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20 August 2017 Issue 470 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Study shows how to widen participation in outward student mobility equitably

   In Features, Nic Mitchell reports on a new study in the United Kingdom which shows that many students from under-represented groups are put off study abroad by the length of such trips, and suggests shorter study trips as a way to close the gap in participation rates between more and less affluent students.

   Also in Features, Wagdy Sawahel looks at student dropout rates in South Africa and debates around how to tackle the issue, after a survey found that 50% of students felt they were not prepared for the transition from secondary to tertiary education, while Richard Freeland enters the debate about the nature of the modern academic presidency following Drew Faust’s decision to step down as president of Harvard in the US.

   In Commentary, Fay Patel adds to the decolonisation discourse, suggesting that moving on from colonial suffering requires a decolonisation of the mind before attempting to decolonise shared living and learning spaces. Futao Huang and Tsukasa Daizen highlight research in Japan which shows that political events in the US and UK have exerted very little influence on the appetite for internationalisation in Japanese universities. Elli Yiannakaris challenges universities to find a way to ‘teach’ entrepreneurship to the youth that positively transforms the individuals involved. And David Santandreu Calonge, Patrik T Hultberg and Eugene Lee discuss the phenomenon of the ‘pig mum’ in South Korea, arising from excessive competition for access to the best universities and the best jobs, and suggest open dialogue to find solutions to these educational issues.

   In World Blog, Nita Temmerman says adjusting to life and study in another country can be daunting for international students, and a positive student-supervisor relationship can make all the difference.

   In our Academic Freedom section, Suluck Lamubol reports that five academics who participated in an international conference on Thai studies have been charged with violating the military junta’s ban on political gatherings in Thailand, a move condemned by Human Rights Watch and others.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Asian countries increase share of top 500 universities

Brendan O'Malley

United States universities continue to dominate in the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities released last week by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, with Harvard University remaining top for the 15th year running. But the number of top 500 universities from Asian countries is increasing.


China pressures respected journal to censor articles

Yojana Sharma

A major academic publisher in the United Kingdom has caved in to China’s official censors and has blocked online access from that country to more than 300 articles in a leading academic journal – The China Quarterly – amid a Chinese government crackdown on 'Western' views.


University leaders fear rise of hate events on campus

Mary Beth Marklein

Following the white supremacist demonstrations that imploded last weekend with the death of a counter-protester in a Virginia college town, university leaders across the United States are consulting legal experts on what they can do to prevent similar outbursts on their campuses.


March for Science highlights parlous state of research

Ranjit Devraj

Thousands of students, scientists and supporters gathered in 30 Indian cities to support the country’s ‘March for Science’ earlier this month. It was an impressive turnout. They were joined by many government scientists despite receiving emails forbidding them from taking part.


University regulators curtail Kenyan expansion spree

Gilbert Nganga

Universities are facing a tough regulatory regime that has crippled expansion strategies that have seen Kenya’s universities spread their wings across most areas of the country and into neighbouring countries such as Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda.


Plan to broaden access to HE raises funding questions

Jan Petter Myklebust

A proposal by the Minister for Higher Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson to broaden access to universities, sent out for consultation last month, has sparked a row over whether it can be achieved without providing more funding for teaching.


Universities raise their investment in fundraising

Universities in Australia and New Zealand are stepping up investment in fundraising and alumni engagement amid growing institutional awareness of the “powerful impact” of philanthropy, and sharp rises in the size of the largest gifts, according to a new report on charitable giving to universities.


Commonwealth consortium to offer youth work degree

Christabel Ligami

An initiative aimed at improving access to certified courses in youth work has been launched by Commonwealth countries which will support 16 universities from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Europe to offer a low-cost, internationally recognised Commonwealth bachelor degree in youth development work.


Academics’ union banned over strike on unpaid salaries

Tunde Fatunde

As it embarks on an indefinite nationwide strike over what it claims are unfulfilled government promises, the Academic Staff Union of Universities is reeling from a ban imposed on its local branch based at Kogi State University.


MPs want to scrap HE funding and study-time reforms

Jan Petter Myklebust

The major political parties apart from the Social Democrats want to scrap the unpopular recent reform speeding up students’ time to graduation – even though it is working – and end the linking of funding of university subject study places to employment outcomes.



Decolonise minds before living and learning spaces

Fay Patel

To truly move on from our colonial suffering we must not seek to obliterate our painful histories by destroying all vestiges of the past, but preserve them as symbols of what we have overcome and what we need to avoid in the future.


How do university leaders view internationalisation?

Futao Huang and Tsukasa Daizen

Research in Japan shows that university leaders highly value internationalisation. Recent political events in the United States and United Kingdom have had very little impact on this view, and universities have not slowed their pace of internationalisation.


Universities must move from teaching to transforming

Elli Yiannakaris

Universities need a different style of teaching with a more person- and community-centred approach to give their students the entrepreneurial skills they will need in today’s world. Learning approaches that include incubation, mentorship, personal development, leadership training and funding are critical.


The ‘pig mum’ and the problem of excessive competition

David Santandreu Calonge, Patrik T Hultberg and Eugene Lee

Mothers in South Korea are organising complex social networks to ensure their children get access to the best universities and the best jobs. It is a symptom of an education system in need of a fundamental overhaul.



Supervising international research students

Nita Temmerman

Communication and understanding are key in the international student-supervisor relationship, which is fundamental to the student’s ability to adjust to a new environment – and there is a lot of adjusting for students to do.



International academic conference participants charged

Suluck Lamubol

A professor who organised an international conference on Thai studies and four Thai academics and participants attending the conference have been charged with violating the military junta’s ban on political gatherings of more than five people.



Shorter periods abroad could widen student mobility

Nic Mitchell

Shorter periods of studying or working abroad during degree programmes should be offered by universities to close the gap in mobility participation rates between affluent students and their less well-off peers in the United Kingdom. That’s a key recommendation of a new report from Universities UK International.


Taking a closer look at student attrition and migration

Wagdy Sawahel

A recent survey which found that more than 50% of South African students felt they were not prepared for the transition from secondary school to tertiary education has highlighted ongoing debates around the causes of South Africa’s student attrition rates and how best to tackle them.


Do university presidents still matter?

Richard Freeland

Since Drew Faust decided to step down as president at Harvard, a debate has opened up about the nature of the academic presidency, and how it is changing. Should university leaders be strategic planners, stakeholder conflict managers, fundraisers or political advocates – and do they make a difference?


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University aims to educate 50,000 refugees by 2022

Inspired by the success of a Southern New Hampshire University programme that allows hundreds of refugees in Rwanda to access its courses, a group of anonymous donors approached its president with a challenge: What would it take to educate 50,000 refugees each year? Now they are funding a US$10 million study to answer their own question, writes Michael Casey for Associated Press.


Government puts foreign universities plan on hold

The government is putting its plan to allow foreign universities to operate in India on the back burner after pursuing it for the last several years and will instead focus on its world-class university plan, writes Prashant K Nanda for Livemint.


Budget cuts fuel frustration among academics

Japan’s premier scientific research institution, RIKEN, celebrated turning 100 this year with a grand ceremony attended by the empress and emperor. But not everybody was in the mood to party. RIKEN used to be known as a paradise for scientists because of its generous funding. No longer: as Japan squeezes funding for universities and research institutes, the cracks are starting to show, reports Nature.


Bangladeshi students duped by fake universities

An investigation by journalists in Malaysia has found that thousands of Bangladeshi students were brought into the country by fraudulent private universities offering them higher education through agents, and are now working as undocumented workers instead, reports the Dhaka Tribune.


Universities under fire for donations from dictatorships

Universities should not accept donations from dictatorships, MPs have said, following a Telegraph investigation into donations made to British institutions by authoritarian regimes, write Camilla Turner and Harry Yorke for The Telegraph.


Scholars urge universities to promote moderate Islam

A conference of Islamic scholars from Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Malaysia last Monday explored the role of universities in strengthening moderate Islamic thought and urged Muslim communities to combat religious extremism and societal division by spreading knowledge about moderate Islam, writes Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata for Arab News.


Foreign student interest in universities drops – Report

International students are not applying to Indian universities, which have recorded a drop in the number of enrolments, a new report reveals – a result researchers say reflects the unfulfilled potential of the country’s education system, reports Study International.


Chinese enrolment at universities ‘growing steadily’

The influx of Chinese students at Israeli universities has been growing steadily in recent years. At the forefront of this enrolment boom is the University of Haifa, which currently boasts some 200 Chinese students among its student body, compared to 20 in 2013, representing a 1,000% increase, writes Sarah Levi for The Jerusalem Post.


Tokyo denied an increase in private university students

The education ministry has decided not to let enrolment rise at private universities based in Tokyo’s densely populated 23 wards, in principle, starting from next April, reports JIJI.


Concern over copyright plan’s impact on academic work

The Department of Science and Technology has raised concern over a provision in the Copyright Amendment Act that would vest copyright in the state where the state funds the person or organisation creating the work, writes Linda Ensor for Business Day Live.


University journalism schools need to adapt – Experts

Experts say journalism schools need to adapt and undergo fundamental shifts in how courses are taught in order to survive in the age of social media platforms and technology or they will face steadily declining enrolments, writes Dumrongkiat Mala for the Bangkok Post.


More graduates to join jobless queues

The rise in unemployment is expected to continue until 2018 with graduates most affected. This is according to Professor Carel van Aardt, a researcher at the Bureau of Market Research at Unisa, writes Siboniso Mngadi for the Sunday Tribune.


Apology issued for mistake in university test scores

The Student Selection and Placement Center apologised on 12 August for a calculation mistake in the placement scores of candidates entering Turkey’s national university entrance exam, which had led to the incorrect placement of over 1,000 people, writes Esra Ülkar for Hurriyet Daily News.


Rising tuition fees highlight flawed university finances

The rising cost of a university education in Jordan is shutting out low-income students and revealing long-term structural problems with the financing of higher education, writes Mohammad Fraij for Al-Fanar Media.


High price of international tuition payments revealed

Universities in the United Kingdom could collectively be paying up to £80 million (US$103 million) as a result of the credit card transaction fees associated with international tuition payments, according to statistics from global payment giant, Western Union, writes Natalie Marsh for The PIE News.


Free tuition – College entrance exam may be revived

With the free tuition policy signed into law, the government is now planning to re-implement the National College Entrance Examination to manage the influx of students in state-funded higher education institutions, writes Janvic Mateo for The Philippine Star.


Korean innovation chief forced out after four days

The new head of South Korea’s innovation office has resigned just four days after being appointed, after 288 professors at Seoul National University signed a statement demanding her resignation amid public outrage over her alleged role in a scientific fraud scandal, writes Liz Heron for Global Government Forum.


Universities criticised for overuse of English

The Language Council of Norway or Språkrådet says it is concerned about the amount of English used in courses at Norwegian universities and colleges, reports The

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