As network of Chinese-funded institutes at American universities expands, some professors see opportunities. Others worry about academic freedom and whether centers promote "culturetainment," not scholarship.
A plan between two major universities in Sydney, Australia, to merge their art schools has been dropped, just five weeks after it was announced, The Australianreported. The University of Sydney announced Thursday that it decided not to pursue a possible merger of its Sydney College of the Arts with the University of New South Wales' Art & Design school. "Despite the best efforts of all involved, our two institutions have a different vision of what a center of excellence in the visual arts might entail and the extent to which it is important to preserve the SCA’s distinctive tradition," Sydney's vice chancellor, Michael Spence, said in a message to students at the college.
A Reuters investigation found evidence of cheating in a preparatory program owned by a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of the test provider ACT, with some former students in the program reporting that they gained advance access to ACT test materials.
The Global Assessment Certificate program is billed as helping foreign students develop the academic and English skills they need to succeed in university, but Reuters interviewed seven students from three GAC centers who reported that program officials or test proctors ignored or were complicit in cheating on the ACT. Reuters also interviewed eight teachers or administrators at seven GAC centers who reported cheating in program courses.
An ACT spokesman said its Hong Kong-based subsidiary, ACT Education Solutions Ltd., is responsible for vetting and monitoring GAC centers, which Reuters reported are run according to a franchising model in which local operators pay the ACT subsidiary for the right to offer the curriculum at schools and educational centers. The ACT's head of test security said the organization has canceled suspicious test scores of GAC students.
More than 60 U.S. universities use the GAC program for admission purposes, in some cases awarding college credit for GAC classes. The GAC program enrolls about 5,000 students at 197 centers in 11 countries. About three-quarters of the centers are in China.
Thirty-one academics from Istanbul University were detained on Monday on the suspicion that they have links to what the government calls the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Turkey's government blames followers of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen for a July 15 coup attempt, to which it has responded with widespread purges in the education sector and state institutions more broadly (Gülen has denied involvement in the failed coup). Dozens of American and European higher education groups have expressed their concern about the crackdown on Turkish academe.