26 September 2016 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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SOMALIA
Proliferation of universities brings mixed fortunes
As guns continue to fall silent in Somalia’s waning civil conflict, exponential growth has been witnessed in the higher education sector. But there are mixed reviews of the quality of education offered by the country’s new independent universities.
SOUTH AFRICA
Building innovation, entrepreneurship in universities
Are entrepreneurs born or made? That debate still rages, but for Central University of Technology Vice-chancellor Professor Thandwa Mthembu the answer is clear: Entrepreneurs can indeed be made and it’s time to invest more seriously in that process.
SOUTH AFRICA
At the heart of e-learning – Connections, disconnections
“An earlier speaker said that mobile learning and mobile devices are a drug, they are addictive. I don’t know about that but trust me, these things are affecting our psyche,” said Robert Branch, professor of learning, design and technology at the University of Georgia.
GLOBAL
Meeting mulls future of ‘prestigious’ scholarship plan
A consultative meeting at the recent Association of Commonwealth Universities conference in Ghana gave university representatives from across the Commonwealth an opportunity to air their views on the present operation and visibility of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, and offer ideas for its future development.
GHANA
New kinds of councils needed for evolving universities
About a decade ago, Clifford Tagoe was just weeks into his new position as vice-chancellor of the University of Ghana when he made a radical proposal. The university’s academic programming had deteriorated. Its governance was in disarray and there was institution-wide examination malpractice. Ghana’s oldest and most prestigious university was in a shambles.
EUROPE
UK eyes European TNE growth after Brexit
United Kingdom universities are starting to look seriously at the European mainland to expand transnational higher education, or TNE, following fears that the number of European Union students in Britain could dramatically decline after Brexit.
GLOBAL
World universities compete to win a place
If you Google “How many good university guides around the world?”, 673 million results pop up in 0.67 seconds. The world is flooded with publications and web pages offering guides to the top universities in America, Africa, Australia, Britain, Canada... Then there are the guides to leading universities in particular fields and the top institutions in certain regions – not to forget the growing number of publications that provide world university rankings.
DENMARK-NORWAY
Evaluating the EU’s Horizon 2020 and designing FP9
As input to the work programme of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 for the period 2018-20 and the next framework programme – FP9 – Norwegian and Danish authorities have published their recommendations.
UNITED STATES
Why the guns-on-campus debate matters for American HE
As of 1 August 2016, a new law allows concealed handguns in college and university buildings in Texas. It’s already had an impact on me as professor of religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Thanks to this law, I set foot in a federal court building for the first time.
UNITED KINGDOM
UK warned of risks in growing private higher education
The growth of private higher education provision, especially via for-profit providers, requires better regulation to reduce the “often considerable” risk to students, according to a six-country study. It warns that there is little evidence that opening up higher education to more private providers, as proposed in the United Kingdom, will improve the quality of provision.
DENMARK
Can the Danish miracle in world-class research endure?
The factors behind Denmark's position as a leading producer of high-class scientific research are discussed in a report and conference comparing data from Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, with the warning that future success cannot be guaranteed without recruitment of new talent, continuing international collaboration and maintaining an innovative research culture.
SOUTH KOREA
Students trap staff in face-off over government aid
Some 1,600 policemen gathered on the Ewha Womans University campus in Seoul in late July, some of them forcing past protesting students to escort four professors and a staff member out of the main hall where they had been trapped for almost 46 hours due to a student sit-in over plans to offer two-year degrees in new media, health, beauty and fashion in return for government financial aid.
EUROPE
Ministers respond to early stage research demands
Would any of our current systems have funded a young Albert Einstein or a Marie Sklodowska-Curie? The question was posed to the informal meeting of the Council of Ministers responsible for Competitiveness (Research) under the incoming Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union, last month by excellent young researchers calling for more diverse recruitment and freedom from stifling red tape.
UNITED STATES-VIETNAM
Fulbright University Vietnam – ‘Put this war behind us'
Some critics are demanding that former United States senator Bob Kerrey resign as chair of the board of Fulbright University Vietnam, which will open this year. Kerrey has apologised more than once for his involvement in civilian deaths during the Vietnam war and has offered to step down as chair, but also argues for perspective – “We've got to put this war behind us”.
INDIA
Universities abandon ‘colonial’ mortar boards and robes
The prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Bombay has become the latest in a raft of Indian universities to abandon Western mediaeval-style black graduation robes and mortar boards for their graduation ceremonies, switching to traditional Indian garments.
GLOBAL
Countering growing global divisions in higher education
In a tumultuous time of deepening divisions and inequalities, in higher education and in societies globally, it is imperative for universities to advance ‘responsible internationalisation’ and collaboration aimed at creating a better world rather than just promoting self-interest, says Leonard Engel, executive director of the European Association for International Education.
CANADA
Universities respond to indigenous student needs
Canadian universities have scaled up programmes and services specifically designed for indigenous students, raising academic programming to accommodate this group by 33% between 2013 and 2015. These efforts are “an important pathway to reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people”, says Universities Canada President Paul Davidson.
GLOBAL
Video to play growing role in higher education – Survey
Video use in higher education has increased dramatically over the years, says leading video technology provider Kaltura, which has published its third annual State of Video in Education report. An international survey with 1,500 respondents showed video usage reaching a tipping point during the 2015-16 academic year.
SWEDEN
New barometer reflects decline in research spending
When it comes to research and development in proportion to gross domestic product, Sweden is one of the highest spenders in the world. But new data show that spending in relation to GDP has fallen over the past decade, fuelled by a declining contribution by the private business sector, which makes up nearly 70% of total research and development investments.
SOUTH AFRICA
Mixed reactions to new university language policies
Following serial protests over the use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction, the universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch last month adopted new language policies. The moves have raised the ire of Afrikaans rights groups who accuse the institutions of turning their backs on Afrikaners and their language.
UNITED STATES
Donald Trump – The college years
By Donald J Trump’s own account, he saw higher education as a means to an end. Fordham University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania were essentially credential factories. To become the real estate mogul he envisioned, he needed these institutions – but in the same dispassionate way that a mechanic, say, needs a socket wrench.
GLOBAL
MOOCs guide for policy-makers in developing countries
UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning have produced a guide to raise MOOC – massive open online course – awareness in developing nations, and to advise on how policy-makers can build new routes to higher education and lifelong learning to benefit increasing numbers of people.
AFRICA
MOOCs have a massive potential market in Africa
Nigerian Ambassador to UNESCO Mariam Y Katagum, a member of the governing board of the Commonwealth of Learning, answers questions on the opportunities and challenges facing the provision of MOOCs – massive open online courses – in Africa.
AFRICA
Literature from the diaspora creates diverse narratives
One element of the ‘Africanisation’ debate involves assessing the value of contemporary literature written by Africans in the diaspora. Critics complain that Afrodiasporic literature is not in tune with the continent, and is sanitised and Westernised. But these works take students beyond their national and personal borders, which is crucial in times of global cultural flux.
LATIN AMERICA
Massification does not necessarily bring equity
There has been a burgeoning of private higher education institutions as Latin American countries have massified access to university. But students from poor families still do not have access to the same quality of higher education as those from wealthier families.