University World News Global Edition
22 October 2017 Issue 479 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


World-class universities should take the lead and work for the common good

   In Commentary, Lin Tian, Yan Wu and Niancai Liu say a shift to the global common good in higher education means world-class universities need to confront the challenges facing the world for the benefit of all. Pushkar and Madhvi Gupta write that academic inbreeding is common to most Indian universities even though it is widely accepted that it has a negative impact on institutional performance. Andrei Volkov says recent disagreements about the number of institutions that should be included in Russia’s Project 5-100 programme for elite universities have led to deeper discussions on how many world-class universities Russia should have.

   Also in Commentary, Athene Donald laments that British universities and researchers are having to live with chronic uncertainty on all fronts due to Brexit, but “on a good day” she’s hopeful the challenges can be met. Damtew Teferra urged African higher education stakeholders to strategically support follow-up action on priorities identified at the African Higher Education Summit and subsequent national summits, which aim to transform the African higher education sector. And Adriana Perez-Encinas says universities need to be aware of international students’ views and concerns, and implement strategies to fulfil their expectations.

   In our World Blog this week, Hans de Wit suggests how small, developing countries such as Curaçao might best go about developing a long-term international higher education strategy.

   In Features, Susan Murray and Sioux Cumming elaborate on a new framework which aims to assess and improve online journals in Africa, Asia and Latin America, while Stephen Coan reports on concerns that funding cuts for ‘rated researchers’ in South Africa, recently announced by the National Research Foundation, could have a negative impact on the national system.

   University World News invites all universities and higher education organisations who wish to raise their profile internationally and connect with a key audience of academics, university leaders, administrators and policy-makers to join its new partnership programme.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Senate rejects government’s university spending cuts

Geoff Maslen

The Australian Senate on Thursday rejected federal government plans to slash AU$2.8 billion (US$2.2 billion) from its grants to universities in a decision that knocks a gaping hole in its annual budget. Minor parties in the Senate joined with the Labor opposition to refuse to pass any of the clauses in the government bill and called for an entire review of the higher education sector.


Technology universities dominate regional ranking

Yojana Sharma

Asia’s universities of technology are dominating regional Asian rankings, propelled by determined efforts by a number of governments in the region to put universities at the forefront of innovation-driven future economic growth.


Three new leaders in four regional university rankings

There were three new leaders in the QS annual regional university rankings released last week, covering 1,000 universities in Asia, Latin America, the Arab region, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Two of the rankings have new entrants in the top three.


Threat to cull elite Project 5-100 universities blocked

Brendan O’Malley and Eugene Vorotnikov

Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets has ruled out any imminent adoption of a proposal by the Minister of Education and Science to remove funding from 15 out of 21 institutions in the Project 5-100 elite universities programme to concentrate on six institutions.


Authorities tighten rules for foreign student admissions

Christabel Ligami

Concerned by criminal and terror networks, Kenyan authorities are tightening up regulations relating to the entry of foreign students – all of whom will from January 2018 require police clearance before being considered for admission into a Kenyan higher education institution.


Study identifies key challenges for foreign students

Brendan O’Malley

Nearly half of international students who return to their home country after graduation cite visa-related and work-related issues as the primary reason for returning, according to a new report on the career prospects and outcomes of international students.


Students hit by tax hike on higher education services

Shuriah Niazi

India’s new Goods and Services Tax being rolled out throughout the country in a far-reaching tax reform will mean applying to foreign universities will become more expensive, but the main effect will be on students at local universities who will have to pay more for accommodation and other essential campus services.


Universities face fines for not protecting free speech

Brendan O’Malley

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson has called on the new higher education regulator, the Office for Students, to champion free speech – and has warned universities they face fines, suspension or deregistration if they do not protect free speech.


Universities generate £100 billion, one million jobs

UK universities generate a knock-on impact of nearly £100 billion (US$131 billion) for the UK economy and support close to a million jobs throughout the United Kingdom – yet receive less than a third of their funding from public sources, according to new figures from Universities UK.


Centres of excellence to bridge university-industry gap

Rodrigue Rwirahira

Universities from Southern and Eastern Africa are looking to partnerships between 'African Centres of Excellence' and the private sector to help promote relevant and quality education.


Closure raises doubts over university clinic treatment

Jan Petter Myklebust

The University of Oslo has closed down the outpatient clinic in psychology at its institute of psychology, where patients were treated by psychology students under supervision of their professors, a system that has been functioning well for more than 40 years.


Applied sciences university agreement nears finalisation

Maina Waruru

The much-awaited bilateral agreement between Kenya and Germany, paving the way for the establishment of the planned Eastern African-German University of Applied Sciences, could be signed in the next month, signalling the possibility of setting up the institution before the end of 2018.



A shift to the global common good in higher education

Lin Tian, Yan Wu and Niancai Liu

World-class universities need to be repositioned as a global common good, which confront the challenges facing the world for the benefit of all people – rather than being defined by whether higher education is delivered through a private or state university.


The menace of academic inbreeding is ubiquitous

Pushkar and Madhvi Gupta, The Wire

Academic inbreeding, which is common in India, accentuates existing biases in university hiring policies and means that it is not always the best staff who get posts. Universities seeking to become ‘Institutions of Eminence’ or India’s best should avoid hiring their own.


How many excellent universities does Russia need?

Andrei Volkov

A row over the number of institutions in Russia’s Project 5-100 programme for elite universities has opened up deep questions about how many world-class universities Russia should have, how that can be achieved, and what broader progress can be made for higher education on the way.


Chronic uncertainty prevails for UK and EU researchers

Athene Donald

Those who believe that post-Brexit problems for researchers will be resolved if only the United Kingdom government can find some funding to plug the gap in science research budgets – if excluded from the European programme – ignore the prestige that accompanies European research projects.


Taking HE forward – The importance of dialogue

Damtew Teferra

The African Higher Education Summit, which encouraged the revitalisation of the higher education sector started in 2000 through the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, and the subsequent national summits are a means to an end – and not an end in themselves – to sustain the momentum and further consolidate the gains made so far in the African higher education sector.


What international students say they need: quality

Adriana Perez-Encinas

The international student experience is gaining in importance for higher education educators. Universities need to find out what kind of support their international students want. Too often they are unaware of what their main concerns and perceptions are.



The challenges of international HE in a small country

Hans de Wit

There is no straight model for international education for small, developing island countries such as Curaçao. A long-term international higher education strategy, building on their innate strengths and needs and investments in quality is the way forward.



Join our new partnership programme for universities

University World News has launched a partnership programme to enable higher education institutions to extend their reach among our high-quality audience of academics, researchers, university leaders, higher education administrators, experts, key stakeholders and policy-makers.



Why universities must innovate in global engagement

What does global engagement mean for universities in today’s shifting higher education landscape and what innovative approaches are they taking towards internationalisation? These questions will be debated in an international webinar hosted by StudyPortals. University World News is the media partner for the event.



New framework aims to assess and improve online journals

Susan Murray and Sioux Cumming

A new, robust assessment framework which enables a detailed assessment of journals’ transparency, peer review and quality control processes, and a wide range of other benchmarks will reassure researchers and support journals in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


Research funding cuts – A shift in priorities?

Stephen Coan

The recent announcement by the National Research Foundation of cuts to its funding for rated researchers has raised concerns about the value being placed on research and support for top researchers in South Africa.


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Government funds aim to boost quality of 20 universities

Lamenting that no Indian university figures among the top 500 globally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said recently the government intends to unshackle these institutions and provide Rs10,000 crore (US$1.5 billion) to 20 universities to ensure that they are counted among the best in the world, reports PTI.


Limits on research chair terms aim to promote diversity

Many universities across Canada are introducing term limits for their Canada Research Chairs to get new academics into the jobs as the prestigious programme struggles to meet diversity targets set by a court settlement, writes Chris Hannay for The Globe and Mail.


Efforts to save leading university hit hurdle

The threatened Central European University in Budapest has been dealt a blow in its efforts to avert possible closure in Hungary. The country’s parliament voted on 17 October to postpone for a year a decision that would allow the university to keep operating there, writes Alison Abbott for Nature.


International students to face English language tests

International students will be tested on their grasp of the English language under a scheme to be introduced in 2018. Education Minister Simon Birmingham recently told an education conference in Hobart the government will introduce new English language standards for students from next year, reports Sky News.


Federal judge blocks third Trump travel ban

A federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order last week blocking the implementation of a new iteration of the Trump administration’s travel ban. The ban intended to block all would-be travellers from North Korea and Syria, in addition to prohibiting all immigrant travel and imposing various restrictions on certain types of non-immigrant travel for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Venezuela and Yemen, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.


Grant system may not offer a solution to poor students

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development lists three countries that have both ‘high tuitions’ and ‘loan-only scholarship systems’ for university study: Chile, South Korea and Japan. Starting in fiscal 2018, however, the Japanese government will do something about it, by launching a grant-type scholarship system for deserving higher education hopefuls, write Phil Brasor and Masako Tsubuku for The Japan Times.


African Leadership University opens second campus

On 29 September the African Leadership University opened the doors to its second campus on the continent of Africa, part of a long-term goal of educating three million young Africans on 25 campuses by 2060, writes Gaidi Faraj for Atlanta Black Star.


Company targets US universities in hunt for AI talent

Wind Information, China’s Bloomberg-like financial data services provider, plans to kick off a recruitment drive in the United States, as more tech firms step up the search for artificial intelligence or AI talent, writes Sarah Dai for South China Morning Post.


Chat groups in local universities help reduce food waste

Organised systems have sprouted up in universities in Singapore, namely Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University, to help mobilise armies of hungry students to clear up leftovers at buffets on campus, writes Fabian Koh for The Straits Times.


State to support technical universities, polytechnics

The government has pledged to give strong support to technical universities and polytechnics – to raise the quality of their training, to drive the nation’s industrialisation, reports Ghana News Agency.


Report card shows drop in university education quality

More Israelis are getting college degrees – nearly half of men and some 60% of women – but the quality of their education is decreasing, which will have significant implications in the future. That is the conclusion reached by a new study, Report Card on Israel’s Higher Education System, conducted by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research, writes Linda Gradstein for The Media Line.


Academic calls for government support for universities

A university professor has said the government should provide long-term support for Taiwanese universities in order to boost the competitiveness of the country's higher education institutions, write Phoenix Hsu and Kuan-lin Liu for Focus Taiwan.


Lecturers struggle to make ends meet, and do research

The country’s Ministry of Education and Training requires university lecturers to spend at least one third of their working time on research but they are struggling to fit in both teaching and research, reports Viet Nam News.


BBC-universities partnership to unlock potential of data

BBC Research and Development has announced a five-year research partnership with eight United Kingdom universities to unlock the potential of data in the media, reports the BBC.


Protesters drown out white nationalist’s university speech

White nationalist Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida last Thursday was disrupted by dozens of protesters with raised fists who booed and chanted, "Go home, Spencer" and “We don’t want your Nazi hate”. The event was the latest example of a public university grappling with debates over free speech when it comes to visits from controversial far-right speakers and ensuing protests, writes Katie Reilly for Time.

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