NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
Geopolitics are hitting Chinese student flows in Asia
Yojana Sharma and Mimi Leung
There was relief in Taiwan last week as mainland Chinese are once again enrolling in Taiwan’s universities after China curbed student exchanges across the Taiwan Strait due to tense relations between the two sides, but overall the number of Chinese students has halved since last year. At the same time, South Korea is seeing a major dip in enrolment of Chinese students.
Government steps up funding for elite universities
The Russian government is stepping up its funding of the 5-100 programme aimed at getting five universities into the global top 100 in international rankings, conceding that it has faced significant challenges due to underfunding and budget cuts.
Academics targeted after student activists are jailed
In the wake of the internationally-condemned jailing of former student leaders of Hong Kong’s 2014 student movement, including an elected legislator Nathan Law, academics who were active in the movement have become the latest target.
Minister dismisses critics of university funding cuts
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham has dismissed vice-chancellors’ opposition to his proposed budget cuts for higher education, saying that universities can find efficiency savings to allow for the shortfall. But universities say STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – will suffer most.
Universities must fight ‘unfair’ claims of elitism
Universities are facing a crisis of public confidence born of being “unfairly categorised as elite, aloof and detached from individuals, communities and day to day challenges” and must fight back, according to Alistair Jarvis, the new chief executive of Universities UK.
Tunisia in new bid to attract Sub-Saharan students
A series of new measures to reverse the sharp decline in numbers of Sub-Saharan African students in Tunisia over the next three years has been unveiled.
Commission stops new enrolments in 19 universities
The Tanzania Commission for Universities will not withdraw its decision to bar 19 universities, including three international institutions, from admitting new students for the 2017-18 academic year starting this September, owing to concerns over quality.
Is interest in language courses in critical freefall?
Jan Petter Myklebust
Questions are being raised about the fate of Denmark’s national languages plan following the presentation of the government budget for 2018, which contains barely a trace of measures addressing the freefall of interest in language courses at universities.
Academics organise to fight fascists on campuses
Nell Gluckman, The Chronicle of Higher Education
In an effort to push back against far-right rallies, racism and Islamophobia on campus, some academics have formed a coalition of scholars called the Campus Anti-Fascist Network and its members – academics, university staff and students – are growing.
New student loan scheme – A 'half-baked' plan?
A student union representative has described Zimbabwe’s new student loan scheme – supported by US$1 billion put together by the state and six local financial institutions – as a “half-baked cake”, catering only for those whose parents are formally employed.
Recognition of foreign credentials is a moral duty
Sjur Bergan and Stig Arne Skjerven
Recognition of qualifications is key to building inclusive societies. Twenty years after the Lisbon Recognition Convention there is now a stronger focus globally on how recognition can help applicants, including refugees, continue their academic journey and less on ‘protecting’ one’s own system.
A risky time for universities to internationalise
Current global politics pose a number of challenges for international education and accreditation. While accreditation abroad may previously have brought prestige and facilitated international linkages, this may boomerang in nationalist times.
When does ‘free speech’ become ‘offensive speech’?
Free expression, in the shape of critical enquiry, is a core value in the academy, but freedom of speech should not be unlimited, even on campus. Universities have to try to strike the right balance, which will be different in different places and times.
Driving positive change through university rankings
Global and domestic rankings can be harnessed to drive change in India’s higher education sector. Indeed, as domestic rankings evolve and mature, India may eventually be in a position to influence the parameters and indicators of the global rankings.
What 15 years of global ranking says about HE trends
It is 15 years since the Academic Ranking of World Universities or ShanghaiRanking published its top 500 ranking. Comparing the 2017 rankings with those in 2003 reflects significant geopolitical shifts in higher education. Who are the winners and losers?
A new body for USC, but not enough soul
William G Tierney
As the University of Southern California or USC launches its shiny new US$700 million campus, there are concerns about its leadership’s silence on pressing political issues, particularly Donald Trump’s initiatives, and an unfolding scandal involving a former dean.
The complex politics of teaching in English in HE
Hans de Wit
There is a tension between the demand for internationalisation and the need to preserve the quality of education in the local language, but a more nuanced approach to teaching in English would take into account the pros and cons for individual study programmes.
Economics curriculum reform – In search of relevance
A new question-motivated, relevant curriculum, which positions itself in part as a response to weaknesses in the mainstream teaching of economics – some of which were exposed by the global financial crisis of 2008 – is showing early indications of success, according to its creators.
University staff remain resolute over indefinite strike
A strike by public university staff over funding and salary issues is set to continue and campuses will remain closed after a second round of negotiations between the Nigerian government and the union broke down.