11 February 2016 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Commentary
UNITED KINGDOM
Taking the fall for the empire
Oriel College at Oxford University recently announced that its governing body has decided to keep the statue of Cecil Rhodes in place after receiving many requests to preserve it. The debate over whether to remove the statue opens up a much broader discussion about historical legacy and the impact of students from former colonies on Western universities.
GLOBAL
Are world university rankings up to date?
Rankings are criticised for their focus on research, but even in research they need to adapt to keep pace with big changes in the way scientific research is done.
GLOBAL
Good rankings are not easy but they can be produced
The Coimbra Group’s critique of U-Multirank shows it has misunderstood U-Multirank’s conceptual approach and its methodology, which is radically different to those of existing international university rankings.
INDONESIA
Fostering multidisciplinary collaboration in HE
Indonesia needs to be more proactive in promoting interdisciplinary approaches in responding to the world’s problems as its neighbours do. Disciplines have for too long been isolated from each other.
INDIA
Tragic suicide demands more than knee-jerk reactions
The suicide of Rohith Vemula, a student who campaigned for the rights of Dalits, has generated a lot of media coverage, to which the government has responded with ad hoc policy suggestions. What is needed, though, is some joined up policy which addresses the roots of this and similar cases.
UNITED KINGDOM
The benefits of big data
To make the most of the possibilities of data analytics at universities requires a coherent digital strategy and training for staff.
GLOBAL
Disruption the new norm
There are few corners in the world where rapid change is not occurring, geopolitically, economically and politically. Will international student mobility patterns change after recent terrorist attacks around the world? Universities around the world may be forced to accept the reality of a new world order and plan for a future based on change.
PAKISTAN
The philosophical battle for campus security
To make campuses in the Muslim world more secure requires more than military power. It requires the promotion of initiatives that recognise the ills of colonialism without believing and promoting a concomitant and bloody obscurantism.
ASIA
Corruption undermines rise of East Asian universities
An academic culture that is based on meritocratic values, free enquiry and competition is largely absent in East Asia.
JAPAN
Undermining social sciences and humanities
Concerns about the government’s position on the arts, humanities and social sciences belie a wider questioning about the purpose of universities and society.
BRAZIL
Academically excellent, but deaf to society’s needs
The University of Săo Paulo is Brazil’s leading university, but its governance structure and lack of independent outside voices mean it fails to deliver the social leadership required of a 'New Flagship University'.
UNITED KINGDOM
How universities will beat extremism
A liberal education, delivered in an international environment, may be the answer to addressing the threat of extremism and radicalisation in young people.
GLOBAL
A realistic model for international universities
The second of our series on John Douglass’ New Flagship University model considers how it could work in Australia where a focus on research has meant a neglect of the value of teaching excellence and in Vietnam, where, despite great challenges, there are some seeds of hope for the future.
CHILE
A challenge to the free market system
The vote to provide free higher education to the country’s poorest students confronts the growing marketisation of the sector, but there are many more hurdles to overcome to provide more equal access to knowledge.
VIETNAM
Employers lament lack of soft skills in graduates
As higher education becomes more consumer based, universities will need to respond to growing demands from students to teach them the skills they need to get a job.
TURKEY
The flaw in the world-class university paradigm
Could the 'New Flagship University' outlined in a recently published book provide an alternative model to the current obsession with 'World-Class Universities'? This is the first in a series from around the world looking at a possible response to one of the side effects of the global rankings.
GLOBAL
Is benchmarking more useful than ranking?
Rankings may have a value as a reference and as a basis for comparison, but they do not always serve as the best proxy of the quality and relevance of tertiary education institutions. Alternative benchmarking processes are necessary.
ISRAEL
Political appointments more harmful than boycott push
The Israeli government appears to be determined to destroy the scientific reputation of the country through the political appointment of a junior lecturer as chairman of the Council for Higher Education.
UNITED STATES-VIETNAM
Vietnamese student numbers growing in the US
Economic growth, an increase in the super rich, proactive recruitment campaigns and a love of brands are driving more Vietnamese students to enrol at institutions in the United States.
CAMBODIA
Internationalisation linked to drive for quality
Cambodia was the setting for the recent Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning conference. Like many other countries in the region, it faces challenges in improving the quality of the higher education it offers its students.
AFRICA
Flagship universities – Enrolment, typology, graduates
There are millions of graduates of Africa’s flagship universities. Most conversations have been on the shortcomings and challenges of these top national universities, but it is important to recognise their considerable contributions.
CHINA
The politics of the drive against corruption
China faces a challenge in its anti-corruption drive: how to tackle the bureaucratic system that enables corruption, while maintaining political control over its universities. In one week at the end of 2015, five leaders of four of Beijing’s most prestigious universities were punished or penalised for violating laws and Communist Party regulations on embezzlement and corruption.
EUROPE
Brexit is not just about funding
The debate on whether the United Kingdom should withdraw from the European Union tends to focus on funding and control, but there are wider issues at stake.
GLOBAL
Teaching to the test
The Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes project seeks to measure what students learn at different institutions and in different countries, but to do so it relies on tests of generic skills which don’t say anything about the specific knowledge they are taught at university.
AUSTRALIA-INDIA
India is facing an HE crisis and Australia can help
Although there has been an enormous expansion in higher education in India over the past 30 years, the country is facing a crisis around access to good college and university education. International partnerships could help train staff, root out corruption, widen access equitably and raise the quality of research.