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20 September 2015 Issue 382 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Universities worldwide urged to help refugees access higher education

In Commentary, Hans de Wit and Philip G Altbach encourage universities around the world to spring to action in support of Syrian refugees, offering suggestions as to what they can do to help. Anthony Welch says that promoting a moderate Muslim message of peace and understanding in Southeast Asian universities should weaken the appeal of Islamic extremism to impressionable young students.
In Features, Suvendrini Kakuchi highlights the resolve of Japanese students, who are normally subdued, to protest loudly against their government’s insistence on pushing a controversial set of national security bills through parliament. Yojana Sharma says that compulsory military training for Chinese university students before the start of term appears to be less militaristic and physically demanding than in the past and has become more like a form of patriotic education, but discontent is rising. And Wachira Kigotho reports on a study which showed that the United States is by far the most popular destination country for prospective international students from Sub-Saharan Africa.
In our World Blog, Margaret Andrews suggests that competition for traditional top-ranked business schools might come from places one might not expect, like training firms and online content providers.
In a Special Report, Karin Goodwin covers the annual conference of the European Association of International Education which took place in Glasgow, Scotland, last week.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
David Jobbins

A crucial change in methodology designed to even out the differences between research universities and universities with broader subject mixes has produced a significant upheaval in the 2015 QS World University Rankings, announced on September 15.
Martin Todd

The League of European Research Universities, or LERU, has called for improved gender-based analysis in research, saying the European Union should use its funding power to insist on better use of this key study variable.
Mary Ellen McIntire, The Chronicle of Higher Education

It's no secret that women seeking to get a foothold in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – fields often face serious impediments. Here's another potential one: Junior male medical researchers are more likely than their female peers to land sizeable start-up packages from some of the nation’s top research institutions and hospitals, a new study has found.
Munyaradzi Makoni

Student demonstrations have halted classes at two South African universities. The off-campus rape and murders of two foreign students – a Zimbabwean and a Nigerian – sparked protest at Vaal University of Technology in the heart of the country. At the University of KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast, action against changes to student financial aid turned violent.
Mushfique Wadud

The Bangladesh government last week caved in after countrywide protests by private university students and announced it would withdraw a VAT – or value added tax – levy on tuition fees of private universities, medical and engineering colleges that had been agreed in its budget this June.
Mary Beth Marklein

The Obama administration on 12 September unveiled its long-awaited college scorecard, designed to help students and parents make informed decisions about the cost and value of attending a particular institution.
Jan Petter Myklebust

More than 150 names have been put forward for membership of the high level group of scientific advisors being created under a new system for providing independent scientific advice in European Commission, or EC, policy-making.
Jan Petter Myklebust

A greater share of research funds should be spent on free research or researcher initiated projects rather than being prioritised for particular subjects, according to the Swedish Research Council in its contribution to the Löfven government’s white paper on the future of research.
Binod Ghimire

The government of Nepal has decided to add three more universities including an open university in an attempt to decentralise higher education as Nepal becomes a federal republic. The new constitution was passed by parliament last Thursday.
Wagdy Sawahel

Morocco’s new Euro-Mediterranean Institute of Technology, which is part of the Euro-Mediterranean University of Fez and was developed in collaboration with top engineering schools in France, received its first intake of students this month. It is the first international education hub for training a new generation of world-class engineers in the Mediterranean.
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 fifth of a series of articles that engage with global ideas and developments in open and distance learning, around the conference theme of “Growing Capacities for Sustainable Distance e-Learning Provision”.
Yojana Sharma

As the world conference of the International Council for Open and Distance Education approaches, ICDE President Tian Belawati – rector of Indonesia’s enormous open institution Universitas Terbuka – says that the twin messages of open, distance and flexible learning are “access and success”.
Suvendrini Kakuchi

Japanese university students usually spend summer vacation in exotic foreign destinations or simply earning extra income through part-time jobs. Not so for Mana Shibata, now playing a key role in the growing student-led demonstrations against a controversial set of national security bills being pushed through the Diet or parliament by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Yojana Sharma

More than seven million students about to enter China’s universities are undergoing several weeks of intense annual military training that is compulsory for all students, male and female. But the purpose of military training for students is changing, as students and others consider whether the gruelling routines are really necessary.
Wachira Kigotho

The United States is by far the most popular destination country for potential students from Sub-Saharan Africa, with high quality education being the main drawcard, according to a recent study. Interestingly, America’s African-born population has higher levels of education attainment than the overall foreign population.
Cristina Valdiosera

Past human migrations have always been a subject of great interest because they tell us a story of where we come from, and who we are. What were the past movements that gave rise to the global human landscape that we observe today?
Hans de Wit and Philip G Altbach

Universities around the world, including in the Middle East, should offer scholarships and other support to Syrian refugees. Universities can act quickly and independently in many ways to increase access of refugees to higher education. They can cut red tape relating to the admissions process, open study places for refugee students and provide counselling and other services to traumatised students and their families.
Anthony Welch

Universities in Southeast Asia need to work with communities to promote a moderate Muslim message of peace and understanding and promote a more inclusive form of democracy.
Jaana Severidt

Universities should help students make the most of international education, but it is up to them to develop the skills they will need to navigate a global labour market.
Margaret Andrews

Time was when competition for business schools meant the top schools in their country or internationally. Now more and more other actors are getting involved in management training, from training firms to online content providers.
The European Association of International Education, or EAIE conference, with 5,050 participants from 90 countries, took place in Glasgow, Scotland, last week. It opened with a speech from human rights and civil liberties champion Baroness Helena Kennedy. University World News reports.
Karin Goodwin

Higher education professionals need to call ‘Out’ the commodification of their institutions and universities, Britain’s Baroness Helena Kennedy told delegates at the European Association for International Education’s conference in Glasgow, Scotland, last week. Ensuring higher education is accessible for all, rather than just those who can afford it, brings all nations collective wealth, she argued.
Karin Goodwin

The European Union’s Erasmus+ international staff and student exchange programme will respond to high levels of over-subscription by a modest increase in funding, the European Association for International Education’s conference heard last week.
Karin Goodwin

International education institutions and universities should find new ways of building partnerships with Indian counterparts as opportunities grow for India to receive and teach overseas students, the European Association for International Education’s conference in Glasgow, Scotland, was told.
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The Nigerian Feminist Forum has sounded an alarm over what it said are increasing cases of rape in tertiary institutions across the country, writes Evelyn Okakwu for Premium Times.

Universities could lose up to a quarter of European Union research funding if they fail to comply with new rules designed to promote fair recruitment, a Brussels official has warned. Under the six-year €80 billion (US$90 billion) Horizon 2020 settlement agreed in May, UK universities are expected to receive roughly £2 billion (US$3 billion) in EU funding over the next two years, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.

Canadian universities are ramping up efforts to help Syrian refugees reach a safe haven here, but many are using existing programmes rather than looking to a private sponsorship programme that has caught Canadians’ imagination, writes Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.

The University of Copenhagen has asked the Danish government for permission to create extra student spaces for refugees and migrants arriving in the country. The university wants to provide an education to refugees who receive a temporary residence permit and those who are having their applications processed, reports The Local.

The University of California's recent announcement that it had pulled US$200 million out of coal and oil sands investments may be one of the most powerful divestments yet – but not because it'll hurt fossil fuel companies' bottom line, writes Lydia O’Connor for The Huffington Post.

The heated exchanges on the unabridged birth certificate required for minors entering South Africa and its effect on tourism have occupied centre space in discussions on the new immigration regulations and overshadowed the impact of other equally disquieting sections. The consequence of the 2014 changes in immigration law six months into the current academic year is rather disturbing: the South African higher education sector has experienced a sharp drop in international student numbers, write Cornelius Hagenmeier, Orla Quinlan and Annette Lansink for Mail & Guardian.

Universities are cautiously welcoming a government requirement for them to start publishing the job success and pay rates of graduates. But, according to Universities New Zealand, the way the information is presented could "make or break" it, reports 3News.

The Open University is to close seven regional centres in what it says is an attempt to streamline student support. Affected staff would need to relocate, or take voluntary redundancy or early retirement, writes Katherine Sellgren for BBC News.

The Board of Regents for Iowa’s higher education system recently announced the hiring of J Bruce Harreld, a business consultant who lives near Vail, as the new president of the University of Iowa. Harreld’s appointment was the latest in a series of tense encounters – in Iowa, and around the country – over two competing visions of how financial considerations should influence the future of higher education, writes Vauhini Vara for The New Yorker.

Over the last few years the number of students in higher education in Estonia has dropped significantly – from 67,600 in 2011 to 55,200 in 2014, according to Statistics Estonia. The fall is largely due to a fall in the number of young adults in the country – after the birth boom in the mid to late 1980s, the birth rate dropped drastically in the early 1990s. The change has put pressure on universities across the country, with competition intensifying for the shrinking student population. ICT, however, has been one of the winners in the fight to attract new students, writes Kalev Aasmae for Estonia Uncovered.

Mexico's Universidad de las Américas Puebla reportedly became the first institution in Latin America to welcome bitcoin on campus last month, after a coffee shop began accepting payments in the cryptocurrency. In so doing, the university joined a growing list of global higher education institutions which have also embraced the digital currency, writes Yessi Bello Perez for CoinDesk.
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