NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
New Asian universities’ alliance to increase mobility
A new alliance of Asian universities has held its inaugural meeting in Beijing pledging to increase student and faculty mobility between Asian countries to counter the tendency of professors and students to look towards the West.
Universities alarmed by further cuts to government funding
The federal government has confirmed university fears that it plans further cuts to higher education spending along with sharp increases in student fees. Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham announced the cuts last Monday night after noting that university funding was at record levels and had grown "above and beyond the costs of their operations".
Inquiry heralds reform of HE governance and funding
Jan Petter Myklebust
The government has announced that Professor Pam Fredman, rector of the University of Gothenburg and president of the International Association of Universities, has been selected to lead a government investigation into university governance and financing and propose reforms.
Court challenge to drastic PhD programme cuts at JNU
The implementation of drastic cuts to MPhil and PhD programmes at India’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, or JNU, in New Delhi must now await a final decision by the Delhi High Court, which is hearing a writ petition filed by a group of students challenging the reductions.
Tuition fees and cuts hit internationalisation of HE
Jan Petter Myklebust
Finland is facing a sharp drop in applications by non-European Union and European Economic Area students and an outflow of scientists, according to media reports. The introduction of tuition fees for international students and cuts in university funding are being blamed.
University admission reform – Pushing private education?
Two civil society organisations have said they will jointly mount a legal challenge to recent changes to university admissions criteria that require all candidates to list at least one private university in their applications for admission.
Universities should be flexible on admitting refugees
National authorities and higher education institutions should take a flexible approach to the recognition of degrees, periods of study and prior learning of refugees, in line with the Lisbon Recognition Convention, according to a new study by the European Students’ Union.
New semester system forced on private universities
Bangladesh’s private universities are opposing a government move to reform the existing academic year ostensibly to streamline the curriculum and reduce tuition costs for students. In April Bangladesh’s University Grants Commission sent letters to private universities directing them to introduce a two-semester system by 2018.
Student protest over ‘sex for marks’ scandal
Protesting students at the public Abdelmalek Essaâdi University have called for an investigation into allegations against a professor of mathematics accused of promising female students high marks in exchange for sexual relations, in a case that has rocked the institution and reignited concerns about sexual harassment in Moroccan universities.
A stronger Theresa May but for what, especially in HE?
What will the United Kingdom general election mean for higher education? Although a skilled migration scheme might provide openings if – as seems likely – European Union free movement for academics ends, a reduction of 30%-40% in international student numbers remains on the table, and the future of research collaboration is unfathomable.
Higher education priorities after the French election
French higher education has been pulled in two opposing directions. A new administration needs to reduce government micromanagement and strengthen university autonomy, rethink the discrepancy in resources between grandes écoles and universities and build research and teaching excellence. But what can it expect from Marine Le Pen or Emmanuel Macron?
New ways to make the case for the public good of HE
Ellen Hazelkorn and Andrew Gibson
As the public asks questions about how universities serve society, it is time for the academy to make a case for how it works for the public good and change its one-way engagement with the wider population, inviting citizen participation in deliberative processes, or risk creeping government intervention.
Universities and students lose out in ‘reform’ package
Every higher education reform in Australia since the late 1980s has seen the system further eroded – making it less unified and egalitarian. The latest package of measures is no exception. Government policy is the main driver of change in Australia’s education system.
How to get more women into engineering at university
Eric Fredua-Kwarteng and Catherine Effah
African universities have low numbers of female students in their engineering departments. Some have attempted to address this through affirmative action to improve access, but they do not make a dent in the fundamental causes of gender disparity in engineering. The problem begins at a much earlier stage – with school curricula.
Students today, leaders of globalisation tomorrow
We need to prepare students for a future in which the world is becoming more Asia-focused but also, in the light of rising populist movements and disruptive factors such as the refugee crisis, we must teach them about the pros and cons of globalisation – and the intelligent management of it.
Strengthening democracy through open education
The open education movement – which seeks the reduction or elimination of barriers such as cost, distance and access – is part of the wider movement to democratise knowledge, and to democratise tertiary education in particular, and to treat lifelong learning as a human right.
Super-rich Africans – A source of university funding?
The latest Africa Wealth Report highlights the fact that Africa is home to a growing number of super-rich individuals who have the potential to make their mark as African philanthropists. But how close are we to an African equivalent of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focused on higher education, scientific research and innovation?
Which sections of the US public do not trust HE?
A timely new study on levels of confidence in higher education shows why universities need to engage in particular with Evangelicals, political conservatives and black people to counter harmful perceptions of universities and demonstrate their value.
Policy gaps fuel sexual harassment in tertiary education
The death of a female student … the loss of an ear during a fight with her boyfriend … These are some of the more horrific manifestations of sexual harassment at tertiary education institutions in Zimbabwe where sexual harassment ranks as one of the biggest challenges for women students – over and above unequal representation in decision-making processes, shortages of accommodation and exorbitant tuition fees.
Will the robot war on jobs change higher education?
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Andrew McAfee told a group of tech luminaries in January that the war between robots and humans, long anticipated by science-fiction novelists, has already begun in the American heartland. The war is for jobs, he explained, and the robots are winning. And to adapt to this, future higher education will have to change a great deal.