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NEWSLETTERUniversity policies all wrong in France, Canada, the UK and Southern Africa
The conference ‘circus’ is the topic of this week’s World Blog by Hans de Wit, who suggests strengthening regional international education associations and holding a global conference once every few years.
In Commentary, Jean-Marie Boisson charts the evolution of France’s higher education and says the fragmented system needs a complete overhaul, and Michael Marin argues that students protesting against fee hikes in Quebec are fighting a funding model that has failed in another Canadian province. In the latest article from Paying the Professoriate, Ben Jongbloed writes that European universities must balance good pay with benefits or they will struggle to attract and retain the best academics.
Piyushi Kotecha and Mohammod Irfan contend that long-term planning and aggressive policy interventions are essential if Southern Africa is to raise its tertiary participation rates, and in Student View Adeagbo Oluwafemi says high fees for non-regional African students are eroding the internationalisation aims of South African universities.
In Features, David Jobbins unpacks a new report that shows the devolved countries of the United Kingdom facing an uncertain funding future, and Yojana Sharma writes that recruitment for the new Yale-National University of Singapore liberal arts college is proceeding despite an ongoing controversy over academic freedom. Mamadou Mika Lom reports that while lecturers in Senegal have suspended three months of industrial action, they are still unable to perform their jobs properly.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
A roadmap for South East Asian nations to introduce sustainability education into universities by 2015 is being finalised, with an outline for teaching and research across the region presented to top officials during a meeting in Bangkok earlier this month.
MALAYSIAHoney Singh Virdee
Students in Malaysia will be allowed to join political parties and take part in other activities on campus after amendments to the controversial Universities and University Colleges Act were rushed through parliament last week.
A controversial new higher education law has been shelved until at least August after its tabling in Indonesia’s parliament, expected in March, was postponed several times in recent weeks following widespread opposition.
ECUADORMaría Elena Hurtado
An Ecuador quality assurance body has suspended and will likely close 14 universities and polytechnics in an attempt by the government to implement a new higher education policy and raise standards in institutions – particularly those derisively known as ‘garage schools’.
Kenya plans to raise state funding of universities by 36% from July, in a push to boost access to higher education and to implement several key initiatives meant to grow the sector.
Germany and South Africa’s research ministers launched a Year of Science 2012-13 in Cape Town last Monday, aimed at strengthening higher education and science collaboration between the two countries and kicking off 41 joint research projects.
The European Commission’s higher education head has defended the European Union’s planned U-Multirank university rankings system against its critics.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
A professor of political science at Copenhagen University has been charged with 'soft espionage' for allegedly giving information to Russian secret police on ”persons attached to the Centre for Military Studies” at the university. He denies espionage.
Another prominent political figure in Germany has been accused of plagiarism after a probe by web-based investigators. Margarita Mathiopolous, recently a policy consultant for Foreign Secretary Guido Westerwelle, now has to resign her doctoral title.
UNITED KINGDOMDavid Jobbins
Universities in the three devolved countries of the United Kingdom face an uncertain future in the wake of the government’s decision to switch the financial burden from the state to students in the form of higher fees, according to a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute.
Concern that world-class professors would be deterred by the ongoing freedoms controversy over Yale University’s tie-up with the National University of Singapore to create a liberal arts college in Singapore, have proved unfounded, according to the local university. It said recruitment was forging ahead.
SENEGALMamadou Mika Lom
Teachers at Senegal’s public universities have decided to resume classes while waiting for new President Macky Sall to settle into office and deal with urgent issues – but they are encountering problems doing their jobs because of disruption by school-leavers who have yet to sign up for courses.
GLOBALHans de Wit
There are numerous big international education conferences and their numbers of participants are growing. However, few are regional and there is not enough cooperation between them. International education associations need to internationalise more by strengthening regional representation and coming together every few year to debate global issues.
France's higher education system has evolved in a unique way and this has led to a plethora of small institutions that are poorly organised and inefficient. The current reforms to the system will merely concentrate more power in the hands of these institutions’ presidents. The system needs a complete overhaul, with universities in major locations encouraged or forced to merge.
Student protestors against tuition fee hikes in Quebec are fighting against a funding model that has failed in Ontario. There is little evidence in Canada to support arguments in favour of shifting the burden of paying for higher education from the state to individuals.
Without a committed and adequately compensated professoriate, European universities will find it hard to attract and retain the best staff. They need to balance a good pay package with benefits in kind, such as good facilities and opportunities for career progression.
AFRICAPiyushi Kotecha and Mohammod Irfan
Without long-term planning and aggressive policy interventions, the tertiary education participation rate in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is unlikely to keep up with demand from the region's 276-million strong population, let alone match the progress of regions such as East Asia and the Pacific or participation rates in the rest of the world.
SOUTH AFRICAAdeagbo Oluwafemi
High numbers of postgraduate and international students in a university are major requirements for successful evaluation and ranking. African universities are now preaching ‘internationalisation’ and collaboration with foreign institutions through various programmes, for both research purposes and international recognition.
An advanced set of molars helped a major group of prehistoric mammals survive the extinction event that ended the reign of dinosaurs 66 million years ago, according to a new study. The rodent-like multituberculate family of mammals possessed an extraordinary ability to grow and prosper while co-existing with dinosaurs.
The stage was set for the emergence of hominids – the ancestors of humans and great apes – in Africa’s Great Rift Valley 14 million years earlier than previously thought, according to an international team of geologists, ecologists and palaeontologists. The finding follows radiometric dating of volcanic ash beds in East Africa.
A major investment from public and private sector organisations is helping scientists develop new ways of tackling the biggest killer of honey bees worldwide – the bloodsucking varroa destructor mite. Researchers have worked out how to ‘knock down’ genes in the parasitic mite, causing it to die.
A team of international scientists has discovered that the unique Tasmanian Tiger or thylacine had limited genetic diversity prior to its extinction. The results provide insights into the genetic health of Thylacinus cynocephalus, the largest carnivorous marsupial still extant when Europeans first reached Australia.
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UNITED STATESThe Chronicle of Higher Education.
INDIAThe Times of India.
FINLANDTimes Higher Education.
UNITED KINGDOMThe Telegraph.
UNITED KINGDOMBBC News.
UNITED STATESThe New York Times.
SAUDI ARABIAAl Sharq. The newspaper added that female students dressed in boyish styles were to be barred too.
SAUDI ARABIAAl Arabiya. Dr Sarhan al-Otaibi, a professor of political science at King Saud University in Riyadh, told Asharq newspaper that the university would be the first to open its doors to female students of political science beginning next year.
AFGHANISTANDeutsche Welle. Some 150,000 high-school graduates took part in the most recent university entrance exams, but only 40,000 were accepted – a circumstance that generated a lot of anger and disappointment.
SOUTH AFRICABusiness Day.
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