University World News Global Edition
29 October 2017 Issue 480 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


World-class universities need to allow the less powerful to voice their concerns

   In Commentary, Paul Benneworth writes in response to an article carried in last week’s edition that world-class universities, if they are truly committed to the global common good, need to give the most excluded and powerless communities some way to voice their interests and concerns. Jane Knight discusses international joint universities as one form of transnational education or international programme and provider mobility, which is rapidly expanding in scope and scale. Robert Coelen and Jiang Bo ask if China’s education reforms, which seek to create an entrepreneurial, innovative socialist society, go far enough to rival the global competition.

   Also in Commentary, Glen Jacobs suggests it is time for a different approach at medical schools – one that values collaboration among students and faculty and provides ample academic support as opposed to the usual hyper-competitive culture. And Alex Baker-Shelley says the Green Office Model, a student-driven approach to sustainability, requires greater university support, and suggests looking to social and environmental entrepreneurs outside higher education.

   In World Blog this week, Grace Karram Stephenson writes that urban universities need to be real estate savvy in an era of rising property prices, and this could include considering real estate investments in countries to which they export programmes.

   In Features, Brendan O’Malley reports on a storm brewing over falling levels of access for black and socio-economically disadvantaged students to the UK’s top two universities.

   University World News is the media partner for a webinar hosted by StudyPortals this Wednesday 1 November entitled ‘The Innovation Imperative for a Globally Relevant and Impactful University’, for which you can register here.

   Last but not least, University World News invites all universities and higher education organisations who wish to raise their profile internationally and connect with a key audience of university leaders, academics, administrators and policy-makers to join its new partnership programme.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Smart city pours money into university-based research

Yojana Sharma

The sheer size of the research and innovation budget, as the government invests in becoming a knowledge economy and digital ‘smart city’, has made Singapore the world’s top research spending country per capita and has propelled its publicly-funded universities to the top of regional university league tables.


US leads China in latest global university rankings

United States universities have taken the top four spots in the US News and World Report’s 2018 Best Global Universities rankings, released on Tuesday. The US dominates with 221 spots out of the 1,250 institutions evaluated, followed by China with 136, Japan with 76, the United Kingdom with 73 and Germany with 58.


Letter from captive academic renews release efforts

Tunde Fatunde

A handwritten letter penned by a university lecturer captured with two colleagues by Boko Haram earlier this year, which was delivered to the University of Maiduguri, has spurred renewed efforts by the Nigerian authorities to secure their release.


European HE leaders call for urgent Brexit decisions

Leaders of 22 representative organisations of universities and national rectors' conferences from across Europe have signed a statement calling on governments across Europe to speed up Brexit negotiations so that talks can begin over the future of European research, collaboration and student mobility.


Foreign students not deterred by political tension

Yojana Sharma

Heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula over nuclear arms tests and military manoeuvres – and the war of words between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – have not so far affected the numbers of students going to South Korea to study at foreign branch campuses.


Vision for 2030 commits to investment in HE and R&D

Jan Petter Myklebust

The government has published its vision for higher education and research in 2030, which includes a target of at least 50% of young adults completing a tertiary degree and a commitment to raise spending on research and development to 4% of gross domestic product.


Universities take measures to curb sexual harassment

María Elena Hurtado

The central headquarters of Universidad de Chile, the country’s largest university, was taken over by students last Tuesday as part of a spate of demonstrations in the main universities against sexual harassment. This year three universities have introduced protocols addressing the problem.


Skills mismatch threatens economic growth – World Bank

Gilbert Nganga

The East African region risks missing its long-term economic growth targets due to a widening disconnect between labour market skills needs and the graduates of higher education institutions, a World Bank report has warned.


Call for national HE internationalisation strategy

Jan Petter Myklebust

Ninety per cent of Swedish higher education institutions believe a national higher education internationalisation strategy is needed, according to poll findings presented by the special investigator on internationalisation, Agneta Bladh, to the annual conference of the Association of Swedish Higher Education.


Public universities backslide on access, report says

Lee Gardner, The Chronicle of Higher Education

There’s been a lot of talk lately about higher education’s importance as an engine of equality – and how it sometimes serves as an engine of inequality, due to imbalances in access and success for students from lower-income backgrounds.


Government moves to improve development of HE quality

Jan Petter Myklebust

The government is set to expand the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education, its organisation for internationalisation and quality development in the education and vocational training sector, making it solely responsible for developing and managing incentives for quality in higher education.


New STEM programmes to drive industrialisation

Tonderayi Mukeredzi

Barely six months after its birth, a taskforce created to revamp higher education in Zimbabwe says it has instituted new university degree programmes that will drive industrialisation and modernisation of the economy through science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM.


Private universities petition president over closures

Rodrigue Rwirahira

University leaders from five mostly foreign universities have petitioned the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, over the basis on which the Rwandan Higher Education Council decided to close down their operations, which took effect on 20 October.



Iranian scholar sentenced to death on spying charge

Brendan O’Malley

A judge in Tehran has ordered the death penalty for a Stockholm-based Iranian academic convicted on charges of spying for Israel after being forced to sign a confession. He had been invited to Iran to teach classes in medical responses to disaster emergencies.



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.



‘World-class universities’ – The accountability gap

Paul Benneworth

'World-class universities’ will not help transform higher education for the public good unless they find ways to give the most excluded, powerless and problematic communities a serious say over the strategic and scientific choices they make.


The new faces of transnational higher education

Jane Knight

Transnational education or international programme and provider mobility is rapidly expanding in scope and scale. Joint universities are a recent development. More notice needs to be paid to how provision and providers are changing and the different forms they are taking.


Will China’s education reforms go far enough?

Robert Coelen and Jiang Bo

The Communist Party of China is seeking to create an entrepreneurial, innovative socialist society, but can its universities address China’s rural-urban divide and the growing impact of automation and equip its graduates with the knowledge, skills and values to rival the best in the world?


A prescription for improving medical school culture

Glen Jacobs

Medical schools around the world are taking a new approach that emphasises collaborative group learning because it teaches students how to communicate and cooperate with one another, skills that will prove vital when they become qualified doctors.


For sustainable solutions, look to the entrepreneurs

Alex Baker-Shelley

The Green Office Model is a student-driven approach to sustainability, but without significant sponsorship, advocacy and mentoring from the university, its impact will remain piecemeal. To drive innovation, universities need to look to social and environmental entrepreneurs outside higher education.



Urban universities must be real estate savvy

Grace Karram Stephenson

In an era of rising property prices and land shortages, why shouldn’t universities, just as they send programmes and students abroad, also be smart consumers and pursue real estate investments in the countries to which they export programmes?



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.



Oxford and Cambridge hit by ‘social apartheid’ claims

Brendan O’Malley

Oxford and Cambridge, the country’s top two universities, are in the eye of a storm over information obtained by a former education minister, David Lammy, of falling levels of access for black students and poor levels of access for socio-economically disadvantaged students.


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Scientists resign from Elsevier’s editorial boards

Eight German researchers have announced their resignation from the editorial and advisory boards of a handful of Elsevier’s journals since 12 October to show support for German research institutions as they attempt to establish a new, nationwide licensing agreement with the Dutch publishing giant, writes Diana Kwon for The Scientist.


University recruits non-US staff in wake of travel ban

The only Western-funded university in North Korea is scrambling to recruit teachers not from the United States after a US travel ban to the isolated country forced the university to start the September semester with only half of its faculty, writes Christine Kim for Reuters.


China spurs academic exodus – Academic

Taiwan’s top academics are leaving the nation due to low wages and a worsening research environment, National Taiwan University Interim President Kuo Tei-wei said recently, warning against a possible collapse of the nation’s higher education system, writes Lin Hsiao-yun for CNA.


New education policy to correct ‘colonial mindset’

A new education policy to “correct” the education system, which follows a “colonial” mindset, will be brought out in December, Union Minister Satya Pal Singh said last week, reports PTI.


Demand for Hawking's open access thesis crashes website

Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis has caused the University of Cambridge's website to crash after being made freely available to the general public for the first time, writes Rozina Sabur for The Telegraph.


Shanghai universities launch recruitment drive in US

According to local media reports, a dozen universities based in Shanghai have for the first time decided to launch a joint recruitment drive for professors in the United States, reports


Align degrees with development goals, universities urged

State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, has called on local universities to ensure that the degree programmes being offered are in keeping with the country's development goals, the government's economic priorities, and are on par with the very best international standards, reports the Jamaica Observer.


State universities, colleges to get upgrade

To support the implementation of free tuition in state colleges and universities, these institutions will have an across-the-board increase in capital outlay of PHP10 million (US$192,600) each in the proposed PHP3.7 trillion national budget for 2018, writes Paolo Romero for The Philippine Star.


Report highlights tensions between research and teaching

The obsession with research at universities is helping to create an oversupply of graduates in certain areas and potentially bad outcomes for students and taxpayers, writes Charis Chang for


Students were better off in 1980s, says statistics chief

The proportion of black students progressing at universities was higher in the 1980s than it was in 2017, according to Statistician-General Pali Lehohla, who released the financial statistics of higher education institutions for 2016 in Pretoria last week, writes Michelle Gumede for Business Day.


Opposition pledges free higher education for all

The opposition coalition known as Pakatan Harapan says that tertiary education will be free to everyone within 10 years if the Pakatan Harapan pact succeeds in taking control of Putrajaya in the next elections, reports Yiswaree Palansamy for the Malay Mail Online.


Cambridge University 'decolonisation' movement spreads

Students who campaigned for the English curriculum at Cambridge University to be ‘decolonised’ are now turning their attention to other subjects including history, philosophy and history of art, writes Camilla Turner for The Telegraph.


New research universities to receive government funding

With the approval of the law on science in Azerbaijan, the creation of research universities has been added to the legislation, and universities that are granted this status will receive financial support from the government, writes Konul Kamilgizi for APA.


Student satisfaction declines in key areas – Survey

Students are less satisfied with their courses, lecturers and academic programmes than previously, according to a survey published recently by Israel’s national student union, writes Sarah Levi for The Jerusalem Post.


President awards charter to Garissa University

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week granted a charter to Garissa University, making the higher institution of learning that was previously a constituent college of Moi University a fully-fledged university, reports KBC.

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