University World News Global Edition
21 January 2018 Issue 489 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


What can universities in the United States do to counter the rise of xenophobia?

   In Commentary, Andrés Castro Samayoa suggests that universities in the United States could make international students feel more included by building coalitions between all those whose identities are under scrutiny in these politically turbulent times. Christopher Ziguras examines why so few students have taken up the promise of global online learning and considers how the market might grow in future. V Santhakumar says it is crucial to improve the quality of schooling in India to ensure that more students are better prepared and motivated for higher education, which would in turn benefit the economy. And Rebecca Schendel hopes that the publication of a widely contested essay on colonialism will serve as a wake-up call to academics to ensure that peer review does not lose its credibility as a guarantor of publication trustworthiness.

   In World Blog this week, Hans de Wit says threatening developments indicate that defending academic freedom will be high on the agenda for higher education in 2018, but there are also some positive trends worth working towards this year.

   In Features, Yojana Sharma interviews Christopher Tremewan, secretary general of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, about how the association is stepping up its impact on policy to help tackle major global and regional challenges.

   In a Special Report on a London seminar on the future of transnational education, Nic Mitchell reports that international campuses are increasingly blurring the lines between international student recruitment and mobility and transnational education. Mitchell also reported on discussions around the potential for transnational education to broaden higher education access to the world’s poorest communities.

   This Wednesday a webinar looking at how higher education megatrends will shape the future of global higher education and international student mobility will be hosted by StudyPortals, with University World News as the media partner. You are invited to register.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Mass detention and dismissal of academics continues

Brendan O’Malley

A further 438 members of Turkey’s higher education community have faced criminal detentions, investigations and prosecutions since July. Some 698 have been dismissed or expelled from their institutions and subjected to travel restrictions. In total, more than 9,200 have now been targeted.


UK revelations revive stalled massive fake degree case

Ameen Amjad Khan

An all but stalled investigation in Pakistan into a massive fake degree scandal involving the Karachi-based IT firm Axact is expected to pick up again after thousands of United Kingdom citizens were alleged to have bought fake degrees from Axact and after the promise of a new investigation by UK authorities into the scam.


Students speak out on sexual harassment, despite censors

Yojana Sharma

The rapid growth of a movement against sexual harassment on university campuses has left the Chinese authorities grappling with how to be seen to act decisively while quelling the rise in online letters and petitions by feminist activists, seen as challenging the state.


Free higher education offered to low-income families

Suvendrini Kakuchi

Under a new government package, students from low-income families will for the first time be eligible for free education at national universities or reduced tuition costs at private universities, two-year colleges and vocational schools from 2020. The move was prompted by spiralling student loan defaults.


Student interns work for no pay – A new form of slavery?

Tonderayi Mukeredzi

The lack of regulation governing student internships, the completion of which is a mandatory component of diploma and degree studies, is leaving many desperate Zimbabwean students open to exploitation as many are working without any pay.


EU refuses to claim back student debt for Denmark

Jan Petter Myklebust

The European Union has rebuffed the Danish government’s request for the EU to help it claim back unpaid student debt owed by citizens in EU member states who studied in Denmark and left the country, the major Danish newspaper, Politiken, has reported.


Science academy appeals for more Africa-based funding

Maina Waruru

The African Academy of Sciences is appealing for contributions from African governments and the continent's private sector to help it to, among other future projects, establish regional scientific research hubs that will contribute to an increase in science output on the continent.


Investigator proposes more autonomy for universities

Jan Petter Myklebust

Sweden’s special investigator on higher education has presented a preliminary proposal for reforming the governance and funding of universities and university colleges to improve coordination of goals and monitoring of outcomes, and strengthen university autonomy.


Mixed responses to university registration fee proposal

Wagdy Sawahel

In a move perceived by some as the beginning of the end of free higher education, the Moroccan government is planning to introduce registration fees in public institutions for wealthy Moroccans and financial aid for those that cannot afford to pay. The responses have been mixed.



Building a sense of HE community in xenophobic times

Andrés Castro Samayoa

Universities should seek ways to make international students feel more included in the everyday life of their institution, not through specific policies for such students, but by building coalitions between all those targeted by the current regime.


Will global online higher education ever take off?

Christopher Ziguras

In the wake of the bubble and the MOOC revolution, why haven’t more students taken up the promise of global online learning? There are many reasons, from official recognition to expense, but the future looks brighter for continuing professional development.


Progress in higher education hampered by poor schools

V Santhakumar

Too many students are entering Indian higher education to land a non-graduate job or to boost their marriage prospects and are not adequately prepared or motivated to benefit from degree-level education. There needs to be better quality school education for all to address the problem.


Our mission is to speak truth to power under threat

Rebecca Schendel

The publication of Bruce Gilley’s essay, ‘The Case for Colonialism’, should serve as a wake-up call to academics to ensure that peer review does not lose its credibility as a guarantor of publication trustworthiness. Otherwise we will lose our authority as reputable voices in society.


Court ruling misses the mark on language rights

Rosemary Salomone

Could a recent court ruling on teaching in English – in a case brought by a historically Afrikaans university – reinforce inequities or could it give universities pause to consider strategies that promote racial integration while remaining true to the country’s multilingual character?


Hurdles to overcome on the road to internationalisation

Wondwosen Tamrat and Damtew Teferra

Ethiopian higher education has experienced strong growth in the past two decades and the country understands the benefits of internationalising universities. But there is an urgent need for clear policies and strategic direction, as well as systems and frameworks, to address existing deficiencies.



What changes will HE have to prepare for by 2030?

What are the megatrends shaping the world around us? What are the implications for higher education and international mobility? These questions will be discussed in an international webinar hosted by StudyPortals on 24 January, for which University World News is the media partner.



Are there signs of hope for higher education in 2018?

Hans de Wit

The trends towards nationalism and threats to academic freedom dominated in 2017, but against that there is evidence of universities responding with initiatives related to the Sustainable Development Goals, support for refugees and calls for a more inclusive and ethical higher education.



Pacific Rim universities work to step up policy impact

Yojana Sharma

Christopher Tremewan tells University World News how the Association of Pacific Rim Universities is mobilising its members to provide advice and research to help governments and international bodies tackle major global and regional challenges – particularly natural and man-made hazards, including climate change – and sustainability.


The Westminster Higher Education Forum held a conference in London last week on “The Future of Transnational Education – Opportunities, quality assurance and priorities for supporting growth”. University World News reports.


Divide between onshore and offshore campuses blurring

Nic Mitchell

The United Kingdom has 60% of its international students being taught offshore and universities are also encouraging home campus students to move around their global networks. In the United States, cross-border expansion may lie in offering double degrees and tapping smaller emerging markets with micro-campuses.


TNE could widen access to world’s poorest communities

Nic Mitchell

Government support for transnational education, or TNE, is set to grow as a form of aid from advanced countries because it can widen access to education in lower- and middle-income countries, a London conference on the future of TNE was told last week.


Some UK universities are shaking off the Brexit blues

Nic Mitchell

Universities in the United Kingdom are shaking off their Brexit blues and forging new partnerships with their counterparts around the world, including with higher education institutions inside the European Union, a London conference on the future of transnational education heard.



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Funding cuts to put 10,000 student places at risk

Ten thousand students will miss out on government funding for university this year, peak body Universities Australia says, as the sector looks to accommodate AU$2.2 billion (US$1.76 billion) in funding cuts by the Turnbull government, writes Eryk Bagshaw for The Sydney Morning Herald.


Universities reach agreement with Elsevier

After a months-long standoff, a consortium of hundreds of South Korean universities has reached a new deal with scientific publisher Elsevier for access to ScienceDirect, a database containing content from 3,500 academic journals and thousands of electronic books, writes Dennis Normile for Science.


Education ministry blasts universities as sub-par

Almost 200 university curricula have fallen short of the required standards, the Office of the Higher Education Commission in Thailand said last week, adding it would name them on its website shortly, reports the Bangkok Post.


Assistant professor title set to be scrapped

A series of radical changes to Turkey’s university system being brought by the Justice and Development Party to the Turkish parliament includes the scrapping of the assistant professor role, the abolition of the oral exam and the lowering of foreign language conditions required of academics seeking promotion to associate professor, and a greater role for universities in the hiring of staff, reports Ahval.


Universities jump into online courses

According to its ministry of education, China ranks first in the number of massive open online courses or MOOCs – with 3,200 launched by 460 higher education institutions, including 200 courses available on foreign MOOC platforms, reports China Daily.


Universities to help prepare for nuclear emergencies

An organisation to closely monitor the dispersion of radioactive materials is being set up by universities across Japan that possess radiation facilities, to prepare for possible accidents at nuclear power plants and terrorist attacks using nuclear materials, reports The Yomiuri Shimbun.


Private universities commended for research promotion

Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair last week said he appreciated the role played by private sector educational institutions in the promotion of research culture across Pakistan, writes Fawad Maqsood for Business Recorder.


Diplomat denies China bullies its students in Australia

China’s second-highest ranking diplomat used a dinner gathering with Australian Labor MPs in Canberra last year to strongly deny claims the Communist Party of China is trying to control foreign students studying in Australia, writes Andrew Greene for ABC Radio Australia.


15% of universities allowed to offer online degrees

For the first time, India will allow nearly 15% of universities to offer online degrees, allowing students and executives to learn anywhere, anytime, writes Prashant K Nanda for Livemint.


University of Bath vice-chancellor voted out in pay row

A body which scrutinises the University of Bath has voted for the immediate departure of its vice-chancellor, Professor Glynis Breakwell, who is the highest-paid in the United Kingdom, reports the BBC.


University body creates sexual harassment watchdog post

For the first time, the Council for Higher Education in Israel appointed someone to be responsible for preventing sexual harassment, council representatives told the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, writes Lahav Harkov for The Jerusalem Post.


Plans for free higher education on track – Minister

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said last week that Treasury was making good headway in finding a way to fund free higher education and would announce the plan during the Budget next month, write Yolandi Groenewald and Alex Mitchley for Fin24.


Universities should attract more foreign students

Education experts say that more universities in Vietnam should open programmes to foreign students as demand for study-abroad courses has increased, reports Viet Nam News.


Government to set up joint universities admission board

Ghana’s ministry of education is set to establish a joint admission board to allow prospective students to tender just one application to different tertiary institutions, reports GhanaWeb.


Terror-accused professor returns to Canada

Canadian university professor Hassan Diab is back home in Ottawa after a nine-year ordeal that included three years in a French prison on unsubstantiated terrorism charges. It was alleged he took part in a 1980 bombing in Paris but he could prove he was sitting exams in Beirut at the time, writes Evan Dyer for CBC News.


25% funding rise for universities and research centres

The government of Luxembourg announced it would spend €1.44 billion (US$1.77 billion) on research and higher education between 2018 and 2021. Spending on research and higher education thus grew by €284 million, corresponding to an increase of 25% over the period from 2014 to 2017, reports Delano.


Government orders review of university system

The federal government has named a former executive secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Peter Okebukola, and former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, among members of a committee appointed to review the university system in Nigeria, writes Leke Baiyewu for Punch.


Investor pledges US$75 million to philosophy department

Famed value investor Bill Miller has pledged to donate US$75 million to the Johns Hopkins University Department of Philosophy in what is being touted as the largest ever gift to a university philosophy programme, writes David Carrig for USA Today.


Hong Kong university condemns independence calls again

Chinese University of Hong Kong has reiterated its opposition to Hong Kong independence after a student society for discussing the city’s breakaway from China began recruiting recently, writes Peace Chiu for South China Morning Post.


Metro mayors urge rethink on international students

A cross-party group of mayors has joined the growing clamour for the government to rethink its policies on international students following a sharp slowdown in the number coming to the United Kingdom, writes Anna Gordon for Financial Times.


Universities to scramble for eligible students

Panic has hit universities as the scramble for 70,000 students who scored the minimum entry grade of C+ starts this month, writes Augustine Oduor for the Standard Digital.

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