26 April 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Africa News
Islamic university pledges reform to fight militancy
Ashraf Khaled
Egypt’s Islamic Al-Azhar University has unveiled a plan to revise its curricula as the country cracks down on violent militancy. Al-Azhar is the world’s oldest, and a highly respected, Islamic seat of learning that attracts students from around the world.
Africa News
One student killed, 141 hurt in campus ‘terror’ stampede
Wachira Kigotho
One student died and 141 others were injured in a stampede at the University of Nairobi’s Kikuyu campus on Sunday 12 April after a transformer exploded – the result of an electrical fault that caused an underground cable to burst. Students jumped from hostels to the ground after mistaking the 04h00 explosion for an attack by al-Shabaab Islamist militants.
Controversy over the role of academics in 2015 election
Tunde Fatunde
Nigeria’s recent general election witnessed high involvement of vice-chancellors as returning officials and new graduates as polling officers. The election was judged to be free and fair, but the participation of the university community has been enmeshed in controversy.
Kenya to drop visas in international student drive
Maina Waruru
The government is to abolish visas and special entry conditions for East Africans wishing to study at any university or college in Kenya, in a move that could see the country outsmart other regional states in the race to attract international students.
E-Learning university launches new MOOCs platform
Wagdy Sawahel
The Egyptian E-Learning University has launched an open initiative called Learn4All that will provide free learning opportunities for everyone.
Unions in Algeria and Tunisia call lecturer strikes
Jane Marshall
The Algerian higher education union Conseil National des Enseignants du Supérieur called a three-day strike last week principally over a revised statute for lecturer-researchers, while in Tunisia last-minute talks between the Fédération Générale de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique and the higher education ministry failed to prevent a one-day strike over bonuses.
Failed university-industry links escalate joblessness
Esther Nakkazi
With many graduates across Africa unable to secure jobs, links between university education and industry are under intense scrutiny. The failure of companies to employ graduates is blamed largely on irrelevant course content that does not match industry needs.
Training in quality assurance systems for universities
Francis Kokutse
The German Academic Exchange Service held a one-week training programme for 35 quality assurance directors drawn from English speaking higher education institutions in West Africa. The training in Ghana’s capital Accra was part of a project to help design quality assurance systems for tertiary institutions across the region.
Africa Briefs
Funding plea for HE and research development ‘motor’
Madagascar’s government is seeking contributions from international partners to promote and equip higher education and research to be the ‘motor’ of its national development plan. Among the proposals is a competitive fund for innovation to finance research in priority sectors.
Call for reassessment of research and more funding
Researchers in Senegal have called for a reassessment of research, including the creation of a central research system, and for more state funding to enable them to achieve their objectives. These were among conclusions of a debate organised by higher education and research union Sudes-ESR on “Research and National Research Centres: What directions should Senegal take?”
Global Commentary
Towards a sustainable, humane society
Jandhyala BG Tilak
Asian universities can lead the way towards the creation of a sustainable, more humane society. Since ancient times, the most important objective of education has been to inculcate universal human values and to prepare the citizens needed for the creation of the global family.
Broadening ambitions for international education
Craig Whitsed and Wendy Green
The federal government’s Draft National Strategy for International Education narrowly focuses on economic interests and fails to recognise the role of internationalisation of the curriculum in creating a more open, outward-looking country.
Intelligent internationalisation: A 21st century imperative
Laura E Rumbley
Internationalisation is moving to centre stage, but to do it properly requires a commitment to creating an alliance between policy-makers, researchers and practitioners.
World Blog
A digital ‘Arab Spring’ for higher education?
John Traxler
Will the technology revolution bring about the overthrow of the higher education system, and are university debates about mobile learning an attempt to make an education system work for a society that has literally moved on?
World Round-up
Corruption rife in international student sector
Brisbane Times
Researchers welcome €5 billion science funding boost
Plan to create university system for Syrian refugees
National Public Radio
University of Amsterdam chief quits over student protests
Dutch News
Students return to streets over free education pledge
Saudi air attacks shut down universities
Al-Fanar Media
Student support for Liberal Democrats drops
The Independent
Ministry completes overhaul of university programmes
Hungary Today
SNP pledges support for lower English tuition fees
Times Higher Education
New international university aimed at expats
Arab News
Buhari urged to scrap foreign scholarships
Daily Post
Universities raise concerns over note-sharing website
CBC News
Dr Oz defends medical advice amid calls for firing
USA Today
Charlie Hebdo university event in Belfast called off
BBC News
Universities hit by increase in copyright licences
The New Zealand Herald
Students get academics to write essays for €50 an hour
The Irish Times
Africa Features
Big disparities in philanthropy for universities
Munyaradzi Makoni
Ten South African universities collected a total of R659 million (US$55 million) in philanthropic income during 2013 from 4,355 donors, with nearly half from international organisations. But there were major disparities, a new survey has revealed – two universities attracted half of the funding while five received less than R23 million between them.
Employer poll reveals preferred university graduates
Gilbert Nganga
Graduates of the public University of Nairobi and the private Strathmore University are by far the most preferred by employers in Kenya, according to a poll by the Nairobi recruitment firm Corporate Staffing Services. The findings reveal long-held biases among employers and are likely to spark rivalry among universities, as the battle for the best students hots up.
Africa Analysis
Quality HE via high-speed internet is Africa’s future
Tom P Abeles
If the goals of the draft declaration and action plan of the African Higher Education Summit are to be achieved, there should be less focus on building traditional universities and more on expanding high-speed broadband internet that will enable global cutting-edge knowledge to be delivered to students cost-effectively.
A vice-chancellor speaks out against xenophobia
Jonathan Jansen
Dear Foreign National Student,
Today I once again hang my head in shame as we continue to threaten, harass and even kill you and your family members and friends on the streets of South Africa. Yet this week many of you will stride across graduation stages in South African universities to obtain degrees. One of you, a student at my university, wrote to tell me that you will achieve the award for top student in economics even though you came here from Zimbabwe without a cent in your pocket.
Global News
A higher-ed guide to four presidential contenders
Kelly Field, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Over the past few weeks, four candidates have officially announced that they are running for president. Democrat front-runner, of course, is Hillary Rodham Clinton, while the Republican field includes three US senators: Florida’s Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants who is pitching himself as the fresh face of the GOP; Texas’ Ted Cruz, a conservative Christian and Tea Party hero; and Kentucky’s Rand Paul, a libertarian who is positioning himself as the candidate for young people.
Government to close two in every five universities
Eugene Vorotnikov
The number of Russian universities will be cut by 40% by the end of 2016, according to Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov. In addition, the number of university branches will be slashed by 80% in the same period.
Private universities and branch campuses ‘technically insolvent’
Emilia Tan
Many of Malaysia’s private universities, including foreign branch campuses, are facing financial and managerial problems and more than half will experience financial distress as a result of recent changes to the national student loans scheme, according to a new report.
Police evict protesting students and academics
Jan Petter Myklebust
The University of Amsterdam called in the police on 11 April to forcibly remove protesting students and staff who had spent the previous six weeks occupying the university’s senate house – Maagdenhuis. More than 500 academics who have supported the students are now calling on the board to resign.
Strategy aims to attract more foreigners to study and stay on
Geoff Maslen
The federal government has launched a draft strategy in an effort to boost Australia's chances of attracting more foreign students and encouraging local students to look outside the country. But, faced with a massive budget deficit and falling mineral prices, the government is unable to guarantee it will actually achieve any of what it says is necessary.
First non-Norwegian to head nation's largest university college
Jan Petter Myklebust
Minnesota-born Professor Curt Rice has been appointed rector of the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, the largest university college in Norway aspiring to become a university. Although a foreigner taking up a top post at a university in northern Europe is extremely rare, Rice told University World News that his origins were not an issue at the interview.
Debating the impact of research on society
More than 400 university leaders and representatives from the European higher education sector met on 16 and 17 April at the annual conference of the European University Association, where Professor Rolf Tarrach, former rector of the trilingual University of Luxembourg, was elected president as the sole candidate for the position.
Crosstalks: Where great minds from around the world meet
Jan Petter Myklebust
“Fantastic, professional, fun and inspiring! A great thanks to you! I will continue watching Crosstalks and spread the word!” That was Nina Kirchner, a senior lecturer in numerical ice sheet modeling at Stockholm University, telling the Crosstalks team what she thought after taking part in one of its monthly programmes called “Into the deep: The unknown territories and resources of the sea”.
Global Features
Should only 'bright' students gain entry to university?
Conor King
The question of who should go to university is lurking behind Australia’s contentious funding and fees debate that has wracked higher education for the past year. This is also the issue that will determine how well higher education supports the nation’s future.

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