How Asian business schools are outcompeting their Western counterparts.

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28 October 2018 Issue 526 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


How Asian business schools are outcompeting their Western counterparts

   In Commentary, Maxim Feldman describes how Asian business schools have made a quantum leap in a short time and are now outcompeting many American and European institutions, with affordability and teaching a global approach as major drawcards. Marguerite J Dennis reflects on the potential changes artificial intelligence will bring to the processes of admission and retention of university students but believes there will still be a place for human administrators as these job functions will be partly automated, rather than disappear. And Patrick Swanzy and Francis Ansah explain why it would be a grave mistake for the Ghanaian government to terminate the contracts of professors over the age of 65 and take them off the state’s payroll.

   In our World Blog, Mark A Ashwill and Eddie West suggest a model of commissions-based international student recruitment that is more ethical and transparent than current practices.

   In our new series on Transformative Leadership, published in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, Carolyn Shields says transformative leadership means challenging how inequity impacts the most marginalised people, and for universities to change the status quo, they must first change themselves.

   There is a special focus on Academic Freedom in this week’s edition, with Brendan O’Malley unpacking the latest report of the Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, which shows that attacks on scholars and students are continuing to occur with alarming frequency across the world. In addition, Shuriah Niazi reports on how widespread opposition to new rules imposed by the government of India that threatened to restrict academic freedom and the right to protest resulted in their reversal; Brendan O’Malley writes that Budapest’s Central European University has been forced to open a campus in Vienna, as it can no longer wait for the Hungarian government to sign a deal enabling it to operate with academic freedom; and Maina Waruru reports from a conference in Kenya on the challenge by South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor to African countries to take more deliberate steps in building adequate science capacity, including the guarantee of academic freedom.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Outrage over minister cancelling research grants

Geoff Maslen

The revelation that a former federal education minister interfered in a competitive research grants process and cancelled 11 humanities and social sciences projects, costed at more than AU$4 million (US$2.8 million), has generated outrage across Australia's higher education sector.


Universities tighten up on graduation requirements

Yojana Sharma

Chinese universities are tightening up on graduation requirements in a bid to improve standards, as a larger proportion of young people are in higher education than in the past and employers regularly complain that education standards among younger graduates appear to be dropping.


Hard Brexit ‘could cripple UK science’, scientists believe

The United Kingdom’s biggest biomedical research lab has warned that a hard or ‘no deal’ Brexit could cripple UK science, as a survey of over 1,000 staff reveals that 97% of scientists believe a hard Brexit would be bad for UK science.


Government moves to raise quality of higher education

Eugene Vorotnikov

The Russian government has announced details of a reform of the national system of state control for the quality of higher education, following numerous complaints in recent years about the existing system. Special commissions will be created to verify the quality of university programmes.


Free tuition blamed for drop in number of academics

María Elena Hurtado

The number of full-time academics in Chilean higher education institutions has fallen for the second consecutive year. In 2017 there were 537 less teachers than the previous year, and this year the number has dropped yet again by a further 800.


University reels from US$5.8m loss as campuses shut

Gilbert Nganga

Kenya's Kenyatta University is reeling from the loss of its US$5.8 million investment in satellite campuses in Rwanda and Tanzania, after their respective governments shut the campuses down recently over claims that they had not complied with new regulations.


Anger over shackling of former vice-chancellor

Ameen Amjad Khan

The academic community in Pakistan has expressed outrage over a humiliating incident involving the arrest and handcuffing of a renowned professor and former vice-chancellor of Lahore's Punjab University, Professor Mujahid Kamran, by police acting on corruption allegations.


Tsinghua admits revoking PhD, after misconduct reported

Mimi Leung

One of China’s top institutions – Tsinghua University – has made an unusual public announcement that it revoked the PhD of one of its students, Ye Xiaoxin, over research misconduct in almost a dozen papers he authored. His thesis supervisor was also sanctioned for negligence.


After Khashoggi, universities confront their Saudi ties

Steven Johnson, The Chronicle of Higher Education

After Saudi officials issued yet another about-face on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their embassy in Turkey, urgent questions surrounding the grisly death of the dissident are leading universities to reassess their connections with Saudi Arabia.


Ministry launches mass student survey to assess teaching

Jan Petter Myklebust

The Danish government sent questionnaires to 100,000 students to create a ‘Learning Barometer’ which will used from 2022 to determine part of the budget allocation that institutions will receive from the government, based on the quality of the teaching provided.


African students secure EU funds to tackle loneliness

Tonderayi Mukeredzi

A project implemented by the Zimbabwe-United Kingdom Students Network will see over 30 university students and youth converge on Brighton in the United Kingdom in December for training aimed at addressing high levels of loneliness and social isolation facing minorities in Europe.



How Asian business schools are beating Western rivals

Maxim Feldman

Despite their relative youth, Asian business schools are competing with and beating their Western counterparts on affordability and teaching a global approach – they recognise that understanding different mindsets is an important skill for contemporary businessmen operating globally.


How will artificial intelligence change admissions?

Marguerite J Dennis

Artificial intelligence has the potential to increase personalisation of the recruitment and retention of university students in a cost efficient way, but algorithms could also be misused to skew against recruitment from certain groups. There will still be a place for humans.


Cut-off for ageing professors – Implications for quality

Patrick Swanzy and Francis Ansah

In Ghana, attracting and retaining qualified and experienced academic staff in public universities are often difficult, which is why a recent decision to terminate the contracts of professors over the age of 65 and take them off the state’s payroll threatens to rob universities of intellectual capital vital for academic operations.



An ethical approach to commissions-based recruitment

Mark A Ashwill and Eddie West

Concerns have been raised about the financial secrecy behind commissions-based international student recruitment and the potential for agents to skew the recruitment process away from best fit for the student. Is there a more ethical approach?



Challenging the gap between the haves and have nots

Brendan O’Malley

For Carolyn Shields, a leading thinker on leadership education, transformative leadership means challenging how inequity impacts the most marginalised, neglected or oppressed people, but if universities are going to encourage students to change the status quo, they first need to change themselves.



Attacks on scholars and students alarmingly frequent

Brendan O’Malley

Attacks on scholars, students, staff and their institutions are continuing to occur with alarming frequency around the world, killing and harming individuals and undermining higher education systems, according to the 2018 Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitoring Project’s latest annual report.


Ministry backpedals on ‘gagging’ rules for academics

Shuriah Niazi

Attempts by the government of India to impose new rules on centrally funded universities that would restrict academic freedoms and the right to protest or strike are being reversed due to widespread opposition. Academics saw the measures as a push by government to control universities.


CEU to open Vienna campus to bypass Orbán restrictions

Brendan O'Malley

Central European University (CEU) says it can wait no longer for the Orbán government to sign a deal enabling it to operate with academic freedom and has been forced to open a Vienna campus to cater for future students of its United States-accredited masters and doctoral programmes.


Academic freedom – A key to building science capacity

Maina Waruru

African countries were challenged to take more deliberate steps to build science and innovation capacity and were told that guaranteeing academic freedom is vital for fostering innovation, at the Sixth Africa Higher Education Week and Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture Biennial Conference last week.


In defence of critical enquiry by academics and others

Sophie Roborgh

The imprisonment of Matthew Hedges in the United Arab Emirates is part of a pattern of repression against visiting academics. It is also the result of the blurring of lines between different professions as academics seek greater impact and requires a wider defence of the role of critical enquiry.



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President declares public universities tuition-free

Liberia’s President George Weah has declared the University of Liberia and all public universities tuition-free for undergraduate students in the country. He made the announcement last week before hundreds of cheering students at the University of Liberia’s Capitol Hill Campus in Monrovia during a planned visit to the university, writes Ismail Akwei for Face2Face Africa.


Police raid universities, clamp down on freedoms

Police officers and electoral officials have raided public universities in three states, as part of a clampdown on ‘political advertising’, which critics say amounts to prevention of political expression, reports Folha de SPaulo.


Women to demand compensation over exam rigging

Women who applied unsuccessfully to Japan’s Tokyo Medical University intend to demand compensation from the institution for manipulating entrance exam results in favour of male applicants and hiding the discriminatory practice, their lawyers said last week, reports Kyodo.


University to pay US$215 million over sex abuse

The University of Southern California has agreed to pay US$215 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by hundreds of women who say that they were sexually abused by the former head gynaecologist at the student health centre and that university officials did not address their complaints, writes Jennifer Medina for The New York Times.


Cancer-research charity takes tough stance on bullying

One of the world’s biggest funders of cancer research has launched an anti-bullying policy that could lead to the withdrawal of funding from scientists whose institutions uphold allegations made against them, writes Holly Else for Nature.


Harvard internal probe uncovers fraudulent research

An internal investigation from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital found that there is falsified and-or fabricated data in 31 scientific publications from the laboratory of a prominent cardiac researcher, writes Claire Ochroch for The Daily Pennsylvanian.


Abolish exams, professor urges African universities

Emeritus Professor Olugbemiro Jegede, the foundation vice-chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, has called for the elimination of examinations in the educational system in Africa as he says they kill the creative power of students, encourage cheating and make all learning theoretical and geared towards passing them, reports Ghana News Agency.


Universities – Is free speech under threat?

Free speech is being threatened at British universities by a culture of offence among certain students, according to critics. A small number of incidents have been held up time and again and debated fiercely. But what evidence is there that challenges to free speech are widespread? ask Rachel Schraer and Ben Butcher for BBC News.


Bosnian student granted UK visa after Home Office U-turn

A Bosnian student who is studying for a psychology masters at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands was granted a visa by the Home Office in the United Kingdom within hours of a report by The Independent about its decision to block her from entering the UK for a conference, writes Peter Stubley for The Independent.


Bells University gets students to judge lecturers

Professor Jeremiah Ojediran, the vice-chancellor of Bells University of Technology in Nigeria, has advised the country’s tertiary institutions to embrace quality assurance to fight incessant cases of sex for marks in the institutions, reports Vanguard.


Saudi, Emirati universities rank among best in region

As education across the world experiences massive revamping to keep up with technological changes, universities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are leading the Gulf in the field, writes Caline Malek for The Arab Weekly.


No money for campus counselling services – Minister

Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor says the government cannot give institutions of higher learning more money for counselling services. She was addressing various vice-chancellors and student bodies in Boksburg on plans to address violence on campuses, writes Gaopalelwe Phalaetsile for Jacaranda FM.


Law students can choose course on Harry Potter

A law university in Kolkata in India is offering a new course on Harry Potter that will encourage students to explore legal aspects of JK Rowling’s fictional world and its many real life lessons, reports Press Trust of India.



Philosophy and the ‘battle against colonialism’

The narrative is familiar: Fragile racist ‘whites’, oblivious to their own purported privilege, creating a hostile environment for long-suffering oppressed ‘black’ students. But Olivia Goldhill’s version (University World News, 5 October) contained factual errors and spin, according to the University of Cape Town’s head of philosophy.

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