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.
The American Psychological Association has faced withering scrutiny since the publication of a report that found that it had colluded with the military to establish loose ethics guidelines regarding interrogations of terrorism suspects during the George Bush administration. At the association’s annual meeting, Susan McDaniel, the incoming president, was on stage to answer hard questions, pledge to make changes, and say sorry on the group’s behalf.
If the conversation about university rankings is important, then the starting point would be to design a ranking system for Africa that encourages positive conduct – “precisely because we know that rankings are influential, for example in resource allocation”, said University of Johannesburg Vice-chancellor Ihron Rensburg at the Times Higher Education Africa Universities Summit held in the city from 30-31 July.
School education should be used as a recruiting ground for foreign students to secure more higher education enrolments, according to a Victoria government paper examining how to combat rising competition from universities in Asian countries.
Banishing academic dishonesty could help Mozambique nurture original thinkers who are economically efficient and socially suited to develop the country. But this will only be possible if administrators work with professors and students to build strong measures to combat widespread plagiarism, which is hampering the production of quality graduates.
The European Students’ Union has warned that the Bologna process, which seeks to harmonise and reform higher education across the continent, is in danger of becoming obsolete because of uneven implementation and poor follow-up of commitments by many European countries.
Research collaboration between Japanese universities and businesses is expanding, with increasing industrial funding for technology and the government pushing for scientific development to underpin local and national economic growth.
Through innovation and inclusive development, universities could be instrumental in fighting poverty and expanding opportunities for marginalised African communities, ongoing research has shown. An array of factors contribute to the success of initiatives, such as communication, enabling access to knowledge, steady funding and aligning activities with national priorities.
University students in troubled Burundi have claimed to University World News that they are being targeted for harassment, including death threats, by security forces and the police – especially the hundreds who took refuge near the American embassy after the government closed the University of Burundi.
The European Research Council, or ERC, has announced 190 recipients of its Advanced Grant awards, under the Horizon 2020 research programme. The grants are aimed at supporting groundbreaking ideas that may be risky to pursue but that reap exceptional gains. More than half went to researchers in just three countries.
Most of the 19 African centres of excellence being strengthened through a US$150 million World Bank initiative are up and running. Progress includes 3,510 students enrolled for specialised short courses, masters or PhDs – nearly 1,500 of them from other countries in the region. The project is now expanding from seven West African countries, to East and Southern Africa.
A new report from the Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitoring Project has revealed that in many places state authorities are using violence, imprisonment and lower levels of intimidation to silence students and academics with opposing points of view.
It’s hard for Charles K Ross to shake his first image of the University of Mississippi. He was watching a televised football game in 1994, and the Ole Miss stadium was a sea of Confederate-flag-waving fans. Ross was appalled. A flurry of changes since then have made the campus a more welcoming and inclusive place.
The German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, celebrated its 90th anniversary this month. Although it was once hijacked by the Nazis, it now plays a key role in the academic world, and contributes to peace-building by enabling students from war-torn countries to continue their higher education.