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NEWSLETTERWhat will the New Year bring for higher education across the world?
Happy New Year to all our readers! In our first World Blog of the New Year, Hans de Wit looks back at the dominant issues in international higher education over the past year and looks forward to what the key developments are likely to be in 2016.
In Commentary, Tianlong Lawrence Hu reflects on the challenge the Communist Party of China faces in bridging the gap between tackling bureaucracy and reinforcing political ideology when it seeks to restrict and punish corruption in university management. Anne Corbett, as convener of a hearing to debate whether it would be wise for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union, says it emerged that there is much more at stake than funding and control. Paul Ashwin argues that, while the OECD’s Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes project is attempting to respond to a genuine problem in measuring higher education quality, the tests of generic skills say nothing about the experience of students.
In Features, Mary Beth Marklein reports that the number of foreign-born university leaders in the United States is growing as higher education becomes an increasingly global enterprise.
Brendan O’Malley unpacks the Higher Education Policy Institute's critique of the UK government's plans to shift further towards a market approach by allowing universities with high standards of teaching to increase tuition fees.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
CHILEMaria Elena Hurtado
Almost 200,000 students will be attending university for free at the start of the new academic year this March, following the approval of the law granting free education to students from the 50% poorest families. “Tuition-free university education will make Chile a more just and supportive country for all,” said President Michelle Bachelet.
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O'Malley
The United Kingdom is suffering a cheating epidemic fuelled by the influx of international students, with almost 50,000 students at British universities caught cheating in the past three years, according to an investigation by The Times newspaper based on responses to more than 100 freedom of information requests.
SOUTH KOREAUnsoo Jung
In an unprecedented crackdown on academic misconduct, as many as 179 university professors in South Korea have been indicted after an extensive criminal investigation into a huge copyright scam. The professors have been charged with republishing existing textbooks written by others under their own names.
HONG KONGYojana Sharma
Huge crowds took to the streets in Hong Kong over the first weekend in the New Year after a controversial former education minister Arthur Li was appointed to lead the governing body of the University of Hong Kong. The announcement was made without fanfare in the Government Gazette on New Year’s Eve.
Garissa University College in northeast Kenya has reopened, nine months after 147 students were killed in a brutal assault by Somalia-based al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab Islamist militants.
Twenty-three proposals from eight countries have been conditionally selected for the World Bank’s Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence Project – ACE II. Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda each bagged four research centres, followed by Kenya and Rwanda with three, Malawi and Zambia with two and Zimbabwe with one.
The Irish government has unveiled an ambitious strategy to make Ireland a “global innovation leader”, with a plan to increase public and private investment in research, and a commitment to increase annual research masters and PhD enrolments by nearly 30%.
UNITED STATESBrendan O'Malley
New data contradicts a common assumption that many, if not most, international graduate students come to the United States to pursue doctoral degrees. In fact, nearly four out of five international students enrolled for the first time on courses in the US joined masters or certificate programmes, according to the Council of Graduate Schools.
BRAZILRodrigo de Oliveira Andrade
Cases of scientific malpractice in Brazil increased significantly between 2009 and 2012, according to a study looking at article retraction in scientific journals. The study, published in Science and Engineering Ethics, says that this could threaten the country’s growing popularity as a research partner.
SOUTH AFRICAKaren MacGregor
The South African government has announced a R4.5 billion (US$282 million) boost to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme for short-term debt relief for students. This followed last year’s intense #FeesMustFall protests and the findings of a presidential task team on funding challenges. Meanwhile, universities are bracing themselves for more protests as the new academic year begins.
Research and policy communities need to work together to address the “complex, politically charged and emotive issue” of the refugee crisis, academic experts agreed at a meeting in Amsterdam last month. The sense of urgency has since been underlined by the linking of mass sexual assaults and gang rapes in Cologne on New Year’s Eve to the refugee influx.
CHINATianlong Lawrence Hu
China faces a challenge in its anti-corruption drive: how to tackle the bureaucratic system that enables corruption, while maintaining political control over its universities.
The debate on whether the United Kingdom should withdraw from the European Union tends to focus on funding and control, but there are wider issues at stake.
The Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes project seeks to measure what students learn at different institutions and in different countries, but to do so it relies on tests of generic skills which don’t say anything about the specific knowledge they are taught at university.
Although there has been an enormous expansion in higher education in India over the past 30 years, the country is facing a crisis around access to good college and university education. International partnerships could help train staff, root out corruption, widen access equitably and raise the quality of research.
GLOBALHans de Wit
What will the main developments in international higher education be in 2016? From calls for tuition-free higher education to refugee policy, the year is likely to be a busy one.
UNITED STATESMary Beth Marklein
With his appointment as president of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Benjamin Akande has joined an ever-expanding and diversifying club of US university presidents who were born outside the country – an increasingly valuable credential as higher education becomes an ever more global enterprise.
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O'Malley
The government has published a consultation paper on its plans for the biggest shake-up of UK universities in decades, including establishing a Teaching Excellence Framework, but the Higher Education Policy Institute believes it could be about to “flunk” the introduction of its higher education bill.
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Islamist gunmen opposed to the mixing of sexes on campus dragged students out of Yemen’s University of Aden on 29 December and shut down three faculties, reports WorldTribune.com.
According to local reports, Chinese university president Zhou Wenbin was sentenced to a lifetime in jail for taking bribes and embezzlement, in a court in southeast Jianxi province on Tuesday 29 December, writes Zheping Huang for Quartz.
Thailand's military government has stifled public dissent since seizing power in 2014, and now the country's universities say the junta's impact is being felt on campus, writes Ron Corben for Voice of America.
The Finnish parliament has decided to impose tuition fees for non-European university-level students. The ruling, passed by a vote of 137-46 in December, will affect students from outside the European Union or European Economic Area, reports Yle.
The prime minister’s office has instructed the human resource development ministry to fast-track a plan to set up 10 private autonomous universities for research and innovation. The move could pave the way for world-class private institutions for higher studies to come up in the country, writes Brajesh Kumar for Hindustan Times.
The Higher Education Authority has concluded a series of performance agreements with each of the state’s universities, institutes of technology and other third-level colleges. Under these ‘compacts’, each college is required to set out its plans for the future, and how it intends to differentiate itself from other higher education institutions, writes Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times.
Six British universities are facing an inquiry after the controversial human rights group Cage used meetings on campus to encourage the ‘sabotage’ of the government’s official anti-extremism programme, write Gordon Rayner and Tom Whitehead for The Telegraph.
An unusual number of independent directors resigned from Chinese public company boards in the first three weeks of December, according to China Economic Weekly, a local publication. Fuelling that rise: more than 270 directors who are deans or professors of Chinese universities, reports The Wall Street Journal.
In 2016, Brazil's prestigious federal universities will be required to confirm that 50% of their incoming students come from public schools. Furthermore, slots for self-identifying black, mixed-race and indigenous students must correspond to the proportion of the local population, writes Marlenee Blas Pedral for Truthout.
A Republican Washington state lawmaker has drafted legislation that seeks to fine universities US$500 or more for infringing on a student’s First Amendment rights. The proposal, if approved, would also fine universities that force faculty to use trigger warnings or punish students for saying a micro-aggression, writes Kate Hardiman for The College Fix.
China will launch its first anti-terrorism school in a university in the northwest, where the restive Xinjiang region is located, following the counter-terrorism law that took effect on the first day of the year, writes Zhen Liu for South China Morning Post.
A student loan loophole allowing people to leave their debt unpaid while living overseas has now been closed, with the hopes of recouping an estimated A$30 million (US$21 million) annually, writes Cayla Dengate for The Huffington Post Australia.
Last year, former university rector and current Education and Science Minister Serhiy Kvit was named Ukraine’s most successful minister by the magazine Vlast Deneg in recognition of his achievement in pushing through more than half his reform programme in little under two years, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.
An international charity and non-governmental organisation that works to promote Africa’s scientific independence has launched a local office in Mauritius to help boost research and development on the continent, reports SciDev.Net.
One year on from President Barack Obama’s historic announcement that the United States would begin restoring diplomatic and economic relations between the US and Cuba, NAFSA – the Association of International Educators – has launched an initiative to build academic relationships and student mobility between the two countries, writes Beckie Smith for The PIE News.
Syrian students wanting to register at Saudi universities are still having a hard time with procedures despite the fact that 23 universities in the Kingdom said they would accept students from that country, reports Arab News.
Only 0.075% of 113,752 students from other countries registered in local universities are known to be involved in crime in Malaysia. According to Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, this was because the arrival of foreign students was being effectively monitored through the Education Malaysia Global Services student identity card system since July, reports The Star.
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