WENR, April 2016: Middle East
Tackling academic fraud in Kuwait
Amid recent reports about a proliferation of fake online universities, Kuwait is prosecuting 259 fraudulent-degree holders in an effort to curtail the use of such degrees. A 2015 New York Times article reported that 3,000 people working in Gulf countries held counterfeit degrees from fraudulent online universities, with 278 in Kuwait. Out of that group, The National Bureau for Academic Accreditation and Education Quality Assurance was able to locate 259 people. The majority of the fake-degree holders work in the private sector.
March 29, 2016
U.K University partners with Jordan for refugee education
U.K.’s University of Bath will partner with universities to provide educational access to Syrian refugees. This partnership strategy, known as the “Muruna Project,” will provide scholarships for qualified Master’s and PhD level students, as well as training for Jordanian engineering and mathematics professors. The goal of the project is twofold: to support Syrian refugee students and to strengthen higher education in Jordan. However, detractors fear that documentation challenges among Syrian refugees will make the latter goal unobtainable. Several western universities have offered scholarships for displaced Syrians to study in the Europe and the U.S., but access to both regions can be challenging. Meanwhile, Jordan, with its close proximity to Syria, hosts more than 60,000 refugees.
March 22, 2016
Turkish academics investigated for signing ‘peace petition’
Public universities have launched investigations into Turkish academics who signed an international petition calling for peace between security forces and Kurdistan Workers party militants. The crackdown has been extreme, with nine people fired, five resignation, multiple suspensions, 153 criminal prosecutions, and dozens of detentions. At least 1,128 academics from around the world have signed the petition. The universities leading the probes argue that signing the peace petition goes beyond the parameters of academic freedom.
Hurryiet Daily News
March 10, 2016
Iran forges new HE partnerships after sanctions lifted
Iran has quickly moved to pursue new educational partnerships after economic sanctions against the country were lifted earlier this year. Three top Iranian higher education institutions, the University of Tehran, the University of Isfahan, and Sharif University of Technology have signed agreements with École Polytechnique, one of the top universities in France, and are slated to sign similar agreements with institutions in Sweden. Meanwhile, Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology has announced plans to develop exchange programs with Cyprus.
Times Higher Education
March 1, 2016