In World Blog, Hans de Wit contends that growing divides between world-class and other universities are tempting many institutions in directions of corruption and unethical behaviour.
In Commentary, among other articles Angel Calderon welcomes the new Times Higher Education Latin America university rankings, but writes that there is room for improvement and some omissions. Cristina González and Liliana Pedraja argue that Hillary Clinton’s plans for free tuition for some students and Chile’s bid to roll back privatisation represent the reassertion of higher education as a public good. And Robert Coelen and Jiang Bo outline the breathtaking scale of higher education internationalisation in China, and its key lines of development.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Ministers of education have agreed on a draft declaration for implementation of a harmonised higher education system for the East African Community. From next year students will be able to transfer credits to higher education institutions in five partner states.
The Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has proposed reforms to deal with the increasing number of individuals being promoted to professorships without apparently following due process.
Egypt’s main state-run Cairo University has suspended – for alleged corruption – six professors linked to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, as a crackdown on Islamist academics persists.
Jobless academic Imad Al Ghanimi died after dousing himself with petrol and setting himself alight in response to having the goods he intended to sell as an informal trader confiscated by Tunisian police.
SOUTH AFRICANicola Jenvey
Mining big data as a mechanism for boosting student success may be an acceptable tool for South African higher education institutions – provided the person collating that personal information is trustworthy in the students’ eyes.
The government of China is investing a massive US$20 million in the University of Nairobi’s Confucius Institute, one of the big education projects by the Chinese in Africa.
CÔTE D’IVOIREJane Marshall
The government of Côte d’Ivoire and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie have signed a framework agreement to develop digital higher education through a programme to provide equipment and training, and to increase the skills of teaching staff.
Higher Education in Comoros continues to struggle under growing student demand, high graduate unemployment, poor infrastructure, brain drain and inadequate levels of teaching, learning and research, according to experts. But support is on the way, with plans for branch campuses of two foreign universities.
In a tumultuous time of deepening divisions and inequalities, in higher education and in societies globally, it is imperative for universities to advance ‘responsible internationalisation’ and collaboration aimed at creating a better world rather than just promoting self-interest, says Leonard Engel, executive director of the European Association for International Education.
“You have to have chutzpah” to be a professional in the field of HIV-AIDS, quips Linda-Gail Bekker, a professor of medicine at the University of Cape Town and chief operating officer of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. Bekker is about to become the first female president from Africa of the International AIDS Society.
Egypt’s universities have failed to provide graduates with high-level, job market-related skills to fill more than 600,000 vacancies in the private sector, contributing to high levels of educated youth unemployment – and in some cases ‘wilful’ joblessness – according to the African Development Bank.
SOUTH AFRICAJenny J Lee
The metaphor of sliding doors indicates the hit-or-miss enactment of immigration policies by South Africa, in that the obstructions and eventual results seem unforeseeable. The almost haphazard nature of securing study visas might be why several international students interviewed for research described themselves as ‘lucky’.
GLOBALTom P Abeles
Student unrest in the United States and South Africa are symptoms of deeper problems with the education system than access to knowledge. Until students and academics see that their concerns are aligned, we will continue to avoid hard questions and treat symptoms and not causes.
Two new university institutes in Algeria, one specialising in social sciences and the other in sports activities, will be completed in Ghardaïa before the end of October. They will improve higher education conditions and relieve pressure on lecture halls.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
A fight over a tree between students from two higher education institutions that share premises resulted in 13 serious casualties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ethiopia’s government has blocked access to social networks throughout the country, an unprecedented measure it has justified by the need to prevent fraud during the period of university exams. But internet users have suggested the government is experimenting with new software filters to cut off political protesters.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
The Malaysian government has told universities in the country – including private universities and foreign branch campuses – to step up monitoring of students to prevent Islamic radicalisation after recent attacks in Malaysia and Bangladesh.
For a long time, Bangladesh’s religious education system was thought to be a recruiting ground for militant Islamic groups. However, three of the militants actively involved in a horrific attack at an upmarket café in Dhaka this month were students at elite private universities, prompting a major government rethink of its strategy to counter militancy in higher education institutions.
UNITED KINGDOMDavid Jobbins
One element of the maelstrom of United Kingdom politics after the historic vote to leave the European Union was crystallised last week as Theresa May replaced David Cameron as the prime minister charged with leading the Brexit negotiations.
An aid to international students who want to find the most culturally diverse student campuses across some of the main destination nations was launched last week by Hotcourses, the global course search website.
Double degrees, joint research and courses, and promoting massive open online courses are among the priorities of a partnership signed last week by Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie – the huge international French language higher education and research association – and the leaders of France’s universities, écoles
and engineering schools.
UNITED STATESKatherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education
When shots rang out inside El Centro College’s downtown Dallas campus shortly after 9 pm on Thursday 7 July, the 58 students and employees working there late had no way of knowing just how close the gunman was. It wasn’t until 9:36 pm that students said they received the first alert from the college warning them to take cover.
An initial sum of €240 million (US$265 million) will be made available to a newly created national institute that will fund research and innovation in Greece, and will support government efforts to pull the country out of prolonged recession and create new jobs.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
A consulting firm has secured a mandate from the government of Denmark to interview 35 stakeholders as part of a broader investigation into universities’ compliance with government policy frameworks. A researchers’ magazine sees the move as an attempt to exert more control over higher education.
UNITED KINGDOMDavid Jobbins
The United Kingdom’s growing for-profit higher education sector – set to expand as the government encourages so-called 'challenger' institutions to compete with established state universities – has a new voice.
German universities should do more advertising on social media to get refugee students to enrol, says the Wissenschaftsrat – German Council of Science and Humanities, the country’s chief science policy advisory body.
UNITED STATES-VIETNAMMary Beth Marklein
Some critics are demanding that former United States senator Bob Kerrey resign as chair of the board of Fulbright University Vietnam, which will open this year. Kerrey has apologised more than once for his involvement in civilian deaths during the Vietnam war and has offered to step down as chair, but also argues for perspective – “We've got to put this war behind us”.
The prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Bombay has become the latest in a raft of Indian universities to abandon Western mediaeval-style black graduation robes and mortar boards for their graduation ceremonies, switching to traditional Indian garments.
Canadian universities have scaled up programmes and services specifically designed for indigenous students, raising academic programming to accommodate this group by 33% between 2013 and 2015. These efforts are “an important pathway to reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people”, says Universities Canada President Paul Davidson.
Video use in higher education has increased dramatically over the years, says leading video technology provider Kaltura, which has published its third annual State of Video in Education
report. An international survey with 1,500 respondents showed video usage reaching a tipping point during the 2015-16 academic year.
GLOBALHans de Wit
Divisions are growing between world-class universities and others, and between students who benefit from internationalisation and those who do not. The gap is leading many universities down risky pathways where corruption and unethical behaviour are rife.
LATIN AMERICAAngel Calderon
While Times Higher Education’s
Latin America rankings are welcome, there is room for improvement to reflect regional issues and activities and indicators that are pertinent to development – and there are some interesting omissions.
CHILE-UNITED STATESCristina González and Liliana Pedraja
As Hillary Clinton outlines plans for free tuition for some students in the United States, Chile has unveiled its Higher Education Draft Bill. The bill has its critics, but marks an important step towards rolling back the neo-liberal movement towards greater privatisation of higher education.
CHINARobert Coelen and Jiang Bo
The scale of China’s internationalisation plans for its higher education system is becoming clear. But will the country be able to achieve its goals, and how prepared is it for involvement in the global community of education?
It is important, if Vietnamese students need an educational consulting company to navigate international study, that they choose one carefully and ensure it is ethical.
World-class universities are a high cost option and Indonesia lacks resources. Instead it should invest in locally relevant institutions that deliver a number of benefits.
SAUDI ARABIARuwayshid Alruwaili
Saudi laws need updating so that people can experience the full benefits of massive open online courses, or MOOCs.
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Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has invoked Section 44 of the interim constitution to tackle chronic problems in the tertiary education sector, writes Dumrongkiat Mala for Bangkok Post
Turkey’s Council of State has issued a stay of execution on a decision by Turkey’s Higher Education Board prescribing the application of its own disciplinary regulations in probes against academics, rendering ‘illegitimate’ a number of probes opened up since November 2015, writes Esra Ülkar for Hurriyet Daily News
Three University of Texas professors have filed suit in federal court in a bid to halt a state law that lets people with concealed-handgun licences bring pistols into classrooms, saying the measure would have a chilling effect on academic freedom, writes Jon Herskovitz for Reuters
The entry of mediocre foreign students into Australia is likely to be restricted with new norms making education institutions responsible for the genuineness of their admissions, which will be reflected in their ratings. However, students opting for top universities will have much easier entry, with no questions asked about financial support by the immigration department, writes R Ravikanth Reddy for The Hindu
Education authorities are concerned that the fallout of the Brexit vote will lead to a dramatic increase in the number of Irish and other European students in higher education in Ireland, writes Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times
More than 5,000 academics and authors have signed a petition for the Iranian government to free Professor Homa Hoodfar, a Canadian-Iranian academic who was imprisoned in the country last month, writes Ellie Bothwell for Times Higher Education
A state audit in March reinforced what many California parents already suspected: on a constant hunt for more revenue, the prestigious University of California system gave favourable admissions treatment to thousands of higher-paying out-of-state and foreign students, to the detriment of Californians, writes Stephanie Saul for The New York Times
The heads of some of China and Russia's leading universities met recently to discuss Chinese-Russian cooperation in scientific and educational fields, and signed a declaration to establish an association of universities, writes Arthur Dominic Villasanta for China Topix
South Korean universities, which are worried about their futures due to dropping birth rates, are studying ways to make inroads abroad, reports The Korea Herald
A new analysis notes a steady decline in grants going to investigators at small Canadian universities in recent years. Researchers at Trent University in Ontario believe that they have demonstrated that a “systemic bias” underlies this trend, writes Rebecca Trager for Chemistry World
An online university is offering 500 refugees from Syria's civil war free places on its degree courses, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News
Despite various government endeavours, India continues to struggle to become a popular education destination. Of a targeted 450,000 foreign students only 31,000 turned towards India to seek higher education, writes Rohinee Singh for Daily News and Analysis
Tax authorities are helping to track down former students who owe billions on their National Student Financial Aid Scheme loans, writes Louise Flanagan for Cape Times
In a surprise move, President of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany Georg Krausch recently announced plans to overhaul controversial contracts governing the use of a €150 million (US$167 million) donation from a philanthropic foundation, writes Hinnerk Feldwisch-Drentrup for Science
Sri Lanka’s Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Thilak Karunaratne said government action from 2005 to 2014 to absorb graduates without any specific duties had spelt disaster for the new government and the people, reports Daily News
Scotland’s oldest university has hit back at suggestions that the higher education sector “prefers” fee-paying students from England over those from Scotland, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland
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