As the public asks questions about how universities serve society, it is time for the academy to make a case for how it works for the public good and change its one-way engagement with the wider population, inviting citizen participation in deliberative processes, or risk creeping government intervention.
Every higher education reform in Australia since the late 1980s has seen the system further eroded – making it less unified and egalitarian. The latest package of measures is no exception. Government policy is the main driver of change in Australia’s education system.
African universities have low numbers of female students in their engineering departments. Some have attempted to address this through affirmative action to improve access, but they do not make a dent in the fundamental causes of gender disparity in engineering.
We need to prepare students for a future in which the world is becoming more Asia-focused but also, in the light of rising populist movements and disruptive factors such as the refugee crisis, we must teach them about the pros and cons of globalisation – and the intelligent management of it.
The Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, claim no one will be left behind in the world by 2030, but they neglect the need to build capacity in higher education in developing countries and advocate sending their most talented young people abroad to study – a recipe for brain drain.
The government of Juan Manuel Santos has announced plans to overhaul its higher education system and strengthen technical education in particular, but are they too ambitious for him to fulfil in the relatively short time he has left in power?
Quality assurance measures in East Asia are often overly bureaucratic, too controlled by central government, lack any student voice and need an international dimension. Too often it appears that the frameworks are not embedded in a real institutional ‘quality culture’.
What makes for a successful internationalisation policy? INSEAD’s journey from France to Singapore highlights some of the factors that make a difference and might be useful for others considering similar internationalisation strategies.
While more people than ever are graduating from universities, some companies are abandoning degree requirements altogether. The question is whether these few companies are outliers or the forerunners of a new trend of preferencing merit over qualifications. And what does that say about the value of a university degree?
Young people are particular targets for Islamic State or IS recruitment drives and several university and college students have been arrested in Malaysia for links with the terrorist organisation. More can and needs to be done to dissuade students from being radicalised.
In response to the rise of right-wing populism, universities need to do more to democratise the societies in which they are situated by improving the opportunities and lives of social class ‘others’ both nationally and internationally, instead of relegating them to educational oblivion via policies, practices and belief systems in academe.
Latest figures for international students in the United States show significant decreases in students recruited from seven of the top 10 places of origin. The ‘Trump effect’ and the price of oil are among the forces at play. Vietnam is one of the few countries with rising enrolments. Will the trend continue?
Racial discrimination within United Kingdom universities remains problematic and continues to be a persistent barrier for Black and minority ethnic individuals attempting to progress in postgraduate study or in an academic career. University administrators must be held accountable for advancing diversity of staff and student populations.
The world of work is changing rapidly, undermining the traditional model based on a jobseeker presenting a CV listing their qualifications. Universities will need to adapt, but those in the developing world are intent on copying a model in the developed world that is fast becoming outdated.
The international community needs to develop a global policy on refugees and that starts with recognition of prior learning and supporting the widening of access to higher education, particularly in refugees’ host countries. It would reduce the cost of hosting refugees and enable them to contribute to society and help secure peace.
The negative effects associated with the unplanned growth in the enrolment of international students at United States universities in the past 10 years have been too significant to ignore. Reports of a reduction in numbers of international students in the US could be positive since it will allow universities to focus better on how to improve what they offer.
The Australian prime minister and education minister were in Delhi last week pushing for more collaboration between the countries' universities. As providers from competitor countries such as the United Kingdom deepen their involvement in the Indian higher education sector, this is a crucial time for Australia to promote engagement.
China is aggressively competing to raise its universities’ international rankings and attract international students. African institutions increasingly hold degrees from China in legitimate esteem. Is this the start of a new world order?
The attack on Hungary’s Central European University is not the only attempt by autocratic leaders in Eastern European to crack down on international universities that do not suffer from the same corruption as their local counterparts. Legal pretexts have been found to enforce political conformity on the European University at St Petersburg.
French scientists will mobilise alongside others around the world on 22 April to stand up for the values of critical thinking and analysis, which are under threat from politicians such as United States President Donald Trump, and rally all those who spread knowledge throughout society – from scientists to teachers and journalists – to strengthen mutual dialogue.
No foreign power should be allowed to dominate Vietnam's academic world. For Vietnam’s integrity and national security, it needs to have its own universities that contribute to and provide guidance on following an independent path free of neocolonial domination.
Universities face a huge challenge in confronting post-truth. It is the challenge of expanding higher education, while providing high-quality teaching at a time when people are required to deal with a tsunami of data and information – verified or unverified – emerging from all quarters.
A government plan to teach science and mathematics in indigenous languages at primary schools has been opposed by some academics. They need to ensure their views are based on evidence rather than a desire to protect the status quo.
There is limited evidence that national qualifications frameworks do their job, whether improving learning and recognition outcomes or supporting the mobility of students. To build trust in qualifications we need to strengthen the evidence base for quality assurance mechanisms.
Teaching academic roles in Australian universities have tripled over the past decade, making up around 5% of the academic workforce – and further roll outs are expected. But new research suggests that these roles can be a negative career move for academics.