In Commentary, Gerard Postiglione and Xiaoyu Chen write that major changes to universities in China indicate that they are shifting from the Soviet model towards the international mainstream of research universities.
Anand Kulkarni and Angel Calderon maintain that India’s new national university ranking scheme has much to commend it but there are opportunities for improvement, while William G Tierney says the Indian government’s goal to have 20 highly ranked world-class universities is unrealistic, requiring not only huge investment but also reforms promoting institutional autonomy and academic freedom.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Benchmarking as a tool for improving quality in African universities was the focus of the first regional benchmarking and capacity building workshop organised by the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – PASET – and held in Abuja, Nigeria last week.
Poor investment, weak capacity and security, as well as political instability and onerous bureaucracy in war-torn Libya have produced a higher education system characterised by inadequate infrastructure and graduates poorly prepared for jobs, according to a new report.
The World Bank Group’s board of executive directors has approved a US$140 million credit for eight Eastern and Southern African countries to set up 24 centres of excellence in universities to strengthen postgraduate training and research in priority sectors.
Egypt plans to designate 2017 as a year of African cooperation in higher education, research and innovation with a view to enhancing the capacity of universities, increasing academic staff and student exchange, and promoting joint research and projects.
Scores of officials have been arrested in Algeria and Morocco, and charged with fraud for alleged involvement in leaking of school-leaving baccalauréat
SOUTH AFRICASharon Dell
South African universities of technology are positioning themselves as critical partners in what is considered a fairly new but highly relevant area of research, innovation and job creation: waste recycling and management, an industry conservatively estimated by the government to be worth R25 billion (US$1.6 billion) per annum.
Mathematics is “vital” for achieving a thriving science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce in Africa, according to experts. Yet it faces critical challenges: low university funding, a regional brain drain, and reduced intake of undergraduate students, particularly women, in university mathematics programmes.
GLOBALRobtel Neajai Pailey
Nigerian scholar Oyekan Owomoyela suggested that “getting ‘Africa’ back into African Studies is to get African Studies back to Africa”. This can be achieved, among other ways, by creating a canon of scholarly literature by Africans, more citations of African scholars, and more African scholars influencing the research agendas of top-rated African Studies journals.
Oladapo Afolabi, professor of applied chemistry and former head of service for the Nigerian government, presented a futuristic and thought-provoking paper on transforming universities for this century and beyond, at the Annual Conference of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities held from 29 May to 2 June at the University of Jos.
AFRICA-INDIARenu Modi and Rhea D’Silva
The brutal murder of a young Congolese man has blown the lid off a simmering pot of resentment against the treatment of African migrants in India, especially the large student community. Clearly something is amiss in the meta-narratives of ascendant India-Africa economic, strategic and diplomatic relations.
GHANAHenry Fram Akplu
Before 2000 there were fewer than 15 private higher education institutions in Ghana. By 2015 their number had grown to 106, compared to 83 public institutions. The private sector mainly absorbs excess demand from the tuition-free public system – but elite private institutions are emerging that target applicants from wealthy families locally and globally.
Cooperation in fields of scientific research between Côte d’Ivoire and the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
has shown positive results, said Professor Bakayoko Ly Ramata, the Ivorian minister for higher education and scientific research.
Women from the South need to be more than a superficial reflection of a university’s diversity. They need to address historical inequities in the global education system.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Germany and the Netherlands are stepping up their game to capture a bigger slice of the transnational education or TNE market, a conference launching a new international TNE-Hub heard on 10 June.
UNITED STATESBrendan O'Malley
The United States Department of Education has recommended that the largest national accreditation agency, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, be stripped of its power as gatekeeper of billions of dollars of financial federal aid for independent colleges, a move that would shake up for-profit higher education.
The cost of tuition at Russian universities may double this year, due to the devaluation of the national currency, the ruble, and the consequences of the financial crisis in the country, according to latest predictions of analysts of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.
Belgium’s KU Leuven has topped the first Reuters ranking of Europe’s Most Innovative Universities, with the United Kingdom’s Imperial College London and Cambridge University coming second and third. Germany took 24 of the top 100, beating the UK which took second place with 17. But the Republic of Ireland now boasts more top 100 innovative universities per capita than any other country in Europe.
At least five provinces in China have scrapped a scheme announced last month to adjust university admissions quotas to improve access for students from poorer provinces, after fears that parent protests during the sensitive national university admissions test period could spread to more provinces.
Cultural attitudes among parents who see higher education simply as a route to a good job, and limited government investment in research, are holding back innovation and creativity, according to Tony Chan, president of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which is currently hosting the Asia Universities Summit.
UNITED STATESArielle Martinez, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Colleges are using big data to design courses – increasingly they are crunching job-market data, which are more up to date and precise than ever before, to develop more programmes geared to preparing students for, and giving them the skills they need to join the workforce.
NORDIC STATESJan Petter Myklebust
There is increasing recognition of the value of healthcare innovation sector research and a growing trend in Nordic countries to look at further strengthening health research and advanced degree teaching with increased international participation.
EUROPEElspeth Jones and Hans de Wit
What could the impact of a United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union be on international students? Would it deter EU students from studying in the UK and could these numbers be made up from elsewhere?
With many universities now depending on European Union funding for a significant portion of their research budgets, can people be confident the United Kingdom government will make up the shortfall?
EUROPEChris Bickerton and Lee Jones
The United Kingdom’s referendum on membership of the European Union is not about funding for individual laboratories; it is about democracy. Those defending the status quo should ensure that they do not disguise political and cultural preferences for economic and scientific necessity.
CHINAGerard Postiglione and Xiaoyu Chen
Reforms in China are driving innovation in everything from curriculum design to academic promotion and Peking University is leading that change.
INDIAAnand Kulkarni and Angel Calderon
India’s new ranking scheme aims to capture data that is relevant to the country’s higher education institutions, but there are areas where value could be added.
INDIAWilliam G Tierney
The Indian government is misinterpreting why United States universities are in the top positions for global rankings. If it wishes to have a handful of world-class universities created within the next decade, public funding and philanthropic support must increase – but so, too, must institutional autonomy and academic freedom.
An international team of researchers has detected a second burst of gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of spacetime – just four months after the report of the first detection was acclaimed as a historic breakthrough by scientists around the world.
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Idris Baluken, People’s Democratic Party deputy parliamentary group co-chair, has addressed a parliamentary question to Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz, asking him to clarify the mystery surrounding the validity of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s university diploma, reports Hurriyet Daily News
The nation's elite Group of Eight universities has proposed that the federal government reintroduce limits on how many students each university can enrol, a suggestion slammed by other vice-chancellors as "cancerous" and "selfish", writes Matthew Knott for The Sydney Morning Herald
Students set to join universities in September have shunned Garissa University College, dealing a blow to government efforts to revive the institution a year after a deadly terrorist attack there, writes Ouma Wanzala for The Nation
New research shows there's a considerable gap between men and women when it comes to being promoted to the top jobs in the country's universities, writes Conan Young for Radio NZ
Harare West MP Jessie Majome has called on President Robert Mugabe to step down as chancellor of all state universities, arguing the workload was now too much for him given the increasing number of state universities in the country, writes Veneranda Langa for News Day
With a record number of students set to don cap and gown, new research shows that a bachelor degree is no longer the career ticket it once was. That's because of rising competition, fewer opportunities and an economy that's shifting gears from the fast lane to something slower, reports Bloomberg News
An American mathematics student will have her fees refunded after winning her case against a Swedish university that offered sub-standard tuition, reports The Local
Thai universities need to move with the times as they brace for steadily declining enrolments, academics have warned. They said new social trends could make some majors outdated, writes Dumrongkiat Mala for Bangkok Post
The federal government has named an expert panel to conduct an unprecedented and sweeping review of how it supports university-based scientific research, writes Ivan Semeniuk for The Globe and Mail
A newly released study says Mexico needs to shift the focus of education reform urgently from primary to secondary schools and higher education, as the government wages a pitched battle with teachers and unionists who blocked highways and occupied buildings in ongoing protests against reforms passed in 2013, reports Mark Browne for CNS News
President Ollanta Humala has pledged to restore Peruvian higher education, but the creation of a Superintendency of Higher Education has caused controversy. It will replace the National Association of Rectors and will have the power to create universities, promote quality and impose sanctions, writes Akshan de Alwis for Diplomatic Courier
The Assam state government this month announced free education for students with a family income of less than Rs100,000 (US$1,500) per annum who are seeking admissions in higher secondary, three-year degree and polytechnic diploma courses from this year, reports Press Trust India
Since October of last year to the middle of April this year damage to universities’ property has amounted to more than R450 million (US$30 million), reports Denise Williams for The Citizen
University philanthropy is enjoying a revival. Although fundraising accounts for only 3% of universities’ £29 billion (US$41 billion) annual income, it is growing fast, reports The Economist
Two Australian journalists have argued that the Chinese government is buying influence over Australian universities by donating libraries and funds for institutes as part of a broader push to strengthen its soft power in the country, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education
A new HSBC report has found that parents in Singapore spend twice the global average on their child's tertiary education and most parents believe spending on this is more important than paying other bills and saving for their retirement, reports Asia One
HONG KONG-UNITED KINGDOM
A new point-scoring admission system in UK universities may remove the advantage now enjoyed by students who take Hong Kong’s Diploma of Secondary Education examination, writes Shirley Zhao for the South China Morning Post
Just call him ‘Dr Prince’. The late superstar never went to college but the University of Minnesota is going to posthumously give him an honorary doctorate of letters later this year, writes Maria Puente for USA Today
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