NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
Outrage over minister cancelling research grants
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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