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NEWSLETTERRhetoric versus reality, and growing corruption, in HE internationalisation
Apologies for the delay in publishing University World News: we experienced technical problems.
In World Blog, Hans de Wit ponders whether the future will herald a greater divide between research and other institutions regarding internationalisation. In Commentary, Philip G Altbach contends that to tackle the problem of corruption in international higher education, the sector first needs to be aware of the many forms it takes, and Lauritz B Holm-Nielsen writes that Europe is losing out to competitors when turning research into innovation, and needs to cut red tape and think creatively.
Nico Cloete and John Butler-Adam warn that policies targeting more than three million young South Africans not in employment, education or training need to be more reflective and realistic, and Chika Sehoole writes that solutions are needed to the country’s twin higher education problems of race and access.
We publish the fourth in a series of articles on African university leaders, interviewing Dr Charles Olweny, a globe-trotting academic oncologist who returned home to become vice-chancellor of Uganda Martyrs University, a private Catholic institution.
In Features, Yojana Sharma reports on how visa changes in the UK have left many international students in the lurch, and Lee Adendoorf writes that merit-based public funding could lead to the emergence of a few highly competitive research universities in Italy.
Maina Maruru describes how international research into the impacts of the internet on academia in various countries spawned a film on violence and humanity in Kenya, and in Student View Morrine Omolo charts her journey from a farm in Kenya to a university in America, an experience she says has raised more questions than answers.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
The ethics commission at Bucharest University has ruled that Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta plagiarised much of his doctoral thesis, an allegation that he has again denied. Academics involved in this and a similar separate ruling by another body three weeks ago have faced heavy attacks on their integrity – and the body that made the earlier ruling has been closed down.
UNITED STATESAlison Moodie
A slew of new online course offerings from some of America’s most prestigious universities could change the higher education landscape. Elite institutions like Harvard and Stanford have rolled out multimillion-dollar initiatives that allow anyone in the world to access their courses, free of charge.
A decision by the Council for Higher Education-Judea and Samaria to upgrade the Ariel University Centre to the status of a fully fledged university – the first in the occupied West Bank – has prompted widespread educational and political criticism.
Yale University’s acceptance of Singaporean government restrictions on basic rights at the new Yale-National University of Singapore joint campus shows a disturbing disregard for free speech, association and assembly, Human Rights Watch said last week.
Seven human rights organisations have condemned Tuesday’s award by UNESCO of a controversial science prize financed by Equatorial Guinea. The award ceremony went ahead despite allegations of corruption against the country’s leaders including President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who sponsored the prize.
Former Malawian higher education minister and 2014 presidential elections candidate, Peter Mutharika, has been implicated in the death of student activist Robert Chasowa.
Kenya is set to dissolve and reconstitute management teams at all of its public universities, in an effort to end a cycle of tribalism that is said to be behind key appointments.
Phon from Thailand has just completed the first part of a degree in architecture at a university in London, her fees paid by a Thai government scholarship. But with changes to the UK’s student visa regime, in particular an end to the right to stay on for up to two years after graduation to seek employment, her future hangs in the balance.
Recently introduced merit-based public funding of higher education could lead to the emergence of a handful of highly competitive research universities in Italy, according to the rector of one of the top technical universities.
Back in 2000, academics from Ghana, India, Kenya and America embarked on research into the impacts of the internet on researchers in different parts of the world. Then post-election ethnic violence rocked Kenya in 2007-08 and the focus of the research shifted. It led to a documentary film, launched last month, on violence and humanity.
African university leaders
Dr Charles Olweny, a globe-trotting oncologist who trained and worked on four continents – including as a professor of medicine in Winnipeg – decided seven years ago to leave Canada and return home to lead Uganda Martyrs University, a private Catholic institution. His leadership strategy is guided by five core principles, he told University World News in the latest of a series on African university leaders.
GLOBALHans de Wit
There appears to be a significant mismatch between universities' optimistic talk about internationalisation and reality on the ground. Many are not embedding change in the curriculum, for instance. Will the future see research universities pulling away from others in terms of innovation and progress?
GLOBALPhilip G Altbach
Corrupt practices in international higher education have been in the news. The first step in combatting corruption is to recognise the extent of the problem, despite there being vested interests not to confront it because of growing commerc ialisation. If nothing is done, the sector worldwide will suffer and progress in internationalisation will be threatened.
EUROPELauritz B Holm-Nielsen
Even though Europe has the world’s most comprehensive research system, it is losing ground to competing regions when it comes to turning knowledge into innovation. The solution is for Europe to release its controlling grip on research, scale down in-the-box strategic thinking, promote unconventional cooperation and remove red tape.
SOUTH AFRICANico Cloete and John Butler-Adam
A high-impact 2009 study into post-school youth in South Africa introduced the concept of ‘not in education, employment or training’, or NEET, which became firmly entrenched in the education jargon. It found that a shocking 2.8 million people aged between 18 and 24 years were ‘NEETs’.
SOUTH AFRICAChika Sehoole
Although admissions figures for black students and numbers of black staff have improved in the post-apartheid era, many black people still feel excluded within the university system and there are problems with a lack of available places to meet the demand for higher education.
UNITED STATESMorrine Omolo
In retrospect, anything the human mind can conceive, it can achieve. It is no wonder that humans, endowed with this grandiose ability not evident in any other creatures, have the ability to conquer even the harshest environments and make a home for themselves. Yet I remain sceptical about our future in the universe.
Even with substantial cuts to the emissions of greenhouse gases, sea levels will continue to rise for centuries to come, researchers at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research have found. But with aggressive mitigation, sea-level rise could be slowed and this would buy time for adaptation measures to be adopted.
The emotions of adolescent males, at least among sheep, are influenced by the changing patterns of reproductive hormones that occur as individuals become more s exually mature, according to researchers. The findings are significant because various medical conditions are treated using drugs that temporarily ‘turn off’ the reproductive system.
They don’t broadcast top pop songs but black holes do emit radio waves as they accumulate matter. That is well known, but now the first radio emissions have been detected from an intermediate mass black hole by an international team of astronomers.
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When the UK government announced on 16 July that it would require much of the country’s taxpayer-funded research to be open access from April 2013, it was not clear whether the move would set a trend or prove to be an isolated gamble – one that would leave the UK essentially giving away its research for free while still paying to read everyone else’s, writes Richard van Noorden for Nature.
Efforts by the United Kingdom to curb increases to the overall European Union budget are threatening to cut the €80 billion (US$98 billion) in EU research funding proposed for 2014-20, Times Higher Education has learned, writes Elizabeth Gibney.
The police investigation into the so-called ‘Climate Gate’ affair is over. Norfolk Constabulary says there is no realistic prospect of finding the culprit within the statutory time limit of three years since the 2009 offence, writes Richard Black for the BBC.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews last week announced plans to dissolve one of Wales’ universities if it fails to engage in merger talks, writes Gareth Evans for Western Mail.
Chhattisgarh state officials have announced a plan to build a teaching complex, to be called Education City, in a forest that is a Maoist rebel stronghold where 75 paramilitary troops were killed in an ambush two years ago, reports the Indo-Asian News Service.
For generations, most college-bound Americans paid reasonable fees to attend publicly financed state universities. But the bedrock of that system is fracturing as cash-strapped states slash funding to these institutions just as attendance has soared, writes Jilian Mincer for Reuters.
A decline in donations to Quebec universities could seriously affect provincial funding to individual institutions if the current Liberal budget is implemented in the next academic year, writes Laura Beeston for The Montreal Gazette.
A group of leading universities has demanded that Pakistan’s government increase funding for the social sciences, writes Muhammad Sadaqat for The Express Tribune. An inter-universities consortium of nine public and private universities made the joint declaration during a meeting held at COMSATS University Abbottabad.
Li Yuan is one of 12 volunteers at the Confucius Institute at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, writes Xu Lin for China Daily. “My life in the institute is like a cup of tea – bitter at first but with a soothing aftertaste,” says Li, armed with an English postgraduate certificate from Anhui University.
There is no doubt that the University of the Witwatersrand has pockets of excellence, and many talented academics who are players on the global stage. However, some staff say this excellence is being dragged down by inefficient bureaucracy, writes Sarah Wild for Business Day. Staff and students protested at the university on Thursday.
Incentives in the form of a N3 billion (US$18.5 million) grant may soon come the way of tertiary institutions with bias towards ‘demand-driven’ research, the Tertiary Education Trust indicated last week, write Karls Tsokar and Mohammed Abubakar for The Guardian Nigeria.
Scotland’s Education Minister Mike Russell has said he wants rapidly to increase the proportion of pupils from deprived areas entering higher education, using “carrots and sticks”, but did not provide details, writes Simon Johnson for The Telegraph.
More than one in seven schools and colleges are failing to send any pupils to the UK's top universities, new figures show, writes Alison Kershaw for The Independent. Almost two-thirds do not send any teenagers to Oxford or Cambridge, according to government data.
Under a needs-based scholarship programme, the French government will support 90 promising students from six Pakistani universities in the fields of social science, business and architecture, reports The News.
The president of the Botswana National Front, Duma Boko, attacked University of Botswana academics at the party’s conference last weekend, saying professors were failing the country and its people despite the massive investment that has been pumped into their PhDs, writes Sakarea Makgapha for The Botswana Gazette.
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