22 September 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Africa Analysis
Tempest in the rankings teapot – An African perspective
Damtew Teferra
It is that season when ranking entities announce their 'findings' on the comparative stature of the world’s universities. There are many reasons why the world, especially Africa, would be well served to ignore reputation-based international university rankings.
Africa Features
Rising student suicides – What can universities do?
Wagdy Sawahel
As the world marks the 15th World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, the rising number of suicides among North African students and university graduates is turning the spotlight onto the role of universities in supporting vulnerable students and raising awareness around mental health issues.
Commonwealth campaign sees universities as peace-builders
Munyaradzi Makoni
As places where ideas can be advanced and challenged in an atmosphere of tolerance and objectivity, universities play a critical role in promoting mutual respect and understanding between people of different faiths and beliefs.
Meeting the challenge of sustainability
Munyaradzi Makoni
The new president of the Association of African Universities for 2017-20, Professor Orlando Antonio Quilambo, was elected at the association’s 14th General Conference. He spoke to University World News about his plans at the helm and the importance of Africa-based funding for the organisation.
Africa Briefs
Minister asks Huawei to interconnect all universities
Higher Education and Universities Minister Steve Mbikayi is counting on connecting all the country’s universities and other institutions to each other through new technologies as a key part of his action plan to improve and modernise the higher education system.
New institute of health inaugurated in Sumbe
A new institute of health with capacity to train nearly 2,000 students in nursing and laboratory work has been inaugurated in Sumbe.
Global Commentary
How do university rankings maintain their influence?
Miguel Antonio Lim
University rankings’ influence continues to increase even though academics are often very sceptical about them. Why? Part of the reason lies in the need for greater accountability and the way rankings are increasingly curating spaces of higher education expertise, including summits and conferences.
Frugal MOOCs – The future of refugee higher education?
Mariam Aman Shah and David Santandreu Calonge
Massive open online courses or MOOCs in their current form, shape and design do not socially empower those who most need it, such as refugees. But if we adopt a frugal approach that is adaptable and contextualised, existing barriers to online education for refugees can be overcome.
Evidence-based policies for all – Except for science?
Yves Gingras
Science funding decisions should be based on proof of what works, not on vested interests and anecdotal evidence. The concentration of funding in a few hands goes against the data on diminishing returns and cannot maximise the probability of scientific breakthroughs.
Young researchers need help with academic networking
Donatella Camedda, Ana Mirman-Flores and Ashling Ryan-Mangan
Universities across the world recognise the value of networking as a way of fostering research collaboration, mobility exchange and curriculum improvement, but young researchers often struggle to find a way to build professional relations that will lead to effective collaboration.
World Round-up
Universities face risks by protecting DACA recipients
The Globe and Mail
Refugee scientists and researchers are being ‘lost’
Jobs, harassment push up PhD dropouts
The Telegraph India
Universities body stresses need to curb radicalisation
The News
National agriculture project to benefit 75 universities
Express News Service
Move to standardise university data to help rankings
VietNamNet Bridge
Top Australian university opens campus in Dubai
Khaleej Times
Top African universities slip on rankings list
Business Live
Universities begin biometric registration of students
Daily Nation
100 university students caught cheating
MPs demand answers after R14 million student deposit
Times Live
Cambridge considers typed exams as handwriting worsens
California universities win grant to develop bionic suit
Los Angeles Business Journal
Africa News
Foreign firms to plug universities’ infrastructure gap
Gilbert Nganga
Foreign financial institutions and private equity funds are lining up millions of dollars to invest in Kenya’s higher education, potentially helping to narrow the damaging infrastructure gap facing the sector.
New survey to assess challenges facing young scholars
Sharon Dell
What are the unique challenges faced by researchers and academics early in their careers and how can they be better supported? A new study – geared towards early-career scholars in all disciplines in Africa – is set to find out.
In between elections, universities brace for disruptions
Christabel Ligami
After resuming operations last month after a four-week closure to accommodate the recent presidential elections, universities are bracing themselves for further disruptions as academic staff are due to strike next week.
New programme to produce high-level agricultural skills
Sam Otieno
African universities are set to benefit from a new €4.2 million (US$5 million) programme that will train postgraduate students in 11 countries in three thematic project areas: crop improvement; aquaculture and fisheries; and fragile ecosystems management.
E-learning hub a ‘short-cut’ to agricultural knowledge
Sam Otieno
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture is working jointly with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to implement an e-learning hub intended to enhance the capacity of agricultural graduates to meet the changing demands of the agricultural sector.
Global News
Chinese universities hit new heights in global ranking
Brendan O'Malley
United Kingdom universities have taken the top two places in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the first time, but the key trend is the continuing rise of Chinese universities which have taken two top-30 places for the first time. China’s lower-ranked universities have also made big gains.
Rankings results show ‘risks posed by HE cuts plan’
Geoff Maslen
The threat from Chinese universities to Australian universities' standing in international rankings, demonstrated in the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, has led to claims that a planned AU$2.8 billion (US$2.2 billion) government cut to universities’ funding will weaken their competitiveness internationally.
Trump’s DACA decision bars door into higher education
Mary Beth Marklein
United States President Donald Trump’s decision last week to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, programme for children of undocumented immigrants without a clear legislative solution leaves them unable to enrol in college or university and prompted stern rebukes from US higher education leaders.
Plan for universities to hold jobs for foreign faculty
Ranjit Devraj
India wants to hire more foreign academics to boost its performance in international university rankings. But plans to keep one in five faculty jobs for foreign academics have led to fears that universities will have to pay the cost without any increase in funding.
Government unveils post-Brexit science position paper
Brendan O’Malley
The United Kingdom will seek a far-reaching agreement to strengthen science and innovation collaboration with European partners post-Brexit and would prefer to design a new type of deal than build on existing precedents, according to the government’s position paper.
France and Germany start joint climate change research
Michael Gardner
France and Germany have launched a joint research programme as a contribution to implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The programme, part of the French ‘Make our Planet Great Again’ initiative, invites climate, energy and earth system scientists worldwide to engage in research in the two countries.
PUST stays open, but British Council suspends teaching
Yojana Sharma
Despite new travel curbs on United States passport-holders and tension over missile tests and military manoeuvres, the private Pyongyang University of Science and Technology or PUST, which teaches in English, is staying open. But the British Council has suspended language teaching at all North Korean universities.
Pro-independence banners re-emerge on campuses
Mimi Leung
Banners advocating Hong Kong’s independence from China have re-emerged at several Hong Kong university campuses despite moves to tear them down at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in a renewed show of defiance following the jailing of three former student leaders.
World Blog
Fees, disruption and the meaning of the university
Tom Abeles
Universities are in for a long cycle of disruption as alternatives compete to provide qualifications. This means their funding models are up for debate as never before as the whole concept of the university comes under scrutiny.
Global Features
Should universities be run like businesses?
Jan Petter Myklebust
A group of academics in Norway are questioning the way universities are increasingly being run as businesses, with policy choices based on financial returns rather than societal needs. The ‘New Public Management’ style of governance of universities and public services was slated by well-known academic Frank Aarebrot ahead of the 11 September general election.

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