In the first part of a six-month series on “Transformative Leadership” in which University World News is partnering with The MasterCard Foundation, Chris Roche describes the term ‘transformative leadership' – where the actions of broad-based social movements bring about greater social justice – and discusses the role of universities in this process. Also, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins affirms the role of the university in enabling citizens to develop the intellectual tools to address great challenges of our time.
In Commentary, Goolam Mohamedbhai says a recent meeting of experts in Washington and its outcomes should be considered the start of a larger global venture addressing the serious issue of corruption in higher education.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Kenya has kicked off a multi-million-dollar push to develop student hostels in five public universities by tapping into private funds, with the ultimate goal being to drive up enrolments. The project is expected to provide more than 50,000 new student beds.
The open and distance learning vision of accessible, low-cost, high-quality provision has never been more relevant, but open and distance learning succeeds in accessibility and convenience much more than in experience and outcomes. These institutions also have yet to make a convincing case for the pedagogical merits of scale, according to a new report.
Developing world learners use massive open online courses, or MOOCs, very differently than their developed world counterparts, according to a new study. These MOOC users achieved remarkably high certification and course completion rates – with almost four out of five MOOC users completing at least one course.
Uganda’s government has halted the trend of upgrading tertiary colleges into universities. Instead it will create new universities from scratch and is also planning to set up 20 new technical colleges to expand vocational education and training.
More than half a century after the first public medical school launched in Ghana, President John Mahama has opened the first private medical school. He said the Family Health Medical School would boost the admission of qualified students and ease a national doctor shortage.
The Republic of the Congo, also called Congo-Brazzaville, has set aside more than FCFA242 billion (US$416 million) for the construction of a new university to be named after the country’s current president, Denis Sassou N'Guesso, who has ruled for a quarter of a century.
Demonstrations by students at the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar – against illegal buildings on campus – have turned violent, with tyres set alight and stones thrown at police who responded with teargas. Meanwhile, there are problems of long-term maladministration of student accommodation, half of which is occupied by non-students.
SOUTH AFRICAStephen Coan
“When the students are at the gate, it’s too late for polite discussion. We need a realistic acknowledgement of what we confront,” said Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor at a recent Research and Innovation Dialogue. Challenges to research were laid bare and hard decisions made – including the need for universities to specialise.
SOUTH AFRICAStephen Coan
“In South Africa universities contribute 2.1% of gross domestic product – more than textiles and forestry – and they employ 300,000 people which puts them on a par with the mining industry.” Such comparisons could change perceptions of the sector as it strives to boost international competitiveness in research and innovation, says Professor Anastassios Pouris.
Faced with donor fatigue and declining public funding, universities across Sub-Saharan Africa should search for new models of financing specific initiatives such as hubs for research and innovation. One proposal from higher education experts gathered in Nairobi recently was to tap Africa’s growing number of billionaires.
The idea that Africa’s future depends critically on science, technology and innovation is embodied in the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The continent starts at a disadvantage but there are grounds for optimism. Progress will cost billions – but the money is there and the challenge is to invest it in science innovation and technology for development.
As the knowledge economy in Africa grows, so too will the need for more PhD graduates. New methods of teaching and research will be required along with supportive policies, regular assessments to ensure PhD outcomes match skills needs and greater support for research universities.
Researchers from across the continent and beyond have called for governments and universities to introduce policies to guarantee open access to scientific knowledge in Africa.
Higher Education Minister Adăo do Nascimento has announced the introduction of a training and retraining initiative to increase the number of higher education lecturers in Angola. He also said his ministry would continue to control university fees, to avoid increased charges.
The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World is offering postgraduate training fellowships for women scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa and least developed countries, to pursue postgraduate research in the natural sciences.
GLOBALBrendan O'MalleyUniversity World News
is today launching the first part of a six-month series on “Transformative Leadership” in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. It is designed to promote debate about higher education’s contribution to positive change in the world and how higher education can be transformed itself.
Transformative leadership is not about individual hero figures, but about broad-based social movements for greater equity and social justice. To promote this, universities also need to transform and open up to different approaches about leadership and social change.
EUROPEPresident Michael D Higgins
In an age of intellectual crisis at least equal to that of the late 19th century, it is in our universities that we can begin to enact the transformative thinking required to reconnect us with deeper issues of what it means to be human and create a more inclusive society.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology, set up by the European Union to bring together academic research, science and business, is not as effective as it could be and is beset with management problems, according to a damning new report by the European Court of Auditors.
Two of the most prestigious universities in Paris have agreed to merge by 1 January 2018. The newly elected boards of Paris-Sorbonne and Pierre and Marie Curie universities voted last week to formally commit to the plan following the re-election of pro-merger presidents at both institutions.
SOUTH KOREAUnsoo Jung
With the surprise defeat in last week’s national election in South Korea of the ruling Saenuri Party, the conservative party of President Park Geun-hye, the government’s structural reforms of the higher education system could be stalled by the National Assembly where her party no longer has a majority.
HONG KONGYojana Sharma
Student groups that led Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy protests – also known as the Umbrella movement – have set up their own political parties in Hong Kong to continue to press their demands using political means after they failed to wrest concessions from the Hong Kong government during huge street protests.
The university system needs a 50% increase in funding to restore nearly a decade of cuts and cope with a 25% plus increase in demand for places from a booming youth population, according to a leaked report from the outgoing government.
The appointment of Phung Xuan Nha, current president of Vietnam National University, Hanoi, as Minister of Education and Training comes as a high graduate unemployment rate has been identified as one of the most pressing problems the ministry has to address, according to Hoang Anh Duc, a Hanoi-based education specialist.
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O'Malley
Graduates from richer family backgrounds earn significantly more after graduation than their poorer counterparts, even after completing the same degrees from the same universities, according to new research. The research also found considerable variation in graduates’ earnings depending on degree subject or the university attended.
2016 WORLDVIEWS LECTURE
The 2016 Worldviews Annual Lecture on Media and Higher Education delivered at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada, focused on the distorting effects of embracing competition as a means to address the challenges facing higher education, including its legitimisation of inequality.
A conference in Washington marks the start of a large-scale, global attempt to tackle the growing scourge of corruption in higher education.
CANADAChristine Arnold and Grace Karram Stephenson
A good credit transfer system is vital for encouraging students to move through the post-secondary education system and is also important for social equity and inclusion.
Why are Bulgarian students reluctant to take part in study abroad programmes? Lack of available information on the options is one big reason.
6th QS-MAPLE CONFERENCE
The 6th QS-MAPLE conference is a forum where the evaluation of Middle Eastern and African universities in a regional and global context is discussed and resolved. In May 2016, the conference will be held on the United Arab Emirates University campus in Al Ain, UAE. The conference promotes the development of higher education and stimulates international partnerships in the Middle East and Africa. Learn more
UNITED STATESEric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Alexander W Astin, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles, believes that too many faculty members "have come to value merely being smart more than developing smartness". Here he discusses his new book, in which he finds more concern with "acquiring" smart students, as defined by conventional metrics, than with helping students improve after they enrol.
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The education ministry is considering a major realignment of both public and private universities ahead of an expected drop in the number of students, according to ministry sources. It would be the first time that national public-run and private universities could face amalgamation. In past structural reviews, only those in the same categories were merged, reports The Japan Times
A new national report on the quality of higher education in China has been released, suggesting more needs to be done to develop an 'innovative spirit' among Chinese college students, writes Victor Ning for CRIENGLISH
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has sparked controversy by suggesting the Muslim headscarf should be banned in universities and that a majority of French people think Islam is incompatible with the values of the republic, writes Angelique Chrisafis for the Guardian
Universities will soon lose their powers to allocate National Student Financial Aid Scheme funds to poor students as the government body tightens its grip on finances, reports BDLive
At least 12,000 students from the country’s various tertiary institutions have been forced to drop out of university or defer their studies in the face of the deteriorating economic and political climate, reports Zimbabwe Daily
Universities may be forced to reveal their real course cut-offs including the lowest entrance scores they have accepted so students can make better decisions, writes Charis Chang for News.com.au
India's first official ranking of higher education institutions may not fetch top institutes funds from the government but outliers, such as the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, IIT Ropar and the Indian Institute of Management Udaipur, that figure in the top 10 believe it would help them attract global faculty, students, and ultimately funding, writes Prachi Verma for The Economic Times
The nationwide Fees Must Fall protests resulted in over R300 million (US$20 million) in damages, the Department of Higher Education and Training has said in reply to a written question from the opposition Democratic Alliance, writes Thulani Gqirana for News24
The system for funding American flagship public universities is “gradually breaking down”, said Robert J Birgeneau, a former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, and the co-chair of a two-year project to examine the role of public research universities and recommend changes to help them stay competitive, writes Mikhail Zinshteyn for The Hechinger Report
Polytechnics and universities will have more room to admit students based on their talents and interests rather than just grades, under enhancements to current aptitude-based admission schemes, writes Laura Elizabeth Philomin for Today Online
For the second time in a week, an Israeli university has announced a major new project with a Chinese institution of higher learning, writes David Shamah for The Times of Israel
All five public universities in Singapore will this year set up dedicated units to help citizens learn new skills throughout their lives as part of the SkillsFuture programme, it was announced last week, writes Medha Basu for Govinsider
Australian universities are eyeing a multi-million-dollar windfall as opinion polls show a growing chance a looming British referendum will result in the country leaving the European Union, writes Peter Wilson for The Australian
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