In a series on Transformative Leadership in which University World News is partnering with The MasterCard Foundation, Sharon Dell reports from a meeting of the International Association of University Presidents on the importance of forging equal higher education partnerships to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of global inequalities.
In Global Commentary, Natalia Shmatko encourages Russian PhD holders to further develop international academic cooperation and in particular consider simultaneous mobility, where a researcher works for several organisations located in different countries at the same time and is based either in one of them or in the home country. And Anand Kulkarni writes that global university rankings and comparisons with China indicate that India needs to do more to spread excellence and become more internationally oriented in its higher education system.
Sharon Dell – Acting Africa Editor
ARAB STATESWagdy Sawahel
The Morocco-based Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization launched the pilot phase of the 'TAFAHUM' project to enhance quality by promoting collaboration between a number of the Maghreb universities and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie in France.
Zimbabwe’s Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo is facing a probe over the alleged abuse of approximately US$450,000 meant for students in a development that has seen students calling for him to pay back the money and resign.
Sixty vice-chancellors who constitute the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture have committed to train 325 PhD students over the next five years through intra-African academic mobility.
The African Virtual University, in partnership with the African Development Bank, has launched phase two of its multinational project aimed at expanding its network of centres of open, distance and e-learning and which will see 27 facilities opened in 21 countries.
In what seems to be a growing trend in Kenya, public universities are actively seeking investments in a range of sectors including manufacturing, real estate and agriculture. The latest is Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, which has announced plans to open an instant noodle-making factory in partnership with a Japanese firm.
Tunisia has inaugurated an observatory for monitoring progress in higher education, science, technology and innovation, as part of wider efforts to promote the development of a knowledge-based economy through higher education and research reform.
The University of Zimbabwe has summoned three students to a disciplinary hearing after they held aloft protest placards during the university’s graduation ceremony last month at which Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was officiating. The students have reportedly also been denied access to their degree certificates.
Declining funding from governments in the last decade and economic recession are among the factors driving the need for African universities to find creative mobilisation models for funding, according to an African expert.
The growth of higher education and its obligation to contribute towards sustainable development in some East African countries is hampered by a myriad challenges, with inadequate funding being one of the most significant. But there are some solutions, according to higher education experts.
SOUTH AFRICASharon Dell
The higher education sector must produce more science, engineering and technology graduates, science and maths secondary school teachers, as well as early childhood development professionals if South Africa is to produce the kind of skills needed to encourage inclusive development.
AFRICAAmasa P Ndofirepi and Michael Cross
In their pursuit of competitiveness, higher education institutions across Africa set themselves the target of becoming ‘world class’, and labels such as a ‘world-class African university’ are not uncommon in their mission statements.
SOUTHERN AFRICAPiyushi Kotecha
While the potential of regional cooperation to develop and strengthen Africa’s higher education sector has long been recognised on paper, progress towards its actualisation has been slow. Against this backdrop, the introduction next year of a Southern Africa masters curriculum in climate change and development represents an important test case for future academic harmonisation.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Minister for Higher and University Education, Théophile Mbemba, has called on universities to respect the principle of political neutrality.
Algeria and Cuba have signed eight conventions on health and higher education, covering areas including development of vaccines, animal experimentation and technology transfer. Meanwhile, Algeria and Mauritania are planning to cooperate in programmes in the fields of oceanography and aquaculture.
The internationalisation of higher education is a key driver of innovation and is seen as indispensable for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals spearheaded by the United Nations. However, forging successful, equal and sustainable partnerships to realise these goals in the context of historical injustices and global structural inequality calls for a careful approach.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
More than 150 internal members and doctors of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences have signed an open letter voicing concern about the “anti-democratic processes” that have taken place in the country and demanding that the body investigate or initiate debate about them.
EUROPEJan Petter Myklebust
The ambition for Horizon 2020 to raise international collaboration in its work programmes from 12% to 27% of the calls for proposals has not been reached and the share of non-European Union or European Economic Area partners in grant agreements for collaborative actions has halved in the first two years of the flagship European research programme.
New measures to tighten up on the quality, financial viability and information provided by private higher education institutions in Singapore, including foreign branch campuses, that offer external degrees from foreign institutions – also known as transnational education or TNE – have been published by the Singapore government.
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O'Malley
Universities should embed a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence, harassment and hate crime, highlighting up-front the behaviours that are expected from all students, as well as ensuring staff understand the importance of fostering a zero-tolerance culture, according to a universities task force. But their report has been criticised for barely addressing staff-to-student harassment.
A consortium has launched an open call for proposals for a bold initiative funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, or DFID, aimed at catalysing innovation and reform in higher education systems in developing countries, including fragile and conflict-affected states.
SWEDENJan Petter Myklebust
Thirty-five university rectors, including the rectors of the major universities – Lund, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Uppsala, Chalmers University of Technology and the Karolinska Institute – as well as the Swedish National Union of Students have criticised the government for a decision which sets aside the principle of autonomy for universities.
UNITED STATESMary Beth Marklein
An alliance of United States higher education, foreign policy, peace-building and national security leaders last week published an open letter urging America’s next president to pursue policies and practices that it said will make the United States "a more welcoming and globally engaged country".
UNITED STATESSteve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Speaking to college students in Columbus, Ohio, Donald J Trump told conservative watchers of higher education that political correctness has transformed universities into places of extreme censorship and pledged to end it. But could any president keep that promise?
Austria’s MORE initiative, offering refugees support at the country’s universities, has been given a positive appraisal by Iraqi student Basma al-Robai in an interview with the university magazine UniStandard
Russian PhD holders need to look to simultaneous academic mobility, whereby they work with international institutions but maintain links with their home country, if they want to increase their chances of career progression.
What do the rankings tell us about the progress of higher education in India and China? China seems to have a more even spread of quality institutions, but India needs to do more to spread excellence and be more outward looking.
University career services need to be reformed so they are relevant to a world where jobs are changing fast as a result of digital disruption.
NORTH KOREARichard Holmes
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wants Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang to be a world-class institution. Here’s how to play the rankings game and succeed.
EUROPETino Brömme and Barnaby Britten
Agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the economies of the European Union and the United States pose "significant risks to public education... and could have the effect of locking in and intensifying the pressures of privatisation and commercialisation", European trade unionists warn.
MEXICO-UNITED STATESYojana Sharma
Whether or not it ever materialises, talk of building a wall separating Mexico and the United States has created a worrying atmosphere for higher education on both sides of the existing border fence – and student and faculty exchanges and any future prospects for Mexican-US joint degrees could be jeopardised.
GLOBALJason A Scorza
Academic leaders must take very seriously their moral obligations to posterity – factoring into their discussions and decisions the well-being of generations yet to come. It means taking an adaptive view toward the future by performing the valuable, rewarding but often hard, even grinding and unglamorous work needed to preserve and improve their institutions.
UNITED STATESCasey O’Brien
Study abroad works better when students are properly prepared, do their reading and understand a little about the complexities of where they are going.
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A major Chinese education company has paid thousands of dollars in perks or cash to admissions officers at top United States universities to help students apply to American universities. And according to eight former employees of Shanghai-based Dipont Education Management Group, the company’s services didn’t end there, write Steve Stecklow, Renee Dudley, James Pomfret and Alexandra Harney for Reuters
Jamaica's elected representatives, smarting from being snubbed by the University of the West Indies, now say that they will be pushing for necessary changes to ensure that the university, which this year alone is set to get funding that could cover two government ministries, is answerable to the parliament, writes Jovan Johnson for The Gleaner
Government is not keen on allowing private universities on a full-blown scale‚ Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has said. The minister told the fees commission sitting in Centurion‚ Tshwane‚ that private universities posed a serious threat to the public education sector, writes Sipho Mabena for Times Live
The prime minister has assured public universities in the country worried about their finances that he has heard them loud and clear, write Zafira Anwar and Amin Mokhtar for New Straits Times
The National Federation of University Teachers and some Argentine student centres, including the University of Buenos Aires, led a 48-hour strike on 13 October to demand higher wages and a higher budget, reports Prensa Latina
Two efforts last week by students to eject protesters and reopen facilities at Michoacán University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo were unsuccessful, meaning that close to 24,000 students will continue to miss classes, reports Mexico News Daily
A university dedicated to arts and science degrees will be built in Nay Pyi Taw, which will mean prospective bachelor degree students will be able to study closer to home, writes Pyae Thet Phyo for the Myanmar Times
In an exclusive interview, Australia's first ambassador to China has raised the alarm about China's influence in the higher education sector, writes Hagar Cohen for Background Briefing
John Swinney, Scotland’s education minister, has denied unfairly discriminating against the English after announcing that European Union students who win a place at Scottish universities next year will have their tuition funded by the taxpayer even after Brexit, writes Simon Johnson for The Telegraph
The higher education gap between men and women has shrunk dramatically, according to a recent analysis by the Swiss statistics office, reports Le News
The chair of the opposition Greens party, Ville Niinistö, has criticised recently announced plans by government to sell off state property in order to additionally fund universities and colleges of applied sciences, arguing that the government should instead withdraw its education budget cutting plans, reports Yle
The United Kingdom is slipping as a preferred higher education destination for Indians amid fears of tighter immigration laws and Brexit impact, writes Varuni Khosla for the Economic Times
Many students have decided not to pursue university education even after passing entrance exams, choosing vocational schools instead, reports VietNamNet Bridge
Over the past year, many European universities have started up education programmes in response to the continent’s refugee crisis, as more students fleeing conflict in their countries have applied to study in European degree programmes and language courses, writes Patrick Costello for Al-Fanar
Public universities may be forced to increase fees by KES8,000 (US$79) per annum to shake off financial constraints that have left them broke, writes Augustine Oduor for the Standard
The Association of West African Universities has concluded arrangements to establish a research centre to produce internationally accepted herbal medicines, reports Channels Television
. The association says the development is targeted at catering for the health needs of Africans.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
To the surprise of many, the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has entered into agreements with the University of Dubai and the American University of Ras Al Khaimah to boost higher education in the country, reports AME Info
We Are International, a campaign launched seven years ago by one university, is quickly becoming the unified messaged from the United Kingdom’s entire higher education sector in response to the European Union referendum result, writes Sara Custer for The PIE News
Several Czech universities hung out Tibetan flags last week in reaction to an official statement on good Czech-Chinese relations that the country's four supreme constitutional officials issued after some politicians met the Dalai Lama last Tuesday, reports CTK
The director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, or SOAS, has condemned a move by the Israeli government to detain a senior lecturer and ban him from entering the country for 10 years, write Rachael Pells and James Smith for the Independent
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UAE’s education minister has said the merger of three of the emirate’s top higher education institutions will help strengthen the country’s output of quality research and produce higher-calibre graduates, writes Roberta Pennington for The National
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