21 April 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Educators swimming in techno sea without a lifebelt
If universities aren't careful, the future of higher education could be a nightmarish 'MOOC world' where there are fewer jobs for researchers and a scholar becomes a 'rare bird'. This was the scenario painted by Gideon Rosen, an American professor of philosophy, at the second annual Princeton-Fung Global Forum.
Diversification of tertiary education growing – Study
Non-university technical programmes are the fastest growing forms of post-secondary education, according to UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning. Studies in five countries – Azerbaijan, Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria and South Korea – indicated that increasing job market demand for varied skills is the primary driver of the emerging trend.
French lecturers' conference supports Francophony
The Nigerian state has invested heavily in French language studies in higher education since the country's independence 64 years ago. The various strands of Francophone studies that have subsequently developed were investigated at the recent 16th Annual Conference of the University French Teachers' Association of Nigeria.
Power in numbers – Adjuncts turn to citywide unionising
It's the lull between Northeastern University's afternoon and evening classes, and adjunct instructors drift in and out of a windowless room set aside for them in Ryder Hall. Lacking offices on campus, they come here to log on to shared computers or to grab books from shelved cardboard boxes that serve as makeshift lockers.
Student-led migration is part of global talent contest
As the global competition to attract skilled and talented workers has intensified, international students have become an increasingly important source of immigrant workers. A new report by three major international organisations estimates that 15% to 30% of international students who study in the most advanced countries stay on to work.
Russian academics spooked by Zubov's dismissal
Russia's academic community has been spooked by the dismissal of Professor Andrei Zubov, a renowned historian, theologian and political scientist at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, following a critical article in which he compared Russia's actions in Crimea with Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938. There have been student protests, and a 5,000-strong petition in support of the professor.
France to partner in loans to students, universities
Kenya has signed a ground-breaking partnership with French public financier Agence Francaise de Developpement that intends to set up credit lines to fund university expansion and student loans.
The contribution of universities to the economy
Government expenditure on South Africa's universities should be boosted by 40% and an additional R3 billion (US$288 million) invested annually in research and development in higher education institutions if the country aims only to be on a par with world averages, according to a new study.
The day a Swedish student came calling
Swedish student Malin Cronqvist was about to head off to spend 10 weeks in Tanzania doing volunteer work at a local guesthouse in 2010, when she began wondering how she could make a positive difference in a country where the higher education dreams of thousands of youngsters die each year because of lack of money.
Recent Big Data struggles are 'birthing pains'
In 2009, David Lazer sounded the call for a fresh approach to social science. By analysing large-scale data about human behaviour – from social network profiles to transit-card swipes – researchers could “transform our understanding of our lives, organisations and societies”, Lazer, a professor of political science and computer science at Northeastern University, wrote in Science.
Universities a battleground for capturing youth vote
Universities in India could be a frontline for political parties hoping to capture the considerable youth vote during national parliamentary elections that kick off on 7 April. Recent opinion polls and commentators agree that first-time voters could be a significant factor influencing the outcome. According to Census 2011 data, battleground 2014 will have 149.36 million first-time voters aged between 18 and 23 years.
Vice-chancellors explore research potential and limits
South African vice-chancellors called for renewal of the academy, more and better postgraduate training and greater policy coordination at their biennial research and innovation conference last week. There was a lively debate over differentiation, and a decision to meet with captains of industry and forge more productive relations with the private sector.
Libraries test a model for setting monographs free
Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers – but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a non-profit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.
Asian Tiger universities grow research collaboration
A new report has identified the top 100 universities across the Western Pacific region in 21 fields. It describes the extent of international collaboration among the leading institutions – which is strikingly higher than anticipated – and provides a detailed analysis of their research performance.
New government, old higher education policies?
As the countdown to India's 2014 parliamentary elections begins, academics and social experts are cautious about predicting drastic change in education policy by any government that comes to power in New Delhi.
Publishers clash with students over textbook copying
Indian academics and university students are fiercely defending their right to use copyrighted reading material for free as Indian publishers intensify their fight against the photocopying and organised counterfeiting of books.
Ethnicity has greatest impact on degree grades: Report
Ethnicity appears to have a greater effect on students' performance at university than gender, disadvantaged background or the type of school attended, according to research published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England last week.
Government to boost HE policy role with think-tanks
China's Ministry of Education has released a new plan to boost the role of universities in advising government, including setting up special university-based centres and think-tanks to carry out research for ministries and contribute to policy-making.
National or international quality standards – or both?
Whether a rapidly changing higher education world needs a single set of quality standards was a major topic of debate at a meeting of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's International Quality Group held in Washington DC. There was some consensus around developing global standards that are able to articulate with strong national quality systems.
Data breaches dent universities' finances, reputations
The costs of a cyberattack on the University of Maryland that was made public last month will run into millions of dollars, according to data security professionals who work in higher education. Such a financial and reputational wallop threatens many institutions that are vulnerable to serious data breaches, experts say.
China restricts academic access to historical archives
China has been gradually restricting scholarly access to historical archives, making it more difficult to access declassified historical documents in the past year, according to frustrated academics.
Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda strike HE harmonisation fee deal
Students from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda will in future pay local fees in any of the three East African Community states. A new deal has moved the countries closer to harmonised higher education, which has been elusive for five years due to difficulties in agreeing key parameters like fees and credit transfer.
INSEAM trains new generation of top African managers
The Institute for Euro-African Management, an innovative French-Moroccan partnership, is training a new generation of high potential managers in Africa. Its first cohort of masters students, from eight African countries, will graduate in September.
Sophisticated mobile apps are reshaping campus safety
Underage drinking. Cars parked illegally. Threatening social situations. The nature of the real-time alerts that started rolling in to Virginia Commonwealth University's police dispatch centre this past autumn – sometimes as many as five a day – surprised campus safety officials.
Plan for dramatic university cutbacks causes disquiet
South Korea has unveiled plans to drastically cut the number of university places over the next decade because of a declining population. But the policy is causing disquiet, with higher education already facing major restructuring including university closures and mergers.