World in brief – 26 January 2017

Higher education news from around the globe

January 26, 2017
Source: iStock


Expansion plans without demonstrable demand may be halted

Universities in Ontario may face limits on the growth of postgraduate courses if they fail to equip students with skills sought by employers. Expansion plans may also be stunted if provincial universities cannot demonstrate enough immediate student demand for postgraduate courses, according to The Globe and Mail. The newspaper said that the Ontario government will hold discussions with the province’s universities about how and where it provides grants for postgraduate programmes as part of talks that will lead to more funds being linked to institutional outcomes such as graduation or employment rates.

Republic of Ireland

Very mature student honoured

A 98-year-old student has been honoured for his contribution to Irish sport. Josef Veselsky, who is Trinity College Dublin’s oldest student, was presented with the Special Merit honour at the Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland awards on 13 January, reported the University Times. Mr Veselsky, who is enrolled on an extramural course, moved to the Republic of Ireland in 1949 after serving with the Czech resistance during the Second World War. He became a director of Ireland’s most successful football club, Shamrock Rovers, in 1974, serving in this role for four years. In 1987, he became executive vice-president of University College Dublin Association Football Club, a position he still holds.


Novel subscription package

Germany’s Max Planck Society has secured a deal with Taylor and Francis that it claims “marks a departure” from publishers’ traditional subscriptions system. The announcement comes as the country’s institutions are locked in a dispute with Elsevier over the transition from a subscription model to open access, which has left some German researchers without journal access. Ralf Schimmer, head of information at the Max Planck Digital Library, said that the deal “shifts our fees from read access to our publication output”.

United States

States take aim at tenure

Lawmakers in two US states have introduced legislation that would eliminate tenure for professors at public colleges and universities. A bill in Missouri would end tenure for all new faculty hires from 2018 and would require more student access to information about the job market for majors. Legislation in Iowa would remove tenure even for those who already have it, Inside Higher Ed reported. “These are serious attempts to undermine universities and the role of universities in society,” said Hans-Joerg Tiede, senior programme officer for academic freedom, tenure and shared governance at the American Association of University Professors.


Cash crisis may shut Rio university

The council of Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ) has warned the state’s governor that it may need to close its doors. In a letter to the governor, the council says that the cash-strapped government has since November provided no funds for wages, scholarships and running costs. Tania Maria de Castro Carvalho, deputy dean of undergraduate studies, said: “UERJ has operated under poor conditions, often with no electricity or internet; payment of cleaning services is delayed – security… all payments are late. Most of all, student grants are being delayed.”


Suicide bomb attacks kill professor

A series of suicide bomb attacks at a Nigerian university have killed at least four people, including a professor. The Associated Press reported that one blast occurred at a mosque in the staff quarters of the University of Maiduguri, where professors were making their morning prayers. One professor was confirmed dead, along with a child and the bombers themselves; 17 others were wounded. Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, is thought to have been responsible for the attack.

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