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NEWSLETTERNational interests eroded by cuts to HE support for developing countries
This week in World Blog, Hans De Wit argues that cutting support for higher education in developing countries is a short-term measure with long-term dangers. In Commentary, Camille Kandiko contends that internationalisation of higher education requires different responses in different contexts.
Igor Chirikov describes how Russian universities are merging to form world-class institutions – however, they will need a strong sense of identity if they are to succeed. Kevin Kinser writes that for-profit higher education in America does not necessarily mean a lower quality offering, but it does need regulation.
In Features, Alan Burrell reports that knowing what students look for and how they make choices was a hot topic at last week’s conference of the UK’s Association of University Directors of Estates.
Nicola Jenvey finds that social entrepreneurship may be the new approach to community engagement – with implications for universities – and Francis Kokutse looks at the struggle to change negative public perceptions that polytechnics in Ghana face as they prepare to grow and offer higher-level qualifications.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
PAKISTANAmeen Amjad Khan
Pakistan’s top court last week ordered the lower judiciary and the election commission to take stern action against politicians who contested the 2008 elections with fake bachelor degrees. Offenders must be convicted and barred from contesting national elections on 11 May.
UNITED STATESAlison Moodie
California’s public universities and colleges may soon be required to grant students credit for online courses, including massive open online courses, or MOOCs – a move that could radically alter the higher education landscape.
The European Commission has proposed ways to make it “easier and more attractive” for non-European Union students and researchers to study and work in Europe. New laws should be in place in 2016 and enable states to compete more successfully in the global talent pool.
Two years after Andrew Jaspan launched a daily online newsletter with unpaid political, social and scientific commentaries from academics around Australia, his novel publication The Conversation attracts nearly 700,000 visitors a month. Now the project is to launch a British offshoot.
An interdisciplinary symposium on sustainability research involving young academics from South Africa, Germany and several other countries was held in Berlin in late March. It was the latest event of the Global Young Academy of up-and-coming researchers.
The number of professors working in Kenya’s seven older public universities has risen by a measly 11% over the past three years while student numbers have soared by 56%, highlighting the challenge the country faces in matching enrolments with lecturers.
Argentina's government has launched a research and development strategy that could result in R&D investment rising from 0.65% to 1.65% of gross domestic product by 2020.
Egypt’s Alexandria University is to set up a branch campus in the South Sudan town of Tonj, supported by a grant from the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education. The campus will ramp up higher education links that include scholarships for South Sudanese to study in Egypt.
Three students set themselves on fire this month in mounting protests against new selection procedures for masters degrees, which have excluded many students from further studies. The students were from the department of geography at the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar. They were taken to hospital with serious burns.
Burkina Faso’s Prime Minister Luc-Adolphe Tiao was stoned by protesting students during a fact-finding visit to the University of Ouagadougou this month.
UNITED KINGDOMAlan Burrell
With Britain’s new higher education funding structure in place and increased competition in student recruitment, every university wants to know what students are looking for and how they are making choices. This was the topic of a session at last week’s annual conference of the Association of University Directors of Estates, held at Warwick University.
GLOBALSunanda Creagh, The Conversation
The entire editorial board of a US academic journal has resigned in protest over restrictions that would require scholars to wait up to 18 months before making their published research more widely available on open access, or pay a fee of nearly US$3,000.
Social entrepreneurship should be the new engagement for individuals and the public and private sectors, with implications for university training – especially in Africa – according to Goos Minderman, public governance professor at Vrije Universiteit in The Netherlands.
With the University of Ghana preparing to stop offering diplomas, one would have expected polytechnics to be jubilant over less competition and more courses. But they are sceptical about benefiting because there is widespread public belief that universities offer the only tertiary education worth having.
GLOBALHans De Wit
Developed countries are increasingly cutting back support for higher education in developing countries. But as China and others wait to fill the gap they leave, this policy goes against developed countries’ long-term national interests.
Internationalisation of higher education has different meanings in different parts of the world. More attention needs to be paid to this diversity in order to foster greater understanding and inclusion inside and outside the classroom.
Russia is attempting to develop world-class institutions through mergers, but the government has overlooked the need to take into account identity issues involved in the process. Universities need to have a strong sense of mission and purpose if they are to strive for world-class status.
UNITED STATESKevin Kinser
For-profit institutions are often accused of offering lower quality education, but they can cut costs without affecting quality by reducing services that are not core to teaching. However, who decides which services are not core?
A conference held in Washington DC in March focused on the science and ethics of ‘species-revival’. Participants debated whether biologists should attempt to bring extinct animals back to life – a concept some call ‘de-extinction’. Australian scientists reported that they had successfully reactivated the DNA of an extinct amphibian, the gastric-brooding frog, and that other long-gone animals could be next.
Around the world, amphibians have suffered serious declines and even extinctions over the past 30 years, with a deadly fungus the probable cause. But now new research has revealed that at least one subtropical rainforest frog is recovering and there may be hope for others.
A team of international scientists has rejected the doomsday-like scenario of sudden, irreversible change to the Earth's ecology known as a tipping point. The scientists argue that global-scale ecological tipping points are unlikely and that ecological change over large areas seems to follow a smoother, more gradual pattern.
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At least 15 students were killed and 20 others injured when mortar bombs landed on the canteen of Damascus University's college of architecture, state-run media and opposition activists in Syria said, reports Aljazeera.
Thousands of school and university students in Nicosia, Cyprus, protested last week outside parliament and at the presidential palace against the bailout memorandum and the troika, writes Maria Gregorou for Cyprus Mail.
If you wonder why your university hasn’t linked up with Coursera, the massively popular provider of free online classes, it may help to know the company is contractually obliged to turn away the vast majority of American universities, writes Ry Rivard for Inside Higher Ed.
Alumni of elite colleges are accustomed to getting requests for money from their alma mater, but the appeal that Harvard sent to thousands of graduates last Monday was something new: a plea to donate their time and intellects to the rapidly expanding field of online education, writes Richard Pérez-Peña for The New York Times.
Public colleges and universities face a funding crunch, state budget officers from across the United States said last Wednesday, as the fiscal watchdogs called for reforms and even broached the possibility of boosting state spending to limit tuition fee increases, writes Lisa Lambert for Reuters.
Bosses of Britain’s top universities came under fire last week for accepting big pay rises as their staff suffered cuts. Pay and benefits for university vice-chancellors increased, on average, by more than £5,000 (US$7,500) in 2011-12, writes Mark Ellis for the Mirror.
The Zimbabwean government owes the country’s state universities and colleges a total of US$64 million in unpaid cadetship grants, a development that has compromised service delivery at most institutions, a senior official has said, writes Daniel Nemukuyu for The Herald.
Top UK universities were accused last week by Education Secretary Michael Gove of failing to be honest with pupils over what they should study at A-level to stand the best chance of securing a place, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.
Regent's College in London will become the second private university in Britain after receiving official approval to change its name to Regent's University London, writes Richard Adams for the Guardian.
In a society where employees are only expected to perform well according to predetermined criteria, where loyalty to superiors and management is tested through the nightmare of contract non-renewal, where there is a desire to transform universities into subsidiaries of monopoly capital, those who say "a university should not be like that" will be treated as spanners in the works, writes Nuray Sancar for Monthly Review.
The Alexandria Administrative Court last week overturned Minister of Higher Education Mustafa Mosaad’s decision enforcing biannual evaluations of academics and linking evaluations to faculty members’ benefits, writes Rana Muhammad Taha for Daily News Egypt.
When Shanice Moodley left South Africa for Cuba to study medicine through a Department of Health programme, she had high hopes for a bright future, writes Bongani Hans for The Mercury. But they were dashed within two months, at which point she gave up her studies and returned home because, she claims, of the treatment students received.
The US Supreme Court announced last Monday that it would include a Michigan law that would bar public universities from considering race as an admissions factor in its review of affirmative action in higher education, reports FoxNews.com.
Student loan repayment rates in New Zealand will increase from Monday in a move that the government says will mean loans will be paid off more quickly, reports 3 News.
Executive Secretary of Nigeria’s National Universities Commission Julius Okojie has decried the nonchalant attitude of some academics to research, writes Augustine Aminu for Daily Times.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has suspended a disciplinary hearing for a student because the US government may investigate the undergraduate’s claims that the school retaliated against her for speaking out about s exual assaults on campus, writes John Lauerman for Bloomberg.
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