October 19, 2012, 2:16 pm
More than 600 academics worldwide are protesting the threatened closure of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s department of politics and government, sending a petition to Gideon Sa’ar, Israel’s education minister, to halt the move. A subcommittee of Israel’s Council for Higher Education has recommended suspending registration of students for the next academic year after it said the department had failed to carry out the recommendations of an international quality-assurance committee. But the petition letter to Mr. Sa’ar argues the move is an attempt to silence the department’s faculty members who have criticized the Israeli government.
“This attack on the department quite transparently has nothing to do with the quality of its staff, or of their teaching or research. It has everything to do with the fact that some of them have publicly taken brave and locally unpopular…
October 18, 2012, 12:02 pm
Israel plans to spend about $47-million to double the college enrollment of ultra-Orthodox Jewish students to 12,000 by 2017, reports Ynet News. Twelve new campuses for the students will be built near existing colleges. They will offer similar courses as the host institutions but maintain a strict separation of male and female students.
October 18, 2012, 11:50 am
McGill University has cleared a former health researcher at the university of misconduct over allegations that he colluded with the asbestos industry, reports CBC News. The university says its investigation found no evidence that John Corbett McDonald, who is now retired, improperly collected data on the health effects of asbestos or was influenced by the financial support he received from the asbestos industry. His research became a source of controversy this year after a television documentary highlighted the payments and dozens of academics complained to McGill’s Board of Governors, which prompted the inquiry.
October 15, 2012, 4:01 pm
Police raided three teachers’ colleges in western Mexico on Monday after dozens of students had taken over campuses to protest changes in the curriculum, reports the Associated Press. The takeovers started over a week ago to protest the colleges’ plans to require English and computer-science courses. Some students argue that the institutions are meant to prepare teachers for rural areas where the teaching of basic skills should be the priority. Mexico has a long history of campus takeovers by students, and they are often fraught with political overtones.
October 15, 2012, 10:54 am
Public universities in Sri Lanka reopened on Monday after the government agreed to terms with striking faculty members, reports the Colombo Page. The country’s Higher Education Ministry shut down the campuses in August, when negotiations stalled between the ministry and the Federation of University Teachers’ Association. The strike ended after the government agreed to a pay raise for instructors and to increase spending on education in next year’s budget, the newspaper reports.
October 10, 2012, 10:33 am
The University of Port Harcourt, in southern Nigeria, has been shut down because of violent student protests following the lynching of four students by local villagers, reports the BBC. The four were accused of stealing laptops and mobile phones from people in the village of Aluu, a charge that the protesters refute. A video of their brutal murders was posted to YouTube, helping to inflame university students who blocked a major highway and attacked houses in Aluu. The campus will remain closed until the situation returns to normal, authorities said.
October 9, 2012, 12:26 pm
A Chinese couple is suing an American education consultant to whom the two allegedly gave more than $2-million on promises to get their sons into an Ivy League institution, reports The Boston Globe. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Boston, Gerald and Lily Chow have accused Mark Zimny, a former lecturer and visiting assistant professor at Harvard University, of fraud, breach of contract, and other charges. The family and Mr. Zimny declined to comment for the article.
In court documents, the Chows say that over two years they gave Mr. Zimny’s company, IvyAdmit, $2.2-million, which they said was supposed to pay for tutoring services for their children, be used to make donations to elite colleges, and be invested on the family’s behalf. In legal papers, the consultant acknowledges receiving the money, but he also denies or questions some of the allegations.
October 8, 2012, 2:49 pm
The second-largest university in the Afghan capital of Kabul has been rocked by student protests and violence after President Hamid Karzai’s decision to change its name from the Kabul Education University to the Martyr of Peace Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani University, reports The New York Times. Mr. Rabbani, a leader of a Tajik political party, was killed last year by a suicide bomber. The change has become a fault line between ethnic groups in the country, with Tajiks, mostly from outside the university, supporting it and Pashtun and Hazara students opposing it.
October 4, 2012, 2:45 pm
Spanish police officers have arrested a man who was reportedly planning a bomb attack on the University of the Balearic Islands, report the BBC and the Associated Press. The university’s rector told the BBC that the 21-year-old suspect had no reported connection to the university, nor had the institution ever received any threatening letters from him.
The police were alerted to the plot by online postings in which the suspect expressed admiration for the perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine massacre, in Colorado. “In his personal diary and other documents seized at his home, the detainee showed his hatred of society, especially university students, and his decision to strategically place shrapnel-filled pipe bombs in the university grounds,” a police statement said.
October 3, 2012, 4:01 pm
The California Institute of Technology has retained the top spot in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the second year in a row. Oxford and Stanford tied for second place, pushing ahead of Harvard University, which came next on the list.
American universities continue to dominate the list, which is one of the most closely scrutinized in the increasingly crowded field of university rankings. But although American universities hold 76 of the top 200 spots, 51 of them have dropped in the rankings, reflecting what the list’s editor, Phil Baty, said in a statement was a sign of “the start of the decline of a world-leading university sector” due to cuts in public financing for universities.
The faltering lead of the United States comes as a growing number of institutions from the Asia-Pacific region have improved their performance, the result of a vast…