international

Political Science Dept. at Ben-Gurion U. Escapes Closure

Israel's Council for Higher Education on Tuesday backed away from a plan to close the political science department at Ben-Gurion University, Haaretz reported. The council has previously called for the elimination of the department. While officials cited concerns about quality, the university said it had addressed those issues. Many believe that the department was targeted because some of its faculty members are outspoken critics of Israel's government, and the proposal to shut down the program attracted widespread criticism from academics in Israel and elsewhere.

 

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Australia adapts European Union tool for comparing universities

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Seeking to counteract rankings' intense focus on research, the country adapts a European tool that provides data on universities, warts and all.

American Adjuncts in France

France is known for numerous laws that protect workers. But adjuncts who teach at American programs at France have few of these rights, The New York Times reported. As a result, many report that their pay is based only on time in class and that they have few if any rights when they are ill or otherwise unable to work.

 

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McMaster U. to Close Confucius Institute

McMaster University, in Ontario, will close its Confucius Institute this summer due to concerns about its Chinese partner’s hiring practices, The Globe and Mail reported. A former instructor at McMaster’s Confucius Institute recently issued a complaint with the province's Human Rights Tribunal alleging that the university was “giving legitimization to discrimination” because her contract with Hanban – the Chinese government entity that sponsors the institutes – prohibits her participation in Falun Gong. 

The number of Confucius Institutes -- centers of Chinese language and culture education based on university campuses -- has increased rapidly worldwide, but critics raise concerns about the degree to which the Chinese government exercises control over curricular matters (including through the hiring of instructors).

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German Education Minister, Stripped of Doctorate, Quits

Annette Schavan resigned as Germany's education minister on Saturday, days after Heinrich Heine University revoked her doctorate, the Associated Press reported. The university found that portions of her dissertation had been plagiarized, a charge that Schavan has denied.

 

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University in Singapore Lifts Ban on Condom Sales

Condoms were removed from a campus drug store at National University of Singapore this week, but amid considerable attention locally, the university said that sales may resume, Bloomberg reported. Many had criticized the decision -- now called a "misunderstanding" by the university -- to have the condoms removed. One student told the news service that the university "is afraid of the implications that selling condoms might have on students living in dorms. If you want to have sex, you’ll get it somewhere else. Taking condoms on and off shelves isn’t the right way to deal with such issues.”

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Australian financier gives $50M for scholarships, challenges his peers

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As Australian universities get into the fund-raising game, an international financier sets the pace with a $50 million donation and encourages others to follow suit.

British universities spend big to prepare for increase in tuition rates

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British universities prepare for an increase in tuition rates.

German Education Minister Stripped of Doctorate

A panel at Heinrich Heine University has decided to strip Germany's education minister, Annette Schavan, of her doctorate because the committee found her dissertation to be plagiarized, the Associated Press reported. Schavan denies the charges and plans to appeal. A former defense minister in Germany resigned in 2011 after revelations that he had copied portions of his doctoral thesis.

 

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Initiative Launched to Provide Higher Ed to Refugees

York University, in Toronto, announced on Monday that it had received more than $4.5 million from the Canadian International Development Agency to lead the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project in Dadaab, Kenya. York is one of four universities -- along with Moi and Kenyatta Universities, in Kenya, and the University of British Columbia -- participating in the initiative, which aims to provide higher education to primary and secondary school teachers in the six refugee camps on the Kenya-Somalia border. The BHER organizers are focusing on education for teachers – who in many cases have completed only primary or secondary school themselves – with the objective of indirectly improving the quality of education for thousands of their students.

Don Dippo, a professor of education at York, explained that the first cohort of 200 teachers/students will be admitted this summer for a foundation year program. Following the foundation year, the participating universities have committed to offer various two-year diploma and three- or four-year degree programs. The programs will be delivered through a hybrid of face-to-face and online instruction.

BHER's organizers expect to enroll 200 new students a year, for a total of 1,000, over the five-year term of the grant.

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