University World News Global Edition
06 September 2015 Issue 380 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
BRICS countries ready to follow Europe’s path to research collaboration

In Features Karen MacGregor examines how the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – intend to take academic and research collaboration forward, including providing easy visas and a research fund emulating Europe’s Horizon 2020. Ameen Amjad Khan looks into why, three months after Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency raided IT firm Axact following allegations that it ran a global business selling fake degrees, so little progress has been made in court.
In Commentary, Simon Marginson says British Prime Minister David Cameron must sooner or later face up to the devastating consequences that a political pledge to break the link between short-term study and permanent settlement in the UK could have for universities. Artemios G Voyiatzis says the greatest impact of the ongoing austerity and uncertainty in Greece will be an increasing and damaging brain drain. Londa Schiebinger demonstrates how gender analysis can solve a wide range of society’s problems by making research more responsive to the needs of everyone.
In our World Blog, William Patrick Leonard says tackling student debt has become an irresistible populist issue for presidential candidates in the United States.
In our ICDE World Conference report, Geoff Maslen talks to Joyce Seitzinger, a digital expert who is on a mission to show academics how they can use social media to improve research impact and crowd-fund.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Liz Heron

Thousands of graduates and staff have called on the University of Hong Kong to confirm the appointment of a pro-vice-chancellor within 30 days amid fears of government interference in its academic freedom.
Maria Elena Hurtado

Confusion. Uncertainty. Disorientation. These are just some of the epithets employed by academics, students and higher education specialists to describe the government’s toing and froing regarding the awaited higher education reform.
Brendan O'Malley

The UK higher education sector remains more international than Germany’s, but Germany is moving forwards while the UK risks moving backwards, according to a paper released by the Higher Education Policy Institute last Thursday.
Paul Basken, The Chronicle of Higher Education

After more than four years of work, the finish line appears to be in sight for a government-wide process to modernise the rules governing human participation in medical trials. The results appear to offer substantial benefits for many university researchers.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Universities face a 2% cut in their budget every year over the next four years, following an announcement by Minister of Children, Education and Gender Equality Ellen Trane Nørby and Minister of Education and Science Esben Lunde Larsen that the Danish education sector will no longer be ring-fenced in government budgets.
Maina Waruru

A standoff between the Engineers Board of Kenya and universities escalated last month after the board refused to accredit a new list of 35 engineering courses submitted by universities for approval. Instead, the board stuck with a list of only 25 courses it approved in 2014.

Ministers have released details of 461 mobility projects that will be funded in 2016 under the New Colombo Plan, raising the number of students the government supports to study abroad in the Indo-Pacific region to 10,000 in three years.
Michael Gardner

Brazil has signed a memorandum of understanding with Germany on a programme to promote the role of German in the Brazilian higher education sector. "Sprachen ohne Grenzen – Deutsch” complements an already existing academic exchange programme run by the Brazilian government.
Peter Leonard

Management and staff at Kazakhstan’s flagship university are disputing recent accusations of censorship from a lecturer, who alleges he is being squeezed out over attempts to hold lectures on the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Karen MacGregor

South Africa is seeking 200 data scientists for research that will flow from the huge global Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project. Last year the new Sol Plaatje University became the first in Africa to introduce a dedicated degree in data science. And last week three institutions teamed up to form the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy, which aims to train up to 100 young data scientists over the next five years.
Simon Marginson

The UK government is trying to satisfy both anti-immigration feeling and business interests by talking tough on migration, but taking little action. It may soon have to match its words with actions and international students are in the firing line.
Londa Schiebinger

Why does sex and gender analysis matter? Understanding gender can improve almost everything and considering gender adds value to society by making research more responsive to the needs of everyone. Universities should build these methods into their curricula.
Artemios G Voyiatzis

The impact of the recent financial crisis on Greece’s higher education system is widespread, with many academics leaving the country. The long-term impact of austerity and uncertainty could be even worse.
William Patrick Leonard

Student debt is featuring in the presidential elections, with many candidates in the Democratic Party proposing different paths towards tuition-free study.
The International Council for Open and Distance Education, or ICDE, is holding its world conference in the mega-resort Sun City near Johannesburg from 14-16 October, hosted by the University of South Africa. University World News is the media partner. This is the third of a series of articles to be published in the coming weeks that will engage with global ideas and developments in open and distance learning, around the conference theme of “Growing Capacities for Sustainable Distance e-Learning Provision”.
Geoff Maslen

Digital learning could pave the way for the use of ‘open badges’, a way of offering credentials that are portable and can become part of a digital back-pack for learners, according to digital learning expert Joyce Seitzinger. “Wherever they learn they should be able to pick up one,” she said.
Karen MacGregor

Recommendations for academic and research collaboration among the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are to be taken forward after a heads of state meeting in Russia in July adopted a BRICS Academic Forum vision paper. The proposals include easy visas for researchers and a fund similar to Europe’s Horizon 2020 to finance joint research.
Ameen Amjad Khan

Three months after Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency, or FIA, raided Karachi-based IT company Axact in the wake of a New York Times report that the company ran a global business selling fake degrees, concerns are being voiced over the delay in bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice, despite the FIA claim that evidence uncovered during its raids in Axact offices in Karachi and Islamabad, was “irrefutable and enough to incriminate”.
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Ghana's authorities are investigating several universities over links to suspected recruitment for the so-called Islamic State or IS, reports the BBC News.

The last year has seen a new feature in the effort to deliver higher education to the Syrian youth displaced by the long-running war in their country – institutions tailored solely for the Syrian students, writes Benjamin Plackett for Al-Fanar.

The Polish government has introduced measures to promote further internationalisation of its higher education system by bringing in more foreign students, writes Matthew Reisz for Times Higher Education.

Vietnam will not co-operate with any foreign governments to open more universities until at least 2020, according to a new decision by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, reports VietnamNet Bridge.

Egyptian students and professors will soon return to universities which are experiencing the lowest levels of academic freedom the country has ever known, writes Emily Crane Linn for Foreign Policy.

The University of Tokyo, long considered a breeding ground for Japan’s political and business elite, is venturing into new terrain: entrepreneurship, writes Alexander Martin for The Wall Street Journal.

US public-university endowments, including the country’s second-wealthiest at the University of Texas, are reporting fiscal 2015 returns that fail to meet the annual industry standard, write Lauren Streib and Michael McDonald for Bloomberg.

A renowned Kannada scholar, Sahitya Akademi award winner and former vice-chancellor of Karnatak University, MM Kalburgi (77), was shot dead by two unidentified assailants at his residence in Dharwad in north Karnataka last Sunday morning, writes TA Johnson for The Indian Express.

The high value of the Australian dollar in the last few years and the expansion of university places in local institutions have led to fewer Singaporeans going there to study. But with the recent decline of the Australian dollar, student recruiters expect the numbers to pick up, writes Sandra Davie for The Straits Times.

British scholars have suggested that fragments of the world's oldest known Koran, which were discovered last month, may predate the accepted founding date of Islam by the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, reports

The Education Ministry will cut its financial subsidies for 66 colleges and universities that scored poorly in its evaluation on their reform efforts, writes Yoon Min-sik for The Korea Herald.

Buzz Aldrin is teaming up with the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, to develop “a master plan” for colonising Mars within 25 years. The second man to walk on the moon took part in a signing ceremony at the university, less than an hour’s drive from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, writes Marcia Dunn for The Washington Post.

An increasing number of Dutch universities are rejecting prospective masters degree students who don’t average scores of at least seven in their bachelor degree subjects, reports

Universities are in a race against time to address transformation on campuses. Higher education and race relations experts have warned that failure to do so will allow tension between students of different races to deepen, write Jan-Jan Joubert, Shenaaz Jamal, Leonie Wagner, Neo Goba and Jerome Cornelius for Times Live.

Scholars from around the world will gather at a British university for a conference on werewolves this month, where they will discuss the cultural significance of the mythical creature, writes Aisha Gani for the Guardian.
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