University World News Global Edition
06 March 2016 Issue 403 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Women’s representation in science academies globally remains ‘insignificant’

In News, Karen MacGregor reports on a global survey that has found that only 12% of science academy members globally are women – and just 6% in maths and 5% in engineering.
In Commentary this week, Pushkar argues that the Indian government’s actions at Jawaharlal Nehru University undermine free expression on campus and may well be a sign of worse to come, while Nico Cloete contends that a ‘third force’, which drives a political agenda, has emerged on South Africa’s protest-disrupted campuses.
Clare Banks says US and Cuban universities are forging a new chapter together in the wake of a thawing of relations between the two countries. And Jingyi Dong says the roots of Philip Altbach’s contention that China’s higher education system is unbalanced with ‘feet of clay’ lie in rural-urban segregation and Communist Party control of universities.
Continuing our Special Report previewing the British Council’s Going Global 2016 conference in May, Brendan O’Malley asks if internationalisation can be a negative force, and Yojana Sharma explores what impact China’s growing ambition will have on global higher education.
In a second Special Report Nic Mitchell covers Universities UK’s International Higher Education Forum held in London last week, including what can be done to reverse the decline in numbers of Indian students coming to the UK.
In our World Blog, Margaret Andrews suggests that universities gather their team and examine their strategy to ensure they are not in danger of becoming obsolete in a fast-changing world.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Karen MacGregor

The first comprehensive global survey of science academies and gender has found that only 12% of the members of 69 national science academies are women – and just 6% in maths and 5% in engineering. It recommends data collection and reporting on gender, and permanent structures to implement gender-mainstreaming activities.
Yojana Sharma

A new scheme to promote 20 universities to become world-class teaching and research institutions – 10 public and 10 private – was announced in India’s budget last Monday, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He also announced a new higher education funding agency to leverage public and private funding for university infrastructure.
Jan Petter Myklebust and Brendan O'Malley

The government is proposing a substantial cut in student study grants, bringing them down to the same level as grants for secondary school students. It also plans to limit the duration of grants and establish study progress criteria for continuing eligibility for them.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The Swedish parliament has backed the proposal of the education committee for a new model for quality assurance of higher education, to be implemented this autumn, in which the university chancellor will still be responsible for evaluating higher education, but universities and colleges will work out their own system of quality control.
Brendan O'Malley

Jo Johnson, the minister for universities and science, has announced that the government is increasing restrictions on European Union nationals accessing student living cost support in England from 2016-17. The residency requirement for EU nationals before they can be eligible for such support is being raised from the current three years’ residency in the UK to five years’ residency.
Wachira Kigotho

The World Bank has provided a US$70 million loan to Tunisia to improve the quality of teaching and management at universities, amid efforts to reduce high levels of graduate unemployment. In 2014, about 32% of university graduates were jobless, with women particularly vulnerable.
John Gerritsen

Provisional figures show changes to New Zealand's University Entrance, or UE, standard have cut the number of school-leavers qualified to enrol in the country's universities by several thousand for the second year in a row. They put the UE pass rate for the 2015 school year at 61%, the same as 2014's final figure and well below the high of 71% in 2013, which was the year before the changes to UE were introduced.
Brendan O'Malley

By using on-site tutors and learning communities, massive open online courses or MOOCs can be successfully adapted to support the expansion of access to higher education to refugees in fragile situations and maintain learner motivation, a multi-centre study has found.
Corinne Ruff, The Chronicle of Higher Education

A lawsuit against Trump University over allegedly misleading thousands of students into parting with US$35,000 each resurfaced last week, when a state appeals court unanimously denied a bid by the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination to throw out the litigation.

The recent decision to let police into Jawaharlal Nehru University, or JNU, to arrest a speaker at a protest event is just the latest expression of the undermining of free expression on campus from both above and below.
Nico Cloete

Into a cauldron of student disappointment and anger on South Africa’s protest-disrupted campuses has emerged a ‘third force’. This group of politically motivated students, who are either financially supported or hoping for cushy positions after university, is driving contestation between a range of political camps. An upcoming, fiercely contested local election could be an incendiary factor.
Clare Banks

United States and Cuban universities are developing partnerships in the wake of a thawing in relations, and in this pivotal moment for US-Cuba relations are seeking to build scientific and intellectual bridges, but several challenges still remain.
Hilary Landorf

A university-wide programme run by Florida International University has been recognised for its innovative approach to capitalising on the diversity of students in the classroom.
Jingyi Dong

China’s education system is deeply divided and its current problems are rooted in a massification policy led by the Communist Party’s Central Committee rather than education experts or universities.
Diya Nijhowne

Violent attacks on universities are not isolated incidents. To confront them, governments must do more than make statements of public support. They must undertake concrete measures to increase the protection of staff and students.
On 3-5 May education world leaders will descend on Cape Town, South Africa, for Going Global 2016, an open forum to debate international higher and further education issues and challenges, and to discuss collaborative solutions, for which University World News is a media partner. The focus will be on 'Building nations and connecting cultures: education policy, economic development and engagement'. This week and last week, our reporters have been previewing some of the key topics that will be discussed.
Brendan O'Malley

Does the hegemony of Western models of internationalisation serve to create and deepen inequalities in universities in the South, or is international education a force for good? It may depend on your strategy and approach.
Yojana Sharma

China is using international university partnerships to cement its regional and global position, making higher education a jumping-off point not just for research collaboration but also for city to city and industrial partnerships.
Yojana Sharma

Politicians and policy-makers have been putting pressure on universities to respond better to national economic and social needs in their research; and to the labour market by turning out employable students. But where should the balance lie between institutional autonomy and national priorities?
Karen MacGregor

“Any wasted neuron on this planet is a waste for humanity,” says Professor Jelel Ezzine, president of the Tunisian Association for the Advancement of Science, Technology and Innovation. When people are non-educated, problems are generated – locally and globally. “Supporting the development of higher education all over the world is of great importance.”
Universities UK, the vice-chancellors' body, held its fourth International Higher Education Forum in London on 1 March, attended by more than 400 delegates, to discuss some of the key trends, challenges and opportunities facing global higher education.
Nic Mitchell

More than 400 British and international higher education delegates attending Universities UK's fourth annual International Higher Education Forum on 1 March were warned by Dr Allan Goodman of three big challenges ahead globally: scarcity of university places, rising sectarianism, and the denial of higher education to refugees.
Nic Mitchell

In just four years, the number of Indian students at United Kingdom universities has halved – from 40,000 to 19,500. Two universities told a London conference last week how they are bucking the trend – but went on to warn that they are having to battle against the perception, due to restrictions on post-study work and tightened immigration controls, that Indian students are not welcome.
Nic Mitchell

A senior Swiss academic has called on United Kingdom vice-chancellors "to get out on the streets" and convince young British voters of the value of continued membership of the European Union. He said Swiss higher education and research suffered following its referendum which narrowly supported restrictions on free movement of people from other EU countries.
Nic Mitchell

A new university-based initiative supported by the Chinese and United Kingdom governments is stimulating collaborative research and innovation between businesses in both countries, with the aim of creating 60 partnerships by 2018.
Margaret Andrews

How can universities ensure they are on the right track for the future and ensure they are not in danger of becoming obsolete in a fast-changing world?
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Fed up with their country's politicians, Italian scientists have launched a national debate about the dire state of their country’s research system. They want the government to reverse years of budget cuts and prevent increasing numbers of researchers moving overseas for work, writes Edwin Cartlidge for Science.

Facebook will team up with European universities to help it advance artificial intelligence research, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during an event in Berlin, writes Danielle Muoio for Tech Insider.

Iran has moved swiftly to set up higher education collaborations with leading European universities following the country’s landmark nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions, writes Chris Havergal for Times Higher Education.

Fritz Steiner, long-time dean of the University of Texas at Austin’s renowned architecture school, is leaving his post, spurred by the arrival of something else on the university’s sprawling campus: guns, writes Amy X Wang for Quartz.

Addis Ababa University said it is applying the ‘publish or perish’ principle to scale up competitive and problem-solving research as the university discussed its five-year strategic plan with scholars and different stakeholders, reports Henok Tibebu for The Ethiopian Herald.

Students at the University of Los Andes in Bogotá accused Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of brushing off their criticisms and attempting to censor them for daring to confront him, reports teleSUR.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is offering independent mediation‚ conflict resolution and facilitation services to South Africa's universities and student movements to help halt the current violent protest that is stalling the academic year at multiple campuses, reports TimesLive.

Classes at the universities of the Free State and Pretoria re-opened last Monday without incident, amid heavy security on both campuses, reports BDLive.

According to US Embassy figures, 4,727 Singaporeans were enrolled in education institutions in the United States last year – a 3% increase over the previous year and the highest figure in 10 years, writes Sandra Davie for The Straits Times.

In a move that could hasten the acceptance of cheap online degrees, the University of Queensland and the Australian National University are considering giving academic credit for massive open online courses, or MOOCs, writes Tim Dodd for Australian Financial Review.

Non-state universities are concerned that they will not find students once the new enrolment policy is applied which allows universities to apply many different methods to enrol students, reports VietNamNet Bridge.

The National Accreditation Board is formulating new guidelines that will ban people from establishing arts-based universities in the country, reports GhanaWeb.

Universities should close down or admit fewer students into disciplines with which the civil service is oversupplied, according to the head of the agency responsible for public sector employment, writes Laila Azzeh for The Jordan Times.

Harvard University is going to remove the word ‘master’ from academic titles, after protests from students who claimed the title had echoes of slavery, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.

Albania is to pay a British agency, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, around €700,000 (US$766,000) to rank the quality of its 35 public and private universities, writes Fatjona Mejdini for BIRN.

Up to 2,000 students at 40 British universities are to be educated to PhD level in engineering and physical sciences under a US$261 million programme announced last week, reports Xinhua.

Higher education providers across Latin America are turning to online study instead of traditional lecture halls as a way of bringing university education within the reach of growing numbers of less affluent students, writes Richard House for Financial Times.

A Christian student has been expelled from Sheffield University after he posted a message on his private Facebook account expressing his views on gay marriage, writes Lucy Sherriff for The Huffington Post UK.

If there is one thing that animates university students the world over, it’s rising tuition and fees. So, when asked about the potential for increased tuition or fees the new rector of the public Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Enrique Luis Graue Wiechers, wanted to be clear: “The fees won’t be changed”, writes Megan Carpentier for the Guardian.
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This Week

Special Report
Internationalisation outcomes are to be debated at the Going Global conference in May

Indian government is not backing down from undermining free expression on campus

Nico Cloete says a ‘third force’ has emerged in the activism on South African campuses

As US-Cuba relations thaw, universities seek to build scientific and intellectual bridges

Florida International University has been recognised for its campus internationalisation efforts

The possible origins of China’s unbalanced higher education system or ‘feet of clay’

Governments should take concrete steps to protect universities from attack

World Blog
Gather your team and examine your strategy, Margaret Andrews urges universities

Special Report
Universities UK holds its fourth International Higher Education Forum in London