University World News Global Edition
21 February 2016 Issue 401 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Impressive rise of China’s top universities masks serious problems below

In Commentary, Philip G Altbach says while observers insist China’s elite universities will join the very top ranks of global universities soon, there are significant inequalities, with universities at the bottom suffering underfunding and producing questionable quality, which have yet to be addressed. David Stremba says that internationalisation of universities is imperative in the modern age to prepare students to collaborate and compete in a global workforce. David Fleshler and Molly Watkins describe how Case Western Reserve University’s award-winning internationalisation strategy involved the entire university community.
In our Academic Freedom section, Jan Grabowski says the Polish government’s threat to strip a leading scholar on the Holocaust of a national honour due to his statements regarding Poland’s past, is an attack on academic freedom.
In News, Brendan O’Malley reports on protests against the arrest of a student leader in India on charges of sedition in the context of government attempts to impose a Hindu nationalist version of what it means to be Indian.
In World Blog, Nita Temmerman encourages university leaders to adopt governance strategies that are collegial, transparent and responsible and, above all, that support student learning.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Brendan O'Malley

Mobile students are more likely to obtain a first or 2:1, more likely to have a job six months after graduation – with the difference highest among black and Asian students – and more likely to be engaged in further study. They also earn more, according to a new report.
Brendan O'Malley

The arrest of a student leader on charges of sedition has sparked protests against a clampdown on intellectual freedom by the ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, and has drawn criticism from academics worldwide. The government has reacted by ordering the 46 centrally funded universities to fly the national flag on a 200ft mast.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science is proposing a new funding system for universities based on three parameters – quality instead of quantity, the number of students who find work after graduation and a mechanism for supporting regionalisation, ensuring that graduates are produced throughout the country.
Munyaradzi Makoni and Karen MacGregor

There was continuing student unrest at universities across South Africa last week, with small numbers of students causing a lot of violence. Some students were arrested and some injured. At the University of Cape Town, protesting students torched vehicles, burned artwork, invaded residences and petrol-bombed the vice-chancellor’s office.
Brendan O'Malley

Polish academics have rallied to the defence of Princeton Professor Jan T Gross, one of the world’s leading scholars of the Holocaust, after reports that Polish President Andrzej Duda is considering stripping him of a high national honour. The move against Gross, a specialist in Polish-Jewish affairs, comes after he wrote that "Poles killed more Jews than Germans” during the Second World War.

Forty of Australia's major research institutions have joined forces in a consortium to adopt the global Open Researcher and Contributor ID system in the hope of lifting the visibility of ground-breaking discoveries made by Australia's 47,000 researchers.

Two major public higher education institutions in Zambia – the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University – were indefinitely closed earlier this month after student protests against non-payment of allowances turned violent. Scores of students were arrested.
Brendan O'Malley

California is ranked the best state for higher education in this year’s SmartAsset ranking, up from sixth last year, based on graduation rate, student:faculty ratio, average price and 20-year return on investment. This is despite its student:faculty ratio being the second-highest. Its high in-state graduation rate, high rate of return on investment and its average net price were the key factors.
Binod Ghimire

Tribhuvan University, which was left in ruins by the earthquake last year, has hosted an international donors conference to appeal to the international community for financial support to reconstruct its buildings, after its own fundraising initiative drew too little support.
Michael Gardner

Germany’s south-western state of Baden-Württemberg has launched an initiative to provide study and vocational guidance for refugees. The scheme is supported by the state government, universities, industry and the Federal Employment Agency.
Gilbert Nganga

Kenya’s public universities are set for another rough year after a government decision to raise subsidies by a measly 3.5% for the coming year. Inflation has averaged over 10% in the past decade. Without adequate resources to finance higher education, government called on universities to up income-generation activities.
Philip G Altbach

It is easy to be mesmerised by the rapid and impressive achievements at China’s top universities, but it is important to recognise the reality of the system as a whole and the problems faced at the bottom in order to understand the country’s future potential.
David Fleshler and Molly Watkins

Case Western Reserve University’s award-winning internationalisation strategy is based on deep engagement with all members of the university community.
David Stremba

A more internationally competitive workplace means universities need to introduce global perspectives and open their doors to international students to reflect the global economy.
Jan Grabowski

The threat to strip a Holocaust expert of a national honour is a direct attack on academic freedom as Poland’s right-wing government seeks to promote a ‘patriotic’ version of the past.
Nita Temmerman

Good governance should not be impersonal and alienating or create greater bureaucracy. Greater centralisation doesn’t always mean more efficiency.
Naomi Wolf and Sacha Kopp, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The question of whether academics should try to reach a popular audience has been, for decades, a non-question: Scholars typically assumed there was no way to popularise their work for the general public without abandoning their mission as intellectuals. But that set of assumptions is breaking rapidly apart.

Researchers in Adelaide have developed a diet and exercise programme that has proved to be highly effective in reducing the burden of type 2 diabetes, with an average 40% reduction in medication levels required. The diet incorporates an eating pattern that is very low in carbohydrates and higher in protein and unsaturated fats.
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Anxiety is mounting that the credibility of Swedish science is at stake in the wake of a scandal at the Karolinska Institute involving surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences weighed in on the affair on 11 February with a strongly worded demand for a new, fully independent investigation, writes Martin Enserink for Science.

The loss of the United Kingdom’s two-year post-study work visa has cost the Scottish economy over £250 million (US$359 million) since the programme ended in 2012, Universities Scotland has said, while Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has publicly called for the reinstatement of the Tier 1 visa allowing students to work after graduation, writes Beckie Smith for The PIE News.

At a Eurasian international higher education summit held in Istanbul, representatives of Turkish universities voiced their intentions to increase the number of Chinese students by inking bilateral agreements and seek closer cooperation with Chinese universities, reports Xinhua.

English proficiency among Malaysian students is at a "high level" and soaring, according to Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh who was rebutting claims that many students, despite achieving excellent results in public examinations, had failed to enter local universities as their English results proved to be their downfall, writes Sharanpal Singh Randhawa for The Star/ANN.

The developers behind the proposed A$20 billion (US$14 billion) Australian Education City in Melbourne's south-west are trying to lure Australian universities to join the project with a promise of an inside track to large numbers of international students and big research dollars from China, writes Tim Dodd for Australian Financial Review.

The university in northwest Pakistan where Taliban gunmen killed at least 20 people last month reopened for classes last Monday with teachers – but not students – allowed to carry weapons, reports Reuters.

India’s first railway university, the brainchild of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is being billed as an attempt to upgrade the railway system and put it on a par with that of rival economic power China, writes Vidhi Doshi for the Guardian.

Over 20 rights groups condemned a December decision by Cairo University to end a postgraduate scholarship abroad for a staff member months after she started pursuing her studies, reports Ahram Online.

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has expressed concern over what it described as infringement by the minister of education on the powers of governing councils of universities in recent appointments of vice-chancellors for 12 federal universities, reports Daily Post.

South African vice-chancellors are concerned the Higher Education Amendment Bill will encroach on autonomy at a time when institutions have been rocked by a series of student protests calling for radical change, writes Bekezela Phakathi for BDLive.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili says Georgia will introduce the German model of higher education whereby the government would fund the most needed professions, reports

In October 2015, a New York district court ruled in favour of the academic publisher Elsevier, which had accused Sci-Hub, a website that offers pirated versions of academic papers, of copyright violation. That decision allowed authorities to take down the site’s domain name, But suspending a domain name does not delete a website forever, writes Nikhil Sonnad for Quartz.

Afrikaans and English will enjoy equal status as medium of instruction at the University of Stellenbosch, after AfriForum Youth and the university came to an agreement in the High Court in Cape Town recently, reports eNCA.

This past year, colleges across the country, from Yale to Towson to Claremont McKenna, were rocked by protests. Students upset over racial issues took over the president’s office at Princeton, demanded the resignation of Ithaca College’s president, and forced out the chancellor and president of the entire University of Missouri system. And this spring may be even more intense, writes Susan Svrluga for The Washington Post.
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