International features (World in Focus)


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Hungarian woman wearing a plastic bag in the rain

Can free thinking continue amid authoritarian culture?

With Hungary accused of ‘undermining democratic values’, Malcolm Gillies considers to what extent universities with a liberal mission can flourish in ‘illiberal’ societies

Man's eyes staring through shadows

The decline of the Greek empire: US fraternities

The male student societies are under pressure like never before. Is it time to shut them down – or can they mend their ways?

Interview: the “philosopher president” of Uruguay

Martin McQuillan meets José Mujica to discuss education and philosophy

Assessing China’s academic orbit

Yong Zhao believes China doesn’t foster the free thinkers it needs. What is the state of the country’s higher education system?

Russia’s universities: rebuilding ‘collapsed stars’

Jack Grove reports from Moscow on bold plans to revive the country’s ailing higher education sector

The future of women-only universities

Jon Marcus examines the decline of all-female institutions in the West and their rising popularity in the developing world

The Israeli academy: unity amid divisions

Matthew Reisz reports on Anglo-Israeli scientific collaborations against the backdrop of a campaign for a boycott

University of the buffer zone

The story of an unlikely branch campus in Cyprus and higher education on a divided island

Caltech: secrets of the world’s number one university

How does a tiny institution create such outsized impact?

The Australian test: uncapped student numbers

Does more mean better or worse?

China on the fast track

Beijing wants to supercharge its nation’s universities as it has its railroads, but might its ambitions falter for want of academic freedom and cultural change?

Turkey: liberty and repression

The state is confronting student protest with an iron fist while promising to relax its grip on the academy. Jack Grove reports from the country

No sleep for Singapore’s universities

David Matthews reports from the island state on the questions facing its burgeoning academy

Beyond sushi: the attractions of lecturing in Japan

Susan K Burton looks back at her time teaching at Japanese universities and wonders why more Westerners don’t head east

Africa’s mobile phone e-learning transformation

Mobile phone ownership across the continent is rocketing, but can it expand higher education’s reach and quality?

Inside a cooperative university

We report from Spain on the University of Mondragon, which is fighting to preserve its teaching mission, industry-focused research and mutual governance model

India’s higher education sector focuses on standards

The subcontinent plans to create capacity for an extra 10 million students in five years, with particular emphasis on quality of education. But how?

After Quebec’s Maple Spring, the outlook is uncertain

Student protests brought down a government but failed to freeze tuition fees: what’s next for a province where universities remain high on the political agenda? Elizabeth Gibney reports from Montreal

Presidents take on the gun lobby

Post-Sandy Hook, hundreds of American college presidents are taking on the gun lobby. Amid the US’ increasingly febrile and evidence-free policy debates, does the campaign signal a return to the ‘bully pulpit’ for the American academy’s leaders? Jon Marcus reports

Tales of student visa bureaucracy

The visa process can trap students in a costly Kafkaesque limbo. To improve life for foreign scholars, the sector should halt its failed lobbying over policy and focus on publicising the misery caused by Byzantine bureaucracy, argues Simeon Underwood

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Kevin Haggerty and Aaron Doyle offer tips on making postgraduate study even tougher (which students could also use to avoid pitfalls if they prefer)

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Ellie Bothwell introduces our four ‘innovation indicators’ and reveals the strongest performers as we visualise a new ranking based on university-industry collaboration

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China continues to advance, but Japan dips in Shanghai Jiao Tong ranking based on research strength

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Six academics share their experiences before delivering a verdict on the system

There are some important dos and don’ts to bear in mind when choosing someone to oversee your doctoral thesis, advises Tara Brabazon