And in another series on ‘Transformative Leadership’, in which University World News is partnering with The MasterCard Foundation, Marcelo Knobel and Renato H L Pedrosa reflect on the leadership that brought Brazil’s University of Campinas within 50 years to the leading position it holds today.
Finally, a reminder that University World News will be holding a webinar on emerging issues in transnational education on 24 May. You can register here.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Universities across Africa must move away from liberal arts courses in order to make higher education relevant and ensure the continent is not left behind in today’s technological world, Ghana’s Vice-president Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said while opening the second Times Higher Education
Africa Universities Summit in the capital Accra.
One student was killed and three wounded last Wednesday in clashes between government and opposition supporters at Sudan’s Omdurman Ahlia University. Just a week earlier, at the University of Kordofan, a student was killed – reportedly by security agents – and more than 20 injured, triggering protests at universities across the country.
Many students at Uganda’s flagship Makerere University are diverting money into gambling and are failing to pay tuition fees on time, according to staff. Students went on a week-long strike in April in protest against the debt-ridden university’s controversial fee payment policy.
Terrorism is cited as the biggest challenge facing the world today, closely followed by migration, according to research unveiled at a new international humanitarian award ceremony, but there is a global 'compassion gap' in public perceptions of contemporary refugees.
A decision by the state-run Cairo University to close a nuclear energy centre has sparked a controversy as Egypt is planning to build its first nuclear plant. The university board voted for the centre’s shutdown, citing its lack of economic and scientific feasibility.
A US$50 million, Chinese-built connectivity platform for the Ethiopian Education and Research Network – EthERNet – has been inaugurated in the country’s capital Addis Ababa, connecting universities to high-speed internet and to each other. The ultimate aim is to enable Ethiopian universities to participate actively in the global education and research community.
Africa must create ‘innovation universities’ if it is to achieve economic transformation, sustainable development and inclusive growth, says Calestous Juma, professor of the practice of international development at Harvard’s John F Kennedy School of Government. Universities should combine research, teaching, outreach and commercialisation in a coordinated way.
Is a crisis of identity emerging among African academics in the diaspora as to whether they are an offshoot of pan-Africanism or a breed of emigrant elites, the Afropolitans? Therese Assie-Lumumba, professor of African studies at Cornell University, says there is growing interest in the concept of Afropolitanism – a school of thought loosely embedded in elements of geography, territoriality and location.
SOUTH AFRICAMunyaradzi Makoni
Student protests at Rhodes University, nestled in the small South African town of Grahamstown, ended with the resumption of lectures last Monday after a week of dramatic disruption and disturbances over a ‘rape culture’ at the institution – but the conversation is far from over.
AFRICA: University leadership
Rarely do vice-chancellors of public universities in Sub-Saharan Africa write about their terms in office after they retire. But Professor Ratemo Waya Michieka decided to share his experiences as leader of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya in a recently published book, as part of the continental Higher Education Leadership Programme.
Africa cannot wait until 2030 for the next round of global goals to address the urgent need for quality higher education. The Sustainable Development Goals in which higher education targets are included sideline quality and instead focus on incremental development, enrolment rates, unsustainable practices and international dependency.
SOUTH AFRICATemwa Moyo, Nimi Hoffmann and Sioux McKenna
South Africa’s government is planning a major overhaul of its student funding system. This comes in the wake of protests at universities that saw students successfully freeze fee hikes for the 2016 academic year. But there are hurdles to equitable student funding that can only be overcome if the student loans system is subject to public scrutiny.
Some students at Burundi University believe the rector has a ‘hidden agenda’ after he appointed student representatives to university committees following failed student elections.
e-Learning offers a great opportunity for universities to adapt their courses efficiently to the requirements of different categories of students, participants were told at a national conference on digital distance education held in Algeria.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O'Malley
English students in universities in England now face some of the highest tuition fees in the world – higher than in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – and the highest average debts at graduation, according to a new study. The typical English student faces debts of over £44,000 (US$64,500) at graduation, £15,000 more even than graduates of US private for-profit universities.
A report published last week by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts on the killing and disappearance of dozens of students in Iguala, Mexico, suggests a clash with drug traffickers over the use of buses on narcotics routes may have led to the attack.
SWEDENJan Petter Myklebust
The three major universities in Stockholm plan to form a new research centre for advanced studies following the decision by the City of Stockholm to give the go-ahead for a Nobel Centre to be built on its waterfront. University leaders said the research centre, to be located inside the Nobel Centre, would be “an institution of the highest international rank”, enabling the region to "compete with Oxford and Cambridge".
Russia's largest employers are demanding improvements in higher education teaching and changes to university curricula to address the low demand for graduates in the jobs market. In Moscow, for instance, one in two young graduates are unemployed.
International education contributes nearly A$1 billion (US$764 million) more to the economy than previously estimated, according to a report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the Department of Education and Training and released on Friday. The government said the finding puts the current real value of the industry closer to A$21 billion.
French, German, Dutch and United Kingdom organisations supporting international cooperation in higher education are administering a new programme funded by the European Union to facilitate access to education for Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
Equitable access to higher education for those in poor, marginalised communities and those who are discriminated against can't be achieved without global leadership on the issue. But who will step up?
Two conflicting currents can be seen in higher education: the push to standardisation through rankings and other methods and the move to commoditisation through the idea of higher education being open to all. How can we create minimum standards without erecting barriers to higher education?
IRAQSameerah T Saeed
Kurdistan’s new national ranking aims to introduce a culture of academic competition between higher education institutions in the region and raise standards.
BRAZILMarcelo Knobel and Renato H L Pedrosa
Creating universities that can compete with the world’s best has required both transformative thinking and transformative leadership in Brazil.
How do you promote your academic programmes in an increasingly competitive world? Going back to your foundations and asking questions is a good starting point.
EUROPEJan Petter Myklebust
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology, or EIT, in Budapest is reeling from a negative assessment by the European Court of Auditors, which says its basis of operation and experimental structure, comprising Knowledge and Innovation Communities, each involving several universities, to leverage extra funding beyond its core funding, is unrealistic.
UNITED STATESVimal Patel, The Chronicle of Higher Education
As a graduate teaching assistant at Ohio University, Noora Mahboubeh, an Iranian doctoral student, often struggled to understand her students’ questions, and they weren’t always sympathetic to her difficulties with English. The language problem is a stubborn one, but some institutions have sought creative solutions.
Academics are stuck: they can’t afford to read their own work but they can’t afford not to publish in expensive prestigious journals if they want to advance their careers. Sci-Hub has provided a new path and it’s “a bit like distant thunder at a picnic for publishers”.
Is the growth of transnational education, or TNE, dependent on more flexible standards of quality? Or are we stifling innovation in TNE by putting up too many barriers for experimentation? In a University World News
webinar on 24 May, a panel of global experts will debate and discuss the emerging issues.
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A China-born academic has been forced out of a leading Australian university for posting online politically charged remarks about his countrymen, reigniting accusations Beijing is using its presence inside global campuses to exert soft power, writes Byron Kaye for Reuters
Foreign students will soon be allowed to apply for permanent residence once they have graduated from a South African university, writes Wyndham Hartley for BDLive
The number of Thai students enrolled in local international universities is expected to increase sharply in the next five years, as students look to equip themselves with the skills needed to compete with the regional workforce, writes Dumrongkiat Mala for Bangkok Post
Two former University Grants Committee members and a retired High Court judge have been recommended to form a panel to review the structure of the University of Hong Kong’s controversial governing council, writes Phila Siu for South China Morning Post
The programme designed to create a German ‘Ivy League’ will be extended indefinitely, giving a handful of the country’s top universities a yearly bonus of at least €10 million (US$11.3 million) in extra funding, writes Gretchen Vogel for Science
The Lemann Foundation, a non-profit organisation established by Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann, said it plans to expand its financial aid to Brazilian students and visiting faculty at Harvard University in the United States, writes Keren Blankfeld for Forbes
Universities across Sydney are cracking down on cheating in tertiary assessment tasks after Fairfax Media revealed chronic misconduct across the sector, writes Eryk Bagshaw for The Sydney Morning Herald
Students from several universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, are threatening to vote to break away from the National Union of Students following the controversial election of new president, Malia Bouattia, the national union's first black female Muslim leader, reports the BBC
Printers at several universities across Germany produced anti-Semitic leaflets on or before Hitler’s birthday on 20 April, after hackers appeared to break into their computer systems, writes Alison Smale for The New York Times
Higher education institutions in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council are not producing enough graduates to meet the needs of the region’s labour market, according to educators and experts, reports Arab News
Despite their large numbers of students, Indonesian universities lag behind in scientific publications compared with other countries in Southeast Asia, writes Anton Hermansyah for The Jakarta Post
China’s Communist Party is considering further steps to curb the influence of the Communist Youth League, an organisation that President Xi Jinping has criticised for being too aristocratic. The league’s university may put an end to undergraduate admissions, according to a person familiar with the discussions, who asked not to be identified. That would leave it with postgraduate and training programmes for up-and-coming cadres, reports Bloomberg News
A university professor on his way to work in northwestern Bangladesh was hacked to death last Saturday in an attack similar to other killings by suspected Muslim militants, reports The Associated Press
Namibia’s Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation is engaging UNESCO and the International Labour Organization to assist in revamping the country’s higher education and developing skills required by the job market, writes Lahja Nashuuta for The Southern Times
The apparent failure of economists to predict, let alone prevent, the 2008 financial crisis has led to accusations that conventional economic teaching cannot adequately explain the complex dynamics and risks of modern economies. Now a growing number of UK universities are implementing changes to adapt their degrees to a ‘post-crisis’ world, writes Daniel Cullen for the Guardian
A rise of international students has been noted in recent years, Education Minister Costas Kadis said after a recent meeting with an Iranian official. He added that the aim is to transform Cyprus into a regional training centre, writes Evgenia Choros for Greek Reporter
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