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NEWSLETTERGoing Global – Hubs, soft power, and HE around the world and in conflicts
We report on the Going Global 2013 conference on international education held in Dubai last week. Katherine Forestier and Yojana Sharma cover sessions ranging from higher education hubs and the use of universities for ‘soft power’ to academic capitalism versus populism in Latin America.
Going Global speaker Goolam Mohamedbhai calls for universities in Africa to help integrate indigenous knowledge into the development process, while Akeel A Yasseen contends that Iraq can rebuild its shattered post-school system with international support.
In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha finds that higher education institutions can grow their international undergraduate student numbers by leveraging technology, partnerships and research.
In Commentary, Isaie Dougnon wonders where the academic voice in Mali has been during the past year of conflict, and Brenda Gourley argues that it is high time that higher education exercised leadership on the global problem of the abuse of girls and women.
In Features, Patrick McDonagh describes a two-day higher education summit in Canada’s Quebec province that left university leaders frustrated and students protesting on the streets – again – over tuition fees.
Patrick Boehler looks at the growing flood of Chinese teenagers to Hong Kong to sit the Scholastic Assessment Test in the hope of gaining a place in an American college, and Jan Petter Myklebust charts the role higher education issues played in the downfall of Bulgaria’s government.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
GOING GLOBAL 2013
The British Council’s Going Global 2013 conference on “Internationalising Higher Education” was held in the Dubai World Trade Centre from 4-6 March and attended by 1,300 higher education policy-makers and practitioners from around the world. University World News was there.
GLOBALKatherine Forestier and Yojana Sharma
Significant planning and investment have been devoted to developing higher education hubs around the world, but the reasons that drive host countries to set up areas that can attract foreign branch campuses can be diverse.
Higher education is often seen as playing a ‘soft power’ role in international relations. But it is not easy for governments to co-opt universities, and soft power can be both positive and negative, delegates attending the Going Global 2013 conference heard last week.
Students from the UK and US have different reasons for overseas study. British students say a major motivation is to work abroad and prepare for a career with international companies, while most US students view a period abroad as an opportunity to travel and explore other cultures, with less emphasis on the academic experience or job prospects afterwards.
LATIN AMERICAKatherine Forestier
Latin America is beginning to fall into two distinct higher education camps, with some countries pursuing ‘academic capitalism’ – including collaborations with rich countries of the North rather than within the region – and other countries preferring a more populist route.
Indigenous knowledge can play a positive role in Africa’s development, but has been sidelined. Universities could help integrate local knowledge into the development process, but have a poor record on community engagement. However, China and India have a long tradition of indigenous knowledge systems and may provide support.
Countries in developing regions must step up higher education to a level where their people are creators rather than merely consumers of knowledge, the Going Global 2013 conference on international higher education heard last week.
Policy-makers and academic leaders from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo used the Going Global 2013 platform to call for more international collaboration and support to help rebuild higher education systems ravaged by conflict.
IRAQAkeel A Yasseen
Decades of conflict and repressive government have debilitated Iraq's higher education system. Academics have been killed, injured or jailed or have fled, and facilities have been destroyed. But with international collaboration, universities can be restored.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Three UK universities have dropped out of the top 100 in the latest Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, while Australia continues to build its presence. The US, which has more universities than any other nation in the top 100, has lost two universities since the ranking began.
LATIN AMERICAMatt Krupnick
Latin American universities are taking steps to attract English-speaking students who may have ignored the region previously, by offering more courses in English and seeking accreditation in the United States.
The German Academic Exchange Service has opened a new branch in Tunisia’s capital Tunis. The DAAD office is to act as a contact point for a range of programmes in the context of the German-Arab Transformation Partnership.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
Denmark has launched a scholarship programme for developing countries, initially targeting students from Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania and Uganda. It is part of a comprehensive internationalisation of higher education strategy being developed by the government.
Frédéric Mion, general secretary of the Canal Plus audiovisual group, has been selected as director of the Parisian Institute of Political Studies, known as Sciences Po. His appointment takes place after a difficult year for the institute, which started with the death last April of its head, Richard Descoings, and included a scathing report by the state auditor.
AFRICAWagdy Sawahel and Jane Marshall
Two international centres aimed at boosting research and education in fields of agriculture, and involving universities from America and France, are to be set up in West Africa. One in Ghana will focus on agribusiness and the other in Senegal on adapting agriculture to climate change.
Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique’s oldest and largest training institution, has forced sixth-year medical students to retake modules, as punishment for participating in a doctors’ strike in January.
It is late spring 2012, and neighbourhoods across Montreal resound each evening with the clanging of pots against the government’s new law to quell students protesting against tuition fee hikes announced earlier that year by the province’s Liberal government.
In early May, thousands of teenagers will queue up at Hong Kong's prime concert venue, the Asia-World Expo, which hosts major Western pop acts such as Lady Gaga, Oasis and Coldplay. Almost all of them will have travelled from mainland China – not to catch a glimpse of a music idol, but to take their best shot at entering an American college.
BULGARIAJan Petter Myklebust
Around 10,000 students from universities around Bulgaria took to the streets in late February to protest against fee hikes of up to 30%. Along with popular protests against general price increases and impoverishment, their action contributed to the downfall of the government.
Higher education institutions are increasingly looking to boost international undergraduate student numbers, as emerging economies invest in study-abroad schemes. Techniques used to recruit international postgraduates cannot be copied wholesale for undergraduates. But by using technology, partnerships and research, institutions can keep ahead of the competition.
Mali's academic life has been hampered by a too-powerful student movement, corruption, the co-option of lecturers into political life, and academics who have preferred comfort over engaging in an intellectual movement powerful enough to support fundamental reforms.
One female in three will be r aped or beaten in her lifetime. That makes one billion, and their campaign is called ‘One Billion Rising’. It is time that higher education exercised leadership in this matter and ensured that the men and women it graduates have a grasp of the issues and understand their role in making the world a safer place for all its people.
FALKLAND ISLANDSGeoff Maslen
A team of international researchers has found the answer to one of natural history’s most intriguing puzzles: the origins of the now extinct Falkland Islands wolf and how it came to be the only land-based mammal on the isolated islands, 460 kilometres from the nearest land, Argentina.
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The amount being spent per student by American public colleges and universities has fallen to its lowest level in at least 25 years, a result of state budget cuts that a new report warns are rapidly eroding the nation’s educational edge over its international competitors, writes Jon Marcus for the The Hechinger Report.
International students returning from China after holidays are being denied entry to New Zealand and are having their visas cancelled because they have not made good progress on courses, writes Lincoln Tan for The New Zealand Herald. Border control officers at Auckland Airport denied entry to 14 out of 32 students interviewed and cancelled their visas.
If higher education has a group of quintessential insiders, it’s probably the American Council on Education. Yet from a perch atop the higher education lobby’s headquarters, the membership association of 1,800 college presidents is backing high-profile ‘disruptions’ to the industry it represents, writes Paul Fain for Inside Higher Ed.
The trend of learning through open online courses has made its way to China, as more of the country's top universities unveil public courses. The first cross-university open class for college students in Shanghai kicked off last Tuesday night, reports Global Times.
Muslim Brotherhood students have received a fresh blow after losing to independent candidates in student union elections at Ain Shams University, writes Al-Masry Al-Youm for Egypt Independent. The preliminary results of the student elections in most of the nation's state universities showed major but unexplained defeats for the Muslim Brotherhood.
The UK government has said vice-chancellors should aid students from war-torn Syria by allowing them to defer fee payments and providing them with access to hardship funds, counselling and advice sessions, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The Ministry of Higher Education in Saudi Arabia claims that there has been a sharp growth in university enrolment largely because of an increase in the income levels of Saudi families and greater interest among women in pursuing tertiary education, writes Muhammad Waqas for the Arabian Gazette.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Teaching in Arabic should be compulsory in state universities in the United Arab Emirates, Federal National Council members and linguistic and education experts have urged, writes Wafa Issa for The National.
Only a small fraction of those applying to get into publicly funded universities this autumn will be accepted. And with more students wanting to stay home rather than study overseas, it's no wonder that, with only a few weeks before school-leaving exams, youngsters studying are a common sight in cafés, study centres and libraries, writes Linda Yeung for South China Morning Post.
South African universities are owed millions of rand by students, with some of the debt dating back to the early 1980s. Even though some institutions feel the pinch more than others, the huge debt takes a heavy toll because tuition fees form a significant part of the income of universities, writes Bongekile Macupe for Independent Online.
Universities are “dying a slow and painful” death in the face of utilitarian policies of the state and aggressive commerc ialisation of higher education, eminent educationists said last week at a seminar organised by the Delhi University Teachers’ Association, reports the Press Trust of India.
During her first few days at the University of Liberia, fourth-year sociology student Famata Adrekis was asked by a male student if she was taking the ‘S ex 101’ class, a reference to the expectation that female students will have s ex with their male lecturers to get good grades or pass courses, writes Liz Ford for the Guardian. The practice is often referred to as ‘transactional s ex’ – s ex for grades – and it's common throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
South Africa’s Walter Sisulu University and the University of Fort Hare will each receive R120 million (US$13,2 million) this year to build new student accommodation and refurbish existing dormitories, writes Denise Williams for Daily Dispatch.
Out of sight, tension has continued to build between University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan and Helen Dragas, rector of the institution's board of visitors, as they struggle for control over the university’s agenda and priorities, according to several people close to the situation, writes Jenna Johnson for The Washington Post.
The Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, a leading private university in Peru, will receive a US$23.5 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to expand access to affordable programmes for low-income students and double its capacity from around 12,000 to 25,000 students over the next 10 years, reports Andina.
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