World in brief - 8 January 2015

January 8, 2015

Source: Getty

Frustrated young scholars are fed up

Anger over low pay, cronyism and excessive workloads may lead to an “exodus” of academics from Macedonia, a study claims. Some 65 per cent of young academics in the former Yugoslav state say that they are unhappy with entry-level salaries, which seldom exceed the nationwide average net monthly salary of €350 (£5), according to a survey of nearly 500 scholars by Martin Galevski, a PhD student in education at the University of Oxford. The findings were published in the journal Higher Education in Russia and Beyond.

Can we tempt you to Tallinn?

Estonia’s minister of education and research, Jevgeni Ossinovski, has approved a new national scholarship programme for foreign students, researchers and academics. As well as raising the minimum value of scholarships, the initiative will allow Estonia to target more countries for recruitment. From the next academic year, the minister explained: “it will be possible…to offer scholarships and mobility grants to students, researchers and lecturers whose home country has not signed any agreements with Estonia in the field of education and research”.

Closed for security assessment

One of Pakistan’s most prestigious universities was closed temporarily because of security concerns in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre last month. Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad was reported to have been seen as a potential “soft target” for terrorists because its campus lacks a perimeter wall. Almost 150 people – 132 of them children – were killed when Taliban gunmen attacked an army school in Peshawar on 16 December.

United States
Prepare for judgement day

The US federal government has revealed the criteria it will use to judge universities under its new ratings system. The rankings, which have been criticised by many in higher education, will rate institutions on how many low-income and first-generation students they enrol as well as on the affordability of their courses. The framework indicates that institutions will also be measured on completion rates and on graduates’ earnings. Officials say the first ratings will be published later this year.

Hints of a sister Education City

Ghana could emulate Qatar in developing an “education city” housing branch campuses of leading universities. The idea emerged in a statement issued after talks between Ghanaian president John Mahama and emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Six US universities have branch campuses at Qatar’s Education City, outside Doha, which also hosts outposts of HEC Paris and University College London.

Author of racist emails resigns

A professor of poetry has resigned from the University of Sydney after writing racist and sexist emails. Barry Spurr, formerly the longest-serving member of Sydney’s department of English, resigned at the end of last year, two months after the news website New Matilda published leaked emails from his university account in which, among other things, he described Aboriginal people as “human rubbish tips”. He said the comments were a “whimsical linguistic game”.

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