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3 June 2018 Issue 508 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Major skills challenges for universities posed by looming automation wave

   In News, Yojana Sharma outlines an Economist Intelligence Unit ranking of countries’ preparedness for an automation revolution. Education must be at the centre of strategies – but universities are ill-equipped for the reskilling and training required. Geoff Maslen reports from Australia on a surprise finding that studying at an elite university does not translate into higher starting salaries for graduates.

   In World Blog, Hans de Wit highlights a growing need for training for university leaders to strengthen their ability to drive internationalisation, which has moved from the margins to the centre of higher education.

   In Commentary, Douglas Proctor and Laura E Rumbley contend that the best way to understand the future of internationalisation is to shine a spotlight on the perspectives of the ‘next generation’ of specialists from around the world.

   New reform proposals promise positive changes and greater freedoms for higher education institutions in India, but there are implementation and quality challenges, writes Anand Kulkarni. In the United Kingdom, Ryan Hinchey maintains that the trend of universities making unconditional offers is bad for students and for higher education, and Martin Friesl explores a counter intuitive competitive challenge for UK business schools – they need to be similar enough to be recognised as leading institutions while also forging highly focused and distinctive offerings.

   And in Features, Sharon Dell explores a new book examining teaching and learning in the African university context, while Stephen Coan interviews innovation specialist Adriana Marais, who calls for Africa to define its own path through the fourth industrial revolution, focusing on technologies appropriate for its societies.

Karen MacGregor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


A new ranking – Countries ready for wave of automation

Yojana Sharma

South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Germany and Canada are the countries most prepared for the coming wave of automation driven by robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies, according to a new ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit.


Elite university degree no guarantee of higher salary

Geoff Maslen

The world’s top universities attract more students – and reject more student applications – than their lesser counterparts in almost every country across the globe. But Australian evidence suggests the pay-off is not as great as the students who gain access expect.


Erasmus+ opens to world, offers post-Brexit UK access

Karen MacGregor

A model for the post-Brexit participation of the United Kingdom in European higher education is offered in the European Commission’s new proposal for the Erasmus+ initiative, with its surprise opening to the world. The proposal also doubles the budget for the 2021-27 Erasmus+ and trebles learning and mobility opportunities to 12 million people.


Post-election hope for HE autonomy, academic freedom

Anil Netto

The unexpected, stunning defeat in May elections of Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which had been in power for more than six decades, has given academics fresh hope for greater university autonomy and academic freedom.


Fewer Chinese to stay abroad after graduation – Survey

Amber Ziye Wang

The number of Chinese students seeking to settle overseas after graduating from universities abroad is dropping, amid stricter immigration policies in many countries and continued strong growth fuelling job opportunities in China, says a survey released as the United States reportedly considers limiting the length of visas for certain categories of Chinese students.


Winners and losers in THE reputation rankings 2018

Universities in the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan lost some ground in the Top 100 of the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2018, published last week. America and Singapore made gains and India clinched a place for the first time since 2011.


First signs of a decline in European Union academics

Karen MacGregor

The proportion of academics at British universities who are from other European Union countries continued to rise after the 2016 Brexit vote and is now 17% across all institutions and 24% in the top Russell Group universities. But growth in EU academics is tailing off and there has been a drop in EU academics under 34 years.


Government denies ‘silence’ over fatal campus clashes

Wagdy Sawahel

The Moroccan government, accused by student groups of sponsoring violence, has denied it has been 'silent' over the recent deaths of students in university-based clashes as concern mounts over tensions between students with differing political and ideological affiliations.


Top university divided as second education minister quits

Mimi Leung

Taiwan’s newly-appointed Minister of Education Wu Maw-Kuen has resigned after serving in the post for just over a month. His exit has left smouldering a politicised controversy over leadership of the top National Taiwan University, which sparked protests in May.


Commission takes hard line against ‘illegal’ institutions

Tunde Fatunde

Taking a hard line against 58 institutions – in Nigeria and neighbouring countries – that it considers 'illegal', the National Universities Commission of Nigeria recently warned that any certificates obtained from such institutions will not be recognised for the purposes of national youth service, employment or further study.


Expert group proposes higher student loans, lower grants

Jan Petter Myklebust

The advisory Danish Economic Council has proposed that a greater proportion of student financing be allocated as a loan rather than a grant. The council – popularly called DØRS or the ‘wise men’ – suggested in an economic outlook that this change be at the masters level.


Bid to boost tertiary enrolment through online courses

Shuriah Niazi

Universities and other tertiary institutions in India will be able to offer undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma programmes online as part of the government’s efforts to improve enrolment in higher education. The aims are to help India improve its low gross enrolment ratio and tackle problems with higher education access in several parts of the country.


Development bank highlights HE role in industrialisation

Kudzai Mashininga

Africa’s higher education and vocational and technical training sector must be accelerated to prepare for the continent’s impending industrialisation, an area in which the African Development Bank is to invest US$35 billion over the next 10 years.



HE leaders need more training in internationalisation

Hans de Wit

Internationalisation of higher education has moved from the margins to the centre over recent decades and those driving it include specialists and higher education leaders. The latter require more training to be able to drive internationalisation’s continuing expansion.



Internationalisation – New voices, ideas and approaches

Douglas Proctor and Laura E Rumbley

We need fresh perspectives to guide us to the next frontier of our understanding of, and engagement with, internationalisation of higher education in all its complexity.


Higher education blown by light winds of change

Anand Kulkarni

Several new proposals for Indian higher education promise incremental change to the system by giving institutions greater freedom to innovate – but challenges remain with regard to raising the quality of education across the board.


Unconditional offers are bad for higher education

Ryan Hinchey

Universities in the United Kingdom are increasingly making students unconditional offers, with many believing that doing so makes the UK system comparable to the United States. However, there are huge differences and the offers don’t do UK students any favours.


Business schools under attack, must fight back

Martin Friesl

Business schools need to be similar enough in order to be recognised as leading institutions while at the same time establishing highly focused and distinctive offerings, if they are to survive in an increasingly competitive environment.



The transformative power of ‘rupture’ in higher education

Sharon Dell

A new book on African philosophy of education, which examines teaching and learning in the African university context, draws on its authors’ combined experience of setting up a massive open online course aimed at examining how teachers and students can use the African philosophical concepts of ubuntu and ukama to develop home-grown solutions to societal and educational concerns.


Aspiring Martian calls for Africa to define its own path

Stephen Coan

Africa needs to define its own path when it comes to the fourth industrial revolution and look at what technology is appropriate for its societies, according to aspiring Martian and Head of Innovation at software manufacturer SAP Africa Adriana Marais, who is the headline speaker at the South African Technology Network international conference later this year.


Nepal student’s American dream shattered – then rescued

Eric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Growing up, Rupesh Koirala imagines a place he has never seen. Far beyond the mountains, across a wide ocean, lies the country where many great colleges are said to stand. How he will ever afford to get a degree in the United States, he does not know. Still, he believes.



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Universities make post-Brexit policy demand for Europe

Universities in the United Kingdom, including the world-renowned London School of Economics, are drawing up lists of courses that could face closure after Brexit and lobbying the government to save them by changing its policy on student fees, writes Anna Fazackerley for The Guardian.


Government aims big money at top universities

Officials said recently that China will devote more resources to reforming its manufacturing sector with new, innovative technologies, while improving the higher education system's ability to produce quality talent capable of original, ground-breaking work, reports China Daily.


Top universities fail to meet English course standards

Peter Chang, commissioner of the National Supervisory Commission of the Control Yuan, said last week that National Taiwan University, National Cheng Kung University, National Tsing Hua University and National Chaio Tung University – four of Taiwan's top-ranked national universities – do not meet the minimum criteria for English course offerings, writes Te’Qin Windham for Taiwan News.


Lawmaker calls for lifting of foreign universities ban

Mindanao lawmaker Johnny Pimentel has filed a bill that would lift a ban on foreign universities, allowing them to establish campuses in the Philippines in a bid to turn the country into an even bigger hub for international students, writes Ellson Quismorio for the Manila Bulletin.


Universities slammed for not recruiting poorer students

Ministers in Scotland have blamed universities for failing to recruit more students from poorer backgrounds – the attack coming after new figures showed a decline in the proportion of successful applicants from the most disadvantaged areas, writes Andrew Denholm for The Herald.


70% of universities oppose government plan – Survey

Over 70% of Japan’s national universities are opposed to the central government's requirements of hiring more outside directors and instructors with practical experience in order to be eligible for the system to make higher education free of charge, reports The Mainichi.


Universities must support refugee students

In the past two decades Australian universities and schools have received growing numbers of students from refugee backgrounds in line with increasing numbers of people accepted through Australia’s humanitarian programme, write Sally Baker and Jaya AR Dantas for The Conversation.


Allowance non-payment leaves students destitute

Without their allowances, many students on tertiary campuses across South Africa are left destitute and hungry, Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training heard last week, reports Jan Gerber for News24.


Concern over websites selling fake Scottish degrees

Degrees from the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University can allegedly be obtained for as little as £200 (US$266), complete with university emblems and gold seals – and it has emerged that copies of Robert Gordon University degrees even contained faked signatures from Chancellor Sir Ian Wood and former principal Professor William Stevely, writes Kirsten Robertson for The Press and Journal.


Muslim universities urged to play peacemaker role

The leadership of the International Islamic University in Islamabad has called upon universities of the Muslim world to play their due role in the dissemination of peace and moderation, writes Jardine Malado for The News.


Court favours Christian universities in contraception row

A United States federal court has ruled in favour of four Christian universities that filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services five years ago to challenge a mandate requiring them to provide contraceptive coverage in the health plans of employees, writes Jardine Malado for Christian Today.


All six local universities to raise fees

All six local universities in Singapore will be raising their tuition fees for the new academic year, which begins in August, while some also intend to bump up scholarships and financial aid, reports The Star.

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