international

U.S. Young Adults Lag Behind International Peers

The National Center for Education Statistics released its assessment of young adults' skills yesterday and found American adults lag behind their international peers in numeracy and problem solving.

The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) exam revealed that the average numeracy score for U.S. adults was lower than average scores for 16 other countries, not statistically different for three countries and higher than three other countries. The assessment also found that when it comes to digital problem-solving skills, the U.S. average score was lower than every other participating country except one.

"In today's global labor market, companies can choose their workers from among dozens of countries. In this highly competitive environment, American workers are at an enormous disadvantage," said Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, in a news release. "First, a smaller portion of our students graduate high school. Second, even those who do graduate perform poorly relative to their competitors in other countries on the OECD PISA survey of high school students. It should not surprise us that the skills of our graduating high school students predict the skills of our adult workers."

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IITs Open Entrance Tests to Foreign Students

The elite Indian Institutes of Technology will hold entrance exams in eight foreign countries starting in 2017 in an effort to attract more international students. The Huffington Post’s India edition reported that tests for foreign nationals are planned for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and, within the United Arab Emirates, Dubai. 

"The entrance tests to the IITs abroad have been held till now only to admit Indian nationals. This is for the first time that it has been planned to admit foreign students through tests held abroad," the publication quotes an unnamed Ministry of Human Resource Development official as saying.

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U of Cambridge Moves Controversial Cockerel Bronze

Jesus College of the University of Cambridge has removed from public display a bronze of a cockerel -- long a symbol of the college -- that was looted from Benin City in Nigeria by British authorities in the late 19th century. Student leaders have said that displaying the object (at right), which is also used on the college's crest, suggests support for British imperialism. Some have pushed for the bronze to be returned to Nigeria, but the university has not committed to that.

Cambridge released this statement: "Jesus College acknowledges the contribution made by students in raising the important but complex question of the rightful location of its Benin Bronze, in response to which it has permanently removed the Okukor [the name for the statue where it was created] from its hall. The college commits to work actively with the wider university and to commit resources to new initiatives with Nigerian heritage and museum authorities to discuss and determine the best future for the Okukor, including the question of repatriation. The college strongly endorses the inclusion of students from all relevant communities in such discussion."

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Vanderbilt Student Killed in Terror Attack in Israel

A Vanderbilt University business student, Taylor Force, was killed Tuesday in Israel in what is being called a Palestinian terror attack. Force was stabbed fatally. The other Vanderbilt students and faculty members with Force -- on a program to study global entrepreneurship -- were not harmed.

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Pell Grant Abuse Alleged at Michigan Jewish Institute

The U.S. Department of Education has revoked the eligibility of Michigan Jewish Institute to participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs after finding that it obtained Pell Grants on behalf of students who were enrolled in foreign institutions and had no intention of earning an MJI degree.

The Department allows Pell Grants to be used by students who study abroad during the course of their degree programs. However, in its evaluation the department found that MJI “turned the notion of a study abroad program on its head” in awarding Pell Grants to students who were not seeking a MJI credential.

“The evidence shows that almost 2,000 U.S. citizens, who were full-time Israeli residents, received Pell Grants for ostensibly 'studying abroad' in Israel at Israeli institutions between 2006 and 2012,” states the Department of Education's Feb. 25 letter to the university, uploaded to the Detroit Jewish News website. “Not a single one of them ever physically attended classes at MJI and none of them graduated from MJI. More than a quarter of these individuals were enrolled at universities or colleges in Israel offering degree programs or were enrolled in teachers' colleges in Israel offering teacher certificates. This evidence demonstrates that these students did not study briefly at an Israeli institution to enhance their educational experience after enrolling in MJI for purposes of obtaining a degree from MJI. Rather, these full-time Israeli residents were 'enrolled' in MJI so MJI could obtain and use Pell Grants, partly to subsidize the education of full-time Israeli residents enrolled at Israeli educational institutions, and partly to fund its own activities.”

The department’s letter also alleges that the institute provided false information to its accrediting agency, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

In a statement issued by a public relations firm, MJI said it “disputes the department’s contentions and will contest the action to the fullest extent possible.”

“MJI does not provide a study abroad program as described by the department; rather, its students are almost all either enrolled entirely online with MJI or enrolled in a hybrid version in which the student is taking courses from MJI and courses for credit toward an MJI certificate/degree from a foreign institution that has signed a partnership agreement,” the institute said in its written statement. “This arrangement complies with departmental regulations governing written arrangements between eligible institutions, such as MJI, and other institutions including ones located outside the U.S.”

Texas A&M Receives $76.2M per Year for Qatar Campus

Texas A&M University receives more than $76.2 million each year to operate its branch campus in Qatar, The Washington Post reported. The Post obtained a copy of the contract and budget documents for the campus via a public records request.

Texas A&M’s campus in Qatar’s “Education City” has awarded 635 degrees in engineering fields since its establishment in 2003. It is one of six U.S. branch campuses funded by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. Each of the branches has a specific programmatic focus: Carnegie Mellon’s branch focuses on business and computer science, Cornell University’s on medicine, Georgetown University’s on foreign service, Northwestern University’s on communication and journalism, and Virginia Commonwealth University’s on art and design. The Post estimates that operating expenses for all six of the branches totaled $404.8 million in 2014.

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What impact would Catalan independence have on higher education

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Many academic leaders believe region's universities would fare better without Spanish bureaucracy.

Scholars in India demand that Harvard U Press drop its well-respected editor

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Thousands of academics and others in India attack esteemed book series by Harvard U Press and its well-respected editor, a Columbia professor, because the project is in the U.S. and the editor has differed from Hindu nationalist teachings.

Research suggests ways for Western universities to succeed with programs in China

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Research points to ways Western universities can position their programs.

Students Burn Building at South African University

Protesting students at South Africa’s North-West University set fire to various university buildings on Wednesday, completely destroying the administration building and forcing the university to close its campus in Mafikeng indefinitely, the university said.

Students were protesting the university’s decision to dissolve the Student Representative Council and create a new one, the Mail and Guardian reported. According to the university’s statement, clashes broke out between security forces and students after an event held to mark the inauguration of a new student council: security used tear gas and rubber bullets and protestors threw stones at the security forces. The university dismissed as “devoid of all truth” rumors that a student had been killed.

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