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4 June 2017 Issue 462 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


New universities alliance will help shift epicentre of global higher education to Asia

   In Commentary, Andrew Gunn and Michael Mintrom see the new Asian Universities Alliance as an innovative policy tool for advancing China’s soft power and geopolitical ambitions. Andrew Pilkington argues that to combat disadvantage faced by ethnic minorities in universities in the United Kingdom, institutions must identify processes with adverse outcomes and take positive action to promote racial equality.

   Eric Fredua-Kwarteng outlines the concept of an African developmental university, whose mission and role is determined by the needs of local society. A ‘pedagogy of connection’ is a critical necessity for the university to function effectively as a partner for development. Kajsa Hallberg Adu describes how a deep engagement with ethics at Ashesi University College in Ghana, founded by internationally respected leader Dr Patrick Awuah, is introducing new benchmarks for business and universities in the region, continent and world.

   In Q&A, Yojana Sharma interviews Kakha Shengelia, head of Georgia’s Caucasus University in Tbilisi, about his impending presidency of the International Association of University Presidents during a period of global uncertainty. And in World Blog, Patrick Blessinger argues that engaging more students in research activities as part of their educational experience will help to transform learning.

   In Features, Haroon Mirani reports on clashes between students and the Indian army that have paralysed campuses in Kashmir and injured hundreds of people. Geoff Maslen charts the rise of Chinese student mobility across the world – alongside growth in foreign students in China and proportions of Chinese study abroad students returning home.

Karen MacGregor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Push for jail terms over university admissions scandal

Aimee Chung

South Korea’s prestigious Ewha Womans University in Seoul – under the spotlight of investigations into a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of the country’s former president Park Geun-hye in March – faces renewed scrutiny. State prosecutors are seeking a seven-year jail term for Park’s close friend Choi Soon-sil for facilitating her daughter’s admission to the university and for having her high school academic grades altered.


Universities too heavily reliant on foreign students

Bob Birrell

Of the more than 520,000 international students enrolled in Australian universities, colleges and schools this year, nearly one in three are from China. Of these, more than 50,000 are enrolled in the nation’s universities. Foreign students now contribute more than AU$5 billion (US$3.7 billion) annually to university incomes which amounted to AU$28 billion in 2015.


China student quota to Taiwan universities halved

Mimi Leung

The number of students from mainland China who will be allowed to study in Taiwan this year has been slashed, with implications particularly for Taiwan’s private universities which offer the majority of places available to students from mainland China.


Higher education – An antidote to Boko Haram

Tunde Fatunde

In the wake of a series of suicide bomb attacks this year on the University of Maiduguri by Islamic extremist terror group Boko Haram, academics have called for the government to revamp education and vocational training in order to discourage the recruitment of young men and women as cannon fodder by the militant extremist group.


International educators confront a new political reality

Karin Fischer, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The biggest buzz at last year’s conference of NAFSA: Association of International Educators was about a survey of prospective international students that showed nearly two out of three would reconsider studying in the United States if Donald Trump became president. Conference goers thought the findings scary. They also thought such a thing could never happen.


University governance debate rages on

Jan Petter Myklebust

Structural reform of Norwegian higher education has led to heated debates regarding the governance and leadership of universities. Now an intervention in the debate by an influential law professor, Jan Fridthjof Bernt, is adding fuel to the fire as he recommends a total overhaul of the governance structure at universities.


Student grant levels too low, survey finds

Michael Gardner

The Deutsches Studentenwerk – German Student Welfare Service – has called for an increase in federal government grant support for students in response to the findings of a survey by the Berlin-based Institute for Education and Socio-Economic Research and Consulting.


Calls to boost universities’ PhD science training capacity

Gilbert Nakweya

Strengthening the capacity of East African universities to train PhD and post-doctoral academics in areas such as human nutritional sciences, agriculture, technology, engineering and mathematics is urgently needed to develop local scientific capacity and help the region to achieve its development goals.


First ‘Monument to an Anonymous Peer Reviewer’ unveiled

A Monument to an Anonymous Peer Reviewer – believed to be the world’s first – has been unveiled at top Russian institution the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Two Nobel Prize winners and researchers across the world supported a crowdfunding campaign that enabled a “useless piece of concrete” to be transformed into an artwork.



Leading universities in an uncertain world

Yojana Sharma

Kakha Shengelia, president of Caucasus University in Tbilisi, Georgia, takes over the three-year presidency of the International Association of University Presidents – often described as the global voice of higher education – at its 2017 conference in Vienna from 5-8 July. He spoke to University World News about what lies ahead for his presidency at a time of global political, economic and security uncertainty.



Greater curbs on academic freedom in 2017 – Report

Ashraf Khaled

Egyptian authorities have tightened restrictions on university lecturers and students this year as part of an ongoing state-led crackdown that started more than three years ago, a report by a rights group has shown.



Student vs army clashes paralyse Kashmir campuses

Haroon Mirani

It was a typical day in April at Government Degree College Pulwama in Kashmir. Students were in class or outside enjoying the sunshine when an Indian army vehicle drove into the college, provoking spontaneous protests. Stones rained down on the vehicle and students shouting ‘free Kashmir’ slogans forced it to pull out. The protests spread to universities and colleges across the Kashmir valley, with hundreds of students injured.


Number of mobile students out of, and into, China soars

Geoff Maslen

Of the five million international students studying higher education courses outside their own countries, one in four are from just one country: China. But now most Chinese studying abroad are returning home – the outbound-to-return ratio has risen to 82% over the past four years, compared to one in three returnees a decade earlier – and China is attracting hundreds of thousands of foreign students to its shores.


Don-turned-presidential hopeful vows to redeem HE

Reuben Kyama

A Kenyan professor aspiring to become president in the country’s upcoming general election says, if elected, he will give priority to higher education and redeem the image of the Kenyan system.



The changing shape of global higher education geopolitics

Andrew Gunn and Michael Mintrom

The recent launch of the Asian Universities Alliance shows the scale of China’s geopolitical ambitions and can be seen as an innovative policy tool for advancing soft power. The alliance joins a range of activities that are relocating the epicentre of global higher education to Asia.


Tackling institutional racism in universities effectively

Andrew Pilkington

The concept of institutional racism may be a politically useful rallying cry to encourage organisations to reconsider their practices and take positive action to promote racial equality. But its value as an analytical tool diminishes when its definition is too broad.


Universities – Learning from society for society

Eric Fredua-Kwarteng

The context of societies in developing countries must determine the mission and role of their universities. These cannot simply be borrowed or adopted from the Western world. They should be crafted on the basis of the needs and aspirations of the society where the university is located.


A rough but rewarding road to educating ethical leaders

Kajsa Hallberg Adu

At a private liberal arts college in Ghana’s eastern region, where engagement with ethics is embedded into the curriculum, a ‘new normal’ for the region’s businesses and universities is being forged.


Trump decision to leave Paris accord hurts US and world

Travis N Rieder, Anthony Janetos, Kevin Trenberth, Marina v N Whitman and Matthew Russell

President Donald Trump stunned the world on 1 June by announcing his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, a landmark global agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions and minimise harm from climate change. Academics and scientists analyse what the move means for the planet, US businesses and the world’s poor.


The British Council’s Going Global 2017 conference for leaders of international education was held in London recently. The theme was “Global cities: connecting talent, driving change”. In this second special report, University World News reports on some of the highlights.


Transnational education – A classification framework

Karen MacGregor

Nearly 100 policy-makers and higher education experts from 30 countries contributed to a new classification framework and data collection guidelines for transnational education – released at Going Global 2017 in London – that will help countries gather data to inform policies, regulations and enrolment planning.


‘Triple helix’ international partnerships not always easy

Yojana Sharma

With a raft of recent announcements of British university tie-ups with China, and a general eagerness by Chinese universities to link with Western institutions, it appears partnerships are easy to set up. But Chinese government support is not enough for successful ‘triple helix’ collaborations between foreign institutions and researchers and industry in China, the Going Global 2017 conference heard.



Transforming learning through student research

Patrick Blessinger

Inquiry is a natural human activity derived from a desire to make meaning and improve understanding of our world. An increase in higher education research – driven by expansion in student numbers and students engaging in varied research activities as part of their educational experience – will only help to transform learning.


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New York talks in Hungarian university stand-off

The president of a university in Budapest, which says it is under threat of forced closure, says talks on its future have begun between the Hungarian government and the state of New York, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.


Universities face court case over use of English

A lobby group that works to boost educational standards in the Netherlands is planning to take the government to court because too many college and university courses are being given in English, reports


Universities push for deeper ties post-Brexit

University leaders in Australia and the United Kingdom have taken first steps towards expanding higher education and research collaboration ahead of Brexit, holding high-level talks in London, writes Natalie Marsh for The PIE News.


IP Group pours millions into commercialising research

Listed United Kingdom technology investor IP Group will pour AU$200 million (US$148 million) into commercialising research at top universities in Australia and New Zealand in what universities say is a "massive vote of confidence" from global capital markets in local innovation, writes Tim Dodd for the Financial Review.


Study examines perceptions of pathway programmes

According to a new report, the main reason universities partner with outside companies to offer pathway programmes for international students is to increase recruitment and enrolment of international undergraduates, while their main reasons for not partnering are concerns about academic standards and loss of control over the admissions process, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.


Combined university research output less than Cambridge

All the central universities in India put together have a lesser research output than either of the world's top two ranking universities – Cambridge and Stanford – according to a study that paints a dismal picture of the state of scientific research in the country, reports the Press Trust of India.


Student group says Oxford curriculum update ‘not enough’

Student campaigners have said pro-diversity changes to Oxford University's history curriculum do not go far enough, calling on the “overwhelmingly white” institution to introduce further reforms, writes Josh Lowe for Newsweek.


Faculty protest gender-segregated programme expansion

Senior faculty heads at most Israeli universities sent a letter to the education minister protesting the expansion of gender-segregated academic programmes for ultra-Orthodox students, after the Council for Higher Education approved opening such classes at universities to encourage enrolment of Haredi students, writes Yarden Skop for Haaretz.


6,000 African students in local universities

The number of African students in Morocco is growing, from 1,040 African students in 1994 to 16,000 today, reports Morocco World News.


HE authority registers 55 private tertiary institutions

The Higher Education Authority in Zambia has registered 55 private higher education institutions countrywide in accordance with the provisions of the Higher Education Act Number 4 of 2013, writes Thandiwe Moyo for the Times of Zambia.


Education system is killing off entrepreneurship

For a country that has produced companies such as Bidvest, African Rainbow Minerals and Discovery, it’s hard to imagine entrepreneurship in South Africa is falling behind its African counterparts. Yet this seems to be the case, writes Mike Herrington for Business Live.


Racial disparities persist at universities – Survey

There are still deep racial disparities among young adults at universities in South Africa, the General Household Survey released last week shows, writes Alex Mitchley for News24.


Country reaps rewards of higher education investment

Over the past decade, the government of Ecuador has spent a total of US$13.9 billion on higher learning – 2% of the country's gross domestic product, reports TeleSUR.

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