WENR, May 2017: Europe

Hungary: Orbán Bends to Legal Threats Against Restrictive Higher Education Law

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will reportedly comply with EU demands to roll back a widely protested Hungarian law that would block Central Eastern University (CEU) from awarding diplomas. Although it potentially affects more than two dozen institutions, the newly passed Higher Education Act is widely viewed as targeting CEU, which was founded in 1991 by Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet bloc. The highly regarded institution seeks to foster academic and intellectual freedom in formerly totalitarian countries. On April 26, the European Commission issued a statement saying that the law was “not compatible with the fundamental internal-market freedoms” or with “the right of academic freedom.”

BBC News
April 29

U.K.: International Private School Campuses Enroll More Students Than Domestic Ones

The annual census of the Independent School Council’s annual report found that, for the first time ever, British private schools enrolled more international students abroad than in the UK itself. Last year, some 46 foreign campuses enrolled 27,619 students. This year, 59 campuses enrolled 31,7773 students, including some 6,662 in China. Only 27,281 international students enrolled in private schools in the UK. International satellite campuses are widely viewed as a lucrative venture for international schools. The quality of such schools, particularly in China, is uneven.

The Telegraph
April 29

Germany: Refugee Higher Ed Enrollments Rise

Although Germany has drastically curtailed the number of refugee resettlements in recent months, a survey by the German Rectors’ Conference indicates that, compared to a year ago, five times as many are now enrolled in study programs. The survey found 1,140 refugee enrollments. It also noted that refugees consulted course and career guidance services 24,000 times in the most recent semester – more than twice as many as the semester prior.

University World News
April 20

U.K.: Experts See New Era of  Globally ‘Contested’ Student Mobility

More restrictive immigration laws in the U.S. and Australia, together with Britain’s pending exit from the European Union, may trigger a “more contested and problematic” environment for global mobility among students and academics, according to the director of the Centre for Global Higher Education at University College London and others. In mid April, Australia’s prime minister announced a redesigned and more restrictive visa system for temporary foreign workers, a move which may affect thousands of international academic staff now in the country. In the United States, uncertainties around immigration reform continue, as the Trump administration evaluates its approach to temporary foreign worker visas, and to travel from certain countries. Concerns about how the proposed Brexit will affect international mobility among students and scholars, as well as research funding, have been ongoing since last summer, when British voters opted to leave the EU.

Times Higher Education
April 27

U.K.: Higher Education and Research Bill Opens Sector, Introduces New Regulatory Institution

Parliament has passed a Higher Education and Research Bill to open the higher education sector to more providers, aiming to create more competition among universities and provide more choices for students. The bill is seen by many as the most significant legislation in U.K. higher education in the last 25 years. One aspect of the bill is the creation of the Office for Students, a new institution set in place to implement market style regulation in the higher education sector.

Times Higher Education
April 27

Russia: Global Education Scholarship Program Extended to 2025

The Russian Government has guaranteed the continuation of their Global Education Scholarship Program until 2025. The program, which completed its pilot phase in 2016, supports Russian students in pursuing postgraduate degrees abroad, contingent on their return to work in Russia. The program has a quota of 718 students, and provides a fixed amount of financial aid to be put toward tuition fees and living expenses. There are 288 universities across 32 countries that are eligible destinations for applicants.

The PIE News
April 18

U.K.: Research Abroad May Put Academics Right to Remain in Country at Risk

Foreign academics right to remain in the U.K. may be threatened by any time they’ve spent researching outside of the country. The Home Office will not grant indefinite leave to remain to any academic who has spent more than 180 days per year abroad, except for rare circumstances. The Home Office has refused applications for this reason, even when the foreign fellowships attended were considered necessary by the academic’s home university. Many are calling for policy changes to take into account the benefits research at foreign universities has for the U.K., as well as allow for more discretionary application of the rule.

Times Higher Education
April 13

Posted in Europe, Regional News Summaries