Compiled by David Myton

Americans with a college education report they are happier, healthier and enjoying a higher quality of life than respondents with a high school education or less. That’s one of the main takeaways from the recently released results of the 2018 General Social Survey (GSS). Begun by NORC at the University of Chicago in 1972, the GSS is now conducted biennially, based on lengthy personal interviews with a nationally representative sample of thousands of adults. In terms of civic participation, 80.7% of college graduates reported voting in the last presidential election compared to 56.5% of high school graduates and only 34.7% of individuals with less than a college education. Compared to those with less than a college education, college graduates reported more confidence in the leadership of science, medicine, major business, the press and the Supreme Court. Only small differences emerged for expressed confidence in the military, organised religion, financial institutions, and the executive branch. College graduates expressed less confidence in organised labor, Congress, and – surprisingly – education. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes. Read more

The University of Southern Denmark has made the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the overarching focus of its strategic plan, while in Sweden 36 universities have signed a climate framework in support of the Paris 2016 climate agreement, and in Norway the Bergen Summer Research School is addressing how research might impact on policies for a sustainable future. The executive board of the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) announced the largest transformation in the history of the university, deciding that the 17 UN SDGs were to become the focal point for SDU’s work as a university.  Niels Thorborg, chairman of the SDU board, said that all 17 SDGs are to be addressed: “Extreme poverty and hunger at global levels and reducing inequality and combating climate change are all clearly linked and require an integrated effort to achieve lasting results.” SDU will launch 17 new one-year masters programs, one for each of the 17 SDGs. – Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News. Read more

The number of international students studying at Chinese institutions reached more than 492,000 in 2018, the Study in China’s deputy director confirmed at a recent event in Beijing. However, the figures mark only a slight increase on 2017, when 489,200 visiting students were recorded. Speaking at the graduation ceremony for the master’s program for developing countries at Beijing Normal University, Liu Xiao, deputy director of the Study in China division at the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange, said students from 196 countries came to 1,004 Chinese education institutions in 2018. She said that more than half of those students (52.4%) were studying for a diploma, the China Daily reported. Liu added that the government had sponsored scholarships for about 63,000 students in 2018. – Viggo Stacey, The PIE News. Read more

Teaching staff at Cambridge University are to hold protests during open days to alert parents and prospective students to the problem of insecure employment at the institution. Two-thirds of Cambridge teaching staff are paid by the hour and three-quarters do not have a contract, according to the University and College Union (UCU). Protesters say the precarious nature of their work is impacting on mental health and some are struggling to pay their bills. protesters will stage a bike parade around the university, with banners, flags and music, and hand out leaflets highlighting “exploitation” of teachers, as well as a 19.7% gender pay gap at Cambridge. The sector average is 15.1% average. “We haven’t taken the decision to protest at the open days lightly,” said the Cambridge UCU representative, Jenny Marchant. “But the university needs to understand that a true world-class institution respects its staff.” – Sally Weale, The Guardian. Read more

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her recent budget speech said a new education policy would bring reform in higher education and announced funding for world-class institutions. Sitharaman said that plans are afoot to establish a National Research Foundation (NRF) for which the required money will be collected from all ministries. Sitharaman also launched a Study in India program to attract foreign students to study in India. “Five years ago not a single Indian institution was in the global ranking list. Now we have three institutes,” she stated. – Business Today. Read more


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