competitiveness. He says it is "ludicrous" to include overseas students in UK migration targets, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.
Months after he withdrew his candidature as chancellor of Nalanda University, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has now said that the Narendra Modi-led government wants to seize direct control over academic institutions, reports Zee News.
While the European Union continues to squabble over who should bear the greatest responsibility for asylum seekers arriving in Europe from areas of conflict, Sweden has asked its neighbour countries to regain a bit of perspective, writes Adam Withnall for The Independent.
Japan has signed a grant agreement of US$1.2 million towards sponsoring 10 young Ghanaian government officials to pursue their masters degree programmes in Japanese universities, reports Ghana Web.
When a Maryland college went to court recently to try to keep its accreditation, it was following a playbook that troubled colleges have used for years to stay in business: sue, appeal to prominent politicians and, if all else fails, find another accreditor, write Andrea Fuller and Douglas Belkin for The Wall Street Journal.
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