This week’s news comes from New Zealand and the US, with a new survey highlighting potential issues with anti-cheating laws.
On a positive note, online language app Duolingo has announced the introduction of five new endangered languages to its platform. These include Zulu, Xhosa and Maori.
Here’s your weekly higher education news roundup.
International survey opens anti-cheating laws to scrutiny
A study published in the journal Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education by researchers at Deakin University has highlighted potential doubts about the effectiveness of ant-cheating laws.
Some students continued to get others to do their work, even when they believed that they were breaking the law the study has shown.
Researchers said that “[Our] findings beg the question: will such laws have any effect on changing student behaviour at all?”
Currently there are laws prohibiting the outsourcing of students’ work to third-party services in Australia, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and 17 US states, with the UK Parliament set to consider following suit.
Although there has been substantial research into contract cheating, there is an absence of studies looking at students’ attitudes and the effectiveness of anti-cheating laws. The use of such laws provides the foundation for many governments’ approaches to preventing such behaviour.
The team at Deakin University surveyed more than 7,000 students in the study.
Duolingo adds five endangered language courses
Online language learning app Duolingo has announced that it will be introducing five endangered language courses to its portfolio. This follows a pledge to work to help protect endangered languages.
The five new courses will cover Zulu, Xhosa, Maori, Haitian Creole and Austronesian Tagalog and will be rolled out over the next year.
There are currently over 40 languages and 100 courses available on the app, alongside English language testing popular with many international students.
“Language is about connection and bringing people and cultures together. What better way to keep the vibrancy of cultures alive than by making languages accessible to everyone?” said Myra Awodey, Senior Community Manager at Duolingo.
New Zealand to revamp higher education
The government and policy makers in New Zealand have revealed that they are seeking a proactive approach when it comes to a fundamental reset of higher education in the country.
Policy-makers have said that disruption to the sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic offers an opportunity for a reset of the industry.
New Zealand remains under strict lockdown measures after a recent increase in cases, with borders closed to international students looking to continue their education in the country.
A draft policy statement, which is open to consultation, from the New Zealand Department of Education lays out a system that “provides excellent education and ākonga/student experience, targets and attracts ākonga/students in high value markets, and delivers a range of value benefits to New Zealand with minimal risks.”
There are also hopes to promote global citizenship and support opportunities for New Zealand ākonga/students to study abroad.
The policy also says that “a transformed sector will be more resilient and diversified than our pre-Covid sector,” as well as having “a focus on the system-wide value for New Zealand.”
There has been criticism of New Zealand’s government by stakeholders in the higher education sector in the country as plans to lift closed-border measures mean that universities will not be able to welcome international students in person for the new academic year in 2022.