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Education students being 'thrown under the bus' - Judge

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 04:48
A Supreme Court judge in Canada has said that education students on the cusp of graduating from universities are being "thrown under the bus" by a work-to-rule campaign being waged by No ...

Student fund not in financial trouble - Minister

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 04:46
Malaysia's higher education minister said the delay in public university students receiving disbursements is due to communication issues and not because of financial difficulties faced by the Nati ...

Nigerian Open University expanding to meet high demand

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 04:44
The registered active student population of the National Open University of Nigeria has hit 254,000, reports Premium Times.

National Open University of Nigeria Vice ...

Stellenbosch University adopts redress admissions policy

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 04:42
Stellenbosch University in South Africa has adopted a revised admissions policy for 2018 which aims to redress past inequalities, reports News24.

"The universit ...

Study challenges cost and price myths of online education

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 01:00

The myth that online education courses cost less to produce and therefore save students money on tuition doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, a survey of distance education providers found.

The survey, conducted by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), found that most colleges charge students the same or more to study online. And when additional fees are included, more than half of distance education students pay more than do those in brick-and-mortar classrooms.

The higher prices -- what students pay -- are connected to higher production costs, the survey found. Researchers asked respondents to think about 21 components of an online course, such as faculty development, instructional design and student assessment, and how the cost of those components compares to a similar face-to-face course. The respondents -- administrators in charge of distance education at 197 colleges -- said nine of the components cost more in an online course than in a face-to-face course, while 12 cost about the same.

In other words, virtually every administrator surveyed said online courses are more expensive to produce.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, according to Russell Poulin and Terri Taylor Straut, the authors of the study. Producing an online course means licensing software, engaging instructional designers, training faculty members and offering around-the-clock student support, among other added costs, they point out in the report.

“And all this is supposed to cost less?” the report reads. “In the open-ended comments addressing leaders who criticize their work, you can feel their pain. As one person succinctly responded to those critics: ‘Nuts.’”

In an interview, Straut, senior research analyst at WCET, said the myth about the lower cost and price of online education persists because of a lack of knowledge about the work that goes into creating the courses. Rather than building online courses from scratch, many colleges have used a “bolt-on” approach that starts off with taking the face-to-face course and adding the tools needed to offer it online, which drives up costs, she said.

“If you start with all the pieces in the classroom and then add on technology, how could that possibly be cheaper?” said Straut, who previously helped found CU Online, at the University of Colorado, and Western Governors University.

Additionally, Straut said, colleges have mainly focused on online education as a way to further their missions of increasing access to education, not lowering costs.

Some of the costs associated with creating online courses are passed on to students in the form of technology fees, a bundle that may include access to course materials, tutoring services and other resources. But there are fees that online students don’t pay, for example charges that grant access to campus health centers, parking lots and recreational facilities.

The differences in which fees students pay may help explain why only 5.9 percent of respondents said students who study online pay less for tuition than do those who study in person, compared to the 19 percent who said the total price -- tuition and fees -- is lower for online students.

But the difference is greater on the other end of the scale. Looking at tuition alone, 18.9 percent of respondents said those rates are higher for online students, but that share jumped to 54.2 percent when fees were added.

The added technology costs mean that many students in online three-credit courses pay up to $100 (32.9 percent) or between $101 and $250 (12 percent) more in fees than students do in similar face-to-face courses.

Colleges -- particularly public institutions -- generally have more control over the fees they charge than over tuition rates. More than twice as many respondents said the state Legislature is involved in the approval process for setting tuition rates (17 percent) than fee rates (8.1 percent).

The University of Florida, which is referenced in the report, is one example. State legislators in 2013 mandated that the university could charge online students no more than 75 percent of on-campus tuition rates. In-state online students at UF pay $17.26 in fees per credit hour (including a financial aid fee, technology fee and capital improvement fee). Out-of-state students are charged an additional $35.36 non-Florida resident financial aid fee per credit hour.

The authors said they hope the study will inspire conversations among college officials and politicians about the cost and price of higher education.

"If the goal is to cut costs while maintaining quality and access, we must think differently at a structural level so that quality, affordable options for students are assured," the report reads. "Goal setting and rethinking existing structures are key."

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Professor's anti-immigration comments on social media fuel a day of action on campus

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 01:00

In what seems like the latest installment of the academe edition of the post-Trump culture wars, students and faculty members at the University of Minnesota at Morris are planning a teach-in Monday, following a professor’s harsh criticism of immigrants and refugees on social media. The professor says he wrote about a issue of concern on a private Facebook page and is being punished for being out of step with the politics of his colleagues.

“Illegal immigrants lower the confidence in the rule of law and add people and workers and students we don’t need,” Dan Demetriou, associate professor of philosophy, recently wrote on Facebook, according to screenshots that have been made public. “They on average have IQs lower than natives and low skills. They are harmful to an economy about to automate, especially when it is a welfare state.”

Refugees, meanwhile, are “way worse,” Demetriou wrote, “as most adhere to a religious-political cult with repulsive values at war with the West from its inception. No country who has taken the current crop of refugees has made it work.”

The campus branch of Students for a Democratic Society was already organizing activities as part of national day of action against Trump administration policies on immigration when it was approached by faculty members interested in speaking out on similar issues, according to information from the group. Those include the recent comments of their colleague.

Here is Demetriou’s full initial post:

The words caused a stir at Morris, with some printing them out and posting them around campus. Chancellor Michelle Behr responded to the controversy earlier this week, saying in a campuswide email that while “democracy should and does rightfully tolerate expression of differences of opinion, some members of our community have found these communications both personally and professionally distressing.” She “strongly reaffirmed” Morris’s “vision that we celebrate and support the multicultural and international inclusiveness of our community. Differences are our strength, and our community values and respects diversity of all kinds.”

Behr said there will continue to be “differences of opinion and perspective,” and that it’s “imperative that we all make every effort to express these differences in a respectful way.” She cited the University of Minnesota Board of Regents’ Guiding Principles, including that the institution “strives to sustain an open exchange of ideas in an environment that embodies the values of academic freedom, responsibility, integrity and cooperation” and “provides an atmosphere of mutual respect, free from racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice and intolerance.”

Demetriou, who is now on sabbatical in Sweden, responded to the controversy in a second Facebook post, which says, in part, “Maybe you can imagine being me, hearing most of my colleagues advocate for policies that, as far as I can tell, are failing spectacularly overseas and in many communities at home. No one much cares for how their expressions may discourage, alienate, frustrate or sadden someone who, like me, sincerely believes that his children -- our children -- will be put in grave risk by leftist immigration policies. Nor should they care, because my feelings don't determine facts. That someone is upset by a claim is wholly irrelevant to its truth.”

The whole “benefit of freedom of speech and intellectual freedom is that they allow unpopular ideas to be judged on their merits instead of silenced,” he said. “It would be much easier for me personally just to censor myself. I am sacrificing a great deal of social capital, and probably putting my career or at least career ambitions in jeopardy because I feel I must say something, if not publicly, at least inside my social circle. I use social media to workshop ideas among my smart friends, who often give me great objections. But if some of my thoughts leak out, maybe that's for the best: Mill taught that unchallenged ideas tend to become ‘dead dogmas.’ By providing some resistance -- by standing up and presenting real opposition as opposed to a straw man -- I am doing [the university] a service. Universities are often accused of being ideological monocultures. The intellectual diversity I bring [will] help it avoid that criticism.”

Undergraduate Mitchell Hancock, with Students for a Democratic Society, said his group is planning a rally, student-led teach-ins and a panel discussion about community responses to the threat of deportations and registries for immigrants. He supports a recent resolution by the student body that Morris become a sanctuary campus and called Demetriou’s comments “disgusting.”

Playing “devil's advocate is not only extremely counterproductive to protecting vulnerable communities, but also a huge abuse of privilege,” he said.

Heather Peters, a professor of psychology at Morris specializing in cultural psychology, is participating in the teach-in and told City Pages that she’d already worked Demetriou’s comments -- anonymously -- into her lectures on immigration. She later had students fact-check the professor’s arguments, she said, and they found peer-reviewed research challenging his blanket assertions about IQ and immigrants’ effect on society. Indeed, IQ in relation to nationality is a vexed corner of study, both because intelligence is such a complex topic and because neither Americans nor immigrants are monolithic groups.

“This wasn’t about [Demetriou]. It was about the thoughts that are out there,” she told the local newspaper. “Hopefully we can pull together as a community and refute these outright lies.”

Peters declined an interview request Thursday, referring questions to a dean. He referred questions to Behr’s email.

Demetriou told Inside Higher Ed via email that his post was written when the Trump “travel ban was dominating the news and social media,” and, “like many of my academic friends, I ranted.” Unlike most all of them, though, he said, “I ranted to the right as opposed to the left.”

As to the content of his arguments, Demetriou said that no “short post on such a complex topic, let alone a rant, could survive much scrutiny. But this post, read with the least charity possible, and isolated from other things I have said on the topic in discussion afterward, has been seized upon in order to further a political agenda and punish a dissenting voice.”

Demetriou said he doesn’t share his expressed views in class and doesn’t even cover immigration in his courses. And although he’s “ideologically right in a very ideologically left world,” he said, he’s not involved in any political groups on campus. Rather, he said, “I expressed my mind in a hot state on my private Facebook page.”

As to where, if anywhere, his free speech rights overlap with his responsibilities as a member of his campus community, he asked what might be said of “professors who on their social media advocate for ‘punching Nazis’ or overthrowing an elected government via the ‘deep state’? I don't see such outbursts as immoral, inappropriate or even ill advised in the context of Facebook. People need a space to vent with their friends, frenemies and acquaintances. Conversation usually sees us moderate or clarify our positions.”

Professors elsewhere have landed in hot water with their administrations for making comments about groups of people on social media -- even after their administrations initially backed their right to free speech. Steven Salaita lost a promised job at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the tone of his anti-Israel comments on Twitter, and Oberlin College dismissed Joy Karega for posting anti-Semitic and other demonstrably false statements about world events on her Facebook page, for example. Boston University also eventually distanced itself from Saida Grundy, a sociology professor who made controversial comments about white people.

In a reverse example, Drexel University condemned George Ciccariello-Maher, who over the winter holidays tweeted that his wish list consisted of "white genocide." It later backed the professor's right to academic freedom, after scholars criticized the university and pointed out that the tweet was sarcastic and grounded in Ciccariello-Maher's academic work.

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Texas bill could force campus police to play role in immigration matters

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 01:00

Opponents on campuses have been steeling themselves to keep battling a proposed anti-sanctuary bill since the Texas Senate passed the controversial measure last week.

The bill seeks to compel state government officials, local government leaders and campus law enforcement officers to cooperate in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Colleges' police forces would not be able to prevent officers from asking about arrestees' immigration status or keep them from communicating with immigration officials. Campus police would also have to comply if a federal official asked them to hold a person while officials determined whether that person was in the United States without legal authorization. This shift could significantly curtail colleges' ability to avoid helping federal authorities with deportations.

The fact that the bill would cover campus police hits home for students, said Vanessa Rodriguez, a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin.

“It puts this sense of urgency on us,” Rodriguez said. “It’s no longer just our parents, but it’s us, too, and future students who are planning to enter college.”

The bill is moving through the Legislature at a time when campuses across the country are facing questions of how they will handle increased emphasis on immigration law in light of President Trump’s hard-line stances. The questions escalated this week after a 23-year-old immigrant in Seattle sued the government after being detained despite holding a permit under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was created by President Obama to protect many students who were brought to the United States as children by their parents without going through the proper channels. Many students covered under the DACA policy attend college.

Republican Senators passed a strengthened version of the Texas bill Feb. 8 on a party-line vote. The state’s majority-Republican House of Representatives must now consider it. Many believe its passage is likely after Governor Greg Abbott declared a sanctuary ban an emergency item during his State of the State address in January.

Specifically, the bill would withhold state grant money from cities, counties, state criminal justice agencies and campus police departments that take a soft stance on immigration. Grant funding could be withheld if those entities prohibit or discourage immigration-law enforcement.

Campus officers could not be prohibited or discouraged from asking about the immigration status of those they have arrested or from coordinating with immigration officers. Entities would be subject to fines starting at $1,000 and escalating to as much as $25,500 per violation.

The bill carries other penalties for municipalities and local leaders. Leaders who violate its terms would be subject to a class A misdemeanor. Governments releasing immigrants that federal officials have requested held would be open to lawsuit if those released immigrants went on to commit a felony in the state within 10 years.

The measure’s backers argue that it prevents local officials from selectively enforcing the law and undermining its integrity. Its author, Senator Charles Perry, a Republican from Lubbock, has said it needs to cover colleges and universities amid a push for sanctuary campuses.

"Our legislation is simple -- government entities cannot undermine the rule of law by ignoring our immigration laws,” Perry said in a December news release. “If colleges and universities intend to follow the example of sanctuary cities, we must ensure that our legislation specifically includes them.”

Many colleges have pledged not to help federal authorities identify people without legal status in the United States. Students, faculty and alumni have also pushed campuses in Texas to declare sanctuary status. But no institution in Texas was known to have made that declaration as of Thursday.

Perry made a similar case for his legislation when the bill passed, saying that government is supposed to punish evil, provide a base for social stability and offer a basis for social order. Standards cannot be “dependent upon an individual,” he said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Democrats have argued that the bill will cause racial profiling and distrust between immigrants and police. More than 500 people testified against it in a hearing at the beginning of February that reportedly lasted 16 hours.

One of those people was Rodriguez, the freshman at UT Austin. She takes part in the University Leadership Initiative, an organization that advocates for undocumented immigrants.

Rodriguez is an undocumented immigrant who is a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy the Obama administration put in place. Now 18, she has been in Texas since she was 6 years old, when her family came from near Mexico City.

Opponents of the bill are now trying to identify moderate Republican representatives who might hear them out, Rodriguez said. They hope to convince such representatives that the bill will not do what its backers say it will.

“It’s not attacking simply criminals,” she said. “It’s attacking a general population of immigrants, whether they’re students getting their education or parents who are just working for their family.”

The bill that the Senate passed specifically says that law enforcement agencies can perform outreach to tell the public that they “may not inquire into the immigration status of a detained person” in some instances. It goes on to spell out instances including if someone is a victim of a crime or witnesses one and if they are the victim of family violence or sexual assault. It also prevents officers from searching a motor vehicle, home or business solely to enforce immigration law -- unless they are cooperating with federal officials.

But Rodriguez rejected the idea that immigrants could avoid being affected by the bill by not committing crimes.

“It won’t be that way,” she said. “My father was once detained from a minor traffic offense, and that was in a time period when SB 4 wasn’t even on the horizon.”

The debate over the Senate bill’s effect on campuses has been overshadowed in some ways by a louder discussion about sanctuary cities. Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez has become the face of that debate after she promised to limit federal immigration enforcement cooperation in her jurisdiction, which includes the city of Austin. In response, Abbott, the state’s governor, said he would withhold $1.5 million in state criminal justice funding.

It’s also not clear exactly how many students would be affected by campus police changing their policies. Many Texas public higher education institutions shy away from commenting on pending legislation because they cannot lobby for or against bills.

The University of Houston System will work within the law, said Mike Rosen, a spokesman, in an email.

“We are the second most diverse public university in the country,” he said. “We will continue to use the legal tools at our disposal to protect the constitutional rights of our students, and we will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and follow all state and federal laws.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board does estimate the number of students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents but who are classified as Texas residents for higher education purposes. That population comprises about 1.5 percent of all students enrolled in Texas public institutions as of the 2015 fiscal year, about 25,000 people. That estimate likely includes some individuals in Texas on visas, however.

Texas is not the only state where legislators have targeted sanctuary campuses. On Tuesday Alabama's House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow that state's attorney general to pull state funds from campuses that are not complying with immigration law.

Editorial Tags: ImmigrationState policyImage Caption: Texas State Senator Charles PerryIs this diversity newsletter?: Diversity Newsletter Order: 0

Study suggests that college isn't the great equalizer many believe

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 01:00

College is the great equalizer. That's the message proudly proclaimed by many in higher education, not to mention many parents trying to urge children who may not have trust funds to prepare for college.

But a new study says that the economic impact of college -- in postgraduation wages -- is very much tied to the income of students' families growing up, with students from wealthier families earning more than others. Some might assume that this difference is due to enrollment patterns, in that wealthier high school students are more likely than their less well-off counterparts to enroll at highly competitive colleges whose graduates are more likely to earn more in their careers. But the study found this impact even after controlling for a number of factors, such as competitiveness of college attended.

The study is by Dirk Witteveen, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and Paul Attewell, a distinguished professor in sociology at the Graduate Center. Their work has just been published in the journal Social Forces (abstract available here). Their study differs with a recent, much publicized study finding that college is in fact the great equalizer, but the professors behind that study question some of the methodology in this new work.

Their findings are based on an analysis of the national Baccalaureate & Beyond Longitudinal Study of 1993, which collected extensive information about people earning bachelor's degrees and their career paths after. The analysis excludes those who were unemployed 10 years out or who dropped out of college. The researchers then collected salary information about the 1993 graduates and controlled for such factors as selectivity of college, major and academic performance. In this way, the fact that wealthier students are more likely to end up at wealthier colleges should not skew the results.

They then used as a base the earnings of those who came from family incomes in the seventh decile from the bottom, 10 years out of graduating in 1993. They found a mean salary of $57,000. Those who were in the bottom decile and next to the bottom decile -- when controlling for the factors noted above -- earned 12.9 percent and 12.7 percent less, respectively than those in the seventh decile from the bottom. Those in the top two deciles earned 2 and 2.4 percent more than those in the third decile from the top.

While the study does not account for race, Witteveen said the impact is greater on black and Latino graduates, and is greater on women, than on white graduates and men.

So what does this mean?

Witteveen said in an interview that the findings do not mean low-income students don't benefit from going to college. Many studies, he said, have shown that students from any socioeconomic group will likely earn more with a bachelor's degree than a high school diploma. "You see big earnings differentials," he said.

As to the differing impact of a college degree on people from different levels of family wealth, Witteveen said he believes the advantages of wealthier families pay off in job searches of their offspring. "Their parents are better connected, they may set their children up in cities with jobs. They may be people like those doing the hiring. These are all circumstantial class-related resources," he said. The paper refers to these advantages as "parental bridging."

Colleges may not be by themselves able to provide similar advantages to their graduates from low-income families. But some do appear to focus on this issue.

The Carolina Covenant, a program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that offers generous scholarship aid to low-income students, also offers them training in financial literacy and budget planning, business etiquette dinners, and seminars on public speaking.

Told about the program, Witteveen said that this was the kind of thing colleges need to do to narrow the advantage of wealthier students.

Mark S. Schneider, vice president and fellow at the American Institutes for Research, does research on earnings and career outcomes of college graduates. Via email, he said, "This paper confirms what we have known -- that social class mobility is far more limited than we hoped and that higher education is not eliminating all the differences in wage outcomes that can be traced back to social class."

Schneider said he worried the findings would discourage low-income students. "While being born into the right family clearly gives a student a major advantage in the postcompletion money chase, this should not mean that students enrolling in a college should see engraved on the entrance hall the same thing that Dante envisioned at the entrance to hell: 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.'"

A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research reached very different findings, largely concluding that colleges are in fact equalizers. (Much of the NBER study focused on the idea that some colleges are better than others at promoting economic advancement, but the study stressed that colleges are in fact tools of such advancement.)

John N. Friedman, associate professor of economics and international and public affairs at Brown University and one of the authors of that study, questioned the new research by the CUNY Graduate Center team. Friedman said he remained confident that the NBER study was more accurate. Specifically, he faulted the new study for having bands of college selectivity based on Barron's Profile of American Colleges, which Friedman said grouped together colleges too broadly.

Via email, he said that "by adjusting only for broad selectivity bins, and not for exact college, these authors are implicitly comparing the many lower-earning poor kids at [the University of California, Los Angeles] with the many higher-earning rich kids at Princeton [University] and arguing that it is the differences in parent incomes, rather than the school, that explains it. Our work instead compares rich kids at Princeton only to poor kids at Princeton, which (as you might expect) generates considerably smaller differences by parent income."

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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 01:00
  • Bucknell University: Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS and author of In Defense of a Liberal Education.
  • Elizabethtown College: Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
  • MCPHS University: Karyn Polito, lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.
  • Northwestern University: Billie Jean King, the tennis player and advocate for gender equity.
  • Robert Morris University: Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach; and J. Keith Motley, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Boston.
  • Scripps College: Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code.
  • University of Mary Washington: John Burrow, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy; and Edward Ayers, professor of humanities and former president of the University of Richmond.
  • University of Rochester: Judge Jimmie V. Reyna of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
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Row over mismanagement of EU research funding

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 00:33
European Commission officials are expected to hold talks with government representatives in Bulgaria over the alleged mismanagement of funds in the operational programme Science and Education for ...

Government raises foreign student quota to 200,000

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 23:26
The Russian government plans to increase the quota for international students studying at domestic higher education institutions by 30% this year - up to 200,000 places, according to the official ...

English New Zealand rebrands with new logo

The PIE News - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 10:24

New Zealand’s peak body for English language providers, English New Zealand, has launched a new logo set to better reflect the organisation’s key value propositions and help students identify member institutions.

“We made a decision to refresh our look and develop a ‘member of’ version to assure education retailers, students, and government and academic pathway stakeholders that schools displaying this logo meet our additional and rigorous TESOL-specific standards,” English New Zealand executive director Kim Renner said.

Comprised of New Zealand’s fern iconography and green and black, the new logo is a significant departure from the former logo, and incorporates new elements meant to capture the “environmental experience students can enjoy while learning English” in the country.

Renner told The PIE News English New Zealand, which represents 27 ELT providers in New Zealand, “consulted [members] throughout the process and the end result incorporating the fern, an iconic image associated with New Zealand, embodies exactly who we are.”

She added the new logo sets have been well received by members so far. It features prominently on the association’s website, which also directs students to learn about Game On English, an English language and rugby course which is being heavily promoted in Japan in particular.

English New Zealand is one of the country’s oldest ongoing international education peak bodies, having celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

The new logo follows several changes for English New Zealand, including appointing its first executive director, Renner, as well as working to establish a cross-sector working group for international education.

Renner said the organisation expected further initiatives throughout 2017, including a review of its strategy for capability building and market development, and hosting the quality assurance and benchmarking in ELT (QALEN) symposium alongside its first ever conference.

The post English New Zealand rebrands with new logo appeared first on The PIE News.

Louis Soares to Oversee ACE’s Strategic Alliances, Advancement Initiatives

American Council on Education - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 09:28
​Louis Soares, a nationally recognized expert in higher education policy and innovation, is assuming a new role at ACE overseeing organizational strategy and advancement initiatives.

Third Trimester Field Practical Programme, University for Development Studies in Ghana

International Association of Universities - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 08:44

The University for Development Studies in Ghana is currently accepting applications from International Students for the Third Trimester Field Practical Programme. The programme is a key component of the overall objective of the Univeristy to "blend the academic world with that of the community in order to provide constructive interaction between the two for the total development of Northern Ghana in particular and the country as a whole”.

For more information and to apply click here.

Justin Trudeau charms Donald Trump

Economist, North America - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 08:44

A good hombre, apparently

GIVE Justin Trudeau credit for emotional intelligence. Paying his first visit to Washington after Donald Trump took office, on February 13th, the Canadian prime minister brought his host the perfect gift: a photograph of the president in his youth with Mr Trudeau’s father, Pierre, a glamorous prime minister of the 1970s. The subtle caress of Mr Trump’s vanity seemed to go down well. Mr Trudeau went home with Mr Trump’s promise that Canada has little to fear from his plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which gives Canada, Mexico and the United States preferential access to each other’s markets.

Before the meeting, the Canadians were nervous. Mr Trump’s repeated threats either to renegotiate NAFTA or to rip it up were aimed almost entirely at Mexico (which, unlike Canada, has a big trade surplus with the United States). Yet Canada has almost as much to lose if the United States rescinds the 23-year-old agreement or demands one-sided revisions. The value of Canada’s trade worldwide is equivalent to 65% of its GDP; the United States buys three-quarters of Canada’s...

What to expect from Ecuador’s elections

Economist, North America - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 08:44

WHEN Rafael Correa first ran for Ecuador’s presidency in 2006, supporters at his rallies brandished belts in homage to their candidate, whose surname means “belt” or “strap”. “Dale correa,” or “give them a whipping,” the crowds roared. It was a demand to punish what they regarded as the corrupt elites who had governed Ecuador since the return of democracy in 1979. Mr Correa promised he would. He won that election and then two more. His presidency brought a rare spell of political stability. Living standards rose and public services improved. But few would say that he kept his promise to clean up government. This year’s national elections, which begin on February 19th, are shrill with accusations of corruption. 

Mr Correa, who has a respectable approval rating of 42%, is not a candidate. He is counting on Lenin Moreno, a former vice-president, and his running mate, Jorge Glas, the current vice-president, to carry on his “citizens’ revolution”. Mr Moreno, who shares his alarming first name with 18,000 other Ecuadoreans, hopes to win in the first round by capturing the bulk of Mr Correa’s support and adding to it. To do...

The blacklisting of Venezuela’s vice-president

Economist, North America - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 08:44

THE statement by the United States Treasury Department was blunt. It alleges that Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela’s vice-president, is a “prominent” drug trafficker, who amassed great wealth through his connections to gangs across Latin America, including Mexico’s vicious Zetas. Among the now-frozen American assets linked to him are three lavish apartments in the Four Seasons complex in Miami and a Gulfstream jet. If the allegations are true, Mr El Aissami’s carefully cultivated image as a true believer in the socialist ideology of Venezuela’s government is just a cover.

As normally happens when any outsider accuses anyone in the Venezuelan regime of wrongdoing, the country’s leaders have closed ranks. The foreign ministry accused the United States government of committing “an international crime”. Mr El Aissami himself denounces the allegations as untrue, “miserable and vile”.

But rumours of malfeasance have swirled around the dapper politician since he came to prominence under President Hugo Chávez in the early 2000s. He was interior minister, and then governor of the coastal Aragua state. Defectors accuse him of running his own...

A Peronist on the Potomac

Economist, North America - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 08:44

A PRESIDENT is swept into office after whipping up a wave of grievance and resentment. He claims to represent “the people” against internal exploiters and external threats. He purports to “refound” the nation, and damns those who preceded him. He governs though confrontation and polarisation. His language is aggressive—opponents are branded as enemies or traitors. He uses the media to cement his connection with the masses, while bridling at critical journalism and at rebuffs to executive power. His policies focus on bringing short-term benefits to his political base—hang the long-term cost to the country’s economic stability.

Donald Trump? Yes, but these traits come straight from the manual of Latin American populist nationalism, a tradition that stretches from Argentina’s Juan Perón to Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and beyond. Yes, Mr Trump is a billionaire capitalist whereas Chávez was an anti-capitalist army officer. But populism is not synonymous with the left: conservatives such as Peru’s Alberto Fujimori used its techniques, too. “Post-truth” politics and “alternative facts” have long been deployed in Latin America, from Mr Fujimori’s use of tabloid...

Row over scholarships for Chinese and overseas students

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 07:34
Lawmakers have criticised Hong Kong's higher education funding body, the University Grants Committee, for subsidising students from mainland China and from overseas while thousands of local studen ...

Sign up for LGEU-4!

International Association of Universities - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 07:29
Registration is open for the 4th session of Leading Globally Engaged Universities (LGEU), IAU’s professional development programme for higher education leaders!

![LGEU-4][LGEU-4] Next session will be hosted by the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana from 21-26 May, 2017.

This unique programme provides current and future senior university leaders from all over the globe with a peer-learning space that helps them prepare for the complex expectations and multiple responsibilities they will take on in their institution, in a challenging local and global context.

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