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NEWSLETTERAfrica in Europe, private HE in Brazil and the elephant in the classroom
In World Blog, Hans de Wit wonders what Europe’s role should be in revitalising higher education in Africa – and warns that account should be taken of wealth and stability disparities within the continent.
In Commentary, Dante J Salto looks at the exponential growth of private for-profit higher education in Brazil, and Hugo Horta and Jisun Jung argue that higher education research in Asia as a field of knowledge is scarce, and should be fostered if universities are to contribute to development.
Maurits van Rooijen contends that while focusing on the kind of education suited to learners, the elephant in the room – that classroom learning alone cannot equip students for career success – is being ignored.
In Features, Peta Lee finds surprises in a new Eurydice report that outlines and scores European countries’ student mobility policies. Suvendrini Kakuchi describes the continued struggles of Japanese graduates to find jobs despite an economic upturn.
In Africa, Nicola Jenvey reports on an award-winning network for educational technology practitioners and researchers, e/merge Africa, and in Q&A Gilbert Nganga interviews Nkunya Mayunga, executive secretary of the Inter-University Council for East Africa, on higher education harmonisation and the state of the sector. Finally, in the first of two Special Reports we look at a major study of science granting councils in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Twenty-four international education organisations from across the world – including the giants in America and Europe and groups from Mexico and Japan, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America – gathered in South Africa last week for a first inclusive Global Dialogue. They forged a declaration that stressed mutual benefit and development and a more equitable and ethical global higher education agenda, and agreed on actions to take the goals forward.
Canada’s higher education sector has welcomed the country’s first comprehensive International Education Strategy – released by the government last week – that aims, among other things, to double the number of foreign students.
Prolonged political instability in Bangladesh in the run-up to and after disputed elections in early January has severely disrupted university admissions, with some institutions seeing multiple postponements of entrance examinations during the unrest.
In a bid for France to catch up with the global development of MOOCs – massive open online courses – and establish itself as the leading francophone provider in the field, Higher Education Minister Geneviève Fioraso announced increased investment to promote the new French system as its first courses were launched this month.
PAKISTANAmeen Amjad Khan
Taking action to end state inaction, the High Court in Pakistan has ordered the government to respect the law and appoint a permanent chair of the Higher Education Commission. The court ordered that the position be filled by the second week of February.
American authorities have protested and said they were “disappointed” after a writer and researcher with the Hudson Institute was denied a visa to visit Russia. The US State Department said the American embassy in Moscow had raised concerns about the case of David Satter, an author and advisor to a US Congress-funded radio station in Moscow.
International students appear to have significant positive impacts on host institutions and countries as well as on host economies, according to a survey commissioned by the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD. The German results were compared to those of The Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland and Spain.
MYANMARNaw Say Phaw Waa
A draft proposal drawn up by a government-led committee to modernise Myanmar’s higher education sector after decades of neglect has been slated by higher education groups who say it would not give universities genuine autonomy.
Some universities in areas hit by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines managed to resume classes last week. But others, in the worst-hit eastern Visayas region, may have to be rebuilt.
There appears much to be learned from the publication last week of Eurydice’s first ever report outlining and scoring European Union member states’ policies to encourage higher education students to spend part of their studies abroad.
Armed with notebooks and folders Rika Nogochi, a third-year liberal arts student, is attending job seminars in Tokyo. “It's not too early to begin this gruelling search for a good job despite the fact that I graduate next April,” she said as she marched through company booths listening to lectures and picking up brochures at a recent job fair. New recruits start work on 1 April, the start of the Japanese fiscal calendar.
Massive open online courses – MOOCs – are potential game changers for African education, radically enhancing access to knowledge and creating borderless education. In that light it is a boon that a network for educational technology practitioners and researchers, e/merge Africa, has won a major award.
SOUTH SUDANMunyaradzi Makoni
The fighting that has left more than 1,000 people dead and displaced thousands more in South Sudan has also thrown an international project to promote women's access to and success in higher education into limbo.
GLOBALHans de Wit
What should Europe’s role be in revitalising African higher education? A recent seminar highlighted some of the issues, but it is important not to lose sight of the fact that African higher education has always been very international and that regionalisation needs to take into account the disparity between African countries in terms of wealth and stability.
BRAZILDante J Salto
Brazil has seen exponential growth in its for-profit higher education sector, which now plays a major role in increasing access. Does this presage developments in higher education for the rest of Latin America?
ASIAHugo Horta and Jisun Jung
Higher education research in Asia is focused mainly in the East with international collaboration largely dependent on links with English-speaking countries. Universities and policy-makers in Asia need to foster more higher education research in order to contribute to the development of their countries.
GLOBALMaurits van Rooijen
We spend a lot of time debating the kind of education suited to each learner – horses for courses – while avoiding the elephant in the room: that classroom learning alone cannot equip our students for career success.
EAST AFRICAGilbert Nganga
Since 2010 the East African Community has been pursuing higher education harmonisation in an effort to boost the movement of people across the region. Professor Nkunya Mayunga, executive secretary of the Inter-University Council for East Africa, spoke to University World News about challenges and achievements so far and the state of the sector in the region.
Science funding councils in Africa
A study of science granting councils in Sub-Saharan Africa has been undertaken by the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology – CREST – at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, funded by Canada’s IDRC – International Development Research Centre. A consultative conference was held late last year, and University World News was there.
Ambitious research to map flows of science and technology funding to and within Africa might follow a study of science granting councils in 17 Sub-Saharan African countries, which is drawing to a close. One of its aims could be to correlate investment in research with output, to help ascertain how African science systems are performing.
The first major study of science granting councils in Sub-Saharan Africa has uncovered significant variations between the science, technology and innovation systems in 17 countries and has identified models that capture the most common arrangements for public research funding. The study is expected to make recommendations on the optimal functioning of councils.
A low-income country with a GDP per capita of only US$1,800 per year, Kenya has a higher life expectancy – 64.29 years – than the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa and a relatively low HIV infection rate of just 6.3%. In comparison to many other African countries, academic output is also noteworthy.
Ghana possesses many of the components necessary for an efficient and effective science, technology and innovation system, boasting at least 16 research institutes, seven public and nearly 40 private universities, 10 polytechnics, many technical institutes and several support and regulatory agencies.
Botswana’s research system is hampered by a number of constraints, including inadequate investment, fragmented, uncoordinated and untargeted research activities, lack of technology transfer and scarce human resources.
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Thousands of students will find their lectures and tutorials abandoned in a major escalation of the university lecturers' strike over pay set to start next week. Members of the University and College Union will stage a series of two-hour walkouts aimed at disrupting teaching throughout the UK university system, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.
Charging British students tuition fees for attending Scottish universities would be illegal if the country were to gain independence, legal experts have warned. The news is bound to be a blow to the Scottish National Party as Scotland would be left to foot a £150 million (US$245 million) bill in extra university fees, writes Lucy Sherriff for Huffington Post.
Despite Russian universities’ low international rankings, many foreigners continue to enrol in the country’s institutions. This year the government has allocated more than US$1 billion to raise the prestige of Russian education, writes Dmitriy Romendik for Russia Beyond the Headlines.
The Kremlin appears to be in a forgiving mood. Russia recently pardoned the former oil baron turned activist Mikhail B Khodorkovsky and other prominent critics of President Vladimir V Putin in a move widely seen as an attempt to mollify international criticism on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, writes Anna Nemtsova for The Chronicle of Higher Education. But at least one university remains tied up in a criminal inquiry connected to Khodorkovsky.
Visas will be auctioned off to overseas millionaires or offered in exchange for investment in hospitals and universities, under new government proposals, writes Claire Carter for The Telegraph.
By a vote of 60-53, America’s Modern Language Association delegate assembly has approved the contentious Resolution 2014-1, which censures Israel for “denials of entry to the West Bank by US academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities”, writes Ruth Starkman for Haaretz.
Massive open online courses are seen as a game changer in education. But they worry the establishment, even as more universities rush to introduce them, writes Katherine Forestier for South China Morning Post.
Ontario's government will spend CAD42 million (US$38 million) establishing a centre that aims to drive new online learning opportunities for university and college students across the province, writes James Bradshaw for The Globe and Mail.
The University Grants Commission last week approved a regulation giving universities absolute power over quality control in technical education including engineering, management and pharmacy, writes Basant Kumar Mohanty for The Telegraph.
New York University has been blocked by a state judge from beginning much of a two million square foot expansion in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighbourhood, writes Christie Smythe for Bloomberg.
The institution where Stella Oduah, Nigeria's aviation minister, obtained her masters degree continues to be shrouded in mystery as St Paul's College, the American university where she is believed to have received the certificate, has denied awarding the qualification, writes Ben Ezeamalu for Premium Times.
Cambridge University has said an appeal to raise £1.1 million (U$1.8 million) to buy an early biblical manuscript it has held for 30 years is "progressing well", reports the BBC.
Makerere University in Uganda has beaten stiff competition from six international universities to emerge the winner of last year’s higher education solutions network contest, writes John Agaba for New Vision.
Malaysia and Malaysian universities have sided with Turkey during hard times, said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Kuala Lumpur, reports World Bulletin. At a ceremony hosted in his honour, Erdogan was presented with an honorary doctorate by Malaysia's International Islamic University.
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