Forget the Eurozone crisis and the attractions of the New World. A new ranking of the world’s best cities for students places Europe’s cities firmly ahead of the US for quality of life, affordability and their universities’ academic reputation.
CZECH REPUBLICJan Petter Myklebust
The government of the Czech Republic intends to press ahead with plans to reduce academic control of universities and introduce student fees. But it faces mounting opposition from students, academics and university leaders.
Australian universities and research organisations generated a record A$1.3 billion (US$1.38 billion) from the commerc ialisation of their research activities in 2010. According to a report released by Knowledge Commerc ialisation Australasia, the money came from contracts, consultancies and related agreements.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture has made a bold but controversial decision to boost the number of research papers produced by the country by requiring all university students to publish papers in academic journals as a condition for graduation.
The United States Agency for International Development, USAID, is taking a fresh approach to tackling major development challenges, seeking to leverage new trends on campuses in both the US and abroad to improve the efficacy and impact of its programmes and policies.
NORWAYJan Petter Myklebust
A Norwegian company, Rekruttering AS, wants to register all Norwegian graduates from the past 15 to 20 years in a commercial databank to be used for recruitment purposes. But student unions and universities are refusing to hand over the information.
Blood donation will become part of student and teacher evaluations at Beijing’s universities, according to the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau. Its controversial new scheme is to include blood donation records in assessments to determine academic performance, official Chinese media reported.
COSTA RICAChrissie Long
Costa Rica’s higher education authority is investigating reports that at least 10 students have been working in the homes of university leaders as a condition for their scholarships at the private Universidad Creativa in San José. The students were asked to wash clothes, care for children, prepare dinners and buy food.
The Commonwealth of Learning, or COL, has appointed its first female president. Asha Kanwar, its current vice-president, will succeed Sir John Daniel when he steps down as president and chief executive officer at the end of May.
A regional centre for space science and technology education for Western Asia will be sited at the Royal Jordanian Geographic Centre (RJGC) by April, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs has announced.
Students from the universities of Cairo, Ain Shams and Helwan marched on the Ministry of Defence in Cairo on Tuesday to protest against continued military rule. Students are at the forefront of the strike that began on 11 February and is aimed at pressuring army generals into a swift transfer of power to civil administration.
Zimbabwe has outlined plans for every university lecturer to be in possession of a PHD by 2015, and is reconsidering salary discrepancies between university and college lecturers. And the country’s higher education regulator has cracked down on state-run and foreign universities deemed to be offering sub-standard programmes.
Kenya plans to start ranking its universities based on their performance and the quality of graduates they are producing, to raise their profile globally. The move, which begins in April, is intended to boost the faltering quality of education in the country.
Ghana’s union of students has promised demonstrations if necessary to reverse the government’s decision to shorten the duration of senior high school from four years to three. The new system is likely to put huge pressure on university admissions this year, as double the usual number of school-leavers vie for limited places.
Overseas non-governmental organisations have been raising the alarm over worker exploitation in factories in China that produce the Apple iPad and other consumer electronic products. A new report by a Hong Kong-based labour organisation has found that many of the exploited are students working as interns as a compulsory part of vocational courses.
The number of students around the globe enrolled in higher education is forecast to more than double to 262 million by 2025, and study abroad numbers could treble. Nearly all the student growth will be in the developing world, with more than half in China and India alone.
The victory last October of the moderate Islamist party Ennahda (‘Renaissance’) in Tunisia's first election since the revolution intensified the controversy that was already brewing over women students opting to wear the niqab, or full face veil, on university campuses.
Significant new reforms are on the horizon for Algeria’s universities. Efforts are being made to ratchet up public funding and raise standards, with the government planning to spend US$1.48 billion on higher education and science over the next five years and to double research spending to 1% of gross domestic product.
Having a more equal balance of male and female staff at the top levels of academia is the right thing to do, but also makes sense if universities want to improve output and the quality of team work. Now is the time to act.
Universities talk about internationalisation and diversity, but often students voluntarily self-segregate on campus. Instead, institutions should be looking at how to encourage students to be more resilient and open to change and different ways of thinking.
Global rankings have become hugely influential. We should be honest about their limitations, and about the needs for constant improvement and to be more transparent. In this spirit Times Higher Education will soon publish its World Reputation Rankings in isolation from the overarching rankings. It is based solely on the subjective judgment of academics and shows the fragility of the global reputations of universities.
UNITED KINGDOMHannah Blackstock
The number of home student applicants to UK universities has fallen significantly this year, with mature student applications the worst hit. Some university figures are playing down the impact, but it could be just the tip of the iceberg after a decade of changes to university funding.
University World News has a new Facebook group: facebook.com/
UniversityWorldNews. If you are not a member, do consider joining to see our regular updates, post on our wall and communicate with us and other University World News fans. You can also follow University World News on Twitter @uniworldnews
UNITED STATESThe Independent.
UNITED STATESScience Codex.
CHINAThe Washington Post.
AUSTRALIAThe Daily Telegraph.
AUSTRALIAThe Australian. Dr Daniel Edwards, a senior research fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research, measured the ratio of international students hosted by 109 countries to their nationals going overseas to study.
UNITED KINGDOMTimes Higher Education.
UNITED STATESInside Higher Ed. An audit released by the American state of North Dakota found that poor record-keeping and a lack of oversight at Dickinson State University resulted in hundreds of foreign students – mostly from China – receiving degrees despite not having completed required coursework.
UNITED STATESAssociated Press. The latest annual college fundraising figures out last week show donations to colleges and universities rose 8.2% in fiscal 2011, crossing back over the $30 billion mark for just the second time ever.
UNITED STATESThe Chronicle of Higher Education.
IRELANDThe Irish Times.
SOUTH AFRICAIndependent Online.
HONG KONGThe Standard.