In Features, Jan Petter Myklebust describes a new report that proposes ways to reverse the decline in cutting-edge research production in Sweden. Shuriah Niazi reports on a move by students to take India’s ‘first foreign branch campus’ to the Supreme Court over lack of recognition of their degrees, and Raghavendra Verma looks at efforts by the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh to overcome a rocky start.
We interview Hope Sadza, founder and vice-chancellor of the Zimbabwe-based private Women’s University in Africa, for the latest in our series “Thoughts and experiences of African university leaders”. Sheldon G Weeks explains why Botswana’s strong higher education system’s growth trajectory has stalled, and Jonathan Dyson reveals that the Ethiopian government’s quality assurance agency is to implement new measures designed to raise higher education standards.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
UNITED KINGDOMDavid Jobbins
Latest British government statistics show a 1% increase in applications for student visas for university study, but huge falls in applications for the further education and language school sectors – setting the scene for a shrinking UK global market share of international students.
Spanish rectors have spoken out with one voice against plans to cut funding for higher education and research. All but one of the heads of 50 public universities took the unusual step of staging simultaneous readings around the country of a joint declaration of protest at midday on 10 December.
With Italy tottering on the brink of a political crisis that could topple the technocrat government of Mario Monti before Christmas, proposed higher education reforms will probably be stalled at least until a new government is formed following Spring elections – and perhaps for longer.
Eight Tibetan medical school students have been sentenced to five years in prison after a major protest involving more than 1,000 people was held in Chabcha in the Tsolho region of Qinghai province. Students demanded freedom of language and equality of ‘nationalities’ – a reference to China’s minority peoples, including Tibetans.
SRI LANKADinesh De Alwis
Two student unions in Sri Lanka published a report last Monday claiming an increase in rights violations against university students. The report claimed that students have suffered more than 1,000 human rights abuses since 2009.
HUNGARYJan Petter Myklebust
Hundreds of students blocked a bridge over the Danube in Budapest last Monday and several thousand marched to parliament on Wednesday to protest against cutbacks in scholarships and the introduction of tuition fees for 80% of Hungarian students from 2013.
It was a tight call but the money came through in the end, and students signed up for the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange programme will get funding after all next year.
SOUTH AFRICACornia Pretorius
South African universities could tackle Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande in the Constitutional Court next year following radical changes to the Higher Education Act that were steamrolled through parliament.
HONG KONGYojana Sharma
A scheme to allow Hong Kong students to attend universities in mainland China without taking part in the competitive national entrance examination, the gaokao
, is to be extended to more Chinese institutions, despite criticisms that their degrees are not recognised for many jobs in Hong Kong’s public sector.
Arab Spring-style protest has been sparked in Sudan by the mysterious deaths of four students from the conflict-plagued Darfur region, in a police crackdown on a peaceful student sit-in supporting free education at Gezira University south of the capital Khartoum on 3 December.
New draft regulations for postgraduate degree programmes – including introducing a two-track system of masters degrees to tackle Vietnam’s need for higher qualified university lecturers – have been released by the Ministry of Education and Training.
Recent graduates can look forward to an improved job market in 2013 despite sustained economic uncertainty, according to a just-released employer survey published by the Graduate Management Admission Council.
Iraq has launched its first-ever national education strategy, for the period 2012-22, aimed at helping to improve education quality for the country's 33 million citizens, especially the most deprived youth.
More than 100 university presidents from across the Middle East and North Africa have pledged to launch a higher education network to support governance reform, benchmarking and knowledge sharing.
A comment posted on Facebook about the ‘immorality’ of exorbitant fees levied by church-run universities in N
igeria has generated controversy within and outside their walls. Mission-based universities charge fees ranging from US$24,000 to US$42,000 per academic session.
In what has been described as one of the worst cyber attacks on a government organisation in Australia’s history, a hacker has accessed and distributed the personal details of hundreds of senior officers in the army, navy and air force, as well as military personnel from other nations enrolled at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
Ruchir Wakde (20) dreamed of attending a foreign university. Then in 2009 he did the next best thing – he started an undergraduate degree at Leeds Met India – Bhopal in central India, often described as the country’s first foreign branch campus.
SWEDENJan Petter Myklebust
In 2010 the Swedish Research Council published a report showing that the country’s production of cutting-edge research had fallen below that of Denmark, The Netherlands and Switzerland. This month a new report has called for funding changes, stronger academic leadership, and clear career paths and good conditions for young researchers.
BOTSWANASheldon G Weeks
For the past decade Botswana has been on a trajectory to establish a vibrant tertiary education sector, investing knowledge, human resources and local and overseas funding to build a strong system. But recent events have created tensions, imposed constraints and curtailed development.
The Ethiopian government’s Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency is to implement new measures designed to raise standards in universities. The initiative comes amid major concerns about the state of the country’s fast-growing tertiary education sector.
The Asian University for Women in Bangladesh has been through a rocky period in its short history. But its new vice-chancellor hopes to put the university on track to do what it set out to achieve – enable more women from all backgrounds, including the poorest, to obtain a high quality university education.
African university leaders series
Founding and leading a successful private women’s university within a patriarchal society in a failed state is difficult, to say the least. But Hope Sadza’s ambition is bigger than that – to open campuses of the Zimbabwe-based Women’s University in Africa in countries across the continent.
Georges Haddad, director of Education Research and Prospective in UNESCO's Education Sector, writes in response to the article by Erin Millar, published in University World News
on 18 November 2012 and titled "UNESCO sends mixed messages about higher education".
Branch campuses are traditionally marketed as producing business leaders, but they should not take their eye off a core part of Western universities' missions: research. Only by maintaining a focus on research will they be able to compete in an overcrowded market.
CHINAJohn Aubrey Douglass
China harbours huge ambitions for its universities and has achieved a truly remarkable expansion and elevation of higher education since reforms were announced in 1998. But the country’s universities cannot become world leaders unless they are set free from state control.
A year on, what has been the impact of the Chilean student movement? The movement took on broad neoliberal reforms and was in part weakened by the breadth of its ambitions. But what it did do was help students rediscover a sense of the importance of education.
Libyan higher education and research has suffered from decades of censorship, negligence and corruption and is poorly funded and underdeveloped. A drive for creativity, innovation and commerc ialisation is urgently needed.
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A partnership of UK universities is launching an online project, challenging US universities that have dominated this emerging market. They aim to give the public access to higher education courses via computers, tablets or smartphones, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC
While other industries talk about globalising, higher education, particularly in the United States, has long been heavily international, drawing students and faculty members from around the world, writes Karin Fischer for The Chronicle of Higher Education
Ireland is attracting a growing number of international students – and universities are getting the major share, writes Katherine Donnelly for the Irish Independent
. Around 9,500 full-time international students at universities last year contributed about €105 million (US$170 million) in fees, helping to plug the gap left by government funding cuts.
Durham University, which is on a mission to recruit 40 big-hitting academics, is not the only university out poaching big names, writes Anna Fazackerley for the Guardian
. Leeds is investing £23 million (US$37 million) in up to 50 new professorial posts; Manchester has hired 120 stars; Surrey has a target of 75; and East Anglia brought in 100 new academics this year and 100 the year before.
The true cost of a university degree will rocket to up to £100,000 (US$161,000), writes Paul Gallagher for The Independent
. Thousands of current students will end up paying that amount in the course of their careers because of interest charges and other fees – several times the £27,000 or £36,000 in fees that most three- and four-year courses charge.
Five years after controversial reform granted France’s public universities greater autonomy over budget, staff, curriculum and funding, professors seem to be anything but happy, writes Guillaume Guguen for France24
The proportion of employed graduates has risen since Australian universities embarked on their latest phase of expansion. But the proportion of graduates in professional and managerial positions has declined, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal, writes John Ross for The Australian
Nearly a million university students have taken sabbaticals or a year off from their studies, according to figures released by the Korean Educational Development Institute, reports The Chosun Ilbo
. KEDI said 932,703 students had taken an extended leave of absence as of 1 April. This represented one in three of the 2.98 million university students nationwide.
The Punjab government has amended the Punjab Universities Act to bring vice-chancellors under scrutiny after identifying misuse of powers under the guise of emergency powers, writes Mansoor Malik for Dawn.com
South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training has warned students to be wary of registered private colleges that offer qualifications that do not have an official stamp of approval, writes Leanne Jansen for Independent Online
. There is concern about institutions that secure registration for some programmes, and then ‘hide behind’ this status to offer unregistered courses.
Foreign universities offering degrees in Kenya without accreditation will be fined at least KSh10 million (US$116,000) and their promoters sent to jail for three years under a new law meant to safeguard education standards, writes Edwin Mutai for Business Daily
The Joint Admissions Board has been disbanded under a new law awaiting presidential assent, to be replaced by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service. While the board was charged with the admission of government-sponsored students to seven public universities and their constituent colleges, the new body will also admit students to private institutions, writes Benjamin Muindi for The Nation
Students at a university in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou were given a scare last week, after dozens of snakes invaded the campus, writes Katie Hunt for CNN
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