World in brief - 31 July 2014

July 31, 2014

Source: Alamy

United States
More join Israel boycott movement

The African Literature Association has become the latest US-based scholarly organisation to back an academic boycott of Israel. A resolution, approved at the ALA’s annual meeting in Johannesburg, said that the boycott was “intended to awaken the world’s conscience to a situation that must change”. Organisations that have already endorsed a boycott include the American Studies Association, the Association for Asian American Studies and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

Number of foreign students hits an all-time high

A record 300,000 foreign students studied at German universities last year, up by almost 20 per cent over the past decade. According to a report by the Education Ministry and the German Academic Exchange Service published in July, one in 10 students enrolled in Germany last autumn was foreign. Although foreign students in Germany paid far lower tuition fees than they would in the UK, Australia or the US, they still made a significant contribution to the economy, spending €1.5 billion in 2011, the study says.

It’s all about the competition

Hungarian foreign affairs and trade minister Péter Szijjártó, a close associate of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, used a graduation ceremony at Corvinus University of Budapest last week to claim that national competitiveness required a more competitive system of higher education. He argued that new skills and forms of education were essential tools for pursuing Hungary’s economic and foreign policy interests. The government’s “opening to the east” policy, added Mr Szijjártó, had greatly benefited from the links that universities such as Corvinus had been forging with other countries.

Centre to target novel drugs

A $15 million (£8.8 million) centre for excellence in basic research and drug discovery is being established in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. A 10-year agreement between the São Paulo research foundation FAPESP and British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline was signed last month. Academics will work with researchers from the company in the areas of respiratory and metabolic diseases, immunology and antibacterial and antiviral therapy.

Saudi Arabia
Investment for university projects

Saudi Arabian universities are to receive a total of SR 2.59 billion (£410 million) of investment for new projects, including a faculty of medicine, dormitories and new buildings for women’s colleges. Among the contracts awarded earlier this month was one for the construction of a college of arts and humanities in the southern town of Samta. According to the local media, Khalid Al-Anqari, the minister of higher education, also signed a contract to develop a higher education network that will link Saudi universities and the country’s cultural attaché offices.

No-show for Delhi’s v-c

Despite still being in post after previous reports of his resignation, the vice-chancellor of the University of Delhi was a notable absentee on the first day of term after the scrapping of his controversial four-year degree plan. Dinesh Singh was said to have tendered his resignation last month after the University Grants Committee ordered the reversal of the policy, which aimed to broaden learning and improve employability. Professor Singh was “missing from the scene” at the start of term, according to local media – a contrast to previous years, when he has toured colleges and met with students.

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