|29 May 2016||Issue 415||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NEWSLETTERHigh debt and worthless degrees: India must crack down on this scourge
In Commentary, Pushkar urges the Indian government to crack down on the many unscrupulous universities which leave students with high debt and useless degrees. David Stremba and Scott Spragg advise on ways US universities can be pro-active in addressing the prospect of dwindling numbers of Chinese students. And Yegor Stadny discusses a new performance-based funding model for Ukrainian universities, and says Ukraine needs to start creating the data systems required to implement a new funding system.
In our series on Transformative Leadership in which University World News is partnering with The MasterCard Foundation, Margaret Andrews looks at the innovative approaches many business schools have developed in their attempts to teach students leadership.
We publish the last of a three-part Special Report on Student Activism and Issues. Yojana Sharma overviews the rise of student movements in Asia, which have notched up considerable achievements but need to garner societal support to survive, and she also reports on student groups in Thailand that are struggling for democracy in the face of oppression.
Among others, there is also a set of articles on reforming or ‘decolonising’ the curriculum – by Calum Mitchell in the United Kingdom, Kenyan postgraduate student Njoki Wamai and Brian Kamanzi in South Africa.
Lastly, in Features, Rebecca Warden reports on discussions at the Third Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education in Spain on what opportunities universities in Europe and the Middle East are offering Syrian refugees and on what should be done to streamline efforts.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
The top five performing national higher education systems are the United States, Switzerland, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Sweden, according to the Universitas 21 annual ranking for 2016. But the country with the most improved performance is China, up four places to 30th due to continual rise in output rankings.
The government is seeking a blanket curb on the political activity of academics in a bill drafted to tighten the disciplinary system in universities. Activities banned would include membership of political parties, political campaigning or activism and joining or supporting acts of “terror or division”.
Eight mainly religion-based university and school student organisations have come together in Bangladesh to protest against a proposed education law, which they fear could undermine the country’s Islamic education system, including at tertiary level, bringing it under secular government oversight.
Plans are afoot to launch a Global Higher Education Access and Diversity Consortium next year, bringing together universities and civil society groups from around the world to advocate, show leadership and share best practice around these globally pertinent issues.
CHILEMaría Elena Hurtado
Three technology transfer hubs are being set up by Chilean universities in a bid to substantially increase their applied research as well as to market it at home and abroad. Twenty-six universities, 12 science and technology centres and 11 industry representatives are participating in these alliances, masterminded by the government’s development corporation.
Kenya is mulling over new university guidelines that will require masters students to publish at least one article in a refereed journal before being eligible to graduate.
With countries hosting transnational education programmes tightening up on regulations, the United States, United Kingdom and other countries providing transnational education are withdrawing from the riskier end, such as franchising and validating, and focusing instead on distance learning, branch campuses and joint or dual degrees where they have greater quality control, according to experts in a webinar hosted by University World News in partnership with DrEducation last week.
Concern over the impact on participation in Europe’s prestigious Horizon 2020 research projects is shifting Swiss public opinion on free movement of workers from the European Union to a more pragmatic view, two years after the Swiss referendum “against mass immigration” in February 2014.
NEW ZEALANDBrendan O'Malley
Universities New Zealand has welcomed the government’s budget announcement last week that it is investing NZ$761 million (US$513 million) in an Innovative New Zealand package in areas including science, skills and tertiary education, with much of it being spent on research.
STUDENT ACTIVISM AND ISSUES
A global rise in student activism and the centrality of student concerns to national politics and to higher education prompted University World News to collate this series of Special Reports looking into student movements and issues raised by them. The aim is to deepen understanding and debate on what is transpiring across the student world. We urge readers to disseminate the Special Reports to students. – Karen MacGregor, series editor
Students have cut their political teeth in student movements that have swept several countries in East, Southeast and South Asia in the past few years, and many have succeeded in holding their governments to account. But these student-led movements are in danger of fizzling out unless they attract broader societal support for their stances on political issues.
Several pro-democracy student groups in Thailand have come together as the New Democracy Movement, which is beginning to make its presence felt in the run-up to a referendum on a new military-backed constitution due to take place in August. But it is far from certain whether the movement can have a wider impact in the current climate of repression.
Ukraine experienced from 2013-14 how effective student action can be. Students were at the forefront of the Revolution of Dignity that achieved political reform, helped develop a new higher education law and chose the new minister of education. Students proved that they could truly be agents of change – professionalised student representation is the next step.
Following the global financial crash, students around the world have been joining together to reform the economics curriculum so that it is less narrow and better adapted to current global challenges.
Decolonisation movements at universities in the United Kingdom are linking up and being driven by international students who are seeking greater diversity and recognition of colonial legacies. While calls for decolonisation are popular in South Africa and Britain, it will only be when the campaigns also find resonance elsewhere that there can be a truly global movement.
SOUTH AFRICABrian Kamanzi
Converting the gains made by student movements in South Africa into a critically reflexive, creative and socially responsive curriculum and learning environment provides an opportunity to combat and subvert neo-liberalisation from the inside out.
EUROPELiva Vikmane and Alexandra Antonescu
The last few years have seen big funding cuts to higher education across Europe, resulting in a move to greater debt and compromises on quality. Governments will pay the price in the long term for not investing in the future.
Research shows several barriers to study abroad. But on closer inspection it may be more about whether or not students view such study as the norm.
There’s a huge focus on leadership in business schools, including transformative leadership, but with very few tangible results. A focus on visionary leaders may be too simplistic, though, and more innovative approaches are being trialled.
The government needs to crack down on unscrupulous universities that offer useless degrees or the country will likely head into economic difficulties, social unrest and political instability.
CHINA-UNITED STATESDavid Stremba and Scott Spragg
How can United States institutions – and others – address the dangers of an over-reliance on China? Diversifying and targeting students and using alumni networks may all help to address the prospect of dwindling numbers of Chinese students coming to the US.
Ukraine has to start creating the data systems and software it needs to determine how to fund its higher education system. The sooner it does so, the better its chances will be of competing globally.
At the Third Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education in Barcelona, participants discussed the plethora of opportunities that universities in Europe and the Middle East are offering to Syrian refugees and voiced concerns that without an overarching framework or clearing house much energy is being wasted.
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New Education Minister Pan Wen-chung unveiled several major policies last weekend, including the scrapping of the controversial adjustment of guidelines for high school history textbooks, reports Focus Taiwan.
A record-high 97.3% of university graduates in Japan were employed as of the beginning of the fiscal year on 1 April, according to government data, reflecting companies’ increasing appetite for recruitment, reports The Japan Times.
UK universities have been accused of “blatant double standards” on the day it was revealed that vice-chancellors’ pay has risen around four times faster than pay for most academic staff, writes Aftab Ali for the Independent.
The cost of a university degree in Singapore is set to rise, according to a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, writes Amelia Teng for The Straits Times.
The University of Zimbabwe has moved to limit inter-residence visits between male and female students after almost half of the students who underwent tests for HIV tested positive, reports News24.
Two prominent American colleges have removed advertisements for South Korean government scholarships that bar people with HIV, following the intervention of human rights activists, writes John Power for the Guardian.
Despite Indonesia being one of Australia's closest neighbours, figures indicate Australian students are showing little interest in studying the language, leading to predictions that Indonesian studies might be completely wiped out from Australian universities in a decade, writes Samantha Turnbull for The World Today.
The UK government is to create a single research funding body, bringing together seven research councils, the innovation agency Innovate UK and research funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, writes Éanna Kelly for Science Business.
Protests against changes to China’s university admission system spread to a fourth province last week as authorities scrambled to contain growing anger over one of the most important issues for parents in the country’s emerging middle class – their children’s access to higher education, writes Tom Mitchell for Financial Times.
A coalition of Asian-American organisations has asked the Department of Education to investigate Brown University, Dartmouth College and Yale University, alleging they discriminate against Asian-American students during the admissions process, writes Douglas Belkin for The Wall Street Journal.
Earlier this month, individual university application results were released, showing the largest ever gap between the number of openings and successful applicants. Toko University had offered admission to 118 applicants nationwide, but only secured 20 new recruits, writes Christine Chou for TWN.
A Chinese internet billionaire launched the world's biggest education prize worth more than £5 million (US$7.3 million) in Hong Kong last week, writes Richard Vaughan for TES.
Students from various parts of the country organised a pre-budget rally demanding the allocation of 4% of gross domestic product for education. They also called for 25% of the total education budget to be allocated for higher education and for the introduction of immediate reforms in the higher education sector, reports Pakistan Today.
The Higher Education Amendment Bill narrowly passed in the National Assembly last week after the opposition Democratic Alliance staged a walkout in a failed attempt to block the passage of the legislation through parliament, writes Chantall Presence for African News Agency.
Britain's best-known universities have urged their students to vote to stay in the European Union, despite rules urging institutions to remain neutral ahead of the referendum, writes Harry Yorke for The Telegraph.
A British historian rejected a prestigious Israeli prize due to be awarded last week, saying her decision came after “many discussions” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reports The Times of Israel.
Amid intimidation from the Islamic Defenders Front against scholarly discussions on Marxism, the country’s intellectuals and the government are still arguing about whether the leftist ideology is an acceptable subject for discussion, write Bambang Muryanto and Jon Afrizal for The Jakarta Post.
With an increasing number of Americans leaving religion behind, the University of Miami received a donation in late April from a wealthy atheist to endow what it says is the nation’s first academic chair “for the study of atheism, humanism and secular ethics”, writes Laurie Goodstein for The New York Times.
Aberystwyth University's Mauritius campus has been criticised by a former Aberystwyth vice-chancellor after just 40 students enrolled in its first two terms, reports the BBC.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The University of Papua New Guinea has suspended semester one studies for an indefinite period, effectively ending a student boycott of classes, writes Joy Kisselpar for ABC.
Professors and lecturers in South Sudan's five public universities were on strike last week because the government has not paid their back salaries for the past three months and other benefits for the past year, writes Waakhe Simon Wudu for Voice of America.
The Union Government last week announced new norms for deemed universities that allow more academic, administrative and regulatory freedom for these institutions that are largely run by private education providers, writes Prashant K Nanda for Livemint.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry last week officially launched Vietnam's first private non-profit university in Ho Chi Minh City, writes Ha Anh for Thanh Nien News.
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