Students at Chinese University Told to Clean Dorms

Students at China’s Nanchang University are protesting a new policy requiring students to clean their own dormitories, including the bathrooms, the South China Morning Post reported. The university president said the policy is intended to build students’ character, but the students say they are at the university to study, not to clean. Photos of piles of trash in the dormitories have been posted online. 

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OECD ‘Education at a Glance’ Report Published

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has released its annual Education at a Glance report, an almanac of indicators on such topics as educational attainment, employment rates by level of education, funding for educational systems, and student mobility across the 34 OECD member nations as well as for 10 additional countries. The dataset encompasses many wealthy nations that predominantly make up the OECD’s membership, in addition to countries with rapidly emerging economies, including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. 

Highlights from the data for the United States include the finding that while a large proportion of American adults have attained university-level education (at 43 percent, the firth-highest rate among countries in the analysis), the postsecondary educational attainment rate is increasing much faster in many other countries. In regards to upward mobility, a relatively small proportion of U.S. adults (30 percent) attain a higher level of education than did their parents. Since the height of the economic crisis, the rate of unemployment has dropped for American adults with all levels of education.

The U.S. continues to host more international students than any other country but its share of the population of globally mobile students continues to fall. In 2012, the U.S. attracted 16 percent of all international students, compared to 23 percent in 2000.

The total number of students enrolled in a higher education program outside their home country has more than doubled since 2000, climbing to a new high of 4.5 million students in 2012. About half (53 percent) of these students are from Asia.


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Anthropology Group Creates Task Force on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The American Anthropological Association has created a task force to aid the organization’s executive board in considering ways in which the AAA might address issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The task force, which has been asked to provide a written report by October of 2015, has been charged with the following responsibilities:

• "Enumerate the issues embedded in the conflict between Israel and Palestine that directly affect the Association."
• "Develop principles to be used to assess whether the AAA has an interest in taking a stand on these issues. This may include providing a comprehensive and neutral overview of arguments for and against a range of specific possible stands (including no action)."
• "Apply these principles in completing an assessment of the nature and extent of AAA’s interest in taking a specific stand on these issues."
• "Assess whether the AAA has an interest in taking a specific stand on any broader but relevant issues that are raised in the context."
• "Recommend a course of action (this may include no action) for the Association.”

The seven-member task force was appointed by AAA President Monica Heller. In a press release, the association said that one criterion for membership was having no publicly identified positions on the issue. Another criterion was having relevant subject matter expertise. 

The AAA’s actions come in the wake of several other academic associations, most notably the American Studies Association, endorsing a boycott of Israeli universities.

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Guns vs. (Higher Ed) Butter in Israel

Leaders of Israel's universities are asking the government not to move ahead with across-the-board 2 percent cuts to their budgets (along with all other government spending) to pay for the recent military action in Gaza, The Jerusalem Post reported. The academic leaders note that the period of 2000-2009 is called "the lost decade" for higher education in the country, as budget cuts led to brain drain, and that current budgets were intended to deal with the damage that was done previously. “This decision will lead to the end of the higher education era in the State of Israel,” said a letter signed by university leaders.


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Changes to Chinese College Entrance Exam Announced

China has released its plans for changing its national college entrance exam, the Gaokao, the South China Morning Post reported. Among other things, the changes would stagger some of the testing over the course of students’ high school careers rather than having all the tests be administered at once. 

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Controversy in Switzerland over university job ad seeking only female applicants

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Swiss university advertises a faculty opening and invites only women to apply. Is such a move legal? Justified?

Security Gaps in Student Visa Program

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is struggling to track down more than 6,000 foreign nationals who overstayed their student visas and have not been located since, ABC News reported.

"My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything," an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official told ABC. "Some of them could be here to do us harm."

The broadcaster also reported on the problem of visa fraud and of loose standards for institutions seeking certification to host international students. 

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Cathedral Bible College Founder Pleads Guilty to Fraud

The founder of South Carolina’s Cathedral Bible College pleaded guilty Wednesday to four felony and two misdemeanor charges related to visa fraud, labor fraud, and failure to pay minimum wage, the Columbia, S.C. The State reported. International students enrolled at the college had alleged that Reginald Wayne Miller had forced them to work at the college or at his home for little pay under threat of deportation. The students also said that their classes were a sham and their living conditions substandard.

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New report brings data to the debate over commissioned agents in international recruiting

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New report brings survey data from students, agents and institutions to bear on the debate over the use of commissioned agents in international recruitment.

Peking U. Warns Against Criticizing Communist Party

The Communist Party Committee at Peking University has published an article in an influential journal in China demanding that students and faculty members not criticize the party, Reuters reported. Students and professors must "take a firm stand and be unequivocal, and fight against speech and actions that touch upon the party's and country's principles and bottom lines in a timely, efficient and resolute manner," said the article. It is viewed as another sign that China is clamping down on free speech at universities.


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