University World News Global Edition
28 May 2017 Issue 461 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Micro-campuses offer a new model to deliver quality transnational education

   In Commentary, Brent White describes the micro-campus concept developed by America’s University of Arizona, which offers a new model for providing affordable, cutting-edge higher education to the globe. Graeme Atherton says the pledge by the Labour Party to abolish tuition fees in English universities – although unlikely to come to pass as the Conservatives are likely to clinch the forthcoming election – has value in that it should stimulate discussion on alternative approaches to delivering higher education. And Catherine Montgomery says while the UK, Europe and the US are distracted by chaotic internal politics, China is quietly expanding its global reach through higher education, including opening a business school in the higher education heart of England.

   In our World Blog, Roger Chao Jr calls on the UNESCO Asia-Pacific member states to ratify the Tokyo Recognition Convention, which could help launch the Asia-Pacific region as the next powerhouse in international higher education.

   In a Special Report on the British Council’s Going Global 2017 conference, Brendan O'Malley writes that the 900 delegates from 80 countries left the opening session with a stark warning from the keynote speaker of the challenges facing universities and cities in the near future; while Nicola Jenvey reports that a key message emerging from a discussion on innovation districts was that universities and innovation hubs should take care not to widen the social divide; and Yojana Sharma reports on Hong Kong’s aim to act as a ‘super connector’ to China and the Asian region through deepening international collaborations that include universities.

   In Features this week, Karen MacGregor focuses on the scaling up of the Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship Program with the implementation of an initiative that will support 10,000 diaspora academics across the world over 10 years to partner with African universities.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report


STEM focus to drive ‘world-class’ universities scheme

Ranjit Devraj

India’s plan to develop 20 world-class universities will favour institutions strong in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM subjects, experts said last week as the human resource development ministry sent its proposals for the new Institutions of Eminence scheme to the cabinet for approval.


International student numbers up 15% on last year

Australia has bolstered its popularity as a world-class education destination with new data showing international student numbers jumped up by 15% in the first three months of this year compared to 2016.


Calls for release of students jailed over Boko Haram joke

Tunde Fatunde

Amnesty International has called for the release of three students sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment by a military tribunal in Cameroon after they shared a joke among each other about the recruitment criteria of Nigeria-based extremist Islamic group Boko Haram.


Minister allows foreign universities in special zones

Yojana Sharma

Thailand is poised to issue a new decree that will allow foreign universities to operate in its special economic zones under a plan approved last week by the cabinet and military junta. The decree will permit foreign universities to be set up with exemptions from the normal rules and will be irrevocable, enabling universities to make long-term plans.


Government to ease rules on foreign investment in HE

Yojana Sharma

A new government decree to ease the way for foreign investment in education in Vietnam, likely to be approved by the country’s leadership as early as June, will streamline procedures and reduce bureaucracy for setting up foreign branch campuses in the country.


Ministry to close 25% of its research laboratories

Laeed Zaghlami

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has announced the dissolution of 25% of the research laboratories in the country following a “thorough and complete” evaluation of the structure of the current national research system.


Professor, teacher arrested on day 75 of hunger strike

Brendan O'Malley

A professor and a school teacher, detained by police on the 75th day of their hunger strike in the capital, Ankara, have been arrested. Police were concerned that the strike – against being dismissed from their jobs via statutory decrees issued since the failed coup attempt – would become a 'death fast', sparking a wider protest movement.


Restrictions eased on postgraduate scholarships abroad

Maria Elena Hurtado

The approximately 2,000 beneficiaries of Becas Chile, the country’s largest provider of postgraduate scholarships for studying abroad, have mostly welcomed changes to the conditions attached to the scholarships, except for the failure to scrap the requirement to return to Chile after graduation.


Foreign PhD candidates in battle against bureaucracy

Jan Petter Myklebust

The Swedish Association of University Teachers and Researchers is now asking international doctoral candidates in Sweden to report if they have been treated unfairly by the Swedish Migration Agency in decisions to reject permanent residence, so that it can seek a ruling by the higher migration appeal court.


Disgruntled university staff strike over unpaid bonuses

Wagdy Sawahel

Libya’s higher education teaching staff – already fed up with what they believe is inadequate government funding for higher education and lack of security – began an indefinite strike on 23 May over the issue of overtime and bonus payments, effectively shutting higher education institutions throughout the country.


Yale postgraduates on hunger strike over labour terms

Raymond Hogler

Postgraduate students at the prestigious private university Yale are protesting in support of union demands for fair wages and benefits that faculty members – whose classes they teach – enjoy. But they are fighting a broader downward trend in unionisation that looks set to continue.



Are micro-campuses a new model for international HE?

Brent White

A new model of transnational education hopes to deliver good-quality international higher education locally in a sustainable way across the globe, using technology to enable ‘flipped classrooms’ to deliver international degree programmes to local students, together with partner universities and their faculty.


Pledge to abolish university tuition fees needs honing

Graeme Atherton

A manifesto commitment by the Labour Party to end tuition fees at English universities presents an alternative path to the status quo. But experience has shown cost is not the only factor defining participation. A more nuanced dialogue is needed on different ways of delivering higher education.


China’s higher education megaproject

Catherine Montgomery

While United Kingdom higher education struggles with Brexit, China is opening a business school in Oxford to cater to European as well as Chinese students, yet another example of how the country is quietly developing and expanding its global reach and influence through higher education.



Why Asian states need to ratify the UNESCO convention

Roger Chao Jr

The benefits of ratifying the UNESCO 2011 Asia-Pacific Recognition Convention are many and doing so could help the Asia-Pacific region become the next powerhouse in international higher education, yet only three UNESCO Asia-Pacific member states have ratified it so far. This must change.



African academic diaspora collaboration drive scales up

Karen MacGregor

Expanding the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to implement a ‘10/10’ initiative that supports 10,000 diaspora academics across the world over 10 years to partner with African universities is underway, says the project’s founder Dr Paul Zeleza. This month 35 universities in six African countries were selected to host 46 African-born academics working in North America, bringing to 282 the number of diaspora fellows awarded over four years.


How can universities respond to extremist activity?

Sarah Brown, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The killing of a black student by a white student who was discovered to be a far-right racist, has raised the question of how universities can fight extremism on their campuses, especially at this time when they feel emboldened by a change of political climate.


The British Council’s Going Global 2017 conference for leaders of international education was held in London last week. The theme was “Global cities: connecting talent, driving change”. In a two-part special report (the second part will be published next week), University World News covers some of the highlights.


Universities and cities – Key drivers of sustainability

Brendan O'Malley

The British Council welcomed 900 academics, university leaders, ministers and industry chiefs from 80 countries to its Going Global 2017 conference focusing on “Global cities: connecting talent, driving change”. But they left the opening session last Monday with a stark warning of the challenges facing universities and cities in the years ahead.


Innovation districts must leave no one behind locally

Nicola Jenvey

Globally, the digital economy has benefited some communities and individuals, while leaving others behind, to effectively widen the social divide and poverty lines. Universities and innovation hubs must take care to address local economic, social and cultural needs, delegates were told at Going Global 2017, the British Council's conference for leaders of international education, held in London.


How mayors see the relationship between town and gown

Nicola Jenvey

The roles of city fathers and universities have to intertwine to find solutions to globalisation and urbanisation issues, specifically that the knowledge generated in higher education becomes part of the social fabric and change in the environments in which it operates, delegates were told at the British Council's Going Global 2017 conference in London last week.


Universities set on building new bridges post-Brexit

Brendan O'Malley

A discussion at Going Global 2017, the British Council’s conference, on how Paris and London universities will cope in the aftermath of Brexit began in a fearful mood as delegates were told that there are 5,000 research collaborations between the United Kingdom and France currently being funded by European Union money under Horizon 2020, the EU research programme, at any one time – and they are all at risk.


Hong Kong universities a ‘super connector’ to China

Yojana Sharma

Hong Kong will act as a ‘super connector’ to the Chinese mainland and Asian region through deeper international collaborations that include universities, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Education Eddie Ng told the Going Global conference in London last week. Hong Kong is pursuing a city-to-city and city-region approach to linking universities to each other and to business and technology hubs developing in China.


Building bridges between the online and offline worlds

Wim de Villiers

The new generation experiences the world in a fundamentally different way. Deep listening, engaging with students, building trust and leading by example will help us deal with the rapid transformation that university culture is undergoing and bridge the divides thrown up by social media.


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California state to limit foreign university students

California state universities, one of the largest higher education networks in the United States, will limit the number of undergraduates they accept from outside the state, including foreign students, beginning later this year, writes Bruce Alpert for Voice of America.


University preparatory programmes may no longer be free

For the first time, students in Australia may have to pay up to AU$3,271 (US$2,430) for ‘enabling’ courses, designed to prepare students for university study. The change was announced as part of the government’s recent higher education reform package, write Anna Bennett, Andrew Harvey and Seamus Fagan for The Conversation.


75% of universities in danger of closing – Expert

An education expert has warned that three quarters of Thai universities are at risk of closing over the next decade due to low enrolment and increased competition from foreign rivals, writes Dumrongkiat Mala for Bangkok Post.


Surge in foreign students ‘is not just politics’

Enrolment of international students in Canadian universities will be sharply higher this autumn, universities say, and the incoming freshmen include large numbers of high school students from the United States. With the increase coming during the first year of a contentious US presidency, there’s plenty of talk about the trend being an obvious reaction to President Donald Trump, but it’s not that simple, writes Craig S Smith for The New York Times.


Higher education ‘in serious crisis’

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, in its latest report, has said that higher education in the country is in “serious crisis” and has discussed the issue of the devolution of the Higher Education Commission to the provinces after the 18th Amendment, writes Kashif Abbasi for Dawn.


Election pledges put research at heart of economy

As the election approaches, the two main parties have both promised to increase research and development from 1.7% to 3% of gross domestic product, although only the Labour Party has specified a timeframe. It’s the first time both major parties have committed to such a huge increase in funding in their manifestos and it would translate to billions more for science and technology, writes Maria Burke for Chemistry World.


Activists ridicule plan for Robert Mugabe University

Activists in Zimbabwe have ridiculed plans to build a Robert Mugabe University, adding that naming an educational institution after the veteran leader would be "palpably unfair and a monument of Zimbabwean injustice", reports News24.


Malaysian university autonomy is only ‘superficial’

Through a staggered approach, 17 of 20 public universities have received autonomous status. Yet, if one is to compare the autonomous status granted to Malaysian public universities by the government and the universal definition of autonomy, it is evident that the autonomy enjoyed by these universities is merely superficial, writes Dr Wan Chang Da for the Malay Mail Online.


Vocational training is better pathway to jobs – Report

A new report urges parents to seriously consider encouraging their school-leaving children to study a vocational course rather than a university degree because, in many cases, it is a pathway to better jobs, writes Tim Dodd for Financial Review.


University chief quits ahead of arrest order

The head of Puerto Rico's largest public university announced on 23 May that she had resigned just hours before she faced arrest for failing to reopen an institution that has been shut down by a student strike for nearly two months, writes Danica Coto for Associated Press.


University going all out to attract foreign students

Delhi University has announced that it will be conducting a special drive to enrol more foreign students, especially from African countries, apart from extending the deadline for online registration for foreign nationals, and setting up an email and helpline for their queries, reports The Hindu.


US rejects talks with Hungary over higher education law

According to the US State Department, the United States has no intention of negotiating with Hungary about its new higher education law, which could force a top university founded by US financier George Soros out of the country, reports Reuters.


Staff body threatens to close universities

An umbrella body of university staff associations has warned that they may call for a strike in universities across the country unless teachers are granted representation on key decision-making forums at the International Islamic University, Islamabad, reports The Express Tribune.


Debate over tuition fees heats up, boils over

The debate over tuition fees heated up, and briefly boiled over, following a recent seminar organised in Helsinki by the Finnish Economic Association, reports the Helsinki Times.


Trump budget would slash student aid and research

The Trump administration released a 2018 budget proposal last week that delivered on expectations for drastic cuts to student aid programmes and university-based research while substantially reshaping federal student loan programmes, writes Andrew Kreighbaum for Inside Higher Ed.

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