The National University of Singapore has revoked the scholarship of and imposed other punishments on a Chinese student who posted online comments saying that Singaporeans were "more dogs than humans," Asia One reported. The comment infuriated many in Singapore. The student -- who has apologized -- must pay a fine of $3,000 and do three months of community service to be eligible to graduate.
More than 1,000 Israeli academics -- including many prominent figures in Israel's universities -- have signed a petition calling on the government to stop the process of awarding university status to the Ariel University Center, which offers college courses on a West Bank campus, Haaretz reported. The academics object to the impact such a move would have on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and some question whether the country needs another university. The Ariel campus has been embraced by many in Israel who seek to keep the West Bank (or significant parts of it). Nir Gov, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science and an organizer of the petition, said: "When did the Council for Higher Education decide that another university was needed in Israel? Who said that Ariel is the college that can most efficiently become an official research university in Israel?"
Academics at RMIT University, in Australia, are protesting new requirements that employees be "positive" and "optimistic," as well as "resolute" and "passionate," The Australian reported. These qualities are part of a new "behavioral capability framework" that officials said would result in a more productive environment on campus. But many employees say that they are being coerced into adopting certain attitudes, and that telling people what to think is antithetical to an academic environment.
Non-English speaking European countries are seeing a major growth in master's level programs in English, according to a new report by the Institute of International Education. The number of such programs in Europe (excluding Britain and Ireland) was 4,644 in 2011, up from 1,028 in 1977. The Netherlands has the greatest number of such programs (812), followed by Germany (632) and Sweden (401). But some countries further down on the list showed the greatest percentage increases in the last year. Italy and Denmark have only 191 and 188 such programs, respectively, but both of those figures are up 33 percent in the last year.
Josef Dobes, the controversial education minister in the Czech Republic, is stepping down, Radio Prague reported. Dobes said he was leaving to protest budget cuts to his agency. Many students and academics in the country criticized his tenure in office, and particularly his plan to impose tuition at universities.
University tuition fees rose by 2.58 percent in 40 developed countries in 2011 (1.76 percent when accounting for inflation), but student aid increased as well, leading to an overall increase in higher education affordability worldwide, according to a study published today by Higher Education Strategy Associates, a research group. While tuition rose significantly in the United States and South Africa, it fell by more than 5 percent in Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Russia and Turkey; and while student aid declined in the U.S., due to cutbacks in Pell Grants, it increased significantly in Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Singapore and South Africa, the group found.
Science leaders in Japan are warning that the country's universities are facing a shortage of young research talent, Nature reported. In the last 30 years, the number of science faculty members at state universities has grown from 50,000 to 63,000, but the number under the age of 35 has dropped from 10,000 to 6,800. Tight budgets have forced universities to limit hiring, leading to concerns about the future of science programs that aren't recruiting enough new professors.
Paul H. Frampton, a physicist who holds an endowed chair at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is in an Argentine jail facing cocaine charges, and he is fighting both those charges and the university's decision to suspend his salary, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Frampton said that the cocaine was planted in his luggage, and that he is confident he will be able to show that in court. But he said he needs his salary paid, and is frustrated that it was cut off. Frampton said that Provost Bruce Carney blocked his pay out of professional jealousy. A university spokeswoman declined to say why Frampton's pay was suspended, but university officials have noted that he is not teaching as scheduled. But Frampton said he has continued to work 40-plus hours a week in prison, and has been advising his graduate students from afar (one of his advisees confirmed this).
India is expanding its ties to Russian universities, and helping to create programs at those institutions to study India, The Hindu reported. India has just signed an agreement to create a Center of Indian Studies at Kazan Federal University, the first such India-backed institute in Russia outside of Moscow. Plans are currently under way for either chairs or research centers related to India at universities in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Krasnodar.