NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
Scientists condemn ‘high-risk’ gene editing breakthrough
In an apparent backlash against uncontrolled and unethical human embryo research in China, more than 120 Chinese scientists have signed a letter condemning the use of gene editing technology on humans, which reportedly led to two babies born this year using the technologies.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Amnesty issues warning in wake of student killings
Calls for police-free university campuses in the wake of the killing by police of two students from the University of Kinshasa have coincided with a warning by Amnesty international about a “hostile political environment” ahead of election campaigning in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Universities demand change to free tuition policy
María Elena Hurtado
Universities facing financial constraints and a shortfall in income linked to the free tuition policy for low-income students are demanding a fast track bill to amend it. A group of 27 universities says its members’ income will fall by US$65 billion next year.
Government sets the stage for higher tuition fees
The Kenyan government has ruled out any future increase in funding to universities. In a blow to a sector reeling from a financial crisis, university administrators have said the most practical response will be to raise tuition fees.
Proposal to levy employers instead of charging students
Instead of students borrowing money to pay for tuition, businesses should pay a levy for each graduate they employ, according to the outline of a radical new approach to funding higher education, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute in the United Kingdom.
Labor accuses government of ‘waging war on science’
The Labor opposition has opened a new front line in the battle for next year’s election, accusing the government of ‘waging a war on science’ and pledging to make research and development a key to Australia's future should it win office.
Action plan to increase ‘pay-off’ from Horizon 2020
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Danish ministry of higher education and science has launched a national action plan to secure increased Danish participation in the European Union research programme Horizon 2020 and the 2021-27 Horizon Europe programme and a higher share of coordinator roles in consortia.
Bridging the research university budget gap
Spending per student on tertiary education has fallen in 37 countries this century, 16 of them in Africa. Research universities in Africa have to find ways to attract more funding from business, philanthropic foundations and governments and to develop a culture of alumni giving back.
Engaging partners is a key role for HE in sustainability
Josep M Vilalta, Alicia Betts, Victoria Gómez and Marta Cayetano
A group of higher education experts met recently to discuss how to make the Sustainable Development Goals reality and the need to help universities make the transition from ivory towers to partners for change by engaging other social actors.
The role of HE in a politically disrupted world
To promote free and open inquiry, ethics and research integrity and the relevance of higher education to its communities and to the world at large requires a rethink about how universities engage with society.
A world leader in gene-edited babies, but at what cost?
Recent reports that China has produced the first gene-edited babies have provoked a lot of discussion and are evidence of the new technological race in controversial scientific practices.
Higher education for a sustainable future
Patrick Blessinger, Enakshi Sengupta and Taisir Subhi Yamin
For a sustainable future we need to promote renewable resources. The one type of renewable resource that is also needed for continued human progress is the resource of lifelong learning. It is vital to our continuing ability to harvest human intelligence, creativity and ingenuity.
Most countries failing to tackle unequal access to HE
Although six countries stand out for their policy commitment to providing equal opportunities of access and success in higher education, worldwide only one in three of more than 70 countries surveyed have defined specific participation targets for any equity group, new global research shows.
More to widening access to HE than just financial aid
Widening access to and participation in higher education is not enough to tackle social exclusion; psychological support for disadvantaged students struggling with the problems they face at university is just as important, the first World Access to Higher Education Day conference heard.
Digital programme gives Syrian refugees access to HE
Higher education has for years been overlooked by aid programmes. But universities in the United Kingdom, Jordan and Lebanon are partnering in a UK aid scheme helping Syrian refugees access good quality short courses that will open a pathway into formal academic qualifications.
How Africa can provide the leadership the world needs
Our attempts to transform the colonial narrative have not been ambitious enough to change structures and cultures. Underpinned by a philosophy of ubuntu, Global Africa can provide a new form of leadership for the world based on inclusion, cooperation and interdependence.
PM urged to speak out against harassment of China expert
Academics and human rights advocates in New Zealand have urged Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to protect the academic freedom of a professor who has faced months of alleged harassment – including a burgled office – ostensibly for her work critical of China’s influence abroad.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UAE bows to pressure, jailed UK researcher freed
Matthew Hedges, the United Kingdom PhD researcher sentenced to life for ‘spying’ in the United Arab Emirates, has been pardoned and has returned to the UK. However, at the announcement of his release, officials showed a video they claimed was evidence that he had confessed, which he denies.
Report on university racial tension sparks furious debate
A report from the South African Human Rights Commission investigation into allegations of racial tension, unfair discrimination and harassment at the University of South Africa has produced heated media debate on whether equity policies overlook merit and about the ‘delegitimisation of black pain’.
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