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20 March 2016 Issue 405 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Cost-effective initiative to bring quality higher education to refugees

In the second part of a Special Report on higher education for refugees, Brendan O'Malley reports on a global consortium of universities that is being formed to bring high quality, accredited online higher education supported by a mixture of online and visiting tutors to refugees gathered together in learning hubs in camps and towns. Allan E Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, appeals to funders and governments to help scale up higher education initiatives for Syrian refugees to avoid creating a lost generation of young people. And Sedat Gumus says Turkey stands out as a country that has been proactive in granting Syrian refugees higher education opportunities and he appeals to international higher education communities to do more.
In Commentary, Mark Ashwill points out the ‘elephant in the room’ in international and global citizenship education in the United States – US nationalism. Yojana Sharma says Britain would relinquish its status as a great science power if it ditched Europe through Brexit. Richard Hil believes there is a case for closer public scrutiny of Australian universities in the light of falling scores in the admission system and the institutional pressures on academics to pass students. And Savo Heleta says there should be incentives to encourage academics to go beyond their ivory towers and journal digital paywalls and share their research with the general public.
In World Blog, Hans de Wit and Liz Reisberg write about a unique summit held in Colombia earlier this month at which scholars and experts discussed the future of higher education in Latin America.
In Features, Shuriah Niazi says the sedition row at Jawaharlal Nehru University in India is part of the government’s attempts to control universities.
A second Special Report covers the Next Einstein Forum’s Global Gathering in Senegal, where some global scientific leaders shared their views on best science strategy practices, as reported by Munyaradzi Makoni.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Paul Rigg

Spanish universities are processing up to six times the number of doctorates compared to the last academic year, according to research by one of Spain’s leading newspapers, El Mundo, thought to be due to new limits on completion date inspired by the Bologna Process and the effects of the economic crisis on the numbers taking doctorates.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The Swedish Research Council has published a report showing that just over half of academics at universities and university colleges are recruited from the same higher education institution from which they got their doctoral degree. The research council says the findings are “worrying”.
Ashraf Khaled

Egypt’s state-run Islamic seminary, Al-Azhar University, has expelled three students accused of involvement in last year’s assassination of the country’s chief prosecutor.
Eugene Vorotnikov

The Russian government will significantly reduce the number of technical specialties in universities, due to financial issues and as part of the ongoing reform of the national system of higher education. But the plans have drawn strong criticism among MPs as well as the space industry and engineering firms, who say it will lead to a shortage of specialists.
Kelly Field, The Chronicle of Higher Education

James Kvaal, President Barack Obama’s top higher education adviser, who left the White House this month for a residency at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, reflects on his biggest accomplishments and what lies ahead for him and his former boss.
Michael Gardner

Efforts to support refugee students are being stepped up by various higher education institutions and organisations as well as state governments in Germany. World University Service is now providing a constantly updated list of Internet links to guide students and academics and coordinate activities.
Yojana Sharma

The University of Hong Kong's student magazine has said the city should become a sovereign state recognised by the United Nations, in an article that has sparked a wider political debate – an indication of the influence of university students in Hong Kong politics.
Brendan O’Malley

New degree apprenticeships have the potential to help fill the country’s skills gaps and meet employers’ needs, according to a report from Universities UK or UUK, the vice-chancellors’ body. Although relatively new in the UK, numbers are growing at a positive rate, with up to 2,000 degree apprentices due to start in 2016 across 40 universities.
Wachira Kigotho

Despite the rapid expansion of Kenyan higher education in the last two decades, universities have failed to produce employable graduates and there is a shrinking supply of skilled labour. In a key report on the country’s economic status, the World Bank faults universities for a focus on revenue generation and weak quality assurance mechanisms.
Mark Ashwill

Nationalism stands in the way of creating global citizens, but it is the subject few involved in international education in the United States want to speak about.
Yojana Sharma

Leaving the European Union would make it tougher for the United Kingdom to attract top researchers and would jeopardise its science leadership role.
Richard Hil

There should be an urgent review of falling scores used in the Australian universities’ admissions system and the institutional pressures on academics to pass students.
Savo Heleta

Academics need to start playing a more prominent role in society instead of largely remaining observers who write about the world from within ivory towers and publish their findings in journals hidden behind expensive digital paywalls.
The Syrian conflict has fuelled population shifts that in Europe are the greatest since World War II and in countries next door to the war zone are swamping the local population – Lebanon, for instance, now has a greater number of refugees than its own citizens. University World News looks at the challenges of making access to higher education a key part of the response.
Brendan O'Malley

A consortium of universities and university partnerships is being formed to spread the provision of good quality, accredited, online higher education to refugees gathered together in learning hubs in camps and towns and supported by online and visiting tutors – at a fraction of the cost of scholarships.
Allan E Goodman

Universities and higher education organisations have been doing their best to address the Syrian refugee crisis and keep students in education, but the scale of the problem requires a much broader response.
Sedat Gumus

Turkey has undertaken a number of initiatives to help support Syrian refugees who want to go into higher education, but now it is time for the international community to do more.
Hans de Wit and Liz Reisberg

Experts recently met in Colombia for an open and wide-ranging discussion of the challenges and opportunities for higher education across Latin America.
Shuriah Niazi

The political furore over the charging of Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar with sedition has raised fears that the government is trying to enforce its Hindu nationalist ideology on the student community and ensure a domineering position in higher education institutions for the youth wing of the ruling party.
African government and private sector leaders, and top scientists and civil society advocates from across the continent and world were in Senegal for the first Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering, held from 8-10 March under the theme “Connecting Science to Humanity” and aimed at advancing African science. University World News was a media partner.
Munyaradzi Makoni

Many developing countries have appointed science ministers and drawn up science policies. But using funding for research that meets immediate and pressing needs is a difficult task, since it is often a bottom-up approach that produces science excellence, according to Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, president of the European Research Council.
Munyaradzi Makoni

African heads of state attending the Next Einstein Forum’s Global Gathering 2016 in Senegal pledged to improve science funding and promote the enrolment and retention of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
Karen MacGregor

More than a ‘next Einstein’, says University of Cambridge Vice-chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, “Africa needs scientists who are confident and able to harness the power of global partnerships” and forge closer collaboration with policy-makers and the private sector.
Mannoura Egaiz

The United Arab Emirates is to fund three research teams, from Germany, Japan and the UAE, to work out how to make it rain over the Arabian Desert by using different aspects of cloud seeding technology – in which a chemical is injected into the atmosphere from an aircraft to encourage water condensation and cloud formation in the hope that it will rain.
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The High Court in the Western Cape has ordered Stellenbosch University to implement a plan for language policy developed in 2014 by the end of March that places English and Afrikaans on equal footing, reports Karl Gernetszky for BDLive.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has asked the government to crack down on “subversive” elements indulging in “anti-national” activities in universities, writes Smriti Kak Ramachandran for the Hindustan Times.

The rapid expansion of university education is affecting the earning power of graduates, according to a Bank of England study showing the value of a degree has declined sharply over 20 years, writes Larry Elliott for the Guardian.

The number of Taiwanese people with a college, university or other type of higher education degree has increased to five million in 2015, reports The China Post.

Three German universities have closed prayer rooms used by Muslims, leading to claims of discrimination, writes Samuel Osborne for the Independent.

Students from Scotland’s poorest backgrounds should be able to get into university with lower grades than their middle-class counterparts under radical proposals unveiled last week, but the move has prompted concerns from universities and opposition parties, writes Scott MacNab for The Scotsman.

A group of over 1,000 Israeli sociologists announced last week that they will sever all academic ties to Ariel University "since it is not located in Israeli territory”, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Three colleges which have performed poorly in a new assessment process for the higher education sector face financial penalties running into hundreds of thousands of euro, writes Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times.

The Shin Bet says it has decided to quit asking universities for information about their graduates for the sake of building up the security agency's recruitment lists, writes Chaim Levinson for Haaretz.

A rigid Stalinist bureaucratic rank system has not only created lethargic government bureaucracy but also permeated almost all levels of social and cultural institutions, including universities, writes Wang Xiangwei for South China Morning Post.

Turkish authorities arrested three academics on charges of ‘terrorist propaganda’ last week after they publicly read out a declaration reiterating a call to end security operations in the mainly Kurdish southeast, reports Reuters.

The Ministry of Education and Science has put forth for public discussion its new concept of financing university-level education. This new scheme envisages moving away from the so-called ‘state order’ on the numbers of ‘specialties’, and to make universities self-financed, reports Ukrinform.

China has been building the equivalent of almost one university per week – part of a silent revolution that is causing a huge shift in the composition of the world's population of graduates, writes Andreas Schleicher for BBC News.

Damages to higher education institutions during student protests have cost universities more than R145 million (US$9.4 million), writes Lizeka Tandwa for News24.

Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, the minister of education and culture, has responded to the onslaught of criticism she has received from academia over drastic cuts in education spending, saying that no-one is happy about the cuts, reports Helsinki Times.

North Korea last Wednesday sentenced an American student, who had admitted to stealing propaganda material, to 15 years of hard labour for crimes against the state, reports AFP-JIJI.

Another Cambridge University ball has attracted controversy, after students complained the Japanese theme was “enforcing stereotypes”, writes Lexi Finnigan for The Telegraph.
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