In this week’s news roundup we speak about new law in Indonesia that could put in jeopardy foreign researchers who break rules, agreement between African universities and Chinese institutions and an ordeer to Taiwanese universities to improve English offerings.
Foreign researchers could be jailed in Indonesia for breaking rules
The Jakarta Post reports that Indonesia passed new law which includes criminal charges against foreign researchers found guilty of violating visa regulations. Even though many researchers criticized the bill because it could curtail academic freedom, the legislative body took the unanimous decision. Andi Yuliani Paris, a lawmaker and National Mandate Party (PAN) politician, said: “Researchers do not have to worry [as long as] they possess ethical clearance [from the Research, Technology and Higher Education Ministry].” Researchers who conduct research without valid visa permit could face penalties up to US$287,418 and be banned from applying for a permit in the next five years.
African universities sign agreements with Chinese institutions
The Pie News reports that nine African universities have signed agreements with Chinese think-tanks and universities. The goal of this collaboration is to establish partnership in the fields of social sciences and humanities. African universities that are part of the deal include: the University of Namibia, University of Zimbabwe, University of Zambia, University of Botswana, University of Lagos-Nigeria, Makerere University of Uganda, the University of South Africa, the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone and the Open University of Tanzania. Chinese institutions that signed deals include: the China-Africa Institute, China University of International Studies, North-West University of Politics and Law, Communication University of China, University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the International Poverty Reduction Centre. Jairos Kangira, dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Namibia, said: “The universities will sign MoUs later, but Chinese and African universities can start collaborating, [and] there are many other African universities that have MoUs with their Chinese counterparts already.”
Taiwanese universities ordered to improve English offerings
Taipei Times reports that Ministry of Education will be looking into cases where universities were given special funding, but still did not manage to offer 20 per cent of all courses in each grade taught entirely in English. For instance, the National Taiwan University only offers 5 per cent of courses in English, while National Chiao Tung University averaged 10 to 13 per cent. National Cheng Kung University averaged 10 percent and National Tsing Hua University was just under 20 per cent. Control Yuan member Peter Chang, said that the number of courses either remained the same or declined at the above-mentioned universities. Furthermore, systematic training for teachers in English and education is not offered by the ministry and schools.
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