Compiled by DAVID MYTON

Eight top schools in the UK get as many pupils into the universities of Oxford and Cambridge as three-quarters of all schools and colleges together, according to new research. Over a three-year period the eight leading schools – which are mainly in the independent sector – sent 1,310 of their students to Oxbridge, while 2,900 schools, each with two or fewer acceptances, sent 1,220 pupils in total. The research showed that high-flying pupils from state schools were far less likely to apply to Oxbridge than their peers in the private sector, and were less likely to be successful when they did apply. Of the top fifth highest achieving schools almost a quarter (23%) of students in the independent sector applied to Oxbridge, compared with 11% of comprehensive students in the same group. Of those who applied 35% from independent schools were successful and 28% from comprehensives. Researchers, using data gathered by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas), found that students who attended a private school were seven times more likely to win a place at Oxford or Cambridge than those in non-selective state schools. – Sally Weale, The Guardian. Read more

Harvard University’s Extension School will offer its first coding boot camp in March 2019. The boot camp will be delivered by Trilogy Education Services — a company that works with the professional and continuing education divisions of high-profile universities such as the Georgia Institute of Technology. Trilogy is rapidly expanding its partnerships with universities. Harvard Extension’s 24-week program in web development will be geared toward working adults and offered on a part-time basis. Classes will be held in Harvard Square, and participants who successfully complete the program will be awarded a noncredit certificate of completion. The cost of Trilogy boot camps at other university locations is around $10,000. – Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed. Read more

Leading Russian universities have called on the national government to expand the existing Project 5-100 – a project that aims to get at least five universities from Russia into the top 100 in one of the leading global university rankings – starting from 2019 or 2020. The call has been made by a range of university leaders and higher education analysts but is the initiative of the Association of Global Universities, a public association which unites leading universities in Russia.  One of the leading figures behind the call, Yaroslav Kuzminov, head of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, one of Russia’s most prestigious universities, said the expansion of the 5-100 project would ensure a high level of competitiveness of Russian higher education in the international arena.  “The expansion could take place as soon as 2019 or a year later, in 2020, when the duration of the 5-100 project formally expires. It would help Russian universities to become more competitive in certain key areas covered by these global rankings, where the presence of Russia and its universities, so far, has been limited,” he said. – Eugene Vorotnikov, University World News. Read more

Almost half of the international students attending Seoul National University do not adequately understand lectures conducted in Korean, a survey of 432 international students conducted by the school’s diversity council has revealed. According to reports, when about understanding lectures conducted in Korean, 47.2% of the respondents said they couldn’t follow the class at all, or they often can’t fully understand the lecturer. Just 17.8% answered that they were able to understand most of the lectures. Meanwhile, 43.8% counted the “lack of Korean language proficiency” as the main reason they struggle to study in Korea. More than half of the respondents said they found it difficult to join class discussions and 36.6%  said they struggled to participate in group projects. Students who come to Korea on Korean Government Scholarship Program are required to take a one-year language course before they start studies at SNU.  – Kerrie Kennedy, The PIE News. Read more

The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India has confirmed that all the doctoral degree holders from the top 500 foreign universities will be eligible for direct recruitment as an assistant professor in Indian universities. According to the reports, the top 500 ranks will be decided on the basis of the ranking systems of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS ranking); Times Higher Education rankings (THE ranking); and The Academic Ranking of World Universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University “The direct recruitment eligibility of international PhD holders is applicable for the disciplines of arts, commerce, humanities, education, law, social sciences, sciences, languages, library science, physical education, journalism and mass communication,” a senior University Grants Commission (UGC) official said. Earlier, the candidates eligible for the post were required to have minimum 55 per cent marks in the master’s degree in the related subject from an Indian university or an equivalent degree from an accredited foreign university.  – Fatima, The Indian Wire. Read more

Meghan Markle attended a meeting with educators, academic leaders, and students in London to discuss how colleges and universities can address and tackle real-world issues including human trafficking, gender equality, and climate change. The event was held at King’s College for the ACU (Association of Commonwealth Universities), an inter-university network for schools across the British Commonwealth. The Duchess of Sussex went for a casual but classic look, layering an Aritzia wool coat over a plain black tee for the event. The meeting aligns with the Duchess of Sussex’s work, as she and Prince Harry are Commonwealth Youth Ambassadors and visited four of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth together during their royal tour in October: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga. – Erica Gonzales, Harper’s Bazaar. Read more


 ‘An entirely made up league table featuring fictional universities’ 

Wonkhe has produced the new 2019 Top 30 fictional universities ranking – “an entirely made up league table featuring fictional universities from movies, books and TV (or some other entertaining purpose)”. Compiler Paul Greatrix says it’s all change in the ranking “with some really big made up colleges dropping out including Manchester Medlock University, Athena College, Hampden College, Jocelyn College and Winesburg College”. The algorithms used “are simply too complex to explain”. Here are the top 15:

1. California University
2. University of Christminster
3. Winchester University
4. Monsters University
5. Wordsmith College
6. Wellington College
7. Hillman College
8. King’s College Dublin
9. Waindell College
10. Cow Eye Community College
11. Empire State University
12. Sweet Valley University
13. Miskatonic University
14. University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople
15. Wetherton University

I was puzzled that there was no place for Poppleton University, even though it appears to have closed earlier this year. When approached , intrepid reporter Keith Ponting (30) gave a curt “no comment”, leading researcher Dr Piercemuller was nowhere to be found, management guru Jamie Targett said something incomprehensible, lecturer Mr Odgers said whatever had happened, it was due to the inevitability of Marx-Engels dialectical materialism, while Mrs Dilbert, the Vice-Chancellor’s secretary, was busy signing letters and didn’t want to be disturbed. Read the Top 30 in full here.



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