Graduate enrolment of international students at US universities has declined for the second year in a row, according to the Council of Graduate Schools.  While first-time graduate enrolment for US citizens and permanent residents increased 1.1% between Fall 2016 and Fall 2017, first-time graduate enrolment of international students decreased by 3.7%. This second year of decline in first-time graduate numbers is four times greater than last year’s fall of 0.9% and coincides with the tightening of immigration policies under the Trump administration, which took office in January 2017. CGS President Suzanne Ortega said the decline in international students pursuing graduate education in the US was worrisome.  “The 3.7% drop in first-time enrolment between Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 is the second consecutive decrease we’ve seen since 2003. While it is difficult to pinpoint what caused the decline, the current policy climate around US visas and immigration may be a contributing factor.” – Brendan O’Malley, University World News. Read more

There were 343,400 foreign students in the French higher education system, signalling a growth of 4.5% since 2016 according to figures released by the Ministry of Education. The number of foreign students in tertiary education in France has grown 18% since 2012 and almost doubled between 2000 and 2017, the ministry document states. “We are thrilled to see that French universities continue to attract many students coming from abroad and we hope that the trend will continue to grow,” Campus France’s director of communications Florent Bonaventure said. International students, Bonaventure explained, are treated the same as French or EU students, with the same fees, the same social security, and the same insurance regulations. “France presents an alternative to the [Anglophone] model of higher education.” – Claudia Civinini, The PIE News. Read more

India’s Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar appealed to universities across the country to replace their “British-inspired” convocation attire with traditional Indian clothes as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. Asserting that Gandhi advocated use of Khadi, Javadekar suggested that universities ask their students to come up with design options for traditional convocation attire. “I would like to urge all universities across the country that rather than going for British-inspired clothes for their convocation they should go for traditional Indian clothes. Universities can ask their students to come up with design options or can also refer to some designs posted on HRD Ministry’s website,” Javadekar said in a video message to universities. “Gandhi also advocated use of Khadi. Due to various initiatives, Khadi sale has gone up by four times hence paving way for creation of more jobs. This will be an apt tribute to him on his 150th birth anniversary,” he added. – The Economic Times. Read more

British universities are imitating Premier League football clubs by poaching “superstar” talent, rewarding an elite group of professors with higher pay in order to boost their research rankings, according to a study. The research by a trio of economists at the University of Nottingham found the government’s research excellence framework (REF) – which rates departments by academic publications and impact – appears to have skewed pay towards professors with the most prolific output. The study confirms long-held fears among academics that higher education hiring and pay policies have been distorted by the REF, a periodic exercise that has a substantial influence over the destination of UK research funding. “While individual UK academics and administrators will no doubt find these results of much interest, they warrant wider attention, as they contain important lessons on the effects of liberalising pay and introducing competition for resources in a largely publicly funded system,” the study concluded. – Richard Adams, The Guardian. Read more

Young African scientists face persistent barriers that cause them to leave their own countries, and even academia. An estimated 20,000 highly educated professionals leave the continent annually, with up to 30% of Africa’s scientists among them. To identify all the barriers and develop strategies to address them, the Global Young Academy – an organisation of 200 young scientists and over 200 alumni from 83 countries – has established the Global State of Young Scientists  Africa project. Working with local research partners and international higher education experts, the project aims to identify the challenges and motivations that shape young scientists’ career trajectories. Initial findings point to a lack of mentoring, resources and funding as key issues young scientists face across the continent. – Anna Coussens et al, Quartz Africa. Read more


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