HE News Brief 30.11.10

by Abby Chau

  • From Palermo to Milan, students in Italy are protesting  budget cuts as well as what some are calling drastic and tumultuous higher education reforms that has swept across the country in the last few years. There has been 1,371 different new laws and bills regarding higher education between 1996-2006. New initiatives have cropped up fast and furious with new and sometimes erratic new laws calling for the merging of universities, the standardisation of degree recognition, as well as the introduction of new degree courses. The newest set of bills however is causing civil unrest. Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini introduced a bill that many are saying would dismantle public universities because of its far-reaching proposals to change the system of recruiting teachers and effectively changing the governance of institutions.
    Full Story: Seattle Times
    More: New York Times

  • Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the UK government will be cutting the quota of international students for non-degree level courses by 120,000. International students generate a substantial amount of money for institutions and the British economy as they are charged three, sometimes four times the amount of tuition fees. It is clear that the government’s aim to further reduce immigration by 2015 will include a plan to tackle the number of international students entering the country. Net migration stands at approximately 200,000 at the moment with two-thirds of non-EU migrants entering the country as students. May said that the government will be creating 1,000 places for exceptional talents, including academics, artists, and scientists.  Institutions warn that with budget cuts looming, and tuition fee hikes, losing another stream of money could only worsen the situation.
    Full Story: the Guardian

  • The number of foreign students earning a science or engineering PhD shrank in the US for the first time in five years. Many are saying that this represents an overall trend of international students no longer choosing the states as their first destination for higher education. A report produced by the National Academies recommended that the US government allow more visas for foreign students in order to boost the overall competitiveness of the country. However such an initiative has proven unpopular in Congress as some constituents are afraid of the shrinking job market.  Fields like electrical and chemical engineering have suffered as a result. The government does not automatically grant a green card to those who finish a degree in the states, thereby further alienating international students.
    Full Story: Chronicle of Higher Education

  • Students in the UK are continuing their protest of higher education budget cuts and tuition fee hikes that will see rates jump from approximately 3,000 pounds per year to 9,000. Students occupied, among others, Cambridge, University College London, Leeds, and Edinburgh universities in order to voice their discontent. The government is going to push through a vote before Christmas to allow students to prepare for the imminent fee hikes in 2012. 200 students occupied Cambridge to protest with much of the anger directed at the Liberal Democrats for going against their campaign promise of safeguarding higher education.
    Full Story: BBC News

  • Denmark has issued a new law for family reunions for those students who attended a top 20 university in QS’ annual league tables. Currently the Danish government charges approximately 9,000 pounds for students who want to be reunited with their family. Now this will be a points based system with students who have attended a top ranked global institution favoured over those who currently enter the system. Many are critical about the initiative saying that league tables are too volatile and uncertain to garner a place in government policy.
    Full Story: University World News

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