University World News Global Edition
18 December 2016 Issue 441 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
University World News is taking a publication break during the holiday period. Our next edition will appear on Sunday 15 January. Meanwhile our website will be updated with fresh articles.
In an age of anti-science social scientists can help fight climate data denial

In Commentary, Victoria Herrmann says in an age of anti-science, with US President-elect Donald Trump calling climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, it is more important than ever for social scientists to be part of climate science research because climate change is ultimately a story about people. Phillip L Clay of MIT presents the case and a pilot model for the transformation of higher education in Africa, calling for the creating of clusters of new universities that are “uncompromisingly excellent, independent and globally partnered”. And Bruno Morche suggests that political developments such as rising nationalism in the West could be a valuable opportunity for the BRICS countries to expand their presence in the global higher education arena.
The Transformative Leadership series in which University World News is partnering with The MasterCard Foundation, forms a supplement with a focus on innovation. Sharon Dell reports on the call by Professor Alvaro Romo, secretary general of the International Association of University Presidents, for universities to harness innovation in pursuit of sustainable development, underpinned by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Arif Naveed says universities in Pakistan are implicated in perpetuating inequalities and need to rise above the traditional role of teaching and learning and contribute to social innovation by informing public policies that promote social justice. And Paulo Savaget and Cleonir Tumelero applaud Brazil’s track record in developing eco-innovation, with universities playing a large role, but are concerned that recent political and economic turmoil will put this work at risk.
In our World Blog, Patrick Blessinger says that understanding education as a human right provides the moral and legal basis for inclusion and diversity in education at all levels.
Lastly, in Features, Wagdy Sawahel reports on a study saying women researchers in North Africa represent 36.5% of the total number of researchers in six countries in the region, which is above the world, European and developed country averages, while Maria Elena Hurtado reports that the quality of Chile’s higher education is improving but there are problems not being addressed by government reforms currently under discussion.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Brendan O'Malley

Governments and institutions should ignore leading international university rankings because they are “unreliable” and “methodologically flawed" and fail to identify the ‘best’ universities in the world, according to a new analysis by the United Kingdom higher education think tank, the Higher Education Policy Institute or HEPI. But ranking organisations say they are constantly working on improvements.
Ashraf Khaled

Egyptian authorities recently busted what they said was the biggest illegal organ trafficking ring in the country’s history. The suspects include medical professors at the universities of Cairo and Ain Shams, Egypt’s two main public academic institutions, the Health Ministry said.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Horizon 2020 is endangered by critically low application success rates due to insufficient funding at the European Union and national levels, according to a consultation among the 150 member institutions of the European University Association or EUA. The concern is reinforced by the findings of the recently released Horizon 2020 Monitoring Report.
Munyaradzi Makoni

Nine African countries have successfully established a sustainable National Research and Education Network promoting internet access to global educational resources and facilitating interaction at national and regional levels among universities and research institutions – boosting research productivity over the last decade.
Mimi Leung and Yojana Sharma

A US$115 million donation to California Institute of Technology or Caltech in the United States from Chinese billionaire Chen Tianqiao and his wife Chrissy Luo tops a generous year for donations to international education and research institutions from Chinese philanthropists.
Michael Gardner

Germany’s Student Welfare Service, or DSW, has warned that students and refugees seeking accommodation should not be played off against each other in the face of a growing shortage of affordable housing. It called on federal, state and local governments to ensure that ample affordable housing is provided for students and refugees alike.
Mushfique Wadud

The University Grants Commission wants to allow foreign university branches but the Education Ministry has blocked approval in at least two known applications – from a United Kingdom branch campus and from Monash University in Australia – despite introducing regulations two years ago to enable foreign universities to open branches.
Aimee Chung

South Korea’s National Assembly last week focused on the role of the prestigious Ewha Womans University as part of its fourth round of hearings into an influence peddling scandal surrounding embattled South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Mobile researchers get higher citation rates and they are also more productive than the average, according to a study of researcher mobility at 28 Swedish higher education institutions that provides new and detailed data on how researchers move between institutions, nationally and internationally.
Ahmed Bawa

Collaboration between South African and Japanese universities should become a catalyst for sustainable development in South Africa and across the African continent. It would also play an enormous role in the realisation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 – a programme aspiring to create prosperity through inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Members of Parliament are expected to vote on Monday 19 December in favour of a measure that will make it impossible to obtain student financing or a second degree at a Danish higher education institution if you have already completed a degree at the same or higher level.
Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Scientists, librarians and digital historians from a growing number of universities have begun a crowdsourced effort to copy and archive thousands of federal government websites and data sets related to climate change, the environment and other areas of scientific research that they fear could become compromised or inaccessible under the incoming Trump administration.
Victoria Herrmann

After the election of Donald Trump as United States president, who claims climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, the role of social scientists in communicating its impact is more important than ever because they can put that human face on climate science and make climate change a story about all of us.
Phillip L Clay

A model system of around a dozen pilot universities across West, Central and East Africa, implementable within a decade with some 2,500 new academics and US$1 billion, is proposed to kick-start the transformation of African higher education. The institutions will be led by Africans in strong collaboration with major stakeholders and existing universities, and will be uncompromisingly excellent, independent and globally partnered.
Bruno Morche

Rising nationalism in the West could be a good opportunity for BRICS countries to further increase cooperation in the higher education sector. Although there are many challenges to overcome, initiatives such as the BRICS University League could be a factor in changing flows of international students.
John Aubrey Douglass

The 'New Flagship University' provides an alternative model for leading universities to aspire to which is broader and more socially engaged than the narrow focus of the much critiqued 'World-Class University'. This notion was the focus of a keynote address at the BRICS and Emerging Economies Universities Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 30 November-2 December.
Hamish Coates

Universities have been integral to society for centuries. They can do more to engage in public discussion about their purpose and articulate their value in expanding markets where people face more options than ever.
Ellen Hazelkorn and John Goddard

Universities ignore civic engagement at their peril and a failure to address the issue could lead to an ever-widening gap opening up between higher education and the public on whom universities remain dependent for both core and research funding.
This week's supplement on Transformative Leadership, in which University World News is partnering with The MasterCard Foundation, focuses on innovation – from how universities can harness innovation, science and technology in pursuit of sustainable development to how higher education itself can innovate to widen its impact on and leadership of social change.
Sharon Dell

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted last year by the United Nations have placed particular obligations on higher education. At the same time, the concept of innovation continues to dominate the agendas of higher education institutions around the world. How can universities harness innovation in pursuit of sustainability?
Arif Naveed

Unless universities rethink their role and engage in public policy-making and social innovation, they will be part of the problem rather than fulfilling their potential to lead social transformation. It means playing a bigger role in society above their traditional one of teaching and awarding degrees.
Paulo Savaget and Cleonir Tumelero

There has been a huge amount of work done in developing eco-innovation in Brazil in the past decade, not least by universities, with the country becoming a transformative leader in the region, but its recent political and economic turmoil could put some of this work at risk.
Todd Davey, Victoria Galan-Muros and Arno Meerman

Higher education has a central role to play in driving business innovation and economic success, but to overcome challenges facing university-business cooperation and make the most of that role requires strong leadership.
Joseph M Piro

The Bologna Process has led to innovative practice in teaching and learning and academic mobility. Can it continue to prosper, open new pathways and provide leadership – promoting the university as academic innovator, incubator and inclusive institution – at a time of huge technological and political disruption across Europe?
Brendan O'Malley

The United Kingdom is funding innovative international partnerships at up to £5 million (US$6.2 million) each to encourage exploration, including with private partners, of new ways of widening access to and quality of higher education provision in the hope of seeing the best models scaled up by higher education systems.
Mary Beth Marklein

The first day he came into class you could tell undergraduate Ngoni Mugwisi was planning to do some big things, his engineering professor says. He has introduced stacked crop beds and solar-powered water pumps to Zimbabwean villages and campaigned to change perceptions of Africa. His next goal is to bring solar power to schools.
Patrick Blessinger

The case for inclusivity in and access to higher education is part of an overarching commitment to basic universal human rights. These rights have huge implications for how educational resources are allocated and how all parties in education are treated.
Wagdy Sawahel

The overall share of women researchers at universities and science centres in North Africa is above world, European and developed country averages, a study has revealed.
Maria Elena Hurtado

The quality of Chile’s university system is improving, according to two rankings released recently. Many problems remain however, which critics say are not being addressed by the government’s higher education reform now under discussion.
Jane Marshall

Three and a half years after taking over as director of Sciences Po, Frédéric Mion explains to University World News how the institution is carrying out its strategic plan due for completion by 2022, the 150th anniversary of its foundation.
Johanna Harris

A Dutch nursing home has established a programme providing free rent to university students in exchange for 30 hours a month of their time “acting as neighbours” with their aged residents. It is just one example of how students can make an impact on their local community and gain a sense of connection with an older generation.
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The Home Office is considering cutting international student numbers at United Kingdom universities by nearly half in a threat that is being greeted with dismay by university heads, who say some good overseas applicants are already being refused visas on spurious grounds, writes Anna Fazackerley for the Guardian.

Turkish prosecutors ordered the arrest of 87 people linked to Istanbul University in an investigation targeting followers of United States-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, accused by Ankara of being behind July's attempted coup, reports Daren Butler for Reuters.

Over 300 academics signed a petition last weekend saying they will ignore any recommendations in the new ethics code commissioned by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, writes Yarden Skop for Haaretz.

The Human Rights Monument is a well-known hallmark in a bustling pedestrian area in the heart of Ankara. Over the past month, a second fixture has appeared on the site: a woman with a banner. Despite 17 detentions, often by heavy-handed police, Nuriye Gulmen – one of hundreds of academics suspended from office after the 15 July attempted coup – keeps returning to the site to demand her job back, writes Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor.

Kansai University’s president said the institution will ban its researchers from applying for Defense Ministry funds for projects that could then be used for military technologies, reports The Japan Times.

One of Australia’s top universities has achieved a world first, becoming the first higher education institution to issue a ‘climate bond’, reports Study International.

British universities fear losing large swathes of their research staff as the country faces up to Brexit, the split with the European Union. More than 31,000 academics at UK universities are non-British EU citizens, and so may lose their rights to live in the United Kingdom after Brexit, writes Daniel Cressey for Nature.

The appointment of Michel Deneken, a Roman Catholic priest and theology professor, to lead the University of Strasbourg has attracted controversy among some who argue that the choice violates the spirit, if not the letter, of French laws calling for separation of church and state, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.

The Philippines' Commission on Higher Education is now considering making drug testing mandatory for incoming college students. This comes in the midst of President Rodrigo Duterte's war against drugs in the country, writes Emily Marks for University Herald.

Legislators have criticised the government’s higher education funding adviser for its lax regulation of non-local student numbers, saying places for mainland students could come at the expense of locals, writes Peace Chiu for South China Morning Post.

The appeal of Russian education for foreigners has risen in recent years as the decrease in the value of the ruble compared with foreign currencies has made studying in Russia much more affordable. The government is trying to capitalise on this trend in several ways, writes Alexei Lossan for Russia Beyond the Headlines.

The Zambian Open University expects to increase its student intake twofold in 2017 after it entered into a partnership with eLearnAfrica for its courses and degree programmes to be made available on the platform, writes Matshelane Mamabolo for IT Web Africa.

The University Grants Commission has found a toehold in the process for reappointing principals of colleges affiliated to central universities, prompting cries of "maximum government" from academics, writes Basant Kumar Mohanty for the Telegraph India.

The US Department of Education slapped a set of tough conditions on a US$1.1 billion private equity bid for the company that owns the University of Phoenix, the nation’s largest for-profit university, after years of trying to rein in the for-profit college industry, reports Bloomberg News.

During the annual UK-China Education Summit, the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening and Chinese Minister for Education Chen Baosheng signed off on an action plan under the UK-China Partners in Education framework that outlined key priority areas for education cooperation beyond 2016, writes Beckie Smith for The PIE News.

Public universities have not sufficiently transformed in the past 20 years and discrimination remains prevalent‚ particularly on the grounds of race‚ gender‚ disability and socio-economic class, writes Ernest Mabuza for Times Live.

University students are opting out of biotechnology courses due to fears they might not get internship and jobs after graduation due to the ongoing ban on genetically modified, or GM, food crops by the government, writes Dennis Odunga for the Nation.

A leading university is to increase its intake of disadvantaged students by offering places with reduced grades, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.

Thousands of students marched in Peru’s capital Lima last week in defence of quality education. They took to the streets as congress decides on the future of the country’s reforming education minister, writes Dan Collyns for CCTV America.
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This Week

Transformative Leadership
Universities should harness innovation in pursuit of sustainability, says Alvaro Romo

Can the Bologna Process continue in innovative practice with disruption in Europe?

Social scientists can add a human touch to climate change science in an anti-science age

Model system of universities proposed to kick-start the transformation of African HE

Nationalism rising in the West creates opportunities in HE for BRICS countries

The New Flagship University – an alternative model for universities to aspire to

Universities and academics need to tell their stories to the public and show their relevance

How higher education engages with society beyond campus is under increasing scrutiny

In North Africa the share of women researchers is higher than in many developed countries

World Blog
Inclusivity in HE is part of a commitment to basic human rights – Patrick Blessinger