Somalia’s higher education sector has been growing rapidly. However, lack of government oversight, low quality, high levels of poverty, political instability and security challenges have been hindering reforms. A new prime minister has raised hopes – but is likely to be distracted by numerous other pressing problems.
Higher education unions have condemned the new framework law for universities passed on 26 December, which they say violates institutions’ freedom.
Kenya’s higher education regulator, the Commission for University Education, wants professional bodies barred from accrediting graduates in key professions and wants to take over the role, to avoid frequent stand-offs between the associations and universities.
The beginning of the year in West Africa's Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire has been disrupted by student protests and strikes.
Turkey and Sudan have unveiled a higher education cooperation plan that includes setting up a joint institution, networking among universities in the two countries and mutual recognition of degrees aimed at enhancing student and academic mobility.
The University of Ghana has been awarded DKK9 million (US$1.4 million) in funding under the second phase of the Danish Building Stronger Universities programme – a partnership between universities in developing countries and in Denmark.
Britain’s Institute of Development Studies will select nine African universities over two years to participate in a new programme to boost the research and teaching practices of academics working in agriculture, health and the environment. The British government is funding the scheme with a £2 million (US$3 million) grant.
Reuben Kyama and Eric Kabeera
Rwandan universities have embarked on an ambitious programme to teach Kiswahili, East Africa’s lingua franca, to enable the country’s populace to tap into regional integration.
Great competition between universities need not be negative or clash with academic values. Rather, it can provoke innovation and new thinking.
Artemios G Voyiatzis
Greek universities are looking to broaden what they offer to international students in the wake of the financial crisis, but they need more support from government on issues such as student visas.
Veena Bhalla and Krishnapratap B Powar
Given the growth in domestic student numbers, the percentage of international students is very small, particularly at the postgraduate level, and most are from Asia and Africa. More needs to be done to encourage greater student mobility to India.
Grace Karram Stephenson
A long-running partnership between Canadian and Chinese universities offers a glimmer of hope for collaboration in a world full of global tension and protests.
Russia Beyond the Headlines
The Sydney Morning Herald
Times Higher Education
Mail & Guardian
South China Morning Post
South Africa’s senior academics are better rewarded than comparable staff in the public and private sectors, and they are relatively better paid than lower-ranked lecturers, a study by the vice-chancellors' association Higher Education South Africa has revealed. This is good news for retaining senior staff but bad news for building the next generation of academics.
In three years the State University of Zanzibar has doubled its student intake, albeit from a low base – from 1,224 in 2011 to 2,489 in 2014. In so doing it has bust the myth that the small island of 1.3 million off the coast of Tanzania cannot support more than one university.
In this second special report on terrorism, University World News writers investigate the ways that higher education institutions around the world are developing methods to counter terrorism and de-radicalise young would-be terrorists.
The continual conquest and annexation of sections of north-east Nigeria by the Islamic sect Boko Haram is cause for growing concern in the nation’s universities. The country’s sovereignty is under threat, especially where the sect has proclaimed, in areas under its military control, the imposition of a ‘caliphate’ with implementation of Sharia law.
Jan Petter Myklebust
Terrorism is not a new development in a world that has experienced far worse acts than those that have occurred in recent times. Universities around the globe have responded by devoting more resources to exploring the reasons and finding answers to how terrorism might be constrained.
The terrorist attacks in Paris and Verviers in eastern Belgium represent part of a new shift in the world of terrorism and an increasing global trend. Terrorism today is carried out mostly by a small number of home-grown individuals, often friends and relatives, where a high level of secrecy and trust is maintained.
There seems to be a widespread sense that the phenomenon of terrorism presents one of the largest threats our societies currently face. This is, indisputably, a very significant challenge, but we need to address it in conjunction with the wider phenomenon of radicalisation, mainly of young people.
Concern is mounting among overseas students at a build-up of blanket hostility towards foreigners following the terrorist attacks in Paris. Politicians fear that far-right movements could cash in on the sentiments developing after the murders.
As a result of heightened concerns about terrorist threats of attacks within Australia, increasing numbers of universities have established research centres focused on global terrorism and how it might be combated. Several universities have this year also begun offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses in this field, with one running an online bachelor of social science in security and counter-terrorism that it says “will give you the training to work as a security and counter-terrorism specialist”.
Throughout his term of office Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has moved towards more extreme, right-wing positions. Seeing him stand shoulder to shoulder with other world leaders – many of whom are, if not initiators, at least supporters of violence and terror in their own countries – before the huge demonstration in Paris following the murder of the Charlie Hebdo journalists would have made those victims turn in their graves.
To meet the Islamic State threat at home, the Australian government must focus on developing ways to disengage and even de-radicalise supporters and returning foreign fighters – recognising that the latter is the most challenging. And, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t all about religious extremism.
Britain’s Labour Opposition believes the current system of charging tuition fees is unfair and unsustainable and, if elected, could opt instead for a graduate tax.
Mary Beth Marklein
Dinesh De Alwis
Madeline Will, The Chronicle of Higher Education
The University of California at Berkeley plans to open a global campus, but it intends to do so without going very far from home. Under the plan, partner universities from around the world would set up shop at a new outpost just 10 miles from Berkeley’s main campus.