An influential king in Western Nigeria has intervened in the ongoing controversy around the scrapping of management science courses in 25 federal universities of agriculture in a move aimed to correct what is perceived by the education minister as mission drift.
East African governments should work with universities to build knowledge on climate change with a view to building the capacity and resilience of local communities, who largely depend on rain-fed agriculture, to mitigate the consequences of climate change.
Despite the fact that women outnumber men at the University of Zimbabwe, there are few female engineering students. It may be time to rethink the institution’s gender affirmative action policy.
The Association of African Universities marked its Golden Jubilee Celebration at its 14th General Conference held in Accra, Ghana from 5-8 June under the theme ‘AAU@50: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects for Sustainable Development in Africa’. We capture some of the highlights of the conference in the first of our two-part special report.
The Association of African Universities, or AAU, was founded in Morocco in 1967 with 34 of the then existing 46 higher education institutions in Africa. Today the association has a membership of 386 African higher education institutions from 46 countries and has just celebrated its Golden Jubilee. University World News spoke to AAU Secretary General Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile about what the next 50 years holds for the organisation.
The higher education institution qualifications harmonisation project embarked upon by the African Union is part of attempts by the continental body to ensure that the integration of the people in Africa is not confined to the political level alone, the head of education at the African Union, Dr Beatrice Njenga, has said.
Among African universities, many of which are rooted in struggling national economies, the issue of graduate employability and entrepreneurship has taken centre stage over the past few years. An Africa-led European Union programme known as ‘Tuning’ is helping to improve graduate employability by facilitating the redesign of university programmes with an eye on student learning outcomes.
Students must become full partners in higher education development to keep it tuned to current and changing demands, according to the two students who presented their cases at the 14th Association of African Universities General Conference and Golden Jubilee Celebrations held in Accra, Ghana, on 6 June.
Students were last week planning a silent march, after police violently broke up a previous demonstration against university authorities’ refusal to meet students' demands for increased grants and permission to study in lecture halls outside course times, curtailment of Wi-Fi and bad living conditions, among other grievances.
Students from Burkina Faso studying in Egypt took the opportunity to complain about their conditions to their president who was on a goodwill trip.
Université du Troisième Âge – the University of the Third Age – of Mauritius was opened four years ago and today has about 500 students, all over 55 years old, studying more than 25 courses.
If Asian universities are going to break into the world’s top 10, the most likely candidate is Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, at least according to the new QS World University Rankings 2018. Other rankings tell a different story.
The New York Times
Kenya’s Commission for University Education has issued stringent new guidelines for the appointment and promotion of academic staff in a system that gives heavy emphasis to publication in reputable, peer-reviewed journals and discourages publication in so-called predatory journals. While the move is intended to raise academic standards, it has also raised concerns about the hurdles to publication facing many Kenyan academics.
The government of Germany is set to deepen higher education cooperation with East Africa by funding the establishment of a centre of excellence in information and communication technology in the region to deliver a specialised masters programme in embedded and mobile systems.
The Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan University Partnership is establishing a multi-campus university with a Christian ethos in a move aimed at meeting increasing demand for higher education in the country and improving quality.
An academic diaspora portal has been launched in Mauritania in a bid to address the loss of local scholars and expertise in a country marked by serious brain drain.
The country’s Mulungushi University has suspended 50 students, including student union leaders, for a year following recent riots over fees that students say are unaffordable. At the same time the Zambian government has announced that all student union activities at the institution have also been suspended for a year.
The African Academy of Sciences has nominated seven African scholars under the age of 35 to participate in this year’s prestigious Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting dedicated to chemistry, which takes place later this month. This will be followed in August by the sixth Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences – at which Africa will be represented by two young economists.
Ahead of the formal start of Brexit talks on Monday, university leaders have said that the United Kingdom's world-leading university sector should help shape the negotiations and that UK universities provide the “antidote to the UK’s Brexit challenges”.
The president of one of Ireland’s leading universities has warned that it is relying on recruiting non-European Union students to pay for staffing increases and may have to limit the number of places available to Irish students if the government fails to improve funding for universities.
Jan Petter Myklebust
University and student leaders have voiced opposition to a government proposal, announced on 12 June, to outlaw the covering of the face in learning institutions, from kindergarten to universities, which would prevent the wearing of a niqab.
Overseas study and transnational education, or TNE, may perpetuate social inequality because most of the students come from advantaged family backgrounds and attain their first job through their social network after graduation, according to a paper written by researchers at two universities in China.
Jan Petter Myklebust
Finnish universities make a “very substantial” contribution to Finland’s economy – more than 6% of economic output and 5% of employment – but this could increase or decrease in response to future changes in university funding, a new report has warned.
The Open University – the world’s first successful distance teaching university – is going digital and being streamlined in a bid to “radically reinvent itself” and find savings of £100 million (US$128 million) from its £420 million budget in the run-up to its 50th anniversary.
Adam Harris, The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Trump administration is rolling back on two of former president Barack Obama’s key protections for students against fraud and unscrupulous loan providers. For-profit colleges are hailing the change as an end to the ‘ideological assault’ on the sector – but so are black advocacy groups.
Claims by critics in the Australian media that universities are facing a crisis of rising student drop-out rates because of poor admission standards, ill-prepared students and increasing enrolments have been rejected by a new report, which describes the claims as “unnecessarily alarmist and not borne out by the facts”.
What are the key developments shaping student mobility in the United States and globally, what are the key concerns and how much impact are recent political developments, particularly the rise of nationalism around the world, having on higher education?
While China has successfully coped with pressure to increase internationalisation and research outputs, India and Brazil face a number of issues if they are to improve their higher education systems, from widening access to boosting their international profile.
Student partnerships with universities, based on the recognition of the value of student contributions, provides a path forward for working together to ensure equity and enhance quality from within institutions rather than students protesting on the outside.
Yulia Grinkevich and Maria Shabanova
Worldwide the idea of decentralising support for international students has been gaining popularity in recent years as it allows for multiple solutions to challenges. But universities must balance this against the onus on them to provide quality support.
Charles Sturt University graduates 40% more indigenous students than any other university in Australia and strives to take on board Aboriginal values, seeking to find a way of living that honours both traditional knowledge and Western rationality and contributes to 'a world worth living in'.
In times of trouble higher education institutions need to ready themselves for the turbulence ahead. That means everything from gathering intelligence and understanding the terrain to creating a viable plan and getting everyone working together.