University rankings’ influence continues to increase even though academics are often very sceptical about them. Why? Part of the reason lies in the need for greater accountability and the way rankings are increasingly curating spaces of higher education expertise, including summits and conferences.
It is that season when ranking entities announce their 'findings' on the comparative stature of the world’s universities. There are many reasons why the world, especially Africa, would be well served to ignore reputation-based international university rankings.
Massive open online courses or MOOCs in their current form, shape and design do not socially empower those who most need it, such as refugees. But if we adopt a frugal approach that is adaptable and contextualised, existing barriers to online education for refugees can be overcome.
Universities across the world recognise the value of networking as a way of fostering research collaboration, mobility exchange and curriculum improvement, but young researchers often struggle to find a way to build professional relations that will lead to effective collaboration.
Recognition of qualifications is key to building inclusive societies. Twenty years after the Lisbon Recognition Convention there is now a stronger focus globally on how recognition can help applicants, including refugees, continue their academic journey.
Current global politics pose a number of challenges for international education and accreditation. While accreditation abroad may previously have brought prestige and facilitated international linkages, this may boomerang in nationalist times.
Free expression, in the shape of critical enquiry, is a core value in the academy, but freedom of speech should not be unlimited, even on campus. Universities have to try to strike the right balance, which will be different in different places and times.
Global and domestic rankings can be harnessed to drive change in India’s higher education sector. Indeed, as domestic rankings evolve and mature, India may eventually be in a position to influence the parameters and indicators of the global rankings.
It is 15 years since the Academic Ranking of World Universities or ShanghaiRanking published its top 500 ranking. Comparing the 2017 rankings with those in 2003 reflects significant geopolitical shifts in higher education. Who are the winners and losers?
As the University of Southern California or USC launches its shiny new US$700 million campus, there are concerns about its leadership’s silence on pressing political issues, particularly Donald Trump’s initiatives, and an unfolding scandal involving a former dean.
My book As by Fire: The end of the South African university warns against the new normal of violence and disruption on campuses and the closing down of space for dissent by the dominant (though not majority) student voice. The book tries to push back against what some already see as inevitable.
United Kingdom universities post-Brexit need to carve for themselves a more proactive role at the centre of new free trade agreements in the competitive higher education market and position themselves as gateways to their regions, through greater public engagement and links with local business and industry.
LATIN AMERICA-UNITED KINGDOM
Brexit will make it harder to promote higher education exchanges and cooperation between Latin America and the United Kingdom. But bilateral initiatives show that the UK’s exit from the European Union should be seen not only as a threat, but also as an opportunity.
Syria has continued its policy of sending postgraduate students to study in the West, despite the current conflict. This has boosted its international publications, but created tensions between those academics schooled in publishing nationally in Arabic and those publishing in English internationally.
A study of more than 100,000 online learners finds that learning involves being prepared to take a risk, engaging with peers and having an independent streak – and teaching students how best to learn could be built into online programmes.
The recent Times Higher Education ranking of Latin American universities shows that there is still a large gap between institutions in the region, and highlights the impact of under-investment in public higher education and the consequent dominance of private universities.
To truly move on from our colonial suffering we must not seek to obliterate our painful histories by destroying all vestiges of the past, but preserve them as symbols of what we have overcome and what we need to avoid in the future.
Universities need a different style of teaching with a more person- and community-centred approach to give their students the entrepreneurial skills they will need in today’s world. Learning approaches that include incubation, mentorship, personal development, leadership training and funding are critical.
Research in Japan shows that university leaders highly value internationalisation. Recent political events in the United States and United Kingdom have had very little impact on this view, and universities have not slowed their pace of internationalisation.
Mothers in South Korea are organising complex social networks to ensure their children get access to the best universities and the best jobs. It is a symptom of an education system in need of a fundamental overhaul.
Innovation is increasingly important for both developed and emerging economies. Middle-income countries, with the exception of China, are significantly under-represented in the top echelons of the Global Innovation Index and breaking into the rankings is an uphill struggle, although they are making progress.
China’s universities are competing globally with regard to research, but with the rapid expansion of a more open and competitive Chinese economy, they could do more to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and the kind of skills employers are now looking for.
While some may think Canada will become a base for liberal activism against the far right and a bastion of academic freedom, the reality is that most academics are moving there for security and are unlikely to rock the boat.
Recruitment of Vietnamese students to Canada is hampered by slow visa permit processing time. Canada should continue the Canada Express Study visa for Vietnam as it cuts down on bureaucracy and expense for those Vietnamese looking to study there.
Malaysia’s increasing capacity and focus on international and comparative education and Southeast Asian education research have confirmed its vital position with regard to international higher education in the region – and beyond.