Yojana Sharma talks to International Association of Universities President Dzulkifli Abdul Razak about higher education institutions' role in helping refugees and migrants and contributing to sustainable development, and about his concept of higher education for a single planet.
The marginalisation of social sciences and humanities in African universities has radically stifled scholarship, according to CODESRIA – the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa. At a workshop in Nairobi, scholars from the diaspora and from Sub-Saharan Africa heard that this had narrowed the region’s view on development.
There was no role for higher education in the Millennium Development Goals, the eight ambitious United Nations’ targets for solving some of the world’s most pressing problems due to expire at the end of 2015. But universities will be expected to be bigger players this time around, according to academics gathered at a recent conference in Barcelona.
Recent weeks have seen some university students in Libya sit examinations. It is a sign that things may be improving after the worst 18 months in the history of higher education. The civil war has seen universities bombed, with education halted at some institutions and operations impeded at others.
A new study predicts growth in English-language foundation programmes for international students, particularly in continental Europe, which has seen the number of English-medium degrees triple in the last seven years, and warns of slowdowns in the number of students from China going to the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Africa’s quest for scientific independence is likely to be a long journey on a bumpy road full of potholes, leading to who knows where, taking into account that the continent has no culture of philanthropy and government expenditure on research and development is extremely low. That was one of the key messages from scientists attending the launch forum of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, held in Kenya’s capital Nairobi last month.
The drop in the success rate of universities bidding for Horizon 2020 funding is being driven by increased demand from universities suffering from austerity programmes, according to the European University Association.
A coalition of 80 selective public and private colleges has announced a radical overhaul of the admissions process. Does it make a revolutionary shift in how students prepare for college or is it just a noble-sounding branding campaign?
With graduate joblessness rising and state funding dwindling, universities of technology are confronted by dual challenges – delivering entrepreneurship education and work-integrated learning to students, and themselves becoming more entrepreneurial – says Professor Irene Moutlana, vice-chancellor of Vaal University of Technology and deputy chair of the South African Technology Network.
Japanese university students usually spend summer vacation in exotic foreign destinations or simply earning extra income through part-time jobs. Not so for Mana Shibata, now playing a key role in the growing student-led demonstrations against a controversial set of national security bills being pushed through the Diet or parliament by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
More than seven million students about to enter China’s universities are undergoing several weeks of intense annual military training that is compulsory for all students, male and female. But the purpose of military training for students is changing, as students and others consider whether the gruelling routines are really necessary.
The United States is by far the most popular destination country for potential students from Sub-Saharan Africa, with high quality education being the main drawcard, according to a recent study. Interestingly, America’s African-born population has higher levels of education attainment than the overall foreign population.
Past human migrations have always been a subject of great interest because they tell us a story of where we come from, and who we are. What were the past movements that gave rise to the global human landscape that we observe today?
Revelations last week by a global team of academics and scientists that a previously unknown but ancient relative of humankind had been discovered in a South African cave have generated media coverage around the world. That is not just because a new species has been added to the Homo family of which humans are the sole living members, but because of the record number of fossilised bones – 1,550 – found in the cave.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron knew it would take drastic action to ensure that universities produced students who studied for – rather than paid for – their grades.
Recommendations for academic and research collaboration among the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are to be taken forward after a heads of state meeting in Russia in July adopted a BRICS Academic Forum vision paper. The proposals include easy visas for researchers and a fund similar to Europe’s Horizon 2020 to finance joint research.
Three months after Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency, or FIA, raided Karachi-based IT company Axact in the wake of a New York Times report that the company ran a global business selling fake degrees, concerns are being voiced over the delay in bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice, despite the FIA claim that evidence uncovered during its raids in Axact offices in Karachi and Islamabad, was “irrefutable and enough to incriminate”.
Although the traditional lecture hall is unlikely to ever disappear completely, it is increasingly being supplemented – and in some cases replaced – by technology. And while a combination of both online and onsite learning as a teaching means is proving successful, more work is needed for this combination to truly internationalise the global learning experience.
Obstacles to exchanges between universities in the European Union and their southern and eastern neighbours “should be eliminated” by simplifying, harmonising and liberalising visa procedures and encouraging short-term mobility, says the European University Association in its response to public consultation on ‘Towards a New European Neighbourhood Policy’.
Florida State University’s Unconquered Scholars initiative serves students who have experienced homelessness or foster care, been wards of the court or raised by relatives other than their parents. Those students’ backgrounds put them at greater risk of dropping out, so the programme provides academic, social and emotional support to keep them on track.
Racial problems that have dogged South Africa’s prestigious Stellenbosch University have flared after the publication of a documentary about the discriminatory experiences of black students. The parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education and training is calling the university’s leaders to an urgent meeting, to table institutional transformation plans. Meanwhile, violence has marred the run-up to student elections on other campuses.
While approaches and progress in internationalisation differ between countries in Europe, it’s apparent there’s been dramatic growth in this area. A landmark study on the internationalisation of higher education for the European Parliament provides penetrating insight into trends, strategies and challenges.
A recent major study on internationalisation of higher education for the European Parliament focused on 10 European countries, but also looked at trends and approaches to internationalisation in seven countries outside Europe.
Policies on the accessibility of skills and knowledge, the location of industry and networks of local companies could boost the impact of higher education on economic development, says a report published last month in the International Journal of Educational Development.
African higher education systems have become casualties of war, caught in the crossfire of Islamic fundamentalism that cuts across the spectrum of religious and political thought, according to Professor Sultan Barakat, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center.