NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
New president to reduce tuition fees, jobs favouritism
South Korea’s newly elected president, Moon Jae-in, has made breaking down the near-monopoly of the country’s top universities on the best jobs a cornerstone of his campaign and has repeated a pledge made by different parties in past elections to bring down tuition fees – which are among the highest in the world.
Budget 2017 – Students pay more, universities have less
There were few surprises when the federal government handed down its annual budget on 9 May but there were also no cheers. Nationwide, universities and their students were appalled: The 2017 document announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison confirmed what the critics had called 'a double whammy’ that would hit universities and their students hard.
University calm after two foreign academics detained
Pyongyang University of Science and Technology has said it is not issuing any particular instructions for the protection of its foreign staff in North Korea in the wake of the recent detention by North Korean authorities of two American professors teaching there.
New employment outcomes criteria in university funding
Jan Petter Myklebust
Minister of Higher Education and Science Søren Pind has endorsed a ministry proposal to base 10% of budget allocation on higher education institutions’ graduate employment outcomes, as part of a reform of university funding, which is currently linked to the number of exams passed.
Labour party plans to abolish university tuition fees
The Labour Party, currently the main opposition party, will abolish university tuition fees “once and for all” if it wins power at the general election, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell announced on 10 May in Mansfield. It will also restore maintenance grants.
International student fee case goes to high court
Jan Petter Myklebust
Mälardalen University has appealed to the High Court to overturn the verdict reached in Svea Hovrätt, the Court of Appeal, which ruled that it must repay international student Connie Dickinson – now Connie Askenbäck – the tuition fees she paid for a course which was evaluated as being of 'poor quality'.
Students protest changes to judges’ examination criteria
The Tunisian government’s decision to overhaul the system of educating and examining law students wishing to become judges has sparked widespread student dissent. Students have been boycotting examinations and classes, while staging protests and demonstrations, although a partial retreat by the government has mollified some protestors.
Palestinian research set for open access before 2020
Palestinian universities have moved a step closer to raising the visibility of locally produced research following a meeting to evaluate a European Union-funded collaborative project that aims to collect, document and provide access to scientific research produced at universities in Palestine by 2020.
Call for pact to tackle student housing shortage
The German Student Welfare Service or Deutsches Studentenwerk, which represents Germany’s 58 student services organisations, has made an urgent appeal to federal and state governments to provide more housing for students as soaring rent levels have made affordable housing for students scarce.
Is Trump stifling science-based policy-making at EPA?
Paul Basken, The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Trump administration’s removal of several academic experts from a scientific advisory board at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has renewed concern about the government’s commitment to fact-based policy-making. Two new bills will also create hurdles for scientific input at the agency whose mission includes the US's leadership role in protecting the global environment.
University sacking exposes religious, political tensions
The administration of Egypt’s state-run Al-Azhar University in Cairo dismissed its president last week after he had accused a prominent Muslim researcher of apostasy in what appears to be a power tussle between the traditional university and a head of state determined to fight violent radicalism.
Top university wins national science parks design tender
Plans by the Kenyan government to establish science and technology parks across the country have moved a notch higher after the University of Nairobi was awarded a tender to design a 10-year master plan for the establishment of the parks as well as incubators.
A monstrous muddle of no-profit and for-profit HE
Liz Reisberg and Philip G Altbach
Purdue University, an institution among America’s most respected research universities, has announced it is buying the for-profit Kaplan University. This is a massive blunder. The move will cause confusion over whether Purdue is a research university, a for-profit or a not-for-profit providing open door, online courses for large numbers of students in the United States and overseas.
A new dawn for Asian higher education regionalisation?
Roger Chao Jr
The launch of the Asian Universities Alliance can be considered the most ambitious Asian higher education initiative to date and looks likely to be in the vanguard of ongoing attempts to promote regional higher education collaboration and will contribute to solving unique Asian challenges.
Universities have become isolated from their publics
One of the significant outcomes of the rankings discourse, whatever you think of them, is that they provide some form of accountability, but they also make higher education vulnerable to an agenda set by states. We urgently need to reclaim the role of higher education in civic engagement and become an intellectual force to bridge the gap between local, national and global.
What will President Macron mean for UK universities?
The election of President Emmanuel Macron in France should be of great interest to UK higher education and research in terms of its impact on Brexit discussions – where French competition to recruit researchers could play a role – but also in terms of the strategies it might adopt against extreme nationalism in the light of the French experience.
At the vanguard of an HE privatisation wave?
Marcelo Knobel and Robert Verhine
The private education sector is now the 10th-largest component of the Brazilian economy and a trend of mergers has left a handful of giant companies dominating – one merger is set to create the world’s largest higher education institution, potentially enrolling more than two million students. The model may be a harbinger of a worldwide trend.
New sources of cross-border HE are emerging
Hans de Wit
Increasing numbers of cross-border initiatives are being undertaken by institutions based in developing and emerging countries, particularly China, India and Russia, but also from Africa, Iran and a broad range of Asian countries. It’s a phenomenon that deserves more scrutiny.
Calls to drop charges against outspoken academic
Human rights group Amnesty International has called for all charges to be dropped against outspoken Ugandan academic Stella Nyanzi who was last Wednesday released on bail after spending four weeks in prison on charges related to Facebook criticism of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Graduate helps youth resist terrorism’s ‘allure’
A Ghanaian-born Coventry University graduate who launched a centre for counter-extremism in his home country is working to turn young people in West Africa, including university students, away from terrorism.