In World Blog, Graeme Atherton says a strategy is needed to propel equity in higher education up institutional, national and global policy agendas.
And in Global Features, Brendan O’Malley reports on the findings of the European Association for International Education’s research on what sets universities which are leading on internationalisation apart from those which are lagging. Alya Mishra examines the record of the Modi government on higher education in India, one year after taking office. Yojana Sharma reports on why the Hong Kong Federation of Students is facing a severely curbed political role – a far cry from the heady days of last year when it was able to challenge the government head on.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Masters students in Kenya face difficult times under new regulations by the Commission for University Education that require them to complete their courses in two years. And those who choose to become lecturers will only be able to do so after obtaining a doctorate.
University lecturers in N
igeria are increasingly concerned about the destruction of lives and property on campuses and the disruption of academic activities by the extremist Islamic sect Boko Haram, especially in the northeast. The university community has urged President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, a former general, to find urgent short- and long-term solutions to security challenges in the region.
SOUTH AFRICAKaren MacGregor
South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande has announced that he is paying close attention to “accelerated transformation in universities, including setting concrete targets and transformation indicators”. The demographics of the professoriate needs to be radically changed, discrimination eliminated and student success and support improved.
The universities of Assane Seck de Ziguinchor and of Thiès have been hit by staff and student protests over inadequate facilities – with students at Assane Seck calling an indefinite strike, although the higher education minister has said their demands have been met.
The World Bank will provide US$33 million to improve governance in Mali’s higher education system and to support more than 20,000 students to acquire skills that enable them to get decent jobs.
Controversy has hit one of Kenya’s oldest and leading private institutions, the United States International University – Africa, over who exactly owns the university and whether it is a non-profit or business entity. Parliament has opened an inquiry into the university’s operations.
Britain’s Medical Research Foundation has launched a new £2.7 million (US$4.2 million) health research fund for Africa. The fund will support scientists to pursue projects at centres of excellence outside their current places of work. The Africa Research Excellence Fund will promote outstanding health research by Africans in Africa.
African and European cooperation has produced a growing number of African graduates who have studied abroad. But the continent is not benefitting as much as it should from their world-class talent because, although the graduates want to contribute to capacity building in their fields, local conditions are not conducive, a recent study found.
In Uganda as elsewhere, recent graduates are learning a tough lesson – a university education is no guarantee of a job. More than half of people under 30 are without full-time employment, and the problem is particularly acute among degree holders. Now new initiatives are teaching graduates and students the entrepreneurial skills they need to survive.
While the number of students graduating from African universities is increasing, the Sub-Saharan region has a lot of ground to cover in improving higher education stock to match the rest of the world. As an ‘Africa rising’ seeks ways to expand university enrolments, it must also provide more high-quality, technically oriented training to students.
The head of the Wetlands division of Senegal’s Department of National Parks has proposed setting up a working agreement with the University Gaston Berger, which has just introduced the first masters course in ornithological conservation and development in Africa.
REPUBLIC OF CONGO
An observatory to detect pollution and other health and environmental dangers is to be set up in Pointe-Noire on the Atlantic coast of the Republic of Congo, an initiative that will integrate a policy adopted by the Economic Community of Central African States.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Much more needs to be done to harmonise Europe’s higher education system, according to a new report into the state of implementation of the Bologna Process across the European Higher Education Area. There has been progress on quality assurance and the credit transfer system, but in other spheres, including equity of access, the record of progress is patchy.
PAKISTANAmeen Amjad Khan
Following an investigation by The New York Times
into an alleged global fake degrees business, Pakistan law enforcement agencies have raided the offices of Karachi-based IT company Axact and have also begun probing the company’s accounts. Records, computers and electronic devices were seized for forensic investigation. Axact denied the allegations.
UNITED STATESMary Beth Marklein
Fed by growing demand abroad among parents who hope a US high school education will boost their child's attractiveness to top US universities, a small but growing number of US secondary schools are recruiting international students. But a new report suggests school counsellors are uncertain of giving them the advice they need to progress.
In the wake of the 25 April earthquake and huge aftershocks that jolted the country, Nepal’s largest public university has set up a fund – and staff are donating a proportion of their own salaries – to help with reconstruction. Students and alumni are helping to clear rubble, salvage materials and perform other tasks.
NORWAYJan Petter Myklebust
Having an elected rector could be a barrier to university mergers succeeding, a leading expert told the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education last week. Experts on university mergers in other countries were invited to add to the national debate on government plans to merge 14 universities and colleges into five institutions.
UNITED STATESPeter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education
More than 60 Asian-American groups have accused Harvard University of discriminating against applicants for their ethnic backgrounds in complaints filed with the Justice Department and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. Harvard said it has a strong record of recruiting and admitting Asian-American students.
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O’Malley
International students in London are contributing £2.8 billion (US$4.3 billion) a year to the UK economy through fees and spending that they, their friends and families bring to the UK. Although they do consume public services, this is dwarfed by their contribution to the economy.
Higher education institutions which are regarded as “leading” in internationalisation have elaborated “separate strategic plans for internationalisation, as opposed to having internationalisation incorporated into the overall institutional strategy”, according to new research by the European Association for International Education.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014, many academics were hopeful about the future of India’s higher education system after years of seeing the quality of university education undermined by political and bureaucratic interference. One year on, there is disappointment over continued meddling and the lack of a clear higher education direction.
HONG KONGYojana Sharma
The Hong Kong Federation of Students shot to the limelight during pro-democracy protests last year, but the university student alliance is facing an uncertain future and a severely curbed political role after four of its eight constituent university unions recently voted to leave the Federation.
Access and equity in higher education should be seen as an equally important grand challenge for the 21st century as increasing participation at the primary and secondary education levels. As higher education expands, a strategy is needed to propel equity up institutional, national and global policy agendas.
The Yerevan meeting of European Higher Education Area Ministers and the Bologna Policy Forum recently took the controversial decision to admit Belarus in a move to promote human rights.
Universities play a pivotal role in addressing climate change, through research and innovation and also through educating other members of society about behavioural and social change.
A new study shows that learning abroad programmes play a more important role in the career development of graduates than is currently recognised by many institutions.
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Chile has been hit by another round of protests on the part of student groups demanding substantial reforms to the country’s education system. Amid the nationwide protests, two student activists were killed on 14 May, reports TeleSUR English
Police have clashed with university students and forcibly removed a 15-year-old girl in a heated protest against higher education changes outlined in the federal budget, writes Jane Lee for The Age
The rector of Maastricht University, the second youngest university in the Netherlands, claims that universities in Europe are being choked by the laws that compel them to use their native language as the medium of instruction instead of English, reports Day News
Major Finnish universities expressed their support recently for the incoming government's move to charge tuition fees for university students from outside the European Union or European Economic Area, reports Xinhua
Students across Korea are preparing to sue over the excessive reserve funds they say their universities have accumulated. Acting on the assumption that colleges are continuing to set aside fees from tuition in reserve funds rather than using them to improve the quality of education, students are demanding their money be returned, reports Korea JoongAng Daily
Almost half of academics have experienced pressure in the last three years to bump up student grades or stop students failing, according to a Guardian
survey of university staff, write Claire Shaw and Rebecca Ratcliffe for the Guardian
A simple walk around the university grounds of the Central University of Venezuela offers an eerie display of decay and neglect. The main campus, designed by architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva in the 1950s and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, has been deteriorating for years, writes Franz von Bergen for Fox News Latino
UNITED KINGDOM-SOUTH KOREA
Aberdeen University is to become the first British higher education institution to open a campus in South Korea, adding to the growing list of international branches seeking extra money abroad, writes Ian Johnston for The Independent
The US government has charged six Chinese nationals, including three professors, with economic espionage, saying they stole secrets from two companies that develop technology often used in military systems, reports Reuters
Switzerland’s higher education system has been ranked second in the 2015 Universitas 21 global ratings, standing out on the criterion of ‘international outlook’. However, this is the area under threat after an anti-immigration vote last year, writes Isobel Leybold-Johnson for Swissinfo.ch
Recent changes to the Education Act have resulted in lower requirements for education institutions to be recognised as universities, writes Kevin Schembri Orland for Malta Independent
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