Freshly graduated students who take pictures of themselves with their new degrees are being urged not to share the images on social media, to avoid fuelling the multimillion-pound trade in fake degrees. Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd), the UK’s official service for verifying degrees, said that more than two-thirds of students plan to take “graduation selfies” this year. But Hedd warns that the growing trend for documenting degree-success online is giving fraudsters access to the latest logos, crests, signatories, stamps, holograms and wording, fuelling the booming business of selling fake certificates. The latest designs can be easily copied on to forgeries and passed off as genuine to unwitting employers, the organisation said. Research conducted by Hedd shows that 69% of students preparing to graduate this year are planning to document their achievement by sharing a photo with their followers on social media, with Facebook and Instagram the favoured channels – Jessica McKay, The Guardian. Read more

Twenty-two Middle East and North African countries are to benefit from the launch in 2020 of the first Arabic Citation Index (ARCI), which aims to facilitate access to Arabic scientific research, thereby enhancing the Arabic academic footprint and ultimately improving university rankings. The 10 countries in North Africa are Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Somalia and Tunisia. The Middle East countries are the six Gulf states, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, plus Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. Powered by the Web of Science, the ARCI is the product of a partnership signed on 29 May between Clarivate Analytics and the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, a digital library and online knowledge hub providing access to free education and scientific publications in various branches of knowledge. ARCI will introduce an Arabic interface for the Web of Science, providing access to bibliographic information and citations to scholarly articles from Arabic journals and other Web of Science content. – Wagdy Sawahel, University World News. Read More

The number of career colleges and the number of credentials they award have dropped by roughly 20 per cent in the last four years, according to new data from the US Education Department. An annual report from the National Center for Education Statistics finds that there were 2,791 for-profit colleges eligible to award federal financial aid in 2017-18, compared to 2,899 the year before and 3,436 in 2014-15, as previous versions of the reports showed. All told that represents a drop of 18.8 per cent in the number of such colleges, which have seen their enrolments drop significantly amid an economic recovery (which typically hurts the enrolment of career-focused colleges), intensive regulatory scrutiny from the Obama administration, and declining public confidence. In the same period, the number of public and private nonprofit colleges remained largely static, varying by fewer than 20 each. An even larger proportional decline occurred in the number of credentials offered by colleges in the sector. From 2012-13 to 2016-17, while the overall number of higher education credentials climbed by 1.2 per cent, the number conferred by for-profit institutions fell by 29.2 per cent, from 518,956 to 367,529. – Doug Lederman, Inside HigherEd. Read more

The European Commission has announced details of its €100 billion (A$155 billion) proposal for the next long-term budget for its research and innovation program for 2021-27, which it calls the “most ambitious research and innovation program ever”. Horizon Europe “will build on the achievements and success of the previous research and innovation program (Horizon 2020) and keep the European Union at the forefront of global research and innovation,” the commission declared. EC Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: “EU funding has allowed teams across countries and scientific disciplines to work together and make unthinkable discoveries, making Europe a world-class leader in research and innovation. With Horizon Europe, we want to build on this success and continue to make a real difference in the lives of citizens and society as a whole.” – Brendan O’Malley, University World News. Read more

There will be no restriction on any educational program, debate, forum or discourse at public universities, said Malaysia’s Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik. He urged university vice-chancellors and their deputies not to impose such restrictions as the higher education institutions were supposed to be an intellectual field. “University is an open intellectual field and in the era of new Malaysia, there should no longer be any restriction on educational programs. Such restriction (imposed by the previous government) has caused some programs scheduled to be held at public universities to be cancelled at the eleventh hour,” he told reporters. In an effort to make public universities an open environment, any form of barricade at the entrance would be prohibited. “All barricades must be lifted as we want to stop that kind of environment in Malaysia,” he said. – Siti A’isyah Sukaimi, New Straits Times. Read More


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