"Research and Innovation for Global Challenges" was the theme of a major international conference hosted by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association in Johannesburg last week and attended by nearly 500 people from 44 countries. University World News was there and brings you this first of two special reports on the event.
Africa’s around 20 science academies have a crucial and collaborative role to play in tackling problems and driving development, according to Academy of Science of South Africa President Daya Reddy. But efforts to grow science are constrained by brain drain – at least one third of African researchers are plying their trade outside the continent.
The Association of Commonwealth Universities last week launched a Research, Knowledge and Information Community aimed at connecting university staff across the Commonwealth to share experiences and explore ideas and potential collaboration. It is the second of three communities – the others focus on community engagement and international education.
South African research is on the rise but is “edging towards a demographic cliff”, warned Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor last week. While in 1994 – the year of democracy – one in 10 credited academic papers were by over 50-year-olds, today that age group produces half of all papers.
William Patrick Leonard
It is not for all institutions and it is unquestionably expensive. But confident teaching-learning institutions, with a cadre of gifted instructors rather than researchers, can pursue international accreditation for at least one of their strong programmes, which by association will showcase their entire institution on a global scale.
Philip G Altbach
AHELO was set up to compare learning outcomes in different fields in different countries. A pilot was deemed a failure and now there are plans to extend it, despite major questions about its basic methodology, its orientation and the assessment instruments to be used.
The Russian government has announced big cuts in the number of its higher education institutions in order to improve quality, but it lacks a clear vision of how the different parts of the sector work.
Turkey needs to plan ahead for the impact of the rapid increase in student numbers to ensure oversupply of graduates does not result in a high unemployment rate and social instability.
A collaboration between the two countries seeks connections in research, innovation and technology transfer as well as increased student exchange.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
The Economic Times
Radio Free Asia
The New York Times
Radio New Zealand
The Cambodia Daily
The Globe and Mail
Inside Higher Ed
Edinburgh Evening News
The Yomiuri Shimbun
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014, many academics were hopeful about the future of India’s higher education system after years of seeing the quality of university education undermined by political and bureaucratic interference. One year on, there is disappointment over continued meddling and the lack of a clear higher education direction.
Ameen Amjad Khan
Following an investigation by The New York Times into an alleged global fake degrees business, Pakistan law enforcement agencies have raided the offices of Karachi-based IT company Axact and have also begun probing the company’s accounts. Records, computers and electronic devices were seized for forensic investigation. Axact denied the allegations.
In the wake of the 25 April earthquake and huge aftershocks that jolted the country, Nepal’s largest public university has set up a fund – and staff are donating a proportion of their own salaries – to help with reconstruction. Students and alumni are helping to clear rubble, salvage materials and perform other tasks.
Much more needs to be done to harmonise Europe’s higher education system, according to a new report into the state of implementation of the Bologna Process across the European Higher Education Area. There has been progress on quality assurance and the credit transfer system, but in other spheres, including inequity of access, the record of progress is patchy.
International students in London are contributing £2.8 billion (US$4.3 billion) a year to the UK economy through fees and spending that they, their friends and families bring to the UK. Although they do consume public services, this is dwarfed by their contribution to the economy.
Science departments in Russia’s universities are facing a crisis of information following the decision last week of a Western publisher to lock them out of access to thousands of unique scientific journals and magazines because the government can no longer afford to foot the bill.
Four US and two UK universities are among the most improved in the world over the past five years in an analysis of Thomson Reuters academic reputation surveys, with King’s College London and New York University the most significant climbers.
State-owned universities in Zimbabwe have started gearing up for commercialisation of their activities after the cash-strapped government warned that it could cut its salary obligations to state higher education institutions by 50% in the near future.
Japanese academics worried about the country’s growing revisionist mood have welcomed an open letter by an international group of scholars to conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling for an end to nationalistic interpretation of the sexual slavery practised by the Imperial Army in World War II.
Thailand’s military-dominated National Legislative Assembly has passed bills granting four major public universities increased autonomy, which opponents regard as a step towards privatisation. Students criticised the move arguing that it lacked proper scrutiny.
Nepal’s academic calendar from the school to university level has been thrown into uncertainty by the devastating earthquake and the strong aftershocks that have shaken the Himalayan nation over the past three weeks. The crippling damage to the sector could have long-term effects on students’ career plans.
Jan Petter Myklebust
There is a significant correlation between the quality of higher education undertaken and the income of graduates ten years after graduating, a new report says. But access to the top universities is still heavily weighted in favour of students from families with a higher level of education.
New Zealand’s universities are urging high-school students and their parents to make sure they understand exam requirements following a 17% fall in the number passing the entrance exam in 2014 compared to the year before.
Kenya’s Commission for University Education has directed universities to cease teaching diploma and certificate courses and other non-degree courses by July. But universities could lose large amounts of fee income as a result.
A global coalition of UN agencies and international NGOs has called on governments to bring an end to the military use of universities and schools in war – because it puts the lives of students and staff at risk and causes long-term harm to education.
Jan Petter Myklebust
University leaders and student unions have criticised the government for publishing graduate salary levels in its new online universities guide, arguing that it could misinform applicants and push them to base their choices on “where the money is”.
Maria Elena Hurtado
The spate of financial scandals that are rocking Chile – including the jailing of three former ‘star students’ of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile’s economics and administration faculty – has stirred a wholesome debate in the country on the importance of ethics in the teaching of economics.