University World News Global Edition
18 March 2018 Issue 497 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Project to recognise the qualifications of refugees in Europe will be expanded

   In Commentary this week, Sjur Bergan and Stig Arne Skjerven say the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees project is being expanded to involve more countries and partners and could be of use across the world in future. Ayenachew A Woldegiyorgis explains why it is imperative for Ethiopia to reconsider its higher education priorities and develop at least one research university. And Simon Marginson recommends a better approach than the current higher education policy in England which sees students paying too much and the public too little, resulting in higher education being viewed as an elitist private good.

   Also in Commentary, Huey-Jen Jenny Su argues against reducing international talent mobility to prevent brain drain and suggests governments rather focus on creating an attractive research environment. And Serhiy Kvit says university autonomy in Ukraine is central to a new Roadmap to Higher Education Reform developed in response to an OECD report on the state of Ukraine’s education system.

   In an Obituary, Martin Rees from the University of Cambridge pays tribute to his colleague, the famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking who died last week, for triumphing in science while fighting the debilitating restrictions of degenerative disease from the age of 22.

   In our World Blog, Grace Karram Stephenson asks if academic freedom is a platform to share any controversial ideas that come to light or whether professors should cushion their opinions to make class a safer place for diverse students.

   In Features, Suvendrini Kakuchi reports that Japan, though still a leading research nation, is to boost research funding for digital era technologies as it struggles to maintain its global scientific research competitiveness. Pål Magnus Lykkja and Jan Petter Myklebust report on fears that the European Commission’s attempts to establish an open access platform for science will be undermined by the influence of commercial science publishers.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Taipei issues warning to academics lured to China

Mimi Leung and Yojana Sharma

Taiwanese academics tempted by the Chinese mainland’s talent grab were warned last week that they will be subject to sanctions if they receive salaries or benefits from – or are involved with – institutions administered by the Communist Party of China, Chinese government or military organisations on the mainland.


China says postgrad student visa delays are ‘political’

Yojana Sharma

China has criticised Australia for what it perceives as ‘politically motivated’ visa delays for postgraduate students hoping to take up doctoral studies at Australian universities. Although Chinese nationals are not the only nationality to face such delays, the complaints come at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries over Australia’s espionage and foreign interference bill.


Teaching excellence ratings by subject announced

Brendan O’Malley

In what it claims is a global first, the government is extending its new system of rating teaching excellence and exposing poor quality teaching in universities to enable potential students to compare the ratings by subject, in addition to by the university as a whole.


International students turn away from US, UK to Canada

Brendan O'Malley

International students are increasingly rejecting the United States and United Kingdom in favour of alternative English-speaking destinations, to the point where Canada is preferred over the UK in the Asia-Pacific and Africa and the Middle East, new research shows.


No more ‘lipstick solutions’, say students

Tonderayi Mukeredzi

Higher and tertiary education students have warned the government that they will shut down campuses if authorities continue to ignore the plight of students and infrastructural challenges afflicting institutions of higher learning.


Experts’ committee unveils higher education reform plans

Jan Petter Myklebust

The Committee of Experts for Better University Education has published a hefty report on modernising Danish higher education, along with 37 recommendations, including for more flexible routes to masters degrees, improved teaching quality and better development of competences for the labour market.


Migrant intake ‘oversupplying graduates in key fields’

Geoff Maslen

At a time of record university enrolment, Australia’s migrant selection system is delivering large numbers of professionals in fields that are currently oversupplied, including accounting, engineering and many of the health professional fields, according to a new study.


MP proposes extra marks for students to encourage voting

Ashraf Khaled

An Egyptian lawmaker has proposed giving extra marks to students in order to encourage them to vote in the country’s upcoming elections. The proposal by MP Dina Abdel Aziz was floated ahead of this month’s presidential election in Egypt amid expectations of a low voter turnout.


University official quits to keep gun firm board seat

Emma Kerr, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The president of St Thomas University gave its chief financial officer an ultimatum last Tuesday: Cut ties with a gun manufacturer or resign. Could it be the start of a trend of universities divesting from gun-connected firms and individuals?


Calls for apolitical campuses follow student elections

Wagdy Sawahel

Calls for university student unions not to drag institutions into political disputes have followed the official announcement of the victory of the Islamist-leaning student union against its leftist rival union in the recent student elections, amid a challenge by the losing union which claims the elections were marred by violence and irregularities.


Accreditation body head calls for tougher powers

Francis Kokutse

Executive Secretary of the National Accreditation Board Kwame Dattey has called for the board to be given “unfettered powers” to close down institutions, private or public, that do not conform to regulations, in the ongoing crusade to maintain standards in Ghana's higher education sector.


Successful refugee student measures to be continued

Michael Gardner

A package of measures to accommodate refugees with the ability to study that was launched by the German government in late 2015 and that supports 10,000 students a year is to be continued. The measures are being implemented by the German Academic Exchange Service.



European partners to recognise refugees’ qualifications

Sjur Bergan and Stig Arne Skjerven

The European Qualifications Passport for Refugees aims to help refugees who have no documentation to prove their qualifications – surmounting a key barrier to accessing higher education. After a successful pilot, it is now expanding and could be of use across the world in future.


The case for an Ethiopian research university

Ayenachew A Woldegiyorgis

Ethiopia needs a research university to drive development and innovation, to stem its brain drain and to build international partnerships, but it requires investment and a change in political priorities from expanding to strengthening existing institutions.


Higher education should be funded as a public good

Simon Marginson

English higher education suffers from students paying too much and the public paying too little, with the consequence that higher education is viewed as a private good and a passport to the elite. A better approach would be to treat higher education as a common benefit provided to everyone.


A healthy circulation of talent mobility boosts quality

Huey-Jen Jenny Su

Despite concerns about brain drain, governments should not seek to reduce international talent mobility. Instead they should see it as an opportunity to do more to build a more attractive research infrastructure, stimulate innovation and catalyse a return flow of human capital.


A roadmap to higher education reform via autonomy

Serhiy Kvit

University autonomy lies at the centre of a new Roadmap to Higher Education Reform developed by 20 national experts in response to an OECD report on the state of Ukraine’s education system and is crucial to increasing the quality and competitiveness of universities.



Stephen Hawking – The laid-back genius with a sharp wit

Martin Rees

The astonishing achievement of my colleague, Stephen Hawking, was not only his brilliant insight into the very beginnings of our universe but the fact that he continued to provide it with wit and aplomb for more than 50 years after being diagnosed with a degenerative disease.



Are campus free speech and inclusion incompatible?

Grace Karram Stephenson

Canada is still simmering with heated debates about free speech on campus and representation of diverse views. They raise questions about who should have a voice, who should be protected and what values need to be upheld to ensure the university fulfils its purpose.


University World News covers the International Higher Education Forum 2018 organised by Universities UK International and held in Nottingham, United Kingdom, last week. The theme was ‘Thriving in a Shifting Global Environment’.


Internationalisation not on life support says top ranker

Nic Mitchell

Talk of the era of growth of internationalisation in higher education being over was dismissed and the latest internationalisation ranking results were unveiled at a United Kingdom conference where Swiss, Canadian and Japanese experts explained their national approaches.


Trust individual researchers to beat the Brexit blues

Nic Mitchell

Individual researchers will overcome the obstacles and continue to collaborate with European scientists and colleagues if the United Kingdom is forced out of the European Union’s framework programme for research and innovation because of Brexit, a Universities UK International conference was told last week.


Europe gaining on UK for study abroad students

Nic Mitchell

The United Kingdom is slowly losing its competitive edge in attracting international students – and not just to native English-speaking countries like Canada and Australia but to European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands that are running more programmes taught wholly in English.



Campus free speech – Challenges for rights and values

At this year’s fourth annual Worldviews Lecture on Media and Higher Education, Professor Sigal Ben-Porath, author of Free Speech on Campus, will address the increasingly heightened debate around free speech at universities and the challenge to minority rights and democratic values. The lecture is supported by University World News.



Japan struggling to keep ahead in digital era research

Suvendrini Kakuchi

Japan is to boost research funding for artificial intelligence and automation technologies this year as it struggles to maintain its global scientific research competitiveness. Though still a leading research nation, experts say bold reform measures and fresh policies are needed if Japan is to keep pace as China has emerged as a strong presence in Asia in recent years.


Open science in the EU – Will the astroturfers take over?

Pål Magnus Lykkja and Jan Petter Myklebust

The call for bids to run the European Commission’s open access platform are due any day now but researchers are asking if the publishing business once again will end up controlling scientific communication with profit as the primary goal, and not the science itself.


‘Future leaders’ fellowship gives PhDs a reason to stay

Nineteen academics from nine African countries have been selected for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship programme aimed at providing newly graduated African doctoral students with the means to put their research and ideas into practice on home soil and raise the profile of African research.



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.


University World News has a popular Facebook group. If you are not a member, do consider joining to see our regular updates, post on our wall and communicate with us and other University World News fans. You can also follow University World News on Twitter @uniworldnews



New law gives state control over public universities

Despite continued protests by opposition parties, the Sindh government passed a law on 9 March to transfer control of public universities and degree-awarding institutions from the governor to the chief minister, writes Hafeez Tunio for The Express Tribune.


Soros-funded university plans Vienna campus

The Central European University, which has been involved in a spat with the Hungarian government, said last week that it was in negotiations to open a campus in Vienna, writes Maxime Schlee for Politico.


Cash crunch – Universities struggle to stay afloat

During a meeting with the Senate Education Committee it emerged that with the decline in the number of self-sponsored students and the introduction since last year of funding of universities based on courses offered, most of the public higher education institutions are struggling to remain afloat, writes Ouma Wanzala for Daily Nation.


Military medical university reform puts focus on combat

Chinese military professors said military medical universities are being encouraged and helped to shift from their previous focus of making profits to putting more emphasis on their important battlefield-oriented duties under sweeping reforms, writes Deng Xiaoci for Global Times.


University strikes continue as staff reject pension offer

Strikes at universities in the United Kingdom are to continue after staff overwhelmingly rejected a revised offer on their pensions, writes Sally Weale for The Guardian.


Universities get green light for salaries over €335,000

Universities have received government approval to recruit top academics on salaries of up to €337,000 a year. Under public sector pay rules, salaries for public sector employees in general are capped and individuals may not earn more than €190,000 (US$234,000) per annum. However, universities may seek approval to pay staff in excess of this on a case-by-case basis, write Carl O’Brien and Peter McGuire for The Irish Times.


42% of graduates do not expect to pay back their loan

Almost half of recent graduates believe they will never be able to pay back their student loan, as experts warn that they would be better off without university, writes Camilla Turner for The Telegraph.


Google to recruit talent for ambitious AI project

The world’s most valuable tech giant Google is joining Microsoft and Amazon Web Services to tap into Taiwan’s talent pool to pursue promising developments of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, writes Sophia Yang for Taiwan News.


How universities can arm us for the gun debate

The 1996 Dickey Amendment outlawed the use of federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds “to advocate or promote gun control”, after which CDC funding for all research pertaining to gun violence effectively disappeared. Reversing this amendment would be among the most powerful acts that Americans could take to foster effective legislative and administrative change, writes Andrew Hamilton for The Washington Post.


University revokes niqab ban after criticism

An Indonesian university whose ban on niqab face veils made global headlines has reversed the policy following criticism that it trampled on personal choice, reports AFP.


Law seeks to boost innovation by lowering research costs

The Egyptian parliament has approved a draft law to reduce the costs of research and promote innovation. The bill, passed on 5 March, exempts higher education and scientific research bodies from taxes and customs fees, including the 14% value-added tax on imported equipment and tools, writes Menna A Farouk for Al-Monitor.


Universities told to set up student counselling centres

Higher education institutions and universities across the nation have been asked to set up student counselling centres on campuses immediately to improve the safety of students, reports the Express News Service.


Universities vulnerable to immigration crackdown

Scottish universities are vulnerable to a crackdown on immigration because of their increasing reliance on fees paid by international students, according to Universities Scotland, which represents principals, writes Andrew Denholm for The Herald.


No move to hike central universities' fees – Ministry

The Human Resource Development Ministry has told the Lok Sabha that there was no move to increase the tuition fees at central universities "at present", writes Prakash Kumar for DH News Service.


Graduate sues university over ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree

A graduate wants her £60,000 (US$84,000) back from her old university after accusing it of running a course she branded as “Mickey Mouse”, writes Jimmy Nsubuga for Metro UK.

Subscribe / Unsubscribe / Update / Sent to:
Terms and Conditions / ISSN 1756-297X / © University World News 2007-2018