British universities have called on the government to reintroduce a visa that would allow overseas students to stay in the country to work for up to two years after graduation. They say it would give the UK a competitive edge over rival countries and help it maintain the 450,000 international students, 134,835 of them EU-born, who come to study in Britain every year. Universities UK, the sector’s umbrella body, said in a briefing to parliament: “The UK remains an extremely popular destination for international students, attracting more students from abroad except the much larger US. However, the UK’s closest competitors, such as the USA, Australia, France and Germany, all continue to grow at a faster rate than the UK.” While student numbers in 2014-15 rose by 9.4% in the US, 10.7% in Australia and 8.7% in Germany, the UK rate was 0.5%. – Lisa O’Carroll, The Guardian. Read more

Major universities from six African countries will next year stand a chance to develop regional hubs for agricultural learning with the help of grants worth US$20 million from the World Bank via the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). The beneficiaries will be selected by the World Bank after a call for proposals is released in September. They will be in Cameroon, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya and the Ivory Coast. The chosen universities will be expected to use the money to address key knowledge gaps in Africa’s agricultural sector, including dealing with climate change, building professional agri-business production and distribution chains, data management and mitigating post-harvest losses. The awards will be one of the biggest grants given to universities through RUFORUM, established by 10 African vice-chancellors in 2004, and now comprising 85 African universities from 36 countries, which is supported by the World Bank and other donors. – Evelyn Lirri, University World News. Read more

India’s Institutes of Technology will cut fees for international students and push to recruit foreign academics and teachers to permanent roles in a bid to expand their talent pool and boost their global rankings. The announcement was made at a meeting of the IIT Council where it was decided to allow individual IITs to selected the fee for international students. Currently, the fee sits at about US$8,457 per year, or three times that of Indian students. Outside of cultural exchange fellowships, international students have only been permitted to study at IITs since 2016 when a decision was made to allow such students to sit the Joint Entrance Examination, the mandatory test taken in order to enter IITs at undergraduate level. The move was expected to help improve the global ranking of IITs, as international students are one of the biggest parameters for rating universities. – Kerrie Kennedy, The PIE News. Read more

Rutgers University is walking back its finding that James Livingston, a professor who posted antiwhite comments about gentrification in his neighbourhood on Facebook last spring, violated the US university’s discrimination and harassment policy. In a letter to Peter March, executive dean at Rutgers’s School of Arts and Sciences, Robert Barchi, university president, said that the report “was released to [March] and Professor Livingston before I had been made aware of its content” and that he planned to take action to review the findings of the report. “Like many in our community, I found that Professor Livingston’s comments showed especially poor judgment, were offensive, and, despite the professor’s claims of satire, were not at all funny,” he wrote. “At the same time, few values are as important to the university as the protection of First Amendment rights – even when the speech we are protecting in insensitive and reckless.” Barchi asked the Office of Employment Equity to “more rigorously analyse the facts and the assumptions underlying its conclusions” that Livingston violated university policy and asked that the review be completed as quickly as possible. – Emma Whitford, Inside Higher Ed. Read more

Malta’s Woolf University, the brainchild of an Oxford research fellow Joshua Broggi, could become the first blockchain-powered university in the world. It won’t be an online university per se, but to save costs by automating administrative procedures, The Woolf University will run on blockchain technology. The university’s framework is intended to complement both online and onsite teaching anywhere in the world by providing students with personalised tutorials. Running on a distributed ledger will also enable it to ensure the security of the students’ degrees. The technology will enable the execution of a series of smart contracts that validate attendance and assignment completion once students and teachers “check-in.” According to, the university will pay the teachers in tokens, while providing micro-credits to students. “We use a blockchain to create efficiencies by managing custodianship of student tuition, enforcing regulatory compliance for accreditation, and [the] automation [of] a number of processes,” Broggi told Forbes. – Priyeshu Garg, Read more


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