General News
Thirty-three German universities will receive federal funding to run institutional projects over the winter semester in a bid to boost holistic diversity concepts ranging from diversity-sensitive onboarding to initiatives to create flexible and inclusive working environments, and the development of an anti-discrimination directive.
ABET, the global accreditor of more than 4,000 college and university programmes worldwide, has agreed a three-year partnership with University World News to support its coverage of higher education’s contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on education for sustainable development.
Rectors of Denmark’s eight state-funded universities have presented what they consider to be a more sustainable alternative to the government’s plan, currently being discussed in parliament, to shorten up to half of the country’s two-year masters programmes and make the degree more industry-oriented.
Following ongoing pressure from human rights groups, an investigation has been launched into the death of a student who died in military custody in Buea, in the south-west region of Cameroon. Activists also want the release of his roommate, who is still in custody.
Since the resumption of in-person classes, international student numbers in South Korea have more than bounced back from the lows of the COVID-19 pandemic, with enrolments of overseas students reaching record highs. And the higher education sector is looking to attract even more.
The Hong Kong government has launched a new drive to recruit graduates to the city’s civil service which is facing a recruitment crunch due to the exodus of professionals and civil servants, particularly since Beijing imposed the National Security Law in 2020.
In Canada’s largest province, Ontario, many Ukrainian university students who fled Ukraine for Canada due to the war in their homeland are being faced with having to pay international student – not domestic – tuition and other university fees, because they are not being classed as refugees.
Indian education agents who recruit students on behalf of Australian universities say temporary regional bans by Australian universities on applicants from certain Indian states as a means to address cases of apparent visa fraud are discriminatory and will deter genuine applicants.
In the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023, which are geared to assessing institutions’ contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Australian and Canadian universities dominate the top 10 of the overall category, but Australia takes first place in seven of the individual 17 SDGs.
Universities and research organisations across Africa and Europe have called for a new science, technology and innovation framework for cooperation between the two continents to drive sustainable development. They say it should be grounded in academic excellence, sustainability, capacity building and scalability.
A new study on ways to end faculty shortages in universities in Africa is calling for an end to the duplication of academic programmes and abandoning the aggressive marketing of degrees and diplomas with “low academic rigour” – among measures that authorities could take to tame the crisis.
The United Kingdom’s new policy that curbs the number of dependants that international students are allowed to bring along when pursuing their studies in UK universities is not going down well with Nigerians and may force them to seek alternatives. Data shows that 66,796 dependant visas were issued to families of Nigerian students from March 2022 to March 2023.
Private higher education institutions have a vital role to play in the development of Africa but, in order to be sustainable, they need to be successful, innovative and impactful. This was a core message conveyed at the third annual academic summit of the Honoris United Universities network in Cape Town, South Africa.
A more detailed look at the surge in numbers of international students in the United Kingdom raises serious questions about the longer-term sustainability of such growth, and whether it contributes to the resilience of UK higher education, according to a recent report on international higher education strategy.
Publicly funded research outputs should be immediately and openly available to all without barriers such as subscription fees or paywalls, say European scientific community leaders who welcomed a recent 20-point plan agreed by the Council of the European Union to encourage open science.
Chile has joined the environmental, social and corporate governance network MetaRed ESG, a new Ibero-American network focused on promoting sustainability as a strategic feature of higher education institutions.
European university associations have joined calls for the Swedish government to reconsider its decision to shorten the terms of external university board members – ostensibly for security reasons – in a move the associations believe constitutes an infringement on time-honoured and hard-won academic freedom principles.
With the latest figures pointing to an almost 40% decline in student numbers by 2040, there is increased urgency to restructure South Korea’s university sector, with experts examining ways to shutter institutions that are not viable, including paying foundations to close their loss-making private institutions.
While the road to post-pandemic recovery remains bumpy for international student recruitment in the United States, two interesting trends are emerging – a sector-wide jump in use of educational agencies and a general shift away from reliance on rankings towards focusing on how institutions equip students to be successful.
Students and pro-democracy supporters continue to be arrested in Hong Kong years after pro-democracy unrest which gripped the city and its universities in 2019-20. In particular, violence erupted after police besieged Hong Kong Polytechnic University in November 2019 in scenes likened by many to a ‘war zone’.
Ahead of a record high youth unemployment rate, the Chinese government has been pushing out a raft of measures in advance of the graduation of around 11.6 million students in July. But are such measures enough to address structural problems in the post-pandemic economy?
African countries have been urged to develop new universities that are entrepreneurial from the outset to counter challenges posed by unemployment, hunger and the vulnerabilities of health risks and climate change as well as competition for scarce natural resources, according to the Economic Commission for Africa.
Women and older international students will feel the brunt of a new clampdown on foreign students bringing dependants when they come to the United Kingdom to study on one-year taught masters degree courses, say higher education experts. Students from India and Nigeria will be disproportionately affected.
A criminal case involving two suspects arrested in connection with the killing of Deborah Samuel, a female student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State, Nigeria, has been struck from the roll for lack of diligent prosecution and the absence of the police prosecutor in court on several occasions.
A new European Union-funded project meant to enhance the training of graduate students and young researchers in Africa has the potential to help ease the shortage of academic staff and researchers at universities. Eight universities in Africa and four in Europe are part of the project.
For students who fled into the jungle after the military takeover in Myanmar, trying to pursue an education has become less of a priority than defeating the junta, although some still nurse hopes of an eventual resumption of their studies – either at home or abroad.
As the fighting of the Sudanese Armed Forces and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces enters its second month, reports of rape and sexual assault of women, including members of the university community, are emerging. Dr Natalia Kanem, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, said it has received similar reports.
A media row has broken out in Sweden over government proposals to reduce the terms of university board members from 3.5 years to 17 months in a move seen by universities, higher education stakeholders and opposition parties to threaten the academic freedom of universities.
The New Zealand government’s annual Budget increased funding to universities but leaves them facing significant pressure. It provided a 5% increase to per-student tuition subsidies from January next year, the biggest increase in 20 years but short of annual inflation that has been running above or close to 7%.
Hopes are high for a ‘revolutionary’ reform of the education system, including higher education, following the surprise electoral victory of Thailand’s Move Forward Party, which is driven substantially by support from young people, including university students who took part in the 2020 pro-democracy protests.
Russia is pressing ahead with plans to remove itself from the Bologna Process and is developing its own higher education system that it believes will better meet the needs of its labour market. Testing of the new system is expected to commence this year.
In Hong Kong’s universities, academics of mainland Chinese origin this year outnumbered Hong Kong faculty for the first time, according to official figures, raising fears that an ongoing trend in this direction could affect the international character of universities in Hong Kong, and the culture of open research.
Higher education stakeholders desperate to prevent the Conservative government from clamping down on the number of international students and their dependants entering the United Kingdom have been bolstered by new data outlining the impressive economic benefits of foreign students to the country.
Morocco and the European Union have launched a two-year initiative to enhance tolerance in societies where terrorism and violent extremism exist. The initiative should not only focus on religious and ideologically driven extremism, but also address other root causes, including socio-economic factors, experts say.
Academic freedom in universities in Africa has dipped significantly in the recent past as a result of threats by political systems, according to researchers. According to them, violations against academic freedom have become a common phenomenon across public universities in Africa.
Research shows that African students spend too much time on social media. This does not only negatively affect their studies, but also their mental health. And addiction seems to be rising, increasing the risk of depression and anxiety.
To boost their global rankings, some Saudi universities are enticing highly cited researchers from around the world to switch their primary academic affiliation to that of the Saudi institution, a practice that scientists are worried will dent the credibility of science and must end.
A meeting of science ministers of the G7 advanced economies held in Sendai, Japan, last week called for appropriate rules to protect against “outside interference” in international education and research to improve research security and integrity.
Despite the European Union’s Erasmus+ 2021-27 programme getting a big cash boost compared with the equivalent programme for the previous seven years, a review into its first year says it can do better on inclusion, sustainability and avoiding funding delays at the start.
Oman has introduced new higher education legislation that opens the door to the establishment of branches of foreign universities and offers incentives to the private sector to set up higher education institutions, along with envisaging mechanisms to regulate the entire sector more broadly.
University teacher organisations in India are calling for an improvement in faculty employment practices in higher education institutions after the recent death of a former temporary lecturer – apparently by suicide – who lost his job at one of the country’s most esteemed universities earlier this year.
The arrangements for graduate representation in the upper house of the Irish parliament, chosen by only two universities – Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Ireland – are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has ruled. Graduates from other institutions should also get to vote.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has effectively overturned the arrest on 9 May of former prime minister Imran Khan, which had sparked widespread rioting by Khan’s supporters who claim the arrest was politically motivated. Khan faces charges of corruption in relation to the establishment of a private university trust.
The number of Bangladeshi students going abroad in search of world-class degrees and to acquire knowledge and skills has tripled in the past 16 years, data shows, due to low quality higher education and limited employment opportunities, along with political uncertainties, at home.
The role of science in planetary sustainability was emphasised and applauded when the four winners – three of them working in developing contexts – were named in the International Champions of the Frontiers Planet competition. The prize hopes to mobilise and inspire scientists, and funders of science, to scale up their efforts in advancing planetary health.
The future of yet another student union in Hong Kong hangs in the balance after all student members of its executive committee resigned this week, saying the university administration no longer recognises the union and was refusing to deal with its representatives.
Eleven Canadian research universities are to receive CA$1.4 billion (US$1.05 billion) in new monies over the next seven years to conduct research on ‘critical challenges facing our planet’ carried out by equitable and diverse teams and in consultation with Indigenous and immigrant communities.
The traditional forms of competition and collaboration in higher education and research have been transformed over the past few decades as the role of knowledge in innovation, economic growth and social change has become more prominent. How can universities better navigate the changed relationship between competition and collaboration?
Calls for government to legislate a statutory duty of care for students on the part of higher education institutions will be debated in the United Kingdom parliament next month following a campaign spearheaded by parents and siblings of some of the students who have committed suicide.
Egyptian students who studied at Sudanese universities and managed to escape the war-torn country will be able to resume their studies in their homeland if they meet the entry requirements of private and national universities, Mohamed Ayman Ashour, Egypt’s minister of higher education and scientific research, has announced.
One professor was fired without notice or cause and five others were denied tenure in recent days at the only liberal arts college in Florida’s public system, as the culture war being waged against higher education by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis hots up.
Rising costs of living are affecting the mobility of international students and many of them are having to reconsider decisions to study abroad, according to a survey of 21,000 students in 108 countries conducted by IDP Connect, an educational marketing and student recruitment firm.
At a time when there is scepticism about whether or not higher education is a good deal, a new data map provides insights into both the mismatches and alignment between universities and the labour market, thereby facilitating more career-relevant higher education investment.
Despite ongoing geopolitical tensions, China is pushing for the resumption of student and academic exchanges with the West and other regions. However, despite official messaging, China’s return to normal after last year’s closed-door ‘Zero-COVID’ restrictions is likely to take a bit of time.
The government of Bangladesh is planning a single admission test for all students applying to public universities with effect from the next academic year, but five leading universities are yet to throw their weight behind the plan, raising fears about a delay in its implementation.
The call by the Dutch minister of education, culture and science to let universities limit international student numbers if necessary has been welcomed by university leaders, who say that while they recognise the benefits of international students, uncontrolled growth is challenging educational quality in some areas.
Higher government subsidies for vulnerable students to enable them to study free of charge, a ban on fee hikes and greater transparency about the cost of education are some of the recommendations that have been made to Kenyan President William Ruto to tackle the spiralling funding crisis in the tertiary sector.
The University of Manouba in Tunis, Tunisia, has said it will withdraw the title of emeritus professor from a historian and former dean of its faculty of letters, arts and humanities over his participation in an international academic symposium in Paris alongside Israeli academics.
Nineteen students who graduated from a business and commerce degree at James Cook University in Australia are taking class action against the institution after discovering the degree was not accredited at the time they completed it, a situation that some students say cost them jobs.
Academics in 5,000 institutions in 107 low- and medium-income countries will benefit from the Cambridge Open Equity Initiative, a pilot project that will allow them to publish their research in about 400 open-access journals that are owned by the Cambridge University Press – at no cost to them.
India’s higher education regulator, the University Grants Commission, last month released draft guidelines for the incorporation of Indian Knowledge Systems, or IKS, into undergraduate and postgraduate higher education courses in a move seen as epistemic decolonisation by some and nationalistic propaganda by others.
Five years after an extensive investigation into internationalisation of higher education and research, Sweden has established a national platform that aims to enhance internationalisation in teaching, research and innovation. How the platform will affect existing internationalisation efforts is a source of some concerns.
After less than a month, Nepal’s government has backtracked on its decision to stop issuing ‘no objection certificates’ for vocational, diploma, advanced diploma and language courses for Nepali students wanting to study abroad. However, the permits will only be granted for approved non-degree institutions under a new ministry list.
Sudan’s civil society, including students and staff from the university community and the academic diaspora, has launched several initiatives, ranging from fundraising and awareness campaigns to medical support, in an effort to deal with the impact of military clashes that started on 15 April.
The senate of what is officially referred to as Westphalian Wilhelm University has decided to delete the name of Germany’s last emperor and call itself University of Münster. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Ministry of Culture and Science is expected to approve the new name.
Ireland’s oldest university has decided that, given Bishop George Berkeley’s past as a slave owner in the United States, the continued use of his name on its library was inconsistent with the university's core values of human dignity, freedom, inclusivity and equality.
Two bills targeting the authority of the Higher Education Commission – one proposed privately and one originating within government – have been rejected by the country’s academics who perceive them as attacks on the independence of the educational regulator and a threat to university autonomy.
The Association of Commonwealth Universities has recently launched what it believes to be the first equitable partnerships toolkit, one that provides step-by-step instructions to build fairer North-South and South-South research relationships and turn good intentions about equity in research collaboration into action.
In one of the most high-profile cases under the United States Justice Department’s now abandoned China Initiative targeting US academic ties to China, former Harvard professor Charles Lieber has been spared a jail sentence in a judgement considered by some to be relatively lenient.
In the last in a series of workshops hosted by the Southern African Regional Universities Association about work on the Southern African masters degree in climate change and sustainable development, a comprehensive assessment strategy for the programme, which incorporates Work-integrated Learning modalities to foster integration of theory and practice, was discussed.
The introduction of a tighter screening process for proposed new private universities in Japan aimed at restricting the growth in numbers of new universities raises inevitable questions about university autonomy but is informed at the same time by the harsh reality of a declining population.
University graduates from a pan-African private higher education network have defied the odds in Africa, a continent suffering high graduate unemployment rates, by crafting partnerships involving universities as well as the private and public sectors to increase job placements, which, in some instances, are securing a 90% employment rate.
As the number of students seeking to study abroad rises, Nepal’s University Grants Commission has proposed a merger of institutions after a recent report showed that 624 colleges, including constituent colleges, community and private institutions of different universities, have fewer than 100 students.
Almost three-quarters of American college and university students report that they factor the reproductive health laws of the state in which their schools are located into their decisions about whether to remain at their college or university, according to a new study.
The higher education community in Sudan, including several universities, their academics and students, has taken a stand as part of a pro-democracy movement to call for an end to the war in the country and for humanitarian support for citizens affected by the military clashes between the national army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
Many students in Thailand are volunteering as election observers to ensure transparency in the upcoming general elections, which represent a new opportunity for students to have their voices heard after previous attempts to criticise the government were crushed following months of demonstrations in 2020.
Zimbabwe’s institutions of higher learning are reeling from the effects of power cuts, a development that is raising the cost of running a university, with adverse effects on students. The power cuts are blamed on low power-generation capacity and breakdowns due to ageing equipment at power-generation plants.
A call from academic and student union representatives for academic freedom to be enshrined in the country’s constitution has fuelled further debate in Sweden about improving protection of academic freedom and university autonomy. A weakening of the governance structures of public higher institutions is causing concern.
The internationalisation and development of higher education in Latin America and the Caribbean – where only 0.8% of students study abroad against 2.6% globally – have been boosted by the first meeting of UNESCO’s new regional convention on the recognition of studies and degrees, adopted by 23 countries.
One of Hong Kong’s top universities – the Chinese University of Hong Kong – will reduce student and academic representation on its governing council if a taskforce report on the university’s governance is fully implemented, giving external members, including political appointees, more say on key university matters.
Technology could be used to create the greatest teaching assistant the world could imagine by giving teachers the ability to serve individual students by differentiating instruction in the classroom, an international summit attended by 7,000 leading minds from education and business innovation heard.
Students, staff and alumni made a last-ditch attempt to avert the closure of a British university postgraduate satellite hub in Brussels this week, with non-EU international students said to be fearful about the legal status of their student visas following the move.