|25 January 2015||Issue 0351||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
and turning young
In this week’s edition we return to the issue of global terrorism with a second special report on how universities are responding in devising ways to counter terrorists and deal with young followers to change their attitudes.
In Commentary, Sean Gallagher from the US Northeastern University Global Network describes how competition between universities need not be negative, or clash with academic values – rather it can provoke innovation and new thinking.
In World Blog, Grace Karram Stephenson, a Canadian international education spec ialist, writes that long-running partnerships between Canadian and Chinese universities offer “a glimmer of hope for collaboration in a world full of global tension and protests”.
Geoff Maslen – Acting Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O'Malley
Britain’s Labour Opposition believes the current system of charging tuition fees is unfair and unsustainable. If it wins the general elections in May, Labour says it may opt instead for a graduate tax.
Greeks go to the polls on Sunday 25 January to elect the 300 members of the Hellenic parliament. Pre-polling suggests that left-wing leader Alexis Tsipras may win enough seats to eject Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who has alienated the public and profoundly affected universities with his savage spending cuts.
UNITED STATESMary Beth Marklein
President Barack Obama's proposal to make community college free for Americans who are "willing to work hard" stands almost no chance of being passed this year by a Republican-controlled Congress, but it has reinvigorated national debate over the role of higher education in a democracy.
Thirty-four countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or the OECD, are in the process of boosting higher education reforms in order to reduce the proportion of young people who are neither in employment nor in education or training.
The cash-strapped Indian government has announced massive cuts in the education sector, especially higher education allocations, for the year 2014-15. Pre-budget estimates for higher education pegged at Rs169 billion (US$2.7 billion) have been cut to Rs130 billion (US$2.1 billion) and will affect mostly the premier institutes such as the institutes of technology and the institutes of management, among other better-known central universities that focus on research.
SRI LANKADinesh De Alwis
Following the surprise change of government early this month, students, teachers and parents are expecting a better education system. University students and lecturers played a key role behind the scenes to defeat former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s so-called `unshakable’ regime.
Turkey and Sudan have unveiled a higher education cooperation plan that includes setting up a joint institution, networking among universities in the two countries and mutual recognition of degrees aimed at enhancing student and academic mobility.
The University of Ghana has been awarded DKK9 million (US$1.4 million) in funding under the second phase of the Danish Building Stronger Universities programme – a partnership between universities in developing countries and in Denmark.
Somalia’s higher education sector has been growing rapidly. However, lack of government oversight, low quality, high levels of poverty, political instability and security challenges have been hindering reforms. A new prime minister has raised hopes – but is likely to be distracted by numerous other pressing problems.
In this second special report on terrorism, University World News writers investigate the ways that higher education institutions around the world are developing methods to counter terrorism and de-radicalise young would-be terrorists.
GLOBALJan Petter Myklebust
Terrorism is not a new development in a world that has experienced far worse acts than those that have occurred in recent times. Increasingly, however, even local communities that are remote from the world’s big trouble-spots have experienced terrorism first-hand. Universities around the globe have responded by devoting more resources to exploring the reasons and finding answers to how terrorism might be constrained and its perpetrators prevented from preaching violent upheaval to impressionable young people.
The terrorist attacks in Paris and Verviers in eastern Belgium represent part of a new shift in the world of terrorism and an increasing global trend. Terrorism today is carried out mostly by a small number of home-grown individuals, often friends and relatives, where a high level of secrecy and trust is maintained.
There seems to be a widespread sense that the phenomenon of terrorism presents one of the largest threats our societies currently face. This is, indisputably, a very significant challenge, but we need to address it in conjunction with the wider phenomenon of radicalisation, mainly of young people.
Concern is mounting among overseas students at a build-up of blanket hostility towards foreigners following the terrorist attacks in Paris. Politicians fear that far-right movements could cash in on the sentiments developing after the murders.
As a result of heightened concerns about terrorist threats of attacks within Australia, increasing numbers of universities have established research centres focused on global terrorism and how it might be combated. Several universities have this year also begun offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses in this field, with one running an online bachelor of social science in security and counter-terrorism that it says “will give you the training to work as a security and counter-terrorism spec ialist”.
The continual conquest and annexation of sections of north-east Nigeria by the Islamic sect Boko Haram is cause for growing concern in the nation’s universities. The country’s sovereignty is under threat, especially where the sect has proclaimed, in areas under its military control, the imposition of a ‘caliphate’ with implementation of Sharia law.
Throughout his term of office Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has moved towards more extreme, right-wing positions. Seeing him stand shoulder to shoulder with other world leaders – many of whom are, if not initiators, at least supporters of violence and terror in their own countries – before the huge demonstration in Paris following the murder of the Charlie Hebdo journalists would have made those victims turn in their graves.
To meet the Islamic State threat at home, the Australian government must focus on developing ways to disengage and even de-radicalise supporters and returning foreign fighters – recognising that the latter is the most challenging. And, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t all about religious extremism.
Great competition between universities need not be negative or clash with academic values. Rather, it can provoke innovation and new thinking.
GREECEArtemios G Voyiatzis
Greek universities are looking to broaden what they offer to international students in the wake of the financial crisis, but they need more support from government on issues such as student visas.
INDIAVeena Bhalla and Krishnapratap B Powar
Given the growth in domestic student numbers, the percentage of international students is very small, particularly at the postgraduate level, and most are from Asia and Africa. More needs to be done to encourage greater student mobility to India.
GLOBALGrace Karram Stephenson
A long-running partnership between Canadian and Chinese universities offers a glimmer of hope for collaboration in a world full of global tension and protests.
SOUTH AFRICAKaren MacGregor
South Africa’s senior academics are better rewarded than comparable staff in the public and private sectors, and they are relatively better paid than lower-ranked lecturers, a study by the vice-chancellors’ association Higher Education South Africa has revealed. This is good news for retaining senior staff but bad news for building the next generation of academics.
UNITED STATESMadeline Will, The Chronicle of Higher Education
The University of California at Berkeley plans to open a global campus, but it intends to do so without going very far from home. Under the plan, partner universities from around the world would set up shop at a new outpost just 10 miles from Berkeley’s main campus.
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The 15 Russian universities that make up the Global Universities Association are creating a unified centre to recruit foreign applicants, writes Gleb Fedorov for Russia Beyond the Headlines.
Taiwan plans to cut enrolment at universities and graduate institutes by around 35% over the next decade due to a shrinking population caused by a notoriously low birth rate, write Hsu Chih-wei and Ted Chen for Focus Taiwan.
Key senate crossbenchers say they remain opposed to the deregulation of university fees even if the Abbott government reduces, or scraps entirely, a planned 20% cut to university funding, writes Matthew Knott for The Sydney Morning Herald.
A record number of women started university courses in September – with the result that the gap between male and female acceptances for places is at its highest level ever, according to the first official analysis of the latest intake into universities, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.
The publisher of Nature is to merge with the world’s second largest science publisher, Springer. The merger of Macmillan Science and Education and Springer was announced on 15 January, writes Paul Jump for Times Higher Education.
Two out of every five students with a tertiary admission rank of 50 or lower who applied for university last year were offered a place, a figure that has quadrupled since 2009, when the figure was one in 10, writes Julie Hare for The Australian.
South Africa's historically black universities will get government help to finally make their “backlog of underdevelopment” disappear, writes Bongani Nkosi for the Mail & Guardian.
Mainland universities have been told to step up propaganda and teaching of Marxism and Chinese soc ialism, amid calls from President Xi Jinping for greater “ideological guidance” for teachers and students, writes Li Jing for South China Morning Post.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a presidential decree recently amending Law 45/1972 that regulates university affairs, to include provisions to dismiss university professors who participate in on-campus political party activities, writes Mahmoud Mostafa for Daily News Egypt.
A task force of 11 experts on science research in Muslim nations is seeking to jump-start a discussion on how to reform science education in universities throughout the Muslim world. The Task Force on Science at Universities in the Muslim World met for the first time on 16 December 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, reports SciDevNet.
Women are scarce in some, but not all, academic disciplines. New work suggests the cause may be a special kind of prejudice – one that also applies to black people, reports The Economist.
British universities risk losing their position as world-leading institutions if proposed cuts to the European Union research budget go ahead, according to the president of the umbrella organisation Universities UK, writes Rebecca Ratcliffe for the Guardian.
The number of overseas students from key countries studying at Scottish universities has fallen in the wake of tough new immigration rules introduced by the Westminster government, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.
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