|13 May 2012||Issue 0221||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NEWSLETTERUniversities not a branch of Big Industry, says Cambridge vice-chancellor
In World Blog, Robin Middlehurst asks whether universities that seek ‘global glory’ should spell out the benefits their international activities bring to those who fund them. In Commentary, Cambridge Vice-chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz argues that universities are not a branch of Big Industry, have a duty to serve society and should be supported in blue-skies work as it is impossible to sort applied from yet-to-be-applied research.
Andy Miah writes that while social media platforms offer new ways to engage with students, the core aims and expectations of teaching remain the same, and Cliff Ollson outlines a sports-for-development partnership between institutions in Zambia and Britain that has provided a launchpad for internationalisation.
In the third in a series of interviews with African university leaders, Vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen talks about transforming the University of the Free State, which four years ago was mired in a race controversy that shocked South Africa and the world.
And in special reports Yojana Sharma and Hana Kamaruddin cover the inaugural conference in Malaysia of AsiaEngage, a new network aimed at supporting development in the Association of South East Asian Nations region by strengthening the civic role of universities, and Sharon Dell and Wanda Hennig wrap up reporting on the second QS-MAPLE conference held in Durban.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
A novel system of ranking 48 countries and territories said to be the ‘best’ at providing higher education was published on Friday by Universitas 21, the 15-year-old global network of 23 research-intensive universities. The new ranking makes a welcome change from the growing number of organisations that rank individual universities.
French higher education is preparing for a strategic change from ‘competitiveness’ to ‘cooperation’ following a presidential election in which soc-ialist François Hollande defeated right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.
Universities in Australia have emerged relatively unscathed from what the federal government had declared before Tuesday evening would be the nation’s “toughest budget in 25 years”.
The Politecnico di Milano, one of Italy’s leading technical universities, has announced that from the beginning of the 2014 academic year, all MSc and PhD courses will be taught exclusively in English. But some professors oppose the switch to English from Italian, and 285 have signed a petition to the rector.
The group that speaks for Canadian universities signed a copyright agreement last month that critics say is one of the most expensive copyright policies in Canadian history.
The “Regional Conference on Higher Education-Industry-Community Engagement in Asia. Forging Meaningful Partnerships”, was held in Malaysia from 7-9 May. It was the inaugural event of AsiaEngage, a new 68-member network of universities aimed at strengthening civic engagement in the South East Asian region. University World News was there.
AsiaEngage, a new regional umbrella organisation to promote social and community engagement by universities in the Association of South East Asian Nations area, was officially launched at a conference in Malaysia last week. It will work in collaboration with non-governmental organisations, philanthropic foundations and industry.
Universities that want to engage in regional development, community outreach or even philanthropic support say they first have to overcome the ‘tyranny’ of international university rankings, which mainly value research output and give little credit for helping to transform society, including reducing poverty and inequity.
University partnerships with industry can be scaled up across national boundaries in a wider region to benefit communities, a conference on academic links with business and populations through Asia heard on Monday.
In an interlinked world, it is as important to create a ‘knowledge society’ – where the benefits of knowledge are shared for the good of society – as it is to create a knowledge economy, Rajesh Tandon, an international expert on participatory research and development, told a regional conference in Malaysia on university-community-industry engagement.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be a deputy vice-chancellor,” said Saran Kaur Gill, who fulfils just that elevated role at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, where she runs industry and community partnerships. She is also executive director of the regional university network AsiaEngage, which was launched last week.
Second QS-MAPLE conference
The second QS-MAPLE – Middle East and Africa Professional Leaders in Education – conference was held in South Africa from 3-4 May. The theme was “Meeting the Global Challenges in Higher Education". University World News reported on the conference last weekend, and wraps up the coverage here.
Higher education is at a crossroads. In many countries there has been a reduction in public funding for universities. ‘Baby boomers’ are retiring at a disproportional rate compared to the number of new PhDs entering the university system. And global competition for the best and brightest will invariably escalate.
The universities of the Middle East and Africa have an opportunity to use the new and changing global higher education landscape to their advantage, according to speakers at the second QS-MAPLE conference held in Durban, South Africa, this month.
New and ‘disruptive’ models of education are needed if universities around the world are to shed their traditionally slow and imitative approach to change and to respond adequately to the new realities of global higher education.
In 1994 Botswana joined the global education reform movement, choosing to use part of its diamond revenue to transform an elitist tertiary system accessible to few into a broad-based, equitable system where the focus is on relevance both in terms of the national development agenda and international competitiveness.
African university leaders
SOUTH AFRICAKaren MacGregor
Four years ago a racist video filmed by white male students at the University of the Free State shocked the world and rocked the institution. The first black vice-chancellor of this once-conservative Afrikaner bastion in South Africa’s heartland, Professor Jonathan Jansen, has brought about remarkable transformation since taking office in 2009. He spoke to University World News for the third in a series of articles on African university leaders.
The universities of Monash and Warwick have announced a new type of global partnership. But is it just about promoting their universities and a small cadre of students? Should universities that seek global glory be asked to spell out what benefits their institutions can bring to those that fund them through public and private sources?
GLOBALSir Leszek Borysiewicz
Universities are not about being a research and development branch of Big Industry. Research is their primary objective and it is impossible to sort applied from yet-to-be-applied research. Universities have a public duty to serve society, not just to cater to its economic needs, and also to ask fundamental questions about the nature of our world.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook offer new ways to engage with students and the public, but the core aims of teaching and students' expectations of their teachers remain the same.
A sport-for-development partnership between institutions in Zambia and the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom has acted as a catalyst for new ways of bringing students and academics together, and has provided a launchpad for internationalisation.
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