Developments in learning and teaching have received far less attention than research excellence and innovation within universities and in public discussions. Although national initiatives are increasing, Europe needs a forum where universities can come together to discuss what works best.
Despite huge differences in undergraduate studies between mainland China and Hong Kong, both systems appear to have incorporated the United States model of general education as they seek to develop rounded students with the skills for a global knowledge economy.
Students can begin to think more as global citizens if they engage with the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs during their studies. Universities need to embed them into the curriculum and encourage students to share information about what they are, and how best to achieve them.
Turkey has massively increased the number of students in higher education, but many graduates are not getting jobs or are taking posts that don’t require a degree. It would be better to invest more in the quality of higher education rather than the quantity of graduates.
Nationalist movements have the potential to disrupt the global nature of higher education and the financial stability of colleges and universities around the world. International enrolment managers and deans should consider the impact on their recruitment plans.
The next decade will be characterised by intensified competition for talent, resources and reputation in a turbulent world. Business schools need to accelerate global engagement strategies based on collaboration and innovation – and develop global managerial talent who can make organisations adaptable to change.
A detailed study of international academics working in Japan shows less than 5% have full-time posts and there has been no significant growth in the proportion of international faculty who were hired as institutional leaders, or in the small proportion who are women.
Russia’s National Research University Higher School of Economics is both a prominent global player and an organisation still embedded in the Russian academic and administrative environment. That can cause challenges and tension.
The Double World-Class Project is similar to previous projects aimed at creating world-class universities, but more ambitious in scope. It is part of a Chinese attempt to build its soft power globally and is set to have a significant impact on the global higher education landscape.
UNITED KINGDOM-UNITED STATES
Inequality in the United States and United Kingdom has been rising for decades, but what can higher education do to address this and is it exacerbating the problem through a focus on commercial rankings and preparing students for the labour market?
The far-right 'Alternative für Deutschland' or AfD won 13% of the vote in Germany’s general election. Its policies on higher education are set against a nationalist, anti-immigrant agenda and through its parliamentary position there is a clear danger that it will be able to normalise its positions.
The first university ranking in Vietnam was published in early September and has brought a wide discussion of its merits and faults, showing the maturity of the academic community in Vietnam. Nevertheless, the results still shocked some people.
The nationalist policies of the Hungarian government sit side by side with a desire to continue to attract international students, but there is a danger that some higher education principles – and even entire institutions – may end up falling victim to right-wing political agendas.
Questions about partnerships with European Union universities and branch campuses have been raised since the Brexit referendum. The easiest path forward for United Kingdom universities after Brexit remains an agreement with EU programmes because trade deals would be subject to individual states’ agreement and restrictions.
The best approach to building 'world-class' universities in most African cases would be elevating existing flagship universities which already have some brand, history and visibility, and human and material resources.
Indian academics are stuck in their ways. It is easier to follow the traditional teaching path and methods – such as using books used in universities in the United States and the United Kingdom – than look at what could really make a difference to those from lower social castes. They could borrow some ideas from Brazil.
The latest rankings are not good news for Latin American universities. They should serve as a catalyst for more internationalisation which will drive greater innovation.
Mauritius’ internationalisation efforts over the past few years have offered a rich learning experience for the country so it can use its unique contextual advantages to design a culturally informed regulatory framework which fits its vibrant higher education sector.
Europe and North America are entering a profoundly difficult period for higher education internationalisation. It is likely academics will carry the burden of maintaining a globalist vision of the university in the face of the rise of nationalist movements and governments.
In the United States, Europe and Asia, far-right and openly fascist formations have ventured into the political mainstream and are recruiting at universities. Defeating them requires coordinated actions by networks of scholars and activists to promptly mobilise their forces on campuses and beyond.
The controversy over vice-chancellors’ pay is painting universities as knowledge businesses run by corporate elites rather than institutions that serve the public good. That is the damaging message being received and rejected by many. It is undermining university leaders' legitimacy, making them less effective.
The ‘World-Class University’ model is a vaguely defined fad which does not provide the basis for the kind of leading universities Asia needs for the future – universities that give the same weight to economic engagement and civic responsibility as research.
The Indian government’s proposal to create 20 ‘institutions of eminence’ – another attempt to create world-class universities – presents a maze of difficult choices. The authorities need to avoid over-regulation and select leaders wisely, while broadening access and lifting research and innovation.
Due to periods of military dictatorship, research at African universities has been held back. To establish themselves as research universities, African universities will need to overcome enormous challenges, including lack of funding, and define what their research priorities are.
Science funding decisions should be based on proof of what works, not on vested interests and anecdotal evidence. The concentration of funding in a few hands goes against the data on diminishing returns and cannot maximise the probability of scientific breakthroughs.