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Subsidy withdrawals may follow predatory publishing probe

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:50
The Department of Higher Education and Training will probe claims about predatory publishing, and could withdraw subsidies paid out for the academic articles in question, writes Bekezela Phakathi ...

Roadmap to set out path towards increased collaboration

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:48
A higher education roadmap is being developed to pave the way for greater collaboration between Malaysia and Indonesia, writes Christina Chin for The Star.

A memoran ...

Student loans - Minister pushes terminology change

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:46
Universities Minister Jo Johnson has suggested that student loans be renamed "graduate contribution" tax, writes Camilla Turner for The Telegraph. At a Tory party confe ...

New fund to boost international collaboration

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:45
A new fund - the International Academic Mobility Programme - will see EUR500,000 (US$586,000) made available to Irish higher education institutions to promote collaboration with global institution ...

University to establish driving school for women

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:44
Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University announced on 30 September that it is ready to establish a driving school for women in cooperation with the relevant authorities. The university made the ...

Universities join forces to ease shortage of engineers

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:42
The chronic shortage of qualified engineers in Jamaica could soon be a thing of the past as three of the island's leading universities have forged a partnership which will see them training at lea ...

Universities struggle to find qualified academic staff

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:41
Despite a raft of applications for nine lecturer vacancies announced in July, Ho Chi Minh City University of Transport has been unable to fill any of the positions owing to a lack of candidates wi ...

Cuts 'may push more universities into deficit'

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:40
The universities peak sector body has warned that 10 universities may tip into deficit if the government's AU$2.8 billion (US$2.2 billion) higher education savings package goes through, writes Ber ...

Foreign travel ban violates rights of lecturers - Dons

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:38
University lecturers have demanded the immediate withdrawal of the travel restriction recently imposed by the government, writes Ouma Wanzala for the Nation. The Univer ...

Oman ministry blacklists four Malaysian universities

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:37
The Higher Education Ministry of Oman has banned Omani students from attending four Malaysian universities due to alleged academic and administrative abuses by the universities, writes Beatrice Ni ...

Academics issue warning over 'truncated' HE commission

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:35
The government has been sitting on appointments to key posts in the University Grants Commission, forcing the higher education regulator to make do with an ad hoc arrangement, although two search ...

Climate scientists oppose call for foreign researchers

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:34
French President Emmanuel Macron made global headlines in June when he called on foreign scientists to join his 'Make Our Planet Great Again' project on fighting climate change. But in France, not ...

Universities urged to crack down on contract cheating

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:33
Universities are being urged to block websites that sell essays, identify cheating 'hot spots' and consider publishing data on breaches of academic integrity, writes Henrietta Cook for ...

New deal with US college may save elite university

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 23:31
The prestigious Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, seems to have found a way around a threat to close it down. The university had been affected by a law change that is widely though ...

Saudi students meet German business leaders

The PIE News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 08:06

Around 80 Saudi students recently met with leading German companies in Frankfurt to discuss future job prospects offered by German firms in Saudi Arabia.

The exchange was a joint project by the German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs and the Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce, where the event was held.

“We will definitely intensify our efforts to bridge between the German-trained students and the German business community”

Representatives from companies such as Siemens and Bauer Spezialtiefbau GmbH met with students in large groups, as well as individual mock interviews, where the students’ CV’s and job opportunities were discussed.

The event was held solely in German, and GESALO government relations officer Shaden Altoukhi commented on what he said were “impressive” language skills.

“It was deeply impressive to see how enthusiastically the students get along with the challenges in a foreign country with a different educational system and bilingual lectures in German and English,” he said.

Oliver Oehms, the Delegate of German Industry & Commerce for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen commented on the apparent enthusiasm among the students for King Salman’s 2030 vision for the Saudi economy and society.

“I felt they are all keen to contribute to the achievement of the Saudi Vision 2030,” he said.

Oehms added that the smooth running of the event was encouraging in regards to future German-Saudi relations.

“We will definitely intensify our efforts to bridge between the German-trained students and the German business community. This is worth any effort from our end.”

The event was underlined as an important signal for the future, with GESALO recently completing a jobs portal, listing German companies offering work in Saudi Arabia, called JobXchange.

The platform was launched in early October and aims to strengthen the German-Saudi relations on the labour market by helping Saudi students stay up to date with job and internship opportunities offered by German companies in Saudi Arabia.

The post Saudi students meet German business leaders appeared first on The PIE News.

Deciphering Donald Trump’s thinking on Latin America

Economist, North America - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:54

IT IS a mystery that has baffled American and Cuban officials for months. Who and what was behind what the State Department calls the “attacks of an unknown nature” that inflicted hearing loss and headaches on 18 staff and four spouses from the United States’ embassy in Havana? With no sign of an answer, on September 29th the State Department announced that it was withdrawing all but emergency personnel from Havana. Noting that some of the “attacks” took place in hotels, it also advised Americans not to visit Cuba. This week it expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington.

Despite this, the administration of Donald Trump does not contradict Cuba’s claim that it had nothing to do with the incidents. Cuba has allowed the FBI to investigate. Even so, the strange episode is helping to reverse the opening to Cuba that was a central element in the Latin American policy of Barack Obama, Mr Trump’s predecessor.

This adds to the difficulty of deciphering Mr Trump’s approach to...

The death of Venezuela’s Humboldt glacier

Economist, North America - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:54

VENEZUELA is a tropical country, with rainforest in the south and east, and baking savannah stretching towards its northern Caribbean coast. The Sierra Nevada de Mérida mountain range in the north-west offers relief from the heat. In 1991 five glaciers occupied nooks near their peaks. Now, just one remains, lodged into a cwm west of Pico Humboldt. Reduced to an area of ten football pitches, a tenth of its size 30 years ago, it will be gone within a decade or two. Venezuela will then be the first country in the satellite age to have lost all its glaciers.

The retreat of the Humboldt glacier, named for Alexander von Humboldt, a German explorer of the 19th century, is the final stage of a 20,000-year process, the recession of an ice sheet that covered 600 square km (about 230 square miles) of Venezuela in the most recent ice age. Climate change has sped it up.

Scientists want to study the glacier in its final years but Venezuela’s tumultuous politics is...

Rio’s post-Olympic blues

Economist, North America - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:54

IN THE warren of alleyways that make up Rocinha, Brazil’s largest favela, the air is heavy with foreboding. A feud between factions of the Amigos dos Amigos (Friends of Friends, or ADA), a drug gang that has controlled the slum since 2004, erupts in daily violence. Police in patrol cars creep through the lanes, their rifles poking out of the windows. Residents share news of shoot-outs on WhatsApp. “We are scared to walk around,” says Raquel, who sells colourful prints to a few brave tourists. At a command post a squad of policemen prepares for yet another operation. “It’s a never-ending war,” sighs José (not his real name), an officer drafted in from a nearby neighbourhood.

The city of Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the Olympic games in 2016, is having a grim year. Shoot-outs in favelas, or shantytowns, have killed dozens of people. A third of adults aged 18 to 24 are out of work. Many Olympic venues are abandoned; a fire in July damaged...

NZQA closes fourth private college in New Zealand

The PIE News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 03:27

New Zealand’s private training establishments sector has experienced a further setback after the country’s qualifications authority cancelled the registration of another provider last month.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority closed the doors on Christchurch’s Retail Business and Management College as a result of the provider’s poor educational performance and non-compliance with NZQA rules, affecting 31 international students.

“NZQA will be ensuring students are supported at this time and provided with options to continue their studies,”  said NZQA deputy chief executive quality assurance, Grant Klinkum.

“Our focus is working to transfer these students to alternative high-quality tertiary education organisations who will provide a full package of learning and support.”

Significantly, however, the deregistration marks the fourth closure of a PTE that enrols international students in 2017, while a fifth, domestic-only provider also closed earlier this year.

While closures are up from a relatively quiet 2016 – several providers were put under review but not closed, and one provider under investigation was liquidated and later bought by EDENZ Colleges – Klinkum told The PIE News it was not cause for concern.

“This represents less than 1% of the entire sector we quality assure, which comprises over 500 providers,” he said.

“On the one side is increasing competition to attract international students and on the other hand is stricter regulation to control immigration”

“The vast majority of NZQA-accredited education providers are high quality providers who support NZQA’s role of quality assurance,” he said, adding the authority regularly reviewed its quality assurance requirements and rules to address emerging risks.

According to Rahul Choudaha, executive vice president at online platform StudyPortals, the increase is likely due to more stringent guidelines around quality assurance, rather than an increase in the number of unscrupulous providers.

“On the one side is increasing competition to attract international students and on the other hand is stricter regulation to control immigration. Depending on the timing and context, one side may win over the other,” he said.

“Currently, institutions which have compromised quality to bring students onshore to New Zealand are yielding to the regulatory and competitive pressures.”

Klinkum added additional measures to ensure high quality education and ongoing monitoring had also resulted in the approval of only 15 out of the 37 applications for PTE registration in the past year.

While the sector has made it clear the closures are not part of an ongoing trend, quality assurance within education propelled onto the national stage, with the incumbent tertiary education, skills and employment minister Paul Goldsmith using it as a platform in the lead up to last month’s election.

In an address to delegates at NZIEC, Goldsmith repeatedly prioritised the need for rigid quality assurance and commended NZQA for the work it had already undertaken.

Still, the measures implemented by NZQA have not prevented some unscrupulous providers bypassing the rules, and the regulator announced in August that legal proceedings against a sixth, unregistered provider for breaches to the Education Act had begun.

Breaches included the unapproved enrolment of international students, making false claims that their courses were approved by the regulatory body, and the unauthorised use of protected terms, such as “New Zealand” when describing its courses, according to NZQA.

A representative from ITENZ, the body representing PTEs in New Zealand, said while concerning, students’ best interests should be at the centre of international education.

“We welcome such action by NZQA as registered PTEs have to go through a rigorous process to be registered and accredited by NZQA and therefore any organisation failing to register or meet the Quality Assurance Standards is of concern,” said the representative.

New Zealand’s international education industry has experienced ongoing growth recently, reaching a record $4.28bn last financial year, primarily driven by the PTE and schools sectors

The post NZQA closes fourth private college in New Zealand appeared first on The PIE News.

New federal data on student borrowing, repayment and default

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 00:00

New federal data show that college students are taking out more student loan debt and also taking longer to pay it off.

The report from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, released today, examines patterns of student loan repayment for two separate groups of borrowers -- those who started college in the 1995-96 academic year and those who started eight years later, in 2003-04. Twelve years after beginning their postsecondary educations, the second group had paid off a smaller proportion of their student loans and had defaulted at a higher rate on at least one loan.

In addition to the rising price of college, multiple factors may have contributed to changing profile of student loan repayment. Students who entered college in 2003 would have graduated or left college around the time the U.S. entered the Great Recession. Changes in federal policy also have made options like income-driven repayment more popular. And experts say the composition of student loan borrowers has changed, too, as enrollment at community colleges and for-profit institutions spiked in the recession's wake.

The report found that 12 years after first entering college, the median percentage owed on student loans by the first cohort of borrowers was 70 percent. For the second borrower cohort, that number was 78 percent. Over the same time frame, 18 percent of those in the earlier cohort had defaulted on at least one student loan, while 27 percent of the more recent cohort had done so.

Experiences were not uniform among those struggling to repay their federal loans. Faring worst were students who began a degree program but never received any credential and those who attended for-profit institutions. More than half of borrowers who began college in 2003-04 and attended a for-profit institution defaulted on at least one student loan within 12 years; more than a quarter of those who attended a community college did so.

Compared to the earlier cohort of borrowers, the only student subgroups who appeared to do as well or better in making progress toward paying off student loans after 12 years were those who attended a four-year institution or those who earned a bachelor's degree. Student borrowers who entered college in 2003 and attended a public four-year institution had paid off an average of 61.7 percent of their remaining student loans. Among the earlier borrower cohort, this group paid off 63.1 percent of loans after 12 years.

Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute who studies higher education finance, said overall loan repayment rates can be misleading without examining the types of borrowers taking out student loans. She said that, over time, many more students have enrolled in community colleges and for-profit colleges, and borrowers who attend those institutions tend to perform worse in paying off student loans.

"The issue is the composition of the borrowers has changed so dramatically," Baum said.

David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and policy analysis at the American Association of Community Colleges, said it would stand to reason that, if students are borrowing more on average to pay for college, repayment would be more drawn out.

"It’s also possible that students simply decided to avail themselves of other repayment options that allowed for more time," he said, adding that the second cohort "obviously would have run smack-dab into the Great Recession."

Short-term training programs are more popular than ever with policy makers who are eager to boost skills training they say will lead to higher employment. But the NCES report found that, among borrowers who started a postsecondary program in 2003-04, those who earned an undergraduate certificate, as opposed to an associate or bachelor's degree, had a default rate of 29.9 percent -- higher than if they dropped out entirely (29 percent).

Jeff Strohl, director of research at Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, said the center's research has found that less than 50 percent of certificates have any reasonable earnings returns.

"Like all postsecondary credentials, students today really need to look at how the level of attainment and program combine to provide opportunity," he said via email. "Our research supports the long-term findings that college is worth the cost, but that general finding does not apply to every possible credential in every field."

The report reconfirmed findings by many who study higher education that even students with small amounts of debt can default, said Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University. But Kelchen said it's hard to tell what specific factors are driving the higher number of defaults and slower progress repaying student loans.

"It's hard to tell what's because of the recession, what's because of the increase in student debt levels and what's a result of changes in student loan repayment options," he said.

Kelchen said it's important for the Education Department to continue to track default rates over the long term. And he said more data on student loan repayments could help show the effects of payment options like income-driven repayment plans and also disentangle patterns of loan repayment for graduate and undergraduate students.

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