University World News Global Edition
30 August 2015 Issue 379 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Liberal arts ‘revival’ needs to take account of non-Western traditions

This week in Commentary, Philip G Altbach argues that in the current (modest) revival of liberal arts globally, rich non-Western educational traditions have been largely ignored. Ielyzaveta Shchepetylnykova charts challenges and progress in Ukraine’s efforts to implement the Bologna process and improve higher education data and analysis. Nico Cloete draws on data and arguments from a forthcoming book on the doctorate in South Africa to illustrate how unhelpful the raging ‘transformation’ of higher education debate has become.
Marguerite Dennis and Richard Lynch contend that universities need to adopt ‘blue ocean’ thinking and strategies for a higher education future that is likely to be online and international. In World Blog, Grace Karram Stephenson writes about a case in Canadian higher education where academics kicked back against ‘market forces’.
In Features, Peta Lee finds in a recent study from the European Parliament that more work needs to be done to blend online and onsite education in order to truly internationalise the learning experience. And Nic Mitchell reports on the European University Association response to the European Union’s ‘Neighbourhood Policy’.
Karen MacGregor – Acting Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Yojana Sharma

Sharply depreciating currencies in Asian and other emerging markets including Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Chile, accompanied by extreme volatility in China’s stock market which is affecting the economic confidence of that country’s middle-class, could have a knock-on effect on overseas student recruitment by universities in the United States and United Kingdom.
Karen MacGregor

The first Global Conference on Internationalisation of Higher Education will be held in August next year, in South Africa’s huge Kruger Park game reserve. The event flows from the first inclusive Global Dialogue held in Port Elizabeth in January 2014, attended by 24 international education organisations from across the world.
Barbara Barkhausen

Regional Australian universities are turning out to be top performers, according to the Good Universities Guide 2016, an independent five-star performance rating of Australian undergraduate courses released by education solutions provider Hobsons this month.
Jan Petter Myklebust and Michelle Paterson

A shift away from traditional student mobility destinations is among the developments noted in a report by the international strategy office of Oxford University, which offers a summary of key trends in higher education to illustrate the global context of its international engagement.
Reuben Kyama

Hundreds of African students are leaving for Japan this year, the second group to join the African Business Education Initiative for Youth, a five-year plan to provide 1,000 young Africans with opportunities to study for masters degrees at top universities and do internships at leading Japanese companies.
Eugene Vorotnikov

Up to 150 large, multi-profile universities will be established in Russia over the next several years, according to Alexander Klimov, deputy minister of education and science.
Maina Waruru

Police officers will be deployed on request to Kenyan universities to boost security and guard against possible future attacks by religious extremists, the government has said.
Tunde Fatunde

A government plan to withdraw funding from university-based primary schools and demonstration secondary schools on all campuses in Nigeria has met with sharp resistance. The schools were created and funded as an integral part of faculties of education to research methods of improving teaching and learning.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Cambridge University Professor Stephen Hawking has proposed a new theory of black holes, arguing that information lost in black holes could be stored in alternate universes and that some black holes could be passages to them.
Peter Leonard

When Kazakhstan opened the doors of the Nazarbayev University in 2010, the institution was hailed as a fledgling bastion of academic excellence and freedom in an educational system still hobbled by Soviet standards. But a row threatens to dent those aspirations and expose the limits of free thinking against the backdrop of a tense international diplomatic scene.
Wagdy Sawahel

A new collaborative masters degree to develop Africa’s next generation of public policy leaders has been initiated by the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research, in cooperation with 12 universities in seven African countries.
Jane Marshall

The number of international students studying in Mauritius increased during 2014 to more than 1,500 from 65 countries, while the number of Mauritians studying abroad also rose, according to the 16th annual Participation in Tertiary Education report. The well-off Indian Ocean island is positioning itself as a higher education hub – a destination for foreign students and for international universities.
The International Council for Open and Distance Education, or ICDE, is holding its world conference in the mega-resort Sun City near Johannesburg from 14-16 October, hosted by the University of South Africa. University World News is the media partner. This is the second of a series of articles to be published in the coming weeks that will engage with global ideas and developments in open and distance learning, around the conference theme of “Growing Capacities for Sustainable Distance e-Learning Provision”.
Karen MacGregor

Student success is crucial to the purposes of open, distance and e-learning – but challenging to achieve compared with selective post-secondary systems – a study for the International Council for Open and Distance Education found. Good practices include whole-institution strategies for student success and the mitigation of drop-out at course, qualification and institutional levels, solid data, honest admissions policies and accountability.
Peta Lee

Although the traditional lecture hall is unlikely to ever disappear completely, it is increasingly being supplemented – and in some cases replaced – by technology. And while a combination of online and onsite learning as a teaching means is proving successful, more work is needed for this combination to truly internationalise the learning experience.
Nic Mitchell

Obstacles to exchanges between universities in the European Union and their southern and eastern neighbours “should be eliminated” by simplifying, harmonising and liberalising visa procedures and encouraging short-term mobility, says the European University Association in its response to public consultation on ‘Towards a New European Neighbourhood Policy’.
Kelly Field, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Florida State University’s Unconquered Scholars initiative serves students who have experienced homelessness or foster care, been wards of the court or raised by relatives other than their parents. Those students’ backgrounds put them at greater risk of dropping out, so the programme provides academic, social and emotional support to keep them on track.
Munyaradzi Makoni

Racial problems that have dogged South Africa’s prestigious Stellenbosch University have flared after the publication of a documentary about the discriminatory experiences of black students. The parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education and training is calling the university’s leaders to an urgent meeting, to table institutional transformation plans. Meanwhile, violence has marred the run-up to student elections on other campuses.
Grace Karram Stephenson

Market forces have taken over higher education thinking, but a recent case in Canada hearkens back to an earlier era where teaching staff had greater influence.
Philip G Altbach

A reconsideration of the merits of a broad-based education is taking place in universities around the world, but it needs to take account of non-Western traditions as well as those of Western liberal arts colleges.
Ielyzaveta Shchepetylnykova

Despite higher education reforms, Ukraine still faces many challenges if it is to fully implement the Bologna agreement and encourage greater student mobility. Progress has been made on improving monitoring and reporting on the country’s implementation of the Bologna process.
Marguerite Dennis and Richard Lynch

Higher education needs to look to the future and that future is likely to be online and international. Universities need to be disruptive innovators and adopt ‘blue ocean strategies’ to succeed.
Nico Cloete

After a lecture tour, famous theorist of the network society Manuel Castells remarked that ‘transformation’ is a word South Africans use when they stop thinking. Yet the debate over transformation rages on, and the charge of ‘no transformation’ reverberates through higher education. Statistics from a forthcoming book about the doctorate demonstrate how unhelpful – if not toxic – the transformation debate has become.
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Since the middle of last century, things have shifted in the global scientific community. English is now so prevalent that in some non-English speaking countries – like Germany, France and Spain – English-language academic papers outnumber publications in the country’s own language several times over. In the Netherlands this ratio is an astonishing 40:1, writes Adam Huttner-Koros for The Atlantic.

Trade unionists have warned of a possible collapse of Palestinian universities against the backdrop of a financial crisis that could cause a large deficit in the higher education budget and lead to its eventual suspension, reports Middle East Monitor.

Forty-one campus leaders at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have signed an open letter calling on the institution to hire Steven G Salaita, whose appointment to a professorship was nixed last year over the scholar’s anti-Israel tweets, writes Andy Thomason for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Nearly half of 60 Japanese national universities that have humanities and social science faculties plan to abolish those departments in the 2016 academic year or later, reports The Japan News-Asia News Network.

This year, for the first time, the Times Higher Education, or THE, World University Rankings will exclude any papers that have more than 1,000 authors, as they are considered to be “so freakish that they have the potential to distort the global scientific landscape”, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.

While affordable tuition for undocumented immigrants is a remote prospect in some parts of the United States, about 60 German universities are pushing forward a radical strategy: according to Handelsblatt they are offering refugees the chance to attend courses as guest students, without charging any tuition fees. In fact, they even pay for transportation and offer scholarships to pay for books, writes Rick Noack for The Washington Post.

Millions of pounds in taxpayers’ money wrongly awarded to foreign students is yet to be recovered, reports BBC News. A total of £2.45 million (US$3.7 million) in loans and grants was given to individuals at alternative higher education providers, due to proper checks not being in place.

I work in a university that still has sabbaticals. It’s the largest investment we make in research. We ask staff for a short proposal about how their time is to be spent, and what they hope to gain from the experience. A number of staff have labelled this process a form of neo-liberalised surveillance. And this sums up the problem many of them have with management, writes an anonymous academic for the Guardian.

Malaysian universities have threatened to take disciplinary action against students who attend the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, or Bersih, 4.0 anti-government rally in Kuala Lumpur, which they claim is illegal, reports the Asian Correspondent.

The government is keen on ‘exporting’ India’s higher education to generate money by offering online degree programmes to students abroad, reports the Deccan Herald.

University leaders have warned that up to £450 million (US$694 million) could be lost from their finances under Scottish government plans to seize greater “control and influence” over the way they are run, writes Scot MacNab for the Scotsman.

In a sharp-elbowed opinion piece in The New York Times recently, Victor Fleischer, a law professor at the University of San Diego, took several big-name schools to task for the ways that they handle their endowments. Fleischer's argument moved Malcolm Gladwell, the author and New Yorker writer, to fire off a barrage of tweets excoriating Yale and the other schools featured in Fleischer's article, writes Scott Simon for NPR.

Do you remember Trump University? Probably not – it didn’t really catch on. And one big reason it didn’t catch on is because it was a total scam, say a slew of former students in complaints that were filed to the Federal Trade Commission and were recently unearthed by a Freedom of Information Act request from Gizmodo, writes Ethan Wolff-Mann for TIME.
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