The Supreme Court of India has dealt a serious blow to deemed universities granting degrees that are delivered by distance or correspondence learning without first obtaining mandatory permission from the statutory bodies. The court judged that the institutions “flagrantly violated and entered into areas where they had no experience and started conducting courses through distance education systems illegally”. The court suspended engineering degrees awarded to students on distance courses between 2001-2005 by three deemed universities; and annulled degrees granted by those institutions after 2005. It also issued a blanket restraint on all deemed universities obliging them not to carry on any course from the academic year 2018-19 “unless and until it is permissible to conduct such courses and specific permissions are granted by the concerned statutory authorities and the university campuses are individually inspected and found adequate by them”. – Shuria Niazi, University World News. Read more

On its 10th anniversary, the UK’s 2017 People & Planet University League shows all-round improvement, with 30 universities in the top “first class” category – double the number in 2007 – and fewer “fails”. In 2007 the network calculated that only five universities were recycling more than half their waste. This year it is 85. Students are more likely to see “green” practices around them, such as the electric car hire scheme, desktop recycling bins and water re-use, all in place at Manchester Metropolitan University, top of this year’s table. But this year marks a step change in one area: education. The most noticeable rise is the number of universities taking education for sustainable development seriously and embedding it in the curriculum. Manchester Metropolitan is integrating education for sustainable development in all its courses. – Liz Lightfoot, The Guardian. Read more

Higher education institutions in the US hosted a record-breaking 1.08 million international students in 2016-17, according to a new Open Doors report. This marks the second consecutive year of the US hosting 1 million + international students – but a decline in new enrolments was also revealed. According to the report published by IIE and the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the new findings signal a slowing of growth, with an overall increase of just 3% compared to increases of 7-to-10% for the previous three years. Much of the increase reported for the past couple of years can be attributed to more students pursuing Optional Practical Training (OPT) related to their academic fields after their degree studies, thus remaining longer in the higher education system. India and China now represent approximately 50% of the total enrolment of international students in the US. – Kerrie Kennedy, The PIE News. Read More

The Erasmus University Rotterdam has raised more than 26 million euros in donations from its alumni for financing research and scholarships. Their goal is 100 million euros by 2025. Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam professor René Bekkers has called the plan “ambitious”, but is not surprised: “It is the only way for Dutch universities to survive, as student numbers increase and government funds stagnate”. Universities have done their best in recent years to acquire donations and inheritances. All of them have a website on how people can make a donation or include a university in their will. – Advalvas, Free University Amsterdam. Read more

The United Arab Emirates recently announced the launch of a new National Strategy for Higher Education 2030, with the goal of prioritising education as a means to stimulate innovation and economic growth. The plan with be implemented and sustained through 33 strategic initiatives focusing on: standardising the system, building global partnerships, encouraging transparency, establishing new regulatory systems, implementing career training, allocating funding for research and bridging the gap between universities and the private sector. – World Education News and Reviews. Read more


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