University World News Global Edition
15 October 2017 Issue 478 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


On its 10th anniversary, University World News hailed for its contribution to HE

   The first issue of University World News was published on 14 October 2007, which means that this 478th issue marks our 10th anniversary. In a Special Report to celebrate this auspicious occasion, former and current editors Geoff Maslen, Karen MacGregor and Brendan O’Malley look back at the past decade and forward to the next, while our distinguished contributors and readers explain why University World News is regarded as a must-read for all stakeholders in higher education.

   In Commentary, Futao Huang says the US general education model for undergraduate studies, which seeks to produce students with all-round skills, has emerged with surprising prevalence and gained high status in both mainland China and Hong Kong. Michael Gaebel says recent survey results on learning and teaching at Europe’s universities support the purpose of the European University Association’s learning and teaching forum, held recently in Paris, with the next forum scheduled for 2019. Rajesh Tandon encourages universities to deliberate on the roles higher education can play in realising the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And Nader Habibi suggests Turkey would be better off investing more in the quality of higher education rather than massively increasing the number of students in higher education, considering the inadequate supply of graduate-level jobs.

   In World Blog this week, Patrick Blessinger and Barbara Cozza consider the purpose of internationalisation of higher education and how global university partnerships are helping universities to increase their international engagement.

   In Features, a presentation by leading higher education expert Simon Marginson explains why the overall outcome of some of the best known international university rankings – particularly if they are multi-indicator rankings using weighting – should be viewed with scepticism, while Gilbert Nganga describes how politics and protest action in Kenya have caused major disruptions to the academic calendar.

   In News, Yojana Sharma reports on a debate among European and Asian university leaders meeting in Singapore about how universities can prepare graduates for a future that is unknowable.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


President cracks down on, shuts Anglophone universities

Tunde Fatunde

The two main public universities in Anglophone Cameroon have been shut down by the country’s president. The indefinite closures – after months of partial closures – come amid allegations of unprecedented military force being used to suppress unrest by staff and students who are demanding greater independence for their English-speaking regions.


World-class universities project changes strategy

Eugene Vorotnikov

The state programme to develop five top-100 ranked world-class universities will cut the number of institutions it focuses on from 21 to six in the last two years of the project in a desperate bid to improve its success rate.


Accommodation crisis forces students to sleep in tents

Michael Gardner

Many first-year students are having to sleep in cars, tents or party halls due to continuing accommodation shortages, and the German National Association for Student Affairs is calling for more affordable accommodation and more funding to maintain cheap rent levels in its own new student hostels.


International students key to US lead in innovation

Brendan O’Malley

Many graduate level programmes in science and engineering fields would be unavailable for American students without international students. Maintaining welcoming policies – including a STEM training visa extension reportedly under threat from President Donald Trump – is essential, a new study says.


How do you prepare students for an unknowable future?

Yojana Sharma

The worldwide debate about the impact of disruptive technologies on jobs and the need to prepare future-ready graduates for a future that is not even clear, was a major topic for university leaders from Europe and Asia meeting in Singapore last week.


France leads top 25 in science and technology ranking

In U-Multirank’s new universities of science and technology ranking, the top 25 institutions come from 12 countries, with French institutions taking six top spots, compared to five from the United States. But only one had an ‘A’ score on all research indicators and knowledge transfer indicators: the Georgia Institute of Technology.


QAA tells universities how to fight contract cheating

Brendan O’Malley

The independent quality body for higher education in the United Kingdom, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education or QAA, has issued new guidance on how to combat ‘contract cheating’ at universities, where students pay a company or individual to produce work that they then pass off as their own.


Report stresses need for relevant university curricula

Christabel Ligami

Relevance to a modern economy, up-to-date curricula and effective teaching styles are crucial if developing countries are to see their investments in higher education generate positive returns, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18.


Plan to benchmark university-business collaborations

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson has announced plans to benchmark the performance of university-business collaborations and knowledge exchange and called on universities to secure higher returns from research conducted by institutions across the United Kingdom.


Top university calls time on ‘third-class’ degrees

Yojana Sharma

Singapore’s top-ranked Nanyang Technological University has become the second university in Singapore to ditch British-style honours degree classifications to eliminate ‘third-class’ degrees and “better reflect” their students’ capabilities, the university said. All undergraduate degrees will be given United States-style classifications.


Student hug prompts call for return of campus police

Ashraf Khaled

An Egyptian government-run university has requested the reinstatement of police guards on its campus more than six years after a court order paved the way for their removal from the country’s various campuses.



Universities look to the US general education model

Futao Huang

Despite huge differences in undergraduate studies between mainland China and Hong Kong, both systems appear to have incorporated the United States model of general education as they seek to develop rounded students with the skills for a global knowledge economy.


Why Europe needs an HE learning and teaching forum

Michael Gaebel

Developments in learning and teaching have received far less attention than research excellence and innovation within universities and in public discussions. Although national initiatives are increasing, Europe needs a forum where universities can come together to discuss what works best.


Preparing global citizens means engaging with the SDGs

Rajesh Tandon

Students can begin to think more as global citizens if they engage with the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs during their studies. Universities need to embed them into the curriculum and encourage students to share information about what they are, and how best to achieve them.


Focus on the quality of HE, not quantity of students

Nader Habibi

Turkey has massively increased the number of students in higher education, but many graduates are not getting jobs or are taking posts that don’t require a degree. It would be better to invest more in the quality of higher education rather than the quantity of graduates.



The case for internationalisation of higher education

Patrick Blessinger and Barbara Cozza

Internationalisation is about more than student mobility and study abroad. Its main purpose should be to enhance the quality of research, teaching and service, and consequently, to improve learning outcomes and the well-being of society.



10 years of University World News, a global window on HE

Geoff Maslen, Karen MacGregor and Brendan O’Malley

Ten years ago, a group of journalists from around the world set up an online publication dedicated to promoting news, comment and debate about global higher education. Today we look back at what has been achieved in those 10 years and thank our 56,000 Global and 30,000 Africa edition subscribers for their continuing support.


‘Essential reading for all in global higher education’

‘In a league of its own’, ‘highly trusted and respected’, ‘of unique value to educators, administrators and policy-makers’, ‘enriching’ – distinguished readers tell us what they think about University World News’ distinctive contribution to global higher education, on our 10th anniversary.



Overall outcomes of university rankings are ‘junk’

The overall outcome of some of the best known international university rankings is “junk”, especially if they are multi-indicator rankings using weighting, according to a leading higher education expert, Simon Marginson. In addition, most rankings are influenced by an agenda.


Politics and protest – Universities in the crossfire

Gilbert Nganga

Instead of attending to their studies, over the past three weeks Mark Kamau and his two third-year classmates at the University of Nairobi have been hawking boiled eggs every evening, targeting the droves of factory workers trekking home. Student unrest has forced their university to close and they are trying to keep busy. On a good day, they make US$6.


Future of Norwegian study centres abroad uncertain

Jan Petter Myklebust

The fate of Norwegian study centres across Europe looked to be hanging in the balance earlier this year, but innovations, including offering many options and tailoring courses to teacher training, are helping to change the outlook for some.


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Universities join forces to attract foreign students

Five Finnish institutions of higher education, together with education export company Edunation, are aiming to bring 150,000 new foreign students into their programmes by the year 2020, reports


Houthi militia terminate dozens of Sanaa academics’ jobs

Houthi militias are rapidly recruiting new staff and officials at Sanaa University and appointing academic leaders loyal to it, while terminating the positions of dozens of academics, employees and assistants as part of its plan to take full control over the educational institutions in Yemen, writes Islam Saif for Al Arabiya.


Top-rated scientists face drastic funding cuts in 2018

The National Research Foundation will slash funding for some of the top scientists in the country as it restructures one of its key funding programmes for ‘rated’ researchers, writes Tamar Kahn for BDLive.


University tracks rise in student visa denials

California State University, Long Beach said there’s been a sharp increase in the number of international students denied student visas by United States officials abroad. University officials tallied about a dozen visa denials for students entering this semester, three times more than last year, writes Adolfo Guzman-Lopez for Southern California Public Radio.


Iranian universities make inroads into Iraq

After much delay, the first stone of Al-Mustafa Al-Amin University, funded and run by Iran’s Islamic Azad University, was laid on 14 August in Iraq. The university is a clear victory for Islamic Azad and Iran’s soft power ambitions in the region, writes Zep Kalb for Al-Monitor.


Government to curb private university entrance fees

A government study of private universities' entrance fees shows the institutions are collecting too much. The education ministry conducted the study on 80 private four-year universities, as part of efforts to have the universities cut their entrance fees to alleviate the financial burden on students and their families, writes Kim Bo-eun for The Korea Times.


Students strike out as new campus dress codes imposed

Students on Egypt’s public university campuses have struck out against new regulations on dress codes that prohibit a range of fashion choices, from ripped jeans, baggy or tight fitting pants, “revealing” clothes that “evoke the desires of male students” and galabeyas, to certain hairstyles that some administrators have called “disgusting” and judge to be at the root of sexual harassment, writes Mai Shams El-Din for Mada Masr.


University students warned of possible nuclear attack

University of Hawaii administrators have warned all students to be ready for a nuclear attack from North Korea, sending out a campus-wide email last week explaining what to do if Kim Jong Un launches an attack, writes Julia Glum for Newsweek.


Islamic scholars clamour for more universities

Islamic scholars have called for the establishment of more universities to cater for the learning needs of Muslim students globally. The call was made in a communiqué issued at the end of a four-day International Conference on Islamic Universities in Osogbo, reports Vanguard.


Gunmen kill two university staff en route to campus

Two staff members were killed and several students were wounded in Kenya when gunmen fired on vehicles carrying students to the Technical University of Mombasa campus in coastal Kwale county last Tuesday, a police official and a witness said. The identity of the gunmen was unclear, reports AFP.


Downtown universities help fuel urban ecosystem – Study

For years, proponents of increased downtown development and innovation districts have spoken of the important interplay between universities, start-ups and local jobs. Cities such as Pittsburgh, which has seen its stock rise as a centre for technology and innovation, found that local universities such as Carnegie Mellon served as catalysts for commercial and creative growth, writes Patrick Sisson for Curbed.


Major cities losing scientific publication dominance

Research suggests that the world's major cities, including New York, London and Tokyo, are losing their predominant position in the production and circulation of scientific articles, according to the results of a study published in the October issue of the journal Scientometrics, reports


Spin-outs still suffer from lack of funding

United Kingdom universities punch above their weight as hubs for innovation. Yet some complain that despite policy-makers’ commitment to supporting research projects on their journey to commercial viability, funding is still a problem, writes Janina Conboye for the Financial Times.


Calls for university vigilance over foreign influence

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has reminded Australian universities to be vigilant about their academic integrity and independence. His comments follow increasing concerns about China's influence within the nation's higher education sector, writes Stephanie Borys for ABC News.


Medical, law graduates open restaurant to top up incomes

A group of 16 doctors and lawyers who graduated from two of China’s leading universities – Tsinghua and Peking – have opened a restaurant in Beijing to supplement their incomes, and are offering discounts to customers who have had academic articles published in Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index or Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index in the past five years, writes Catherine Wong for South China Morning Post.

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