South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand has taken a decision not to use titles such as Mr‚ Ms or Mrs to reflect a student’s designation in university correspondence and on its student systems. It said in a communique that the decision affirmed those who were transgender‚ non-binary or gender non-conforming who wished to hold a title that affirmed their identity. “The university realises that it is invalidating and distressing for a person who‚ for example‚ was assigned female at birth but identifies as male to be constantly addressed by a non-affirming title in university correspondence and systems.” According to the statement‚ people who were transgender or non-binary increasingly opted to use the gender-neutral title “Mx” which is legally recognised in many countries across the world. But Wits said that while students could elect how to be addressed within the university community‚ it could not change a student’s title on any legal documentation like certificates. – Prega Govender, Times Live. Read more

The UK is likely to lose its position as the second most popular study abroad destination to Australia, according to a paper published by the Centre for Global Higher Education. “What we are seeing is a seismic shift in the global student market. UK higher education is still highly valued internationally, but the government has held down the growth of international student numbers for five years, by limiting new student numbers and post-study work visas,” author and CGHE chair Simon Marginson said. Meanwhile, “competitor nations are strongly promoting their international education.” Marginson analysed UNESCO data to investigate student flow trends between 2011 and 2016, and then data from HESA and the Australian Department of Education and Training to track the UK and Australia specifically after 2016. The gap between the UK and Australia started closing in 2013, Marginson told The PIE News, and the imminent takeover is the product of “an accumulation of effects.” – Claudia Civinini, The PIE News. Read more

Malaysia’s Education Ministry has agreed with the Transport Ministry to sell special number plates to alumni of public universities, says Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik. He said this would be a form of additional funding for the universities. “Through a JPJ collaboration with the universities, we will try to issue and sell number plates. For example, as a graduate of UM (Universiti Malaya), I want a number plate UM1000, or UM2322. So we will pay JPJ, while half goes to the university,” he said during a question-and-answer session on education organised by the Karangkraf Media Group. “If the graduates and alumni don’t help your alma maters, who else will?” he said. – Rashvinjeet S. Bedi and Rebecca Rajaendram, The Star Online. Read more

Coursera is expanding its push into online degree partnerships with traditional universities, this time with the MOOC provider’s first Ivy League degree. The new master’s degree in computer and information technology from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science will be the engineering school’s first fully online degree. The program is aimed at working adults who are unable or unwilling to enrol in Penn’s established, on-campus version of the master’s, and who want to work in software development or high-demand fields like bioinformatics, medicine, finance and telecommunications. “This is a meaningful expansion of what we can do,” said Wendell Pritchett, the university’s provost. He said the new online degree is designed to appeal to non-traditional students “who are talented but can’t get to us on campus”. The new master’s degree’s total tuition and fees will be $26,300, which is about one-third of the campus version’s price tag of roughly $75,000. – Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed. Read more

Germany is increasingly being sought as a destination by international students and academics, says a recent report that also shows that the number of German students going abroad remains at a high level. “With more than 350,000 international students enrolled, we have reached the goal agreed with the federal German states earlier than expected,” said Federal Education and Research Minister Anja Karliczek, presenting the report Wissenschaft weltoffen 2018.  Karliczek put Germany’s popularity down to it maintaining a high level of academic freedom and investing in higher education paying its way. She also referred to good international links and a “cosmopolitan attitude in the best sense that defies current isolationist tendencies elsewhere”. Germany now ranks fifth behind the US, UK, Australia and France for the number of international students enrolled.  – Michael Gardner, University World News. Read more


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