21 October 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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GLOBAL
Overall outcomes of university rankings are ‘junk’
The overall outcome of some of the best known international university rankings is “junk”, especially if they are multi-indicator rankings using weighting, according to a leading higher education expert, Simon Marginson. In addition, most rankings are influenced by an agenda.
KENYA
Politics and protest – Universities in the crossfire
Instead of attending to their studies, over the past three weeks Mark Kamau and his two third-year classmates at the University of Nairobi have been hawking boiled eggs every evening, targeting the droves of factory workers trekking home. Student unrest has forced their university to close and they are trying to keep busy. On a good day, they make US$6.
NORWAY
Future of Norwegian study centres abroad uncertain
The fate of Norwegian study centres across Europe looked to be hanging in the balance earlier this year, but innovations, including offering many options and tailoring courses to teacher training, are helping to change the outlook for some.
ALGERIA
Universities start to play catch-up in innovation drive
After many years of lethargy, inertia and bureaucracy, universities and higher education centres and institutions are pushing a new approach to higher education – one that is based more heavily on innovation, entrepreneurship and partnerships with private and public companies.
AFRICA
Optimising the contribution of HE in the SADC region
The Southern African Regional Universities Association is pushing for closer alignment between the Southern African Development Community and the regional universities body as a way of ensuring that universities play a more active role in the implementation of regional development strategies.
AFRICA
University in prisons – The ‘best rehabilitation tool’
Prison services across Africa are joining forces with local and foreign universities to provide higher education programmes for inmate students in a bid to rehabilitate prisoners and improve the effectiveness of incarceration.
FINLAND
Is Helsinki catalysing innovation in higher education?
Universities are waiting to see if the growing innovation culture in Finnish higher education will be strengthened by the findings of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s ‘Vision for Finnish higher education and research 2030’ project, due to be published later this month.
INDIA
Despair over new medical college admissions changes
The suicide of a student who achieved 98% in school subjects has highlighted the despair felt by thousands of India’s lowest caste and poorest students who have been denied entry to medical college following changes in medical admissions policy that have been upheld by a Supreme Court ruling.
FINLAND
Can Finland capitalise on its educational reputation?
At a time of layoffs of staff at universities due to economic cutbacks, initiatives towards new educational export projects have been mushrooming, spurred on by government ambition, supported and staffed with experts, and seeking to build on and export ‘Global Education Brand Finland’.
UNITED STATES
Why Beall’s blacklist of predatory journals died
Jeffrey Beall, an academic librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, abruptly shuttered a blacklist of journals he deemed untrustworthy nine months ago. But while the project has ended, debates over its merit and impact live on – and questions it raised about open access remain unresolved.
AFRICA
Rising student suicides – What can universities do?
As the world marks the 15th World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, the rising number of suicides among North African students and university graduates is turning the spotlight onto the role of universities in supporting vulnerable students and raising awareness around mental health issues.
NORWAY
Should universities be run like businesses?
A group of academics in Norway are questioning the way universities are increasingly being run as businesses, with policy choices based on financial returns rather than societal needs. The ‘New Public Management’ style of governance of universities and public services was slated by well-known academic Frank Aarebrot ahead of the 11 September general election.
GLOBAL
Commonwealth campaign sees universities as peace-builders
As places where ideas can be advanced and challenged in an atmosphere of tolerance and objectivity, universities play a critical role in promoting mutual respect and understanding between people of different faiths and beliefs.
GLOBAL
Economics curriculum reform – In search of relevance
A new question-motivated, relevant curriculum, which positions itself in part as a response to weaknesses in the mainstream teaching of economics – some of which were exposed by the global financial crisis of 2008 – is showing early indications of success, according to its creators.
NIGERIA
University staff remain resolute over indefinite strike
A strike by public university staff over funding and salary issues is set to continue and campuses will remain closed after a second round of negotiations between the Nigerian government and the union broke down.
JAPAN
Investigation into motives behind science misconduct
In the wake of recent scandals over dubious data, leading to retractions of research papers from prestigious journals, Japan is carrying out broader investigations into what drives researchers to engage in misconduct in scientific research, with a view to preventing such behaviours.
AFRICA
New academy leader champions the power of science
“There is good science in Africa,” said Professor Nelson Torto, the newly appointed executive director of the African Academy of Sciences. “My only concern is that it might not be necessarily focused on the current needs and that is really something that requires debate and understanding.”
EUROPE-UNITED KINGDOM
Shorter periods abroad could widen student mobility
Shorter periods of studying or working abroad during degree programmes should be offered by universities to close the gap in mobility participation rates between affluent students and their less well-off peers in the United Kingdom. That’s a key recommendation of a new report from Universities UK International.
SOUTH AFRICA
Taking a closer look at student attrition and migration
A recent survey which found that more than 50% of South African students felt they were not prepared for the transition from secondary school to tertiary education has highlighted ongoing debates around the causes of South Africa’s student attrition rates and how best to tackle them.
UNITED STATES
Do university presidents still matter?
Since Drew Faust decided to step down as president at Harvard, a debate has opened up about the nature of the academic presidency, and how it is changing. Should university leaders be strategic planners, stakeholder conflict managers, fundraisers or political advocates – and do they make a difference?
SOUTH AFRICA
Mining the power of data to boost student success
Data analytics is becoming increasingly important to improving the effectiveness of almost every profession and academia is no different, but knowing what data is important and how to use it is critical.
UGANDA
New Makerere vice-chancellor designate aims high
Newly appointed Makerere University Vice-chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe has vowed to position the Ugandan university as the leading institution for academic excellence and innovation in Africa.
UNITED STATES
College diversity officer – Demanding job, low resources
Dozens of campuses across America have created diversity officer positions in the past 15 years, often in response to pressure from student activists, but the role is still relatively new. In a new survey of chief diversity officers, fewer than half of respondents said they began with adequate resources to carry out their responsibilities effectively.
CHINA
Research could suffer as internet controls tightened
Chinese internet restrictions, known as the ‘great firewall of China’, have often been an issue for Chinese academics who find their access to overseas research restricted. They have become more concerned as new internet controls – particularly on virtual private networks, which circumvent national censorship of the internet – look set to be introduced by February 2018.
GLOBAL
Cultural factors at work in social inequality in HE
Higher education scholars gathered in St Petersburg, Russia, recently to explore how they could improve the prospects of marginalised populations, be they Native Americans in the United States, indigenous students in Latin America or Austrians who are the first in their families to go to college.