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NEWSLETTERRankings are not the only way universities can gain global brand recognition
In our World Blog, William Patrick Leonard suggests that it is not only the research-based universities which can create a global brand, and there is an alternative to rankings to achieve such recognition.
In Commentary, Philip G Altbach argues that developing the OECD’s AHELO system for assessing higher education learning and outcomes is a waste of time and money. Dmitry Semyonov says plans to dramatically cut the number of higher education institutions in Russia are driven by demographic changes and the fall-out from demand-driven growth by whatever means. Nader Habibi says the number of students in Turkey rose by 91% from 2008 to 2013 and the labour market is not ready for that number of graduate jobseekers.
And in Features, Maria Elena Hurtado reports on the questions being asked following a series of economic scandals in Chile, about whether economics courses focus enough on ethics.
Also this week, in a Special Report, Karen MacGregor reports from the Association of Commonwealth Universities and Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association’s conference on ‘research and innovation for global challenges’ held in Johannesburg last week.
Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Science departments in Russia’s universities are facing a crisis of information following the decision last week of a Western publisher to lock them out of access to thousands of unique scientific journals and magazines because the government can no longer afford to foot the bill.
Four US and two UK universities are among the most improved in the world over the past five years in an analysis of Thomson Reuters academic reputation surveys, with King’s College London and New York University the most significant climbers.
State-owned universities in Zimbabwe have started gearing up for commercialisation of their activities after the cash-strapped government warned that it could cut its salary obligations to state higher education institutions by 50% in the near future.
Japanese academics worried about the country’s growing revisionist mood have welcomed an open letter by an international group of scholars to conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling for an end to nationalistic interpretation of the sexual slavery practised by the Imperial Army in World War II.
Thailand’s military-dominated National Legislative Assembly has passed bills granting four major public universities increased autonomy, which opponents regard as a step towards privatisation. Students criticised the move arguing that it lacked proper scrutiny.
Nepal’s academic calendar from the school to university level has been thrown into uncertainty by the devastating earthquake and the strong aftershocks that have shaken the Himalayan nation over the past three weeks. The crippling damage to the sector could have long-term effects on students’ career plans.
SWEDENJan Petter Myklebust
There is a significant correlation between the quality of higher education undertaken and the income of graduates ten years after graduating, a new report says. But access to the top universities is still heavily weighted in favour of students from families with a higher level of education.
NEW ZEALANDJohn Gerritsen
New Zealand’s universities are urging high-school students and their parents to make sure they understand exam requirements following a 17% fall in the number passing the entrance exam in 2014 compared to the year before.
Kenya’s Commission for University Education has directed universities to cease teaching diploma and certificate courses by July. But universities could lose large amounts of fee income as a result.
A global coalition of UN agencies and international NGOs has called on governments to bring an end to the military use of universities and schools in war – because it puts the lives of students and staff at risk and causes long-term harm to education.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
University leaders and student unions have criticised the government for publishing graduate salary levels in its new online universities guide, arguing that it could misinform applicants and push them to base their choices on “where the money is”.
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"Research and Innovation for Global Challenges" was the theme of a major international conference hosted by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association in Johannesburg last week and attended by nearly 500 people from 44 countries. University World News was there and brings you this first of two special reports on the event.
“The last five years have seen a total sea change in how research is done,” said Professor John Wood, secretary general of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Major trends include clustering, international engagement and a move towards ‘open science for open innovation’.
Africa’s around 20 science academies have a crucial and collaborative role to play in tackling problems and driving development, according to Academy of Science of South Africa President Daya Reddy. But efforts to grow science are constrained by brain drain – at least one third of African researchers are plying their trade outside the continent.
The Association of Commonwealth Universities last week launched a Research, Knowledge and Information Community aimed at connecting university staff across the Commonwealth to share experiences and explore ideas and potential collaboration. It is the second of three communities – the others focus on community engagement and international education.
SOUTH AFRICAKaren MacGregor
South African research is on the rise but is “edging towards a demographic cliff”, warned Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor last week. While in 1994 – the year of democracy – one in 10 credited academic papers were by over 50-year-olds, today that age group produces half of all papers.
GLOBALWilliam Patrick Leonard
It is not for all institutions and it is unquestionably expensive. But confident teaching-learning institutions, with a cadre of gifted instructors rather than researchers, can pursue international accreditation for at least one of their strong programmes, which by association will showcase their entire institution on a global scale.
GLOBALPhilip G Altbach
AHELO was set up to compare learning outcomes in different fields in different countries. The pilot was deemed a failure and now there are plans to extend it, despite major questions about its basic methodology, its orientation and the assessment instruments to be used.
The Russian government has announced big cuts in the number of its higher education institutions in order to improve quality, but it lacks a clear vision of how the different parts of the sector work.
Turkey needs to plan ahead for the impact of the rapid increase in student numbers to ensure oversupply of graduates does not result in a high unemployment rate and social instability.
MEXICO-UNITED KINGDOMJohn Bramwell
A collaboration between the two countries seeks connections in research, innovation and technology transfer as well as increased student exchange.
CHILEMaria Elena Hurtado
The spate of financial scandals that are rocking Chile – including the jailing of three former ‘star students’ of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile’s economics and administration faculty – has stirred a wholesome debate in the country on the importance of ethics in the teaching of economics.
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A group of 700 Iranian university teachers have sent a letter to the government calling for an end to what they say is “unprecedented interference” in the internal affairs of universities, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
In an effort to strengthen Indo-Russian ties, the university communities of both countries recently entered into a memorandum of interest to establish a foundation for the formation of the Russian-Indian Association of Institutions of Higher Education, reports The Economic Times.
Its latest budget reveals that Australia’s government is removing funding from university grants to keep key national research facilities running, writes David Cyranoski for Nature. The nation's 2015-16 annual budget, released on 12 May, was met with concern from university heads who say that they are increasingly uncertain about the sustainability of the tertiary education system after a few years of funding cuts and job losses.
Universities in Kenya have launched anti-terrorism courses for students joining them from September in efforts to curb terror attacks targeting learning institutions. The courses, according to officials in charge of academic affairs, will be compulsory and examined alongside other common units, reports Xinhua.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, scene of the first major pro-democracy rally that kicked off a 79-day Occupy Central campaign in the former British colony, said it has postponed a planned visit from the Chinese military after vocal opposition from students, reports Radio Free Asia.
Laying the groundwork for what they said would be a new era of scientific cooperation, leaders of European and American particle physics initiatives signed an agreement at a White House ceremony recently to share the spoils of their research in the coming decades, writes Dennis Overbye for The New York Times.
Universities could get a leg-up in international league tables through closer links with the government's Crown Research Institutes, writes John Gerritsen for Radio New Zealand.
The education ministry will resume inspections of universities next month following a complete overhaul of the government’s higher education accreditation body, with initial plans for experts to assess the country’s top 10 universities before expanding the initiative, writes Maria Paula Brito for The Cambodia Daily.
The Australian government’s controversial move to host a think tank headed by noted global warming sceptic Bjørn Lomborg has unravelled – for now. But Australia’s education minister has vowed to find a new home for the centre at a willing institution, writes Leigh Dayton for Science.
In a bid to tell Canadians what they’re paying for when their tax dollars are used to fund research, a biomedical engineering professor, Molly Shoichet, is set to officially launch Research2Reality, a CAD$400,000 (US$335,000) social-media campaign she is spearheading that is designed to shine a spotlight on the work of academic researchers across the country, writes Ivan Semeniuk for The Globe and Mail.
The dramatic collapse of Corinthian Colleges isn't the only shake-up happening in for-profit higher education, as a broad swath of the sector is shutting down or selling off campuses after years of declining revenue and enrolment, writes Paul Fain for Inside Higher Ed.
Defiant students have pledged to continue a campus occupation until Edinburgh University reverses its decision to invest in fossil fuels, reports Edinburgh Evening News.
A growing number of women are taking college courses aimed at helping them re-enter the job market after leaving due to marriage or having a child, writes Naohiro Yoshida for The Yomiuri Shimbun.
Dutch companies have written to Education Minister Jet Bussemaker urging her to boost the standard of Dutch university and college education, the Volkskrant reported recently. The two big Dutch employers’ organisations, VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland, say they are unhappy with the quality of the Dutch higher education system.
New figures suggest that a student’s chances of getting into a leading university to study languages have increased in the past five years, as interest dwindles and applications plummet, writes Sally Weale for the Guardian.
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