Are developing countries learning to play the rankings game better as statistics show countries like the United Kingdom and the United States are losing ground? The recently released Academic Ranking of World Universities, or ARWU, brought some surprises.
Across Africa there has been a move to upgrade polytechnics to universities, but in so doing countries are failing to train enough vocational workers, such as technicians. Could the change of policy in Mauritius where a replacement is being sought for polytechnics be the way forward?
The newly launched Higher Education Forum for Africa, Asia and Latin America – HEFAALA – held its first international symposium in Durban, South Africa, from 19-20 August under the theme “Continental realities, international imperatives”. University World News was there.
In a promising moment for cross-continental tertiary learning, 20 August saw the Higher Education Forum for Africa, Asia and Latin America officially launched in Durban on South Africa’s east coast before 60 delegates from 18 nations.
While international student mobility continues to flow North, emerging countries in the global South are fast becoming major players, says Professor Hans de Wit, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College in the United States. It will not be long before China bypasses top student destination nations like Australia and the United Kingdom.
Politics has the ability to play out in higher education, albeit in differing degrees, regardless of the country and the will of individual universities.
Understanding that strong academics are key to improving the quality and relevance of higher education, in 2002 Pakistan embarked on a massive faculty development initiative that awarded over 10,000 international and even more local scholarships. The project has been a global success story in both boosting and internationalising the country’s academic core.
African universities must work cohesively to build the continent’s human capital, specifically in mathematics, science, physics and health sciences, while also realising that more women must be included in higher education.
Regardless of geographical distances, political agendas and student bodies, countries in Africa faced similar challenges in respect of massification, quality, funding, leadership and internationalisation of higher education.
The Wall Street Journal
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
The New York Times
New Straits Times
The Sydney Morning Herald
For China, a great deal is riding on the G20 Economic Summit taking place in Hangzhou in China next week and intended to showcase China’s ability to take a world economic leadership role. Alongside the usual G20 summit themes of finance and trade, China is keen to push global innovation-driven growth as a topic at the summit, with the top item on the expected summit outcome list the drafting of a blueprint for innovation-driven growth.
Salman Islam and Yojana Sharma
The American University of Afghanistan has temporarily suspended operations “in the wake of the despicable terrorist attack on the university”, the university said in a press release issued Friday, two days after a horrendous attack on the university which killed 16, including seven students and a professor, and injured 53 in a 10-hour long raid by unidentified militants.
Private businesses and investors will be able to reserve study places in Russian universities in return for donations to endowment funds, under amendments to an existing education law recently drafted by the ministries of economic development and of education.
Recent disruptions in Turkey’s higher education sector are having an increasing impact on Turkish academics and students in Germany. The government of Lower Saxony in northern Germany is concerned that these developments are obstructing exchange and research programmes.
The African Union has launched an African passport, signalling visa-free access to all 54 of the continent’s nations. But if this free passage is to benefit higher education and science, it must be accompanied by harmonised qualifications, bureaucratic efficiency and infrastructure to support academic mobility.
When Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying met with leaders of the governing councils of Hong Kong’s eight public universities in mid-August, just weeks before Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections on 4 September, students were alarmed it was an attempt by China to put pressure on universities to curb overt displays of “pro-independence” sentiment on campuses.
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Expert Group for Studies in Public Economics, a think-thank under the Ministry of Finance, gathered the academic and political elite, including the minister of higher education and research, in Stockholm last week for a conference called “Conversations on Research Policy”.
Tanzania has suspended student loans amounting to TZS3.2 billion (US$1.5 million) affecting over 2,000 students, some of whom are believed to be non-existent as they failed to show up during a verification exercise.
South Africa’s battle over tuition fees is far from over, generating instability across the sector and simmering student protests. Last week the government revealed that 16 out of 26 public institutions – including Africa’s top universities – could face financial distress if fees do not rise, and could have a nearly R4 billion (US$279 million) funding shortfall for 2017-18.
The Australian Human Rights Commission is to conduct an independent survey of the nation’s university students to gain greater insight into the nature, prevalence and reporting of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The survey will also investigate the effectiveness of services and policies that address sexual assault and harassment on campus.
Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Many more private universities can expect to see their graduate employees move to form unions in the wake of last Tuesday’s National Labor Relations Board decision on such an effort at Columbia University.
John Richard Shrock
The gaokao, China’s test for university admission, dictates curriculum content, encouraging teachers to teach to the test. Meanwhile, the United States’ SAT test is moving more in this direction, to the detriment of the US education system.
Jan Petter Myklebust
As input to the work programme of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 for the period 2018-20 and the next framework programme – FP9 – Norwegian and Danish authorities have published their recommendations.
Steven J Friesen
As of 1 August 2016, a new law allows concealed handguns in college and university buildings in Texas. It’s already had an impact on me as professor of religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Thanks to this law, I set foot in a federal court building for the first time.