Unusually for a Muslim country, Qatar has opened its door to Western-style institutions. In broadcasting, this has meant Al Jazeera. In higher education, it has meant the creation of Education City, which houses Hamad bin Khalifa University, a new all-graduate institution.
International collaboration has been an important element in the European Commission’s research framework programmes, and work is ongoing to strengthen such cooperation significantly in the huge Horizon 2020 research initiative that kicks off in January 2014.
A high-level policy dialogue in Brussels showed that there is both the will and the potential for closer cooperation between European Union and South African higher education. The meeting ended with agreements in five areas – the rationale for internationalisation, internationalisation at home, quality and quality assurance, open educational resources, and tools and instruments for cooperation.
A visit to the abandoned and dilapidated Yangon University campus in Myanmar over a year ago was the unlikely setting for a discussion that led to a groundbreaking £20 million (US$32 million) donation to London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
A passionate week for Greek universities – a female university administrator attempts suicide; the rector of Athens University sues members of its management council for slander; students occupy colleges in support of the administration staff strike, now in its 12th week; and senate committees at three universities place their resignations at the discretion of rectors.
Among ambitious academics, the urge to see one's name in print is strong indeed. ‘Publish or perish’ is the governing dictum. Each piece of diligent research – written, submitted, fact-checked, reviewed, reviewed again and published in a scholarly journal – helps ensure the next grant, the continuation of tenure, the juicy job offer.
Singapore is offering big money and five years of guaranteed research funding to woo back top Singaporean scientists and engineers from overseas and help the city state become a global research and development powerhouse.
Global cities have emerged as strategic sites for the promotion of knowledge-based communities, advanced capital and coordinated global economic progress. Universities are fundamental actors that not only contribute to the formation and development of the global city, but also offer solutions to their problems. Universities are the key physical manifestation of the knowledge production that is so central to our global urban lives.
For the fifth time, at the invitation of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 160 experts from almost 40 countries met in Shanghai earlier this month to talk about the ‘world-class university’ – a term that hardly existed 10 years ago but is today one of the most popular topics in higher education debates around the globe.
A recent conference in Spain drew an international audience to debate the global growth of English as a language of instruction. A diverse range of universities, from Poland and Portugal to Italy and Mexico, were represented as well as experts from the British Council, the European Commission and the field of linguistics.
As skyscrapers rise from the sand and Qatar prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, higher education has become a hot topic in this Gulf state with the highest GDP per capita in the world. The ruling Thani family is pouring money into making Qatar University a world-class institution that will attract researchers globally.
The British government has woken up to what some universities are calling a ‘postgraduate crisis’ with a pledge of £75 million (US$120 million) to fund a string of initiatives aimed at reversing falling demand for masters courses among UK students.
China is the number one country worldwide in terms of growth potential for massive open online courses – MOOCs. This is something the largest North American MOOC platforms know well, and the past year has seen a flurry of activity to capture this market.
Buried in all the hype about MOOCs is a somewhat surprising admission by some of the world's leading universities – that their teaching methods may not be very good.
Students and academics in the Italian town of Naples have long seen their city used as a textbook case of what not to do for the environment. Now they have joined the fight against environmental pollution caused by illegal waste disposal and garbage-strewn streets.
Universities from a number of countries have set up branch campuses in China. But now China wants new types of university partnerships that tie in closely with its aspiration to drive up research and innovation.
“Nalanda has been a centre of learning that has not only helped in the spread of Buddhism, but also Indian culture across Asia and beyond,” explained Ravindra Panth, director of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, a university in Nalanda in northern India.
For the European Union, cooperation with Brazil is not quite the same as cooperation with developing countries has been in past decades. Brazil is a rapidly developing economy with seven million higher education students, and a partner with a huge bag of earmarked funds. Because of this, it can set the tune to a much greater degree than less developed countries.
Millions of learners in China and internationally can now access courses offered by China’s leading universities. The country’s top institutions launched their first massive open online courses – MOOCs – on the US-based edX and Coursera platforms recently.
A year ago, Tony Law was studying computer science at university – without internet service and while violence raged across Syria. Now Law and most other students have fled the country’s once-respected universities. Those who stayed are either fighting or doing what they can to survive.
A study by the head of a ministerial oversight committee on transformation in South African higher education, which found that it could take 43 years to achieve racial balance among staff in universities and proposes new admissions policies and funding penalties against untransformed institutions, has sparked controversy.
Despite the need to deal with a rising budget deficit, Vietnam this year decided to raise the amount available for student loans by almost 40%, after funds available from government fell short of demand for loans. The increase represents a considerable effort to maintain support for disadvantaged students.
Italian officials are finalising a major funding and standards strategy for universities, which they hope will be enacted despite endemic political instability. The Ministry of Education, University and Research’s plan will span three years, among other things setting academic standards for public and private universities and seeking to internationalise higher education.
Massive open online courses, SPOCs – self-paced open courses that may become MOOCs – and university hubs generated most interest at the fourth annual international conference on “Reinventing Higher Education”, which took place in Spain from 7-8 October.
It is entirely apt that Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, should be the recipient of a UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention – especially since it was there that the man who coined the term ‘genocide’, Raphael Lemkin, taught law in the 1950s.