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NEWSLETTERPhD mobility; global degree recognition; and an alternative to MOOCs
In World Blog, Hans De Wit finds that ‘collaborative online international learning’, or COIL, represents a promising alternative to MOOCS.
In Commentary, Roger Y Chao Jr probes how to create a system whereby degree quality in one country is understood everywhere else, and Marc Tadaki argues that the nature of different forms of internationalisation is up for questioning.
Russel Botman looks at higher education’s role as an engine for Africa’s sustainable development, and Milton Obamba explores Chinese involvement in African education, which is now focusing on building capacity in science and technology.
We publish the final in a three-part series of articles on international PhD mobility, edited by Geoff Maslen. There are articles by Jess Guth on postgraduate mobility from Eastern Europe, Simon Schwartzman on PhD growth in Brazil, Sune Balle Hansen on the flood of international students to Malaysia, Kussai Haj Yehia on Israeli Arabs who go abroad for postgraduate study, and Lukas Baschung on foreign PhD students in Switzerland, who are now in the majority.
In Features, Alecia D McKenzie looks at student participation in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and Naw Say Phaw Waa reports on concerns that Myanmar’s government is continuing to clamp down on student organisations.
Guillaume Gouges interviews Ken Poonoosamy, chair of the Board of Investment in Mauritius, which is spearheading the island’s efforts to become a higher education hub. And in South Africa, Nicola Jenvey describes a university’s effort to improve bilingualism though compulsory courses in Zulu.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
“Worldviews 2013” is just less than a month away – 19 to 21 June. We’re delighted to be welcoming distinguished journalists from publications around the world including University World News, Inside Higher Ed, Times Higher Education, the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Maclean's, Al Jazeera, USA Today, US News, J-Source, University Affairs, Futurity and more.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Turmoil in Chile’s universities during 2011-12 may lie behind their relatively poor performance in the third annual QS University Rankings for Latin America, published on 28 May. More than half of the country's universities – 17 out of 30 – in the top 300 have fallen compared to last year.
GLOBALSarah King Head
“One is never too young to lead.” With these words, Kofi Annan expressed his confidence in the ability of the international higher education community to train a global citizenry capable of effecting change and making a difference.
The 13th General Conference of the Association of African Universities, held in Libreville, Gabon last week, staked out the AAU’s path for the next four years. There is the promise of a 25% increase in funding, a new composition of the board and presidencies and – perhaps most significantly – a strong push to strengthen the position of the association in Francophone Africa.
Libya has launched several initiatives to reform universities, in an effort to achieve global academic standards and match higher education graduates with local job market demands.
UNITED STATESSteve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Coursera, the Silicon Valley-based provider of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, last Thursday announced a series of deals with state universities that would place the young company squarely in the middle of the current upheaval in public higher education.
A bill to create a student loan scheme – called a Higher Education Bank – has passed a second reading in the national assembly and is expected to be approved soon. As expected, there was jubilation among students over the scheme, which is unprecedented in Nigerian higher education.
The number of women students entering Kenyan universities rose at the fastest rate ever – by more than 30% – last year, and for the first time there are more than 100,000 female students in higher education, new government data show.
The rise of the mobile PhD
This is the last in a three-part series of articles by academics and University World News journalists charting the movement of PhD students around the world – many of them lost permanently to their home country – in a growing ‘mobile PhD’ phenomenon fuelled by the global competition for talent.
EASTERN EUROPEJess Guth
“Neither the level of the necessary scientific equipment nor the available library information makes it possible to carry out any meaningful research, if one relies on national sources in Bulgaria,” a professor who is a member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences explained in a series of studies we conducted as part of the Mobility and Excellence in the European Research Area project.
As the number of doctoral programmes in Brazil grew, international fellowships declined. The 2011 ‘Science Without Borders’ initiative, intended to send 100,000 students overseas in four years, has returned study abroad to 1990s levels – but most graduates return, so Brazil does not suffer a significant brain drain.
MALAYSIASune Balle Hansen
In recent years Malaysia has been focusing heavily on developing the research quality and quantity of its major universities. The number of PhD students increased from around 4,000 to 40,000 in the decade to 2012 – and a growing proportion are international students.
During the past 20 years the number of doctoral students in Swiss universities has almost doubled, from 11,588 in 1992 to 22,716 last year. An important factor in this spectacular growth has been the attraction of a steadily growing cohort of foreign PhD students, who now outnumber local candidates.
ISRAELKussai Haj Yehia
The United States is the main country of destination for Arab academics from Israel who intend to obtain a PhD abroad, because the US grants Fulbright scholarships at the doctoral level in any field to students with academic excellence who are engaged in social activities and community service, and who have leadership abilities.
NEW ZEALANDJohn Gerritsen
New Zealand has deliberately courted foreign PhD students by subsidising them as if they were New Zealanders, allowing universities to charge them the same fees as locals since the subsidy was introduced in 2006. Recently the country announced a marketing drive backed by millions of dollars to attract more international students.
AUSTRIAJan Petter Myklebust
Some 20,000 students were undertaking doctoral research in Austria in 2000, a year when 1,790 PhDs were awarded. By 2011-12, the number enrolled for PhDs had increased to 25,700 and the proportion of foreign students had jumped from 16% to 26%, or 6,700.
Vietnam is facing a shortage of highly qualified academics in its universities and colleges as a result of the over-expansion of higher education in the past two decades. In 2012, only 11% of the country’s 84,109 lecturers held doctorate degrees. And the proportion is getting worse – in 2000, nearly 15% of 30,309 academics had PhDs.
GLOBALAlecia D McKenzie
Rain, robbery and revelry – these are three of the things for which the 2013 Cannes Film Festival will be remembered. But overlooked in all the headlines about bad weather, stolen jewels and partying stars were the hundreds of film students from around the world trying to find financing and an audience at Cannes.
MYANMARNaw Say Phaw Waa
The arrest of 26-year-old student union activist Ye Min Oo is raising concern that Myanmar’s government may be continuing to target student organisations, despite the release of student political prisoners ahead of the relaxing of Western economic sanctions.
Mauritius has been showcasing its assets in recent years and is aiming to become a hub for world-class education and a destination for international students and institutions. Board of Investment Chair Ken Poonoosamy spoke to University World News about the Indian Ocean island’s strategies for achieving these goals.
SOUTH AFRICANicola Jenvey
The University of KwaZulu-Natal's decision that from next year all new students must register for a compulsory Zulu course has thrown the proverbial cat among the pigeons. While details of the initiative – a first for South African higher education – are unclear, the university believes that students must demonstrate bilingualism to earn their degrees.
GLOBALHans De Wit
Collaborative online international learning – COIL – offers an alternative to the much-hyped MOOCS, and one that is less commercial and more interactive, with a strong focus on internationalisation of the curriculum and of teaching and learning.
When we talk about internationalisation of higher education, what do we mean and whose values are we representing? Only by listening to all the various views can we shift the goalposts of what internationalisation means.
GLOBALRoger Y Chao Jr
Even the European Union has struggled with creating equivalence across degrees awarded in its countries. A large-scale collaborative study of grading systems – based on learning outcomes – is needed to increase transparency and provide a conversion tool that leads to equivalence in contemporary higher education systems.
In the light of Africa Day celebrations on 25 May and the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity – predecessor to the African Union – it is timely to look at the role of higher education in ensuring that the continent’s rapid economic progress results in sustained human development.
China’s role in education in Africa is growing, with a recent focus on building capacity in science and technology and on promoting research that can improve people’s livelihoods. But these activities could be under threat if China reproduces the same patterns of dependency associated with contemporary North-South cooperation.
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France's government hopes that science can help shore up the country's lacklustre economy. Last Tuesday, the national assembly approved a new law that aims to simplify the national landscape for research and higher education and make it more efficient, better able to address societal and economic challenges, and more competitive at the European level, writes Elisabeth Pain for Science.
UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has said any sense of “triumph” over new figures showing a decline in student immigration is “absurd”, as he issued a strong defence of international student movement, writes Chris Parr for Times Higher Education.
Universities were under pressure last week to crack down on Islamic extremists who spout hatred on campuses, writes Ian Drury for the Daily Mail.
India plans to establish an entrance exam for foreign students seeking admission to institutions in the country, even as it lobbies international rating agencies to improve the rankings of its universities, writes Prashant K Nanda for Livemint.
Several dozen professors in Harvard University’s faculty of arts and sciences have signed a letter to their dean asking for formal oversight of massive open online courses offered by Harvard through edX, a MOOC provider co-founded by the university, writes Steve Kolowich for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The movement of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, which began with elite universities making their courses available online to the masses, is rapidly moving into the trenches of public higher education, reports Associated Press.
It was virtually ignored for centuries, but what may be the world's oldest Torah, the holy book of the Jewish faith, has now been discovered at the world's oldest university, writes Nick Squires for The Telegraph.
The Federation of French-speaking Students in Belgium – a body representing some 120,000 students in the country – has called for “a freezing of relations with Israeli universities”, writes Yossi Lempkowicz for the European Jewish Press.
A substantial reform of Ireland’s higher education sector will see the creation of three technological universities, four regional clusters and the rationalisation of teacher training and art education, writes Dick Ahlstrom for The Irish Times.
From Alan Wildeman’s office window, the Ambassador Bridge to the United States is “about a driver and two 3-woods away” – a few hundred metres, in golf parlance. So it is a source of frustration to the University of Windsor president that of 2,000 international students his university hosted this year from all corners of the world, only 82 came from south of the border, writes James Bradshaw for The Globe and Mail.
Opponents of race-based affirmative action in US college admissions urge that colleges use a different tool to encourage diversity: giving a leg up to poor students. But many educators see real limits to how eager colleges are to enrol more poor students, no matter how qualified – and the reason is money – writes Richard Perez-Pena for The New York Times.
UK students who live at home while attending a local university should be offered cut-price degrees costing just £5,000 (US$7,500) a year, an influential commission into the future of higher education is to recommend, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.
With just days left before Delhi University's admission process begins, over 80 academics last Sunday issued a statement in support of the new four-year undergraduate programme and said detractors were spreading false and misguided propaganda, reports The Press Trust of India.
Japan will provide a US$174.8 million loan as development aid to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Hyderabad – the biggest ever foreign aid to an IIT – which experts say will have a leapfrog effect on the standard of higher education in the state and boost infrastructure, reports TNN.
Last year’s reopening of Ivory Coast’s universities was a grand affair, turning the page on a bloody leadership crisis that had forced their closure. There are new lecture halls, student housing and sprawling sports fields. But two semesters in, student discontent is back on the boil, with questions arising over whether funds for the overhaul were well spent, reports Sapa-AFP.
Ending tuition fees for Scottish students has failed to widen access to the country’s universities, a leading academic has warned. Professor Sheila Riddell, of Edinburgh University’s school of education, said free tuition had not “markedly altered” recruitment of those from the poorest backgrounds, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
Asian universities are beginning to do what has long been practised in the West – offer short courses specifically for women who are leaders in business and politics, writes Calvin Yang for The New York Times.
The Australian Capital Territory government says Canberra's universities will benefit from a new programme to promote the city's tertiary sector, writes Noel Towell for The Canberra Times.
The Australian editors of tertiary sector news and opinion website The Conversation have rejected claims by a British newspaper that it lacks independence because it allows academics the right to veto what it publishes, writes Nick Leys for The Australian.
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