international

British prime minister seeks to promote technical education as alternative to universities

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Plan would boost technical education, seeking to reduce regional disparities in economic opportunity.

U.S. Applications Way Up at Canadian Universities

Canadian universities are reporting increases of 20 to 80 percent in the number of applicants from the U.S. compared to last year, according to an informal survey conducted by The Globe and Mail. University officials say that while the election of President Trump may have played a role, other factors, including several years of stepped-up recruiting efforts in the U.S. and the weakness of the Canadian dollar, likely contributed.

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Chinese Company Accused of Fraud Withdraws From Project to Combat Fraud

A Chinese company that was the subject of a Reuters investigation into application fraud has withdrawn from a multi-university project focused on verification of Chinese student transcripts, the news agency reported.

Reuters in October published an article about the Shanghai-based Dipont Education Management Group detailing allegations by ex-employees that it helped students commit application fraud and described how the company "bought access" to admissions officers from top American universities who participated in the company’s summer admission workshops in exchange for $4,500 honoraria or business-class airfare. The original article further noted that Dipont donated $750,000 to a University of Southern California research center for a multi-university project it was leading to attempt to combat application fraud by creating "verifiable credentials" for Chinese applicants to U.S. colleges.

Reuters reported Wednesday that Dipont has withdrawn from the project. A Dipont vice president, Jeff Zhu, said the project’s advisory board recommended the company withdraw “to eliminate any possible question of who has control over the project.”

The future of the project, which has involved Columbia and Stanford Universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as USC, is now unclear. At least two institutions, Pomona and Swarthmore Colleges, have dropped out.

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Finland's universities fear brain drain is following budget cuts

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After major budget cuts for universities, Ph.D.s are leaving the country.

University of Mumbai Plans Campus in U.S.

The University of Mumbai is planning to create a campus in the United States, The Indian Express reported. Officials said that they hoped to work with prominent Indian immigrants to the United States and perhaps to create joint degrees with American universities.

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Suicide Attack at Nigerian University Kills Professor

Three suicide bombers attacked the University of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria on Monday, killing a university professor and a child, as well as the bombers themselves, the Associated Press reported. Official estimates of the number of people wounded range from 15 to 17. One explosion reportedly targeted a mosque where professors had gathered for early-morning prayers. A second blast occurred when police shot a 12-year-old girl wearing a suicide vest, setting off an explosion. The university has blamed the attack on the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

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British Universities Fret About Grade Inflation

Roughly one in four students are leaving British colleges and universities with top honors, raising concerns about grade inflation and the devaluation of degrees, The Telegraph reported. More than 104,000 students graduated last year with a top degree classification, a fivefold increase since 1999, the newspaper said, prompting some leading employers to shift their emphasis from grades to work experience in the hiring process.

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Purported Video Shows Kidnapped Professors

The Taliban released a video that purports to show two kidnapped professors from the American University of Afghanistan urging President-elect Donald J. Trump to negotiate their release, The Washington Post reported. Kevin King, an American, and Timothy Weeks, an Australian, were abducted outside AUAF in early August, just weeks before militants stormed the Kabul campus, killing 15 people.

The Post could not independently verify the video but said it was emailed to reporters by a Taliban spokesman and posted on the group’s social media accounts. In it, the two professors tearfully urge the U.S. government to negotiate their release through a prisoner exchange. They reportedly appeared pale and were short of breath when speaking. They gave the date of the video as Jan. 1.

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Chinese Professor Dismissed After Criticizing Mao

An art professor at China’s Shandong Jianzhu University has been fired after posting critical remarks of Mao Zedong on what would have been the deceased Chinese Communist Party leader's 123rd birthday, Reuters reported.

In a post on the social media site Weibo, Deng Xiaochao suggested that Mao was responsible for a famine and the Cultural Revolution, which together led to millions of deaths. The posting triggered public protests, with some holding banners that said "Whoever opposes Mao is an enemy of the people."

The state-owned Global Times reported that Deng had been dismissed from his position in provincial government. The university party committee issued a statement citing "false remarks" made by Deng and saying that he would not be allowed to teach or organize social events on the campus.

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Report on Effects of Brexit on Foreign Enrollments

British universities stand to lose tuition income if students from European Union countries are required to pay higher fees in line with those paid by students from outside Europe, according to a new analysis released by the Higher Education Policy Institute, a U.K.-based think tank, and Kaplan International Pathways, an international student recruiting and services company. But those losses could potentially be offset by gains in students attributable to a weaker pound sterling.

A financial modeling report finds that fee harmonization and the elimination of loan subsidies for E.U. students under the terms of a Brexit could lead to a 57 percent reduction in E.U. students, resulting in a total net loss of 40 million pounds (about $48 million) in the first year. The report forecasts that the most prestigious universities stand to benefit financially from charging higher fees to E.U. students, while the majority of institutions will see losses.

At the same time, the analysis finds that a 10 percent depreciation of the pound sterling -- the value of which has fallen since the British vote in favor of exiting the European Union -- could lead to a 9 percent increase in international enrollments in the first year, an increase that equates to £227 million (about $274 million) in fee income.

"In aggregate, the combined effect of the currency depreciation (+£227 million), and the removal of E.U. undergraduate fee support and fee harmonization (-£40 million) was potentially positive -- amounting to £187 million [about $225 million] in students’ first year of study -- though there would be significant variation across institutions," the report states.

The analysis assumes that there are no caps on the number of international students or differential treatment of student visa holders according to the institution they attend -- the latter an idea proposed by the U.K. government as part of its push to drive down net immigration numbers. "The positive impact of the 10 percent depreciation of sterling assumes that an additional 20,000 students will be allowed to study in the United Kingdom," the report states. "However, given the current political environment, if it were decided that institutions could not benefit from this increased demand because of an international student number cap or as a result of tougher rules facing some institutions, then the £227 million potential gain that might be achieved by U.K. higher education institutions may not be realized or only realized in part."

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