NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
US and UK universities slip in new QS world rankings
United States universities take all top four positions, and five of the top 10, in the QS World University Rankings 2018, released last week, with the United Kingdom also taking four top 10 spots. However, both the US and UK are losing ground lower down the rankings, which, QS says, provides evidence that “both nations are at risk of becoming less international”.
Universities defy Trump and sign up to climate action
Hundreds of university leaders have signed up to a commitment to continue to help meet America’s carbon emissions reduction pledge under the Paris Agreement in defiance of President Donald Trump’s decision to cease implementation of the accord.
International students must study language and culture
International students enrolled in universities in China will have to attend compulsory courses in Chinese language and culture beginning from next month, according to new rules announced by China’s ministry of education in conjunction with the ministries of foreign affairs and public security.
One in three HE students say university is poor value
Nearly as many United Kingdom students (34%) now think they are receiving poor value as good value (35%) from their higher education. However, two-thirds (65%) of students in UK higher education say they have learnt ‘a lot’, according to the 2017 Student Academic Experience Survey.
Elite universities say budget is an ‘incoherent mess’
The Group of Eight, representing Australia’s eight leading universities, has described the government’s budget plans for higher education as “a contradictory, incoherent mess” and warned that they will mean students paying more for less and leave universities with less capacity to assist those who most need it.
Pan African space sciences institute forges ahead
Amid plans to open two new institutes and deliver seven more postgraduate programmes, an agreement regarding the establishment of a fifth Pan African University institute, focused on space sciences, is due to be signed later this month.
Grave concern over academic given 10 years in jail
Scholars at Risk along with the Committee of Concerned Scientists and three other human rights organisations have expressed grave concern over the case of Bahraini academic and activist Khalil Al-Halwachi, who they say has been tortured, wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Students eager to study in US but put off by high costs
The United States began a charm offensive in Algiers last month, hosting the first higher education exhibition in the Algerian capital in an attempt to woo what appeared to be very eager students to the United States, but the high cost of courses shocked some potential applicants.
High court eases restriction for foreign PhD students
Jan Petter Myklebust
A high court ruling will put an end to a bureaucratic catch-22 implemented by the Swedish Tax Agency that ultimately has made it more difficult for foreign PhD students to live and study in the country.
AAU celebrates 50 years as voice of higher education
African governments should never have to make a choice between basic and higher education and would not want to get into arguments with foreign agencies about priorities around education, according to Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the opening of the 50th anniversary conference of the Association of African Universities in Ghana last week.
Vice-chancellors fear ‘worst-case scenario’ on funding
A collapse in talks over universities’ new funding arrangements in advance of the summer recess and federal elections due in the autumn could force universities to freeze admissions and suspend teaching of some subjects, vice-chancellors have warned.
The continued rise of East Asia and the Pacific in HE
An analysis of QS’s latest rankings show a continuing decline for Western universities and a rise in numbers of universities from East Asia and the Pacific. This is before the latest political shocks in the United States and United Kingdom have trickled down to university level.
Complex barriers to refugees accessing university
Research on Syrian refugees shows an extremely high level of interest in higher education, but complex issues associated with accessing it. These included gendered issues such as women not being allowed to take places at university without being accompanied by a male.
Does ACRI belong in a publicly funded university?
China is fundamental to Australia’s tertiary education sector, but what are the opportunities and costs of the relationship and is the basing of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney, for example, a step too far?
Who are Tajikistan’s international students?
What are Tajik students’ motivations for studying abroad and what do they study and gain from their experience? A study shows the pull factors of study abroad outweigh the push factors. They want to improve their academic knowledge and their career prospects.
Why part-time conditions matter to full-time faculty
Grace Karram Stephenson
Full-time faculty are affected by the growth in precarious contracts for teaching staff. They face increasing demands as most part-time instructors do not have a seat on governing councils or departmental committees. It is in the interests of both parties to work together to improve working conditions.
No uniform university autonomy trends, scorecard finds
Four higher education systems have emerged as the very top of the latest European University Association autonomy scorecard. Finland scored 90% or higher across three of four autonomy dimensions, followed by England, Estonia and Luxembourg in two dimensions.
Skills shortages still blocking development – Report
Despite some progress in reducing education gaps, skills remain an important barrier for development on the continent, according to the Africa Competitiveness Report 2017. And while higher education participation in advanced economies is still growing significantly, in Africa it has only progressed from approximately 6.5% to 8.5% over the past 10 years.
Youngest medical graduate leads life-saving innovation
Jan Petter Myklebust
Three years after becoming the youngest person in Denmark to graduate with a medical degree, Habib Frost, now 26, is about to take his first significant step as an innovator.