NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
UNESCO – Affordability is key to inclusive HE expansion
UNESCO has called on governments never to allow student loan repayments to rise above 15% of their monthly incomes and has recommended a package of measures to ensure that the current rapid expansion of higher education globally does not leave the disadvantaged behind.
Government listens to universities’ fears over visas
The government has agreed to address concerns raised by universities over proposed changes to 457 work visas, Universities Australia said on Thursday. The Group of Eight, comprising Australia’s eight leading research-intensive universities, voiced fears that the changes would put at risk Australia’s AU$21.8 billion (US$16 billion) international education industry.
University officials linked to lynching of student
Ameen Amjad Khan
Pakistan's apex court has started hearing of the case of the mob lynching of Mashal Khan, a student at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, after the crowd heard false accusations that he committed blasphemy. One student has alleged that university officials put pressure on him to testify that Mashal had committed blasphemy, which helped to stir up the mob.
Ministry backs down on greater control of universities
Jan Petter Myklebust
Minister of Higher Education and Science Søren Pind has dropped the ministry’s controversial proposal to select the heads of the governing boards of universities after an agreement in parliament with the Danish People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party. The proposal was strongly opposed by universities and professional organisations.
New bill seeks to turn universities into industrial hubs
Zimbabwe’s cabinet has approved a new Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Bill that will, among other impacts, turn universities into industrial hubs and criminalise the issuing or receiving of degrees from unaccredited institutions, according to the country’s higher education minister.
Refugee university student numbers rising steeply
Whereas overall numbers of refugees entering Germany have been on the decline since last year, five times more are enrolled on university courses than six months ago, says a survey by the German Rectors' Conference.
World Bank forum calls for private sector to build skills
The private sector should expand its support for skills-building in Africa, with both resources and technology, the World Bank said at its Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology forum in Nairobi.
EU students given pledge on loans and fee status
The government on Friday confirmed that European Union students will continue to remain eligible for undergraduate, masters, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support in the academic year 2018-19 and will pay the same fees as United Kingdom students throughout their course, including after the UK leaves the EU.
Employment status given to all doctoral candidates
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Swedish government has changed the university law to ensure every doctoral candidate is made an employee of the university with a salary. This should strengthen the position of foreign PhD students, who make up more than half of the country’s 19,000 doctoral candidates. But problems with resident status and visa regulations remain.
Europe-North Africa HE cooperation plan unveiled
In efforts to promote cooperation in science, technology, innovation and higher education, five countries of the Arab Maghreb Union and five European countries have approved a two-year cooperation plan aimed at stimulating economic growth, job creation and social cohesion in the Western Mediterranean region.
Visa change could hit recruitment of foreign students
Karin Fischer, The Chronicle of Higher Education
A new Trump administration executive order clamping down on the H-1B visa programme for highly skilled foreigners has the potential to roil American campuses and depress their recruitment of international students. For the latter, the opportunity to stay on and work in the United States, even temporarily, after graduation is a key attraction.
Row over politician meddling in university positions
Jan Petter Myklebust and Brendan O’Malley
A secretary of state has demanded that a PhD student give up his grant because of views he gave to a magazine questioning the value to society of people with Down’s Syndrome, but academics say it is unheard of for a politician to interfere in university recruitments.
Steps to counter radicalisation of students by IS
Mohd Mizan bin Mohammad Aslam
Young people are particular targets for Islamic State or IS recruitment drives and several university and college students have been arrested in Malaysia for links with the terrorist organisation. More can and needs to be done to dissuade students from being radicalised.
Why universities need to embrace all types of ‘other’
In response to the rise of right-wing populism, universities need to do more to democratise the societies in which they are situated by improving the opportunities and lives of social class ‘others’ both nationally and internationally, instead of relegating them to educational oblivion via policies, practices and belief systems in academe.
Can Vietnam buck the Trump effect on recruitment?
Latest figures for international students in the United States show significant decreases in students recruited from seven of the top 10 places of origin. The ‘Trump effect’ and the price of oil are among the forces at play. Vietnam is one of the few countries with rising enrolments. Will the trend continue?
Confronting racial inequality in the academy
Racial discrimination within United Kingdom universities remains problematic and continues to be a persistent barrier for Black and minority ethnic individuals attempting to progress in postgraduate study or in an academic career. University administrators must be held accountable for advancing diversity of staff and student populations.
How to avoid being on the wrong side of history
Grace Karram Stephenson
Charged with elitism and being out of touch, there are a number of things universities can do to address some of the issues thrown up by the political upheavals of the past year, including realigning research to tackle societal challenges, promoting independent thought and becoming more open institutions.
Time for Bologna to stand up for academic freedom
Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon
The attack on the Central European University marks a critical moment for the European Union. Silence implies weakness. It is time for Bologna to break with the convention of not making announcements between political meetings and seize the opportunity to defend academic freedom.
Racist attacks – Will African students shun India?
Following what are widely regarded as racist attacks on Nigerian students in India in March, there are concerns that the violence could contribute to making the country a less attractive destination for African students seeking higher education outside the continent.