In Africa Features, Tunde Fatunde highlights debates around the recent licensing of eight new private universities in Nigeria; while Munyaradzi Makoni reports on a recent webinar which explored some of the reasons for the continent’s relatively slow progress in harmonising quality assurance and accreditation processes.
In Global Commentary, Ming Cheng asks Western universities to examine whether international students are indeed gaining the desired international experience at their institutions, based on a case study of Chinese masters students at a British and Australian university; Sarah O’Shea proposes ways that universities in Australia might retain and engage first generation students and particularly those from aboriginal backgrounds; and Emily Johnson shares the views of students across the world arising from an essay contest on the ideal higher education model for their country.
Sharon Dell – Acting Africa Editor
Benbella Akuffo Asare, a 24-year-old university graduate, has been looking for work as a teacher for over a year. He says he has applied for more than 500 jobs since graduating from the University of Education, Winneba in Ghana and finishing his mandatory one year of national service in 2015. Unemployment has become a cause for growing concern for many Ghanaians as they prepare to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections on 7 December.
African science and education ministers have called for bold and urgent steps to increase the number of PhD holders produced on the continent every year, as well as the establishment of an African research chair initiative, and the development of mechanisms to harness research mobility on the continent.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has launched an e-masters degree on an experimental basis in five universities as part of an attempt to address the challenge of high graduate unemployment.
SOUTHERN AFRICASungula Nkabinde
An innovative new regional masters curriculum in climate change and sustainable development, which aims to educate and train new generations of researchers, practitioners and decision-makers in the Southern African region to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time, was launched in Pretoria in South Africa last week.
SOUTH AFRICAMunyaradzi Makoni
Students of ‘English as a foreign language’ intending to study through recognised English language training, or ELT, providers in South Africa are now eligible for study visas of up to 18 months, in a settlement announced at the end of November between the government departments of home affairs and higher education and training.
Tunisia is to host an US$85 million German university that will be operational by 2021 and will be the first of its kind in the Arab Maghreb region, which comprises the North African countries of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
The recent licensing of eight new private universities has raised questions about the wisdom of expanding a sector already struggling to provide quality education geared towards the 21st century.
Since it was first raised three decades ago, progress towards the harmonisation of higher education quality assurance and accreditation processes has been slow and awareness of the issue and various initiatives to drive it remain frustratingly limited.
AFRICAOchieng’ O Benny
A new generation of young African entrepreneurs and innovators, keen to contribute towards the alleviation of poverty and address global development challenges, is being nurtured in a number of universities on the continent.
While I agree with Philip G Altbach and Hans de Wit of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, when they write in their recent contribution that the aggressive posturing of United States President-elect Donald Trump is far from helpful to higher education around the world, I do not believe it will seriously dent the system as a whole. Nor will it have a significant impact on African higher education.
Ameenah Gurib, the first elected woman President of Mauritius, Africa’s third most developed country, is a former biodiversity scientist and champion of higher education and research on the continent. She talks to University World News
about her vision for transforming the continent.
Algeria and the Kingdom of Lesotho have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their bilateral cooperation in higher education and scientific research.
The students’ Union Générale des Étudiants Libres has called on the authorities to open a dialogue to find "realistic" solutions to students’ problems commonly encountered at most universities.
Police clashed with students at the University of Buea during a student demonstration protesting about unpaid bonuses and against penalties imposed for late payment of fees.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
A German finance expert has warned that the country’s federal states could be entering a “dangerous race to the bottom” regarding legislation on transparency in cooperation between industry and higher education. Christian Kreiss of Aalen University believes that cooperation agreements should be publicly accessible in order to guarantee academic freedom.
Strict new rules were scheduled to come into force last week for business schools in China recruiting Chinese students for MBA and short Executive MBA courses, with institutions no longer allowed to set their own entrance exams – part of the country’s drive to root out substandard programmes with low or non-existent barriers to entry.
The European Commission, or EC, has selected its 12-member High Level Group on maximising the impact of European Union research and innovation programmes.
Chinese higher education institutions dominate the Times Higher Education
BRICS and Emerging Economies University Rankings 2017, published on Wednesday, taking six of the top 10 places, with Peking University coming top and Tsinghua University second. India comes second on the number of institutions included.
Russian science is characterised by very low rates of publication, citation and joint international authorship, relative to system and university size. But a vigorous internationalisation policy could kickstart its transformation, according to a new paper by Professor Simon Marginson, director of the Centre for Global Higher Education at the UCL Institute of Education.
SWEDENJan Petter Myklebust
The government has unveiled plans to strengthen the quality of research – by investing in more research time for existing staff and opening up routes into a research career, especially for women – in a bill presented to parliament last Monday. It includes a commitment to double the share of women professors to achieve gender parity by 2030.
UNITED STATESShannon Najmabadi, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Following the election of Donald Trump with a pledge to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy – which enables some undocumented students to stay on in the country for renewable intervals without fear of deportation – university leaders are pondering how far they can go to resist any policy change.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
Improving the quality of higher education and research and the rate of transfer to work will have a prominent place in the programme of the new three-party coalition government, endorsed by the Queen of Denmark last Monday.
Are Chinese masters students studying in Western universities really experiencing internationalisation if the majority of their class are Chinese, the course is based on purely Western perspectives, they have little opportunity of work experience in the other culture and their contributions to group work are downgraded due to discrimination?
Working with first generation students, particularly those from aboriginal backgrounds, means accepting the cultural wealth they bring and not falling for assumptions about their family context.
A global essay competition is one way of finding out what students think would improve their education systems. Through heeding the words of younger generations, educational institutions could help improve students’ chances of success.
CANADAGrace Karram Stephenson
A debate about academic freedom versus inclusivity has hit the headlines, but what it shows more than anything is a need for our understanding of academic freedom to evolve so inclusivity and academic freedom can be seen as complementary forces.
Students and the youth are the greatest weapon in the fight against terror, according to a woman who was held captive by Islamic State. She gave a personal testament to the horror of genocide and called on students to counter the ideologies of hate.
CHILEMaría Elena Hurtado
The inaugural panel of the international seminar, “Reinventing Higher Education: The university of the future”, held in Santiago, Chile, explored how universities will survive in a world where millions of jobs will be displaced by technology.
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Officials said it is “too soon” to determine whether the attack at Ohio State University on 28 November, in which 11 people were injured, had any connection to terrorism, writes Ciara McCarthy for the Guardian
Ever since the Distance Education Council of the Indira Gandhi National Open University was dissolved in 2012, open universities in the country have faced a number of challenges. Most of them have not been able to start courses because of lack of approvals, while others have also not been allocated development funds, writes Gauri Kohli for Hindustan Times
A ministry of education white paper predicts that the number of students enrolled on a MOOC – massive open online course – in China is set to exceed 10 million by the end of 2016, up from 1.5 million just two years ago, writes Beckie Smith for The PIE News
Campus leaders face intense scrutiny for what they say or don’t say in this tense post-election period. Some messages that go over well on campus receive considerable criticism as they spread, writes Rick Seltzer for Inside Higher Ed
Dozens of state-owned and private universities in the country recently agreed to join hands to overcome limited government funding for academics, research and innovation, writes Wahyoe Boediwardhana for The Jakarta Post
Member of Parliament Abdul Hafiz Mansour recently said the spread of extremism at a number of universities and mosques is challenging Afghanistan's security, writes Samim Kubha for Tolo News
New research shows that white students are failing to keep pace with students from ethnic minorities at school – but are still keeping their grip on elite universities, writes Nick Morrison for Forbes
The uncapped system of higher education funding is reaching equilibrium as the growth in the number of would-be students slows and universities become marginally more choosy about whom they accept, writes John Ross for The Australian
The emphasis on athletic development at United States universities, highlighted by a basketball game played between Stanford and Harvard during their recent China trip, has inspired educators, officials and celebrities to reflect on the underdeveloped role played by sports in China's higher education system, writes Sun Xiaochen for China Daily
Growing numbers of Hong Kong high school students are applying to universities in the United States in the hope of a better education – and, according to consultants, the trend is fuelling the expansion of the ‘college prep’ tutor industry in the city, write Rachel Blundy and Jessie Lau for South China Morning Post
A senior official of Qatar University has recommended the establishment of more universities in the private sector, providing a quota at existing universities for expatriate students as well as starting more disciplines in universities to meet the growing demand for higher education in Qatar, writes Joseph Varghese for Gulf Times
The state government in Maharashtra has decided to make higher education free for children whose parents are willing to opt for the land-pooling model for the construction of 710-km-long Mumbai Nagpur Super Expressway, writes Mehul R Thakkar for The Asian Age
The Commission on Higher Education has reiterated its appeal to lawmakers to restore the PHP2 billion (US$40 million) slashed from its budget for next year so it can fulfil its role to make the Philippine higher education system locally responsive and globally competitive, writes Merlina Hernando-Malipot for Manila Bulletin
IMANI Centre for Policy and Education in Ghana has said the technical universities lack the capacity to deliver the kind of training that will make their students problem solvers, reports B&FT Online
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