University World News Global Edition
19 March 2017 Issue 451 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


China steps up its brain gain drive to attract and retain overseas talent

   In Features, Yojana Sharma outlines new measures taken by China to lure overseas talent – including international students and Chinese who left for a foreign education – in its bid to become an innovation economy. And Tunde Fatunde reports on calls for government action in Nigeria after university students emerge as prime targets in a fraudulent Ponzi scheme.

   In Commentary, Anand Kulkarni says the Global Talent Competitiveness Index shows the importance of a broader set of capabilities in attracting and retaining the best talent than are covered in university rankings, such as lifestyle and tolerance for immigrants. Futao Huang outlines the changes that have occurred in doctoral education in China in the past decades – including a considerable shift from Soviet to US influence – and some of the challenges ahead. Robert Coelen describes how proposed changes to Dutch legislation will enhance higher education internationalisation, encouraging recruitment of young international scholars to the Netherlands and of more students at offshore campuses. Ruwayshid Ali wonders if dramatic cuts to student admissions and scholarships in Saudi Arabia amid falling oil prices are the right strategy. And Rahul Choudaha says universities will need to be innovative to overcome the challenges to international student mobility posed by the collision of political changes in leading destination countries with economic changes in major source countries.

   In World Blog, Nita Temmerman cautions university teachers to be aware of the effect their feedback to students has on the motivation and morale of the student.

   In our Q&A section, Ramadhan Rajab interviews Professor Mohamed Ahmed Jimale about the state of higher education in Somalia, which is beginning to recover after a 23-year civil war.

   Last but not least, you are invited to register for the upcoming free webinar on “International Student Mobility Trends: Shifting recruitment priorities and strategies”, to be held on 12 April, hosted by University World News in partnership with DrEducation and StudyPortals.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report


Senate passes bill for free public university tuition

Brennan Weiss

The Philippines Senate has approved a landmark bill to provide free tuition for students in all state universities and colleges. Proponents say it is a collective victory for supporters of equitable access. Critics say making only tuition free is problematic because only the richer households have the resources to finance the other costs of higher education, including living expenses.


New ban halted, but foreign student applications fall

Brendan O'Malley and Michael Gardner

Two federal judges last week blocked President Donald Trump’s new executive order temporarily banning entry into the United States from six Muslim countries, while a new survey suggests international student applications are falling as a result of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant stance and fear of further restrictions being imposed.


Push for foreign students to stay on to work in Japan

Suvendrini Kakuchi

Japan is hiring foreign talent and it is now a top priority that international students attending Japanese universities stay on in the country, with the government offering new incentives such as subsidised company internships, help with finding jobs on graduation, stepped-up Japanese language courses and more streamlined processes for work visas after graduation.


World-class universities policy fuels talent poaching

Yojana Sharma

China’s headlong foray into creating world-class universities has caused an internal brain drain of talented academics from China’s poorer central and western regions towards the top-tier universities in the country’s major cities and regions.


Universities must address local and global challenges

Brendan O'Malley

Universities face a dual and potentially conflicting responsibility to address both the local demands of society based on the race for global competitiveness and local and global demands to contribute to a more equitable and sustainable society, according to new report by the Global University Network for Innovation.


As strike ends, universities commit to making up lost time

Gilbert Nakweya

After 54 days of strike action, teaching and learning finally resumed in public universities in Kenya last week Tuesday with university councils being tasked with re-working the semester timetable to make up for lost time.


Appeal heard against international student fee ruling

Jan Petter Myklebust

The university that was successfully sued by an international student over the quality of its provision in a course for which she paid tuition fees, has been to the court of appeal to try to have the verdict of the district court annulled.


Fees for international students put on election agenda

Jan Petter Myklebust

Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen said the Conservative Party will include a proposal to introduce “moderate tuition fees” for students from outside the European Economic Area, in its party manifesto for the general election this autumn.


Trump plans deep cuts to higher education spending

The Chronicle of Higher Education reporters

President Donald Trump’s spending priorities include a 13% cut for the United States Department of Education and decreases for agencies that provide academic research, prompting claims that this would signal the end of the US’s role as a global innovation leader and would not be supported by Congress.


Power of e-learning for renewable energy sector – Study

Munyaradzi Makoni

At a time when distance education and e-learning are becoming increasingly popular and accessible, there remains insufficient awareness around the use of educational technologies in the field of renewable energy and its benefits in African higher education, according to a recent study.



University rankings and the battle for talent

Anand Kulkarni

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index shows that there is more than university rankings involved in attracting and retaining the best talent and that cohesive economic and social systems and tolerance for minorities and immigrants play a key role.


Are Chinese PhDs becoming more like US doctorates?

Futao Huang

Although there is still evidence of the impact of Soviet ideas, there has been a considerable shift towards United States influence that has led to dramatic changes in China’s doctoral education. Yet while there has been growth and improvement in many areas, challenges still remain.


A step towards greater internationalisation in HE

Robert Coelen

Proposed changes to Dutch legislation will allow students at offshore campuses to do their whole degree there and this could bring benefits to both students and staff. Other changes will enhance the ability of universities to attract talented young international scholars.


Is halving of student admissions the right strategy?

Ruwayshid Ali

Dramatic cuts to student admissions and scholarships amid falling oil prices are part of a government strategy to tailor education to the needs of the economy by switching investment into technical and vocational education – but not all the numbers add up.


A perfect storm for international student mobility?

Rahul Choudaha

Political and economic changes are affecting both leading destination and source countries for international higher education. Universities that want to steer a course through the uncertainty and hyper-competition of the next few years will need to be innovative.



Unfair teacher feedback means demotivated students

Nita Temmerman

Student feedback should be about helping students progress in their learning, not penalising them for originality. Feedback that is unfair and not linked to stated assessment criteria works against students achieving their potential.



Seeking globally mobile students in a world in turmoil

The United Kingdom and United States are set on a path to creating more barriers to attracting and retaining international students. The two largest source countries of international students – China and India – have experienced economic changes that have decelerated the ambitions and ability of students to go abroad. What strategic options are higher education institutions considering in response to this turbulence?



Rebuilding a national university after decades of war

Ramadhan Rajab

Professor Mohamed Ahmed Jimale, rector of Somali National University, speaks about the state of higher education in Somalia and the challenge of running a university in what is still an unstable and often hostile environment, and about his hopes of helping poorer Somalis to attain the kind of education that launched his own career. He left Somalia at the height of the civil war to work in universities in Italy and Canada, and returned to the ravaged Somalian capital of Mogadishu in 2012.



Talent drive looks to bring in international students

Yojana Sharma

China has stepped up its drive to lure overseas talent in its bid to become an innovation economy, less dependent on trade in manufactured goods. New measures include allowing foreign students to stay on in China after their degrees to take up jobs or internships and reducing red tape around residence permits.


Students emerge as prime targets for Ponzi fraud

Tunde Fatunde

The government is facing calls for stronger action to prevent students being targeted by Ponzi scheme fraud, after at least 4,000 students from one university were threatened with expulsion for diverting their tuition fees, worth a total of US$6.5 million, into a Ponzi online scheme which has since suspended its operations without explanation.



Dental plaque DNA shows Neanderthals used ‘aspirin’

Ancient DNA found in the dental plaque of Neanderthals – our nearest extinct relatives – has provided remarkable new insights into their behaviour, diet and evolutionary history, including their use of plant-based medicines to treat pain and illness, researchers from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom and the University of Adelaide in Australia have discovered.


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Plan to set up women’s universities in each district

Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman recently informed the National Assembly that a comprehensive plan is underway to have women’s universities in each district, reports APP.


Higher education in Bihar ‘on verge of collapse’

Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday that higher education in the state was on the verge of collapse, writes Ajay Kumar for Hindustan Times. The governor’s statement, from a public platform, is significant considering that he also serves as chancellor of universities of Bihar, which are plagued by shortages of teachers and officials.


Minister calls for ‘re-packaging’ of ideology classes

Universities must make ideology classes “trendy” and appealing to young people, Education Minister Chen Baosheng said recently in the latest move to tighten the Communist Party’s grip on the next generation, writes Zhuang Pinghui for the South China Morning Post.


Arab students now have greater say in integration plan

In order to retain their funding for empowering Arab students, academic institutions in Israel must now appoint an Arab student to the steering committees working on increasing integration of Arabs into society, a subcommittee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel decided, writes Yarden Skop for Haaretz.


Universities may soon offer full degrees overseas

After two years of political debate, Dutch universities may soon be able to offer full degree programmes overseas after the Dutch House of Representatives passed a transnational education bill that also aims to boost the development of international joint programmes, writes Beckie Smith for The PIE News.


Education department moves to prosecute essay mills

The Department of Education and Skills is planning to introduce laws to prosecute ‘essay mill’ companies who offer to write students’ assignments in exchange for money, writes Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times.


Nearly 15,000 Syrians studying in Turkish universities

Nearly 15,000 Syrians are enrolled in Turkish universities as of the 2016-17 academic year and they are among 3 million Syrians currently in Turkey to “continue living in a humane way”, reports Hurriyet Daily News.


Oxford University leaders call for EU citizen guarantees

The leaders of the University of Oxford are asking politicians to make sure that citizens of the European Union can stay in Britain post-Brexit, writes Lianna Brinded for Business Insider.


Digital disruption lowers cost of pricey masters degrees

A round of price-cutting has broken out in the market for high-priced masters degrees with four Australian universities offering students a pathway to complete part of the degree online at a steep discount, writes Tim Dodd for the Financial Review.


MPs urge stronger business-universities tie-ups

The government must make it easier for businesses to invest in technology created in British universities if the United Kingdom is to fix its chronic under-investment in research and development, a group of MPs said last week, writes James Titcomb for The Telegraph.


Universities brace for university commissioner changes

With the exit of current Commission for University Education CEO David Some, Kenya’s higher education is headed for major changes that will have a huge impact on how universities operate and the programmes they offer, writes Augustine Oduor for the Standard.


Taiwan university graduate suspected of espionage

A Chinese man who graduated from a Taiwan university has been detained on suspicion of spying for China, the first known case of a Chinese student being investigated for espionage since 2011, reports Kyodo.


Lecturers to learn about disruptive technology from CEOs

The Malaysian government is sending 30 public university lecturers to train under 10 chief executive officers for six months to a year, to show the educators the impact of disruptive technology in the working world, reports The Star/Asia News Network.


University entry change unlikely despite concerns

University entrance requirements are unlikely to change despite a review that found widespread concern over first-year students' literacy and numeracy abilities, writes Adele Redmond for Stuff.


Insourcing of workers at universities – Uneven progress

Only one university in the Western Cape has brought all workers onto its payroll, despite all four universities beginning debates on insourcing, one of the rallying cries during the Fees Must Fall protests, in 2015, writes Ashleigh Furlong for GroundUp.


Universities urged to develop rail infrastructure courses

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Gbenga Ashafa, has called on faculties of engineering in Nigerian universities to immediately commence the training of rail infrastructure engineers, reports This Day.


New university thesis topics reflect local contributions

After scrapping foreign authors from the syllabus, the University of Rajasthan's commerce department has suggested new topics for dissertations which include Vedas and management, Lord Krishna, Lord Mahavir, Mahatma Gandhi, the relevance of Gita and the management of stress through yoga, among others, writes Shoeb Khan for TNN.


Nobel Prize winner hopes to study at Oxford University

Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Prize winning activist who narrowly avoided death after being shot by the Taliban, has revealed that she intends to study at a British university, writes Niamh McIntyre for the Independent.

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