29 August 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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#scholarAfrica – Consolidating the open agenda
Michelle Willmers
Universities are operating in a period of both unprecedented demand for open access to knowledge and unprecedented competition. The question of how to balance the open agenda with the demands of competition is a challenge. What appears to be taking place is that openness itself is being hegemonised by the system and becoming a locus for competition.
Africa Features
Diversity, culture and support key to HE transformation
Karen MacGregor
A review of equity and transformation initiatives in three South African universities, two decades after the advent of democracy, has highlighted the importance of diversity among staff, institutional cultures and support for emerging researchers. Strategies are needed to tackle the key challenge of increasing the output of quality postgraduates.
RUFORUM summit
Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture turns 10
The 4th Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture – RUFORUM – was held from 19-25 July in the Mozambique capital Maputo. Senior University World News writer Munyaradzi Makoni was there. RUFORUM, a consortium of 42 universities in 19 countries, celebrates the tenth anniversary of its establishment this year.
Budgeting woes hit European-funded mobility schemes
Munyaradzi Makoni
The managers of Africa’s intra-ACP exchange programmes say that organising a large number of mobile students on the continent is a logistical nightmare. Worse, students complain of lack of research funding. Too many factors were not considered when European-funded mobility schemes were conceptualised for implementation in Africa.
Agriculture training key to meeting continental needs
Munyaradzi Makoni
Higher education in agriculture must provide training that allows Africa to feed itself, accommodate women, advise policy-makers, make use of innovative technologies, multiply fully trained researchers and turn research results into practice. This was the central message from the biennial meeting of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, RUFORUM.
New science blueprint for agriculture takes shape
Munyaradzi Makoni
New directions for harnessing science for agriculture to meet goals in innovation and social transformation have been proposed in a plan to promote efficiency and productivity in agriculture.
Producing postgraduates for sustainable development
Munyaradzi Makoni
An Education for Sustainable Development in Africa initiative with a three-pronged masters programme is helping to build the next generation of researchers and leaders skilled in sustainable development. The project, supported by Japan and involving eight universities in five African countries, has kicked off after years of planning and development.
Piloting graduate studies in post-conflict countries
Munyaradzi Makoni
The return of peace after civil war has provided an opportunity for three universities in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar to rebuild agriculture expertise by establishing three postgraduate training programmes.
Boosting African agriculture with open access
Munyaradzi Makoni
African universities should work towards establishing open access policies, to enable their research to be more accessible to the wider scientific community.
Mentorship portal to deliver market-ready graduates
Munyaradzi Makoni
A regional platform to train and mentor university graduates could produce highly skilled people who meet the demands of the agriculture industry by 2016. Research to develop the platform, which is being led by Egerton University in Kenya, started in February this year.
Global Features
US-Malaysia medical school collaboration collapses
Yojana Sharma
A dispute with Johns Hopkins University in the United States, ostensibly over “frequent late payments”, has led to a termination of the American institution’s partnership with Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine in Malaysia, both sides have confirmed.
Confuse students to help them learn
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education
If you had to pick a single word to explain how Derek Muller ended up in a Perth hotel room arguing with an empty chair, it probably would be ‘confusion’. About a decade ago, Muller – then a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney – wanted to figure out how to make science videos that students would learn from, not just watch. So he did some experiments.
Global Commentary
The Syrian (academic) refugee crisis viewed from Turkey
James King
Syrian academic refugees in Turkey have gone from stable meaningful jobs to powerlessness overnight. They need international support and greater capacity needs to be built at Turkey’s higher education institutions to absorb more Syrians.
The knowledge revolution
Martin Cohen
The internet has killed university libraries and may do the same to academic authors. In the past academics did have at least the ‘potential’ to spread ideas, but now what students find online is centrally controlled and equivalent to a bookshop where only Penguin books are displayed and the rest are kept in a vast basement.
Higher education – Vive la technologie?
Rupert Ward
Technology is an inescapable and ever-evolving part of modern university life. We should cautiously embrace change as this is essential to engaging with students brought up in the internet age.
Trickle up – Fee deregulation will only benefit elite
Janice Dudley, The Conversation
Australia’s proposed higher education reforms are the most substantial since the creation of the Unified National System under then Minister John Dawkins in the 1980s. Such significant changes need to be argued, debated and contested. Unfortunately, what fee deregulation offers will only benefit the elite few.
World Blog
Reform higher education’s old system of privileges
Yegor Stadny
This year’s higher education admissions round in Ukraine is more complex than in the past due to the war, but it has put the spotlight on old systems of privilege which need reforming.
Africa News
Crisis at top university after student dies in clash
Jane Marshall
Senegal’s leading university, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar was in crisis last week after a student was killed in a violent confrontation with police during protests over non-payment of grants and other grievances linked to government reforms.
New science university fully operational, and growing
Andrew Maramwidze
Unions warn of rise in pharmacy, dentistry admissions
Ashraf Khaled
East Africa initiative to boost women leaders in HE
Wagdy Sawahel
Angry Ndebele people demand more teacher training
Kudzai Mashininga
Stalemate after sacking of Mahajanga vice-chancellor
Jane Marshall
Africa Briefs
Islamist university president forced into retirement
Ashraf Khaled
Egyptian authorities last week sent the Islamist president of a state-run university into retirement for alleged irregularities.
Lecturers with online skills needed for 2,500 vacancies
Global News
Controversial higher education reforms in doubt
Geoff Maslen
In a universally unpopular budget last May, Australia’s deeply conservative government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced savage cuts to federal spending on universities, higher fees for students and a revised loans system that would have imposed increased costs on students. But, lacking a majority in the senate, the government has been forced to back down – with the outcome likely to be known when parliament resumes in the coming week.
Cost rise hits students as university fees freeze ends
Yojana Sharma
The end of a government-imposed five-year ban on university tuition fee rises has seen annual fees for some degrees rise by up to 50% this year in China, official sources have reported.
Reformist science minister impeached by hardliners
Shafigeh Shirazi
Iran’s Minister for Science, Research and Technology Reza Faraji Dana was impeached last Wednesday after conservative-led factions in Iran’s parliament, known as the Majlis, held a no-confidence vote to dismiss him from his post.
Urgent calls to close the gap between research and teaching
Jan Petter Myklebust
There is a risk that higher education in Sweden will collapse, warned University Chancellor Harriet Wallberg in a recent article in Dagens Nyheter. “The widening gap between investment in teaching at basic levels and research is creating ever-more distress,” she wrote. Agreement across the political divide was needed that would guarantee increased investment in higher education for at least 20 years.
Rectors’ conference head slams EU funding priorities
Michael Gardner
A leading German higher education official has spoken out against the European Union’s funding priorities for next year. According to Professor Horst Hippler, president of the German Rectors’ Conference, the EU is doing too much for agriculture while neglecting research and innovation.
World Round-up
Ebola – Universities on alert as new term begins
The Independent
Universities chase big defence dollars
Journal allows authors to update their research
Times Higher Education
Macau scholar’s sacking raises freedom concerns
The New York Times
Rising confidence in online higher education
Troubles with Thai Studies
The Harvard Crimson
UK government tightens student visa rules
Record numbers win university places
Universities attract more students from EU countries
Herald Scotland
Hundreds complain over university application rejections
The Malaysian Insider
Professors call for Israeli universities boycott
Prensa Latina
Retired professors recalled to cover university deficit
Universities' switch to Google Apps stokes privacy fears
Columnist calls for 'demolition' of top universities
Today’s Zaman
New university to be continent’s ‘rival to Harvard’
14% of higher education places remain vacant
Times of Oman
Bar Ilan University reservists protest ‘worst’ benefits
The Jerusalem Post

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