How can universities turn the tide on the ebbing of public trust in higher education?

University World News Global Edition
21 May 2017 Issue 460 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Digital transformation is changing the way graduates are recruited for jobs

   In Commentary, Amber Wigmore Álvarez says gamification is revolutionising the way candidates are recruited for jobs and universities need to equip their students accordingly in order to achieve good future employment outcomes. John A Akec examines the bleak outlook for higher education in South Sudan, where persistent underfunding and soaring inflation could force many universities to close down, impacting heavily on the country’s future. Chau-Duong Quang discusses some of the factors that have hampered the growth of private higher education in Vietnam, including political sensitivities due to the country’s communist background. And Sonal Minocha and Dean Hristov suggest that universities – as the drivers of world-leading research – adopt a more outward-oriented and visual digital leadership to increase their impact globally.

   In our World Blog this week, Nita Temmerman warns against over-reliance on the textbook by university teachers, who should use a broad source of contemporary learning materials in delivery of their subject.

   In Features, Tunde Fatunde reports on the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, where protest action in the Anglophone provinces by students, academics, teachers and lawyers, who are objecting to being marginalised by the Francophone-dominated government, is taking its toll. And Stephen Coan reports on the threat to academic credibility posed by predatory journals, emphasising research on the extent of the problem in South Africa and possible solutions.

   In a Special Report covering an international conference held in South Africa on higher education and inclusive development, Munyaradzi Makoni reports on a speaker’s call for the link globally between higher education access and social advantage to be broken by developing admissions criteria that identify potential. Makoni also focuses on a presentation by students from the School of Oriental and African Studies, UK, which outlines their stance on decolonisation, while Makoni and Sharon Dell report on a South African vice-chancellor’s call for the need to address the “massive socio-cultural, inter-generational chasm” which exists between students and university administrators.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report


Heads of state declare common higher education area

Christabel Ligami

Heads of East African states declared the transformation of the East African Community into a Common Higher Education Area, which will facilitate the recognition of academic certificates and the transfer of credits from higher education institutions across the region, at their summit on 20 May in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


HE improving but much remains to be done – World Bank

María Elena Hurtado

Providing good-quality higher education to low-income and middle-class students in Latin America and the Caribbean, who are joining universities and technical colleges in droves, is a big challenge for this group of countries, according to a World Bank report released on 17 May.


Conservatives will toughen visa rules for students

Brendan O'Malley

The Conservative Party election manifesto pledges to toughen visa requirements for international students and raise the level of health surcharge they must pay, as part of the continuing effort to “bear down on immigration from outside the European Union”. It does not specify whether the United Kingdom will seek to stay in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ after Brexit.


India deepens higher education cooperation with Egypt

Wagdy Sawahel

India and Egypt have unveiled a plan to strengthen academic, scientific and cultural cooperation between universities in India and Egypt, along with exchange of knowledge and best practices in teaching, research and administration. The plan includes setting up a joint institution, networking among universities in the two countries and enhancing student and academic mobility.


In Asia, China’s universities worst hit by cyberattack

Yojana Sharma

Universities in several Asian countries have been affected by cyberattacks with possible consequences for research data as well as personal data of students and others. However, Chinese universities were worst affected by an unprecedented worldwide attack that began on 12 May, according to cybersecurity experts.


Three universities rated 'very international' in index

Jan Petter Myklebust

The number of universities judged to be 'very international' has jumped from one to three in this year’s 'internationalisation index', the rating developed by the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Chalmers University of Technology have joined the Stockholm School of Economics at the top.


Deal boosts student mobility between France and Canada

Canada and France have signed a cooperation agreement to improve professional opportunities for students studying for a degree in 'French as a foreign language' in France. The agreement will pave the way for cooperation between the leaders of 34 French and Canadian universities and increase student mobility between the two countries.


University president is Macron’s new minister for HE

Jane Marshall

Frédérique Vidal, president of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, was appointed Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation on 17 May, in the new government of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, under President Emmanuel Macron.


International standing required for university status

Jan Petter Myklebust

Norway’s quality assurance agency is now assessing an institution's international standing in particular fields before granting university status, but the move is proving controversial with some university leaders, who say it is too geared to usefulness for industry and not enough to addressing global challenges.


Desperate students look to campus politics for solutions

Tonderayi Mukeredzi

Higher education students, tired of enduring high levels of economic stress and desperate for political change, are joining campus-based student unions in their numbers despite concerns around the strong alignment of such groups to national political parties.


Universities still grappling with travel ban limbo

Karin Fischer, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The uncertainty over the outcome of challenges to President Donald Trump's travel ban means students from affected countries who go home to visit family and friends in the summer might not be able to return to the United States. Universities are drawing up plans to house and provide a means of earning an income to those who opt not to take the risk of leaving the country.



Gamification – The future of graduate recruitment

Amber Wigmore Álvarez

Digital transformation is not only dramatically changing the jobs landscape, it is revolutionising how candidates are chosen for those roles. Today’s students need to be taught about new methods of recruitment and how they can help to match them better to the jobs of the future.


Higher education on the brink of disastrous closures

John A Akec

The market value of many university staff salaries is as little as US$200 a month, in some cases US$100 a month, down from US$3,000 two years ago. Persistent underfunding of South Sudan’s universities in the face of soaring inflation could force many to close, hampering economic recovery and long-term growth.


A gloomy outlook for private higher education

Chau-Duong Quang

Private higher education, whether for-profit or not, has proven to be a successful model in many countries. However, this does not seem to be the case in Vietnam, due to many factors, including the battle between ‘private’ and ‘for-profit’ education and political sensitivities due to the country’s communist background.


Higher education should embrace digital possibilities

Sonal Minocha and Dean Hristov

Digital technology has a huge impact on people’s everyday lives. Universities should be using it for more than internal activities and should consider how it might help them widen their impact, by disseminating research and sharing good practice across borders to a global audience for the benefit of economies and societies.


Why data-driven science is more than just a buzzword

Tara Murphy

Science today is increasingly data-driven, but our education system has not caught up. We must develop new teaching methods that recognise data-driven and computational approaches as some of the primary tools of contemporary research.



The textbook – Not a substitute for teaching in HE

Nita Temmerman

The textbook should be just one resource among many a university teacher might use. Unfortunately, some academics are too dependent on them despite the fact that the material quickly becomes outdated. But this is the lazy way out for the teacher and it disadvantages students in their learning.



Anglophone crisis – Academics, students stand firm

Tunde Fatunde

Schools, universities and law courts remain shuttered in two provinces of Anglophone Cameroon as students, academics, school teachers and lawyers continue to paralyse activities in protest against what they perceive as linguistic, cultural and educational injustices and other forms of marginalisation by the Cameroonian government.


Predatory journals – A threat to academic credibility

Stephen Coan

Predatory journals and their publishers, driven solely by profit motives, are posing an increasing threat to academic credibility and to individual reputations.


The “Contribution of Business Schools and Higher Education to Inclusive Development” conference took place in South Africa at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study from 19-20 April, co-hosted by South Africa’s University of Stellenbosch Business School, England’s University of Bath School of Management and the European Foundation for Management Development. The conference examined how business schools and universities could help to contribute to inclusive development in society and in their own institutions.


Scaling walls and building bridges in higher education

Munyaradzi Makoni

Elite universities create walls to exclude disadvantaged communities by applying a decontextualised version of academic merit which assumes that all students regardless of social background have an equal chance to compete. Against this backdrop there is a need to break the link between access and social advantage by developing admissions criteria that identify potential.


Bridging the inter-generational chasm in higher education

Munyaradzi Makoni and Sharon Dell

Universities and their leaders have a “social and moral responsibility” to place inequality and social justice at the core of their public purpose concerns, and to address the “massive socio-cultural, inter-generational chasm” which exists between the current generation of students and university administrators.


SOAS students explain stance on decolonisation

Munyaradzi Makoni

Students from the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies, or SOAS, hit the headlines at the start of this year for their campaign to "Decolonise Our Minds", aimed at transforming the curriculum. At last month’s international conference on the “Contribution of Business Schools and Higher Education to Inclusive Development”, students representing the institution insisted they are not backing down on their calls for change.


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Statistics show over half of students fail to graduate

Morocco's Minister of Education Mohamed Hassad has revealed statistics showing that more than half of students enrolled do not graduate, reports MENAFN.


University rushes to fill 4,000 permanent faculty posts

With barely days left to begin the much-awaited admission process in the country's most-prestigious university, the administrators of the University of Delhi are still grappling with how to fast fill the vacant 4,000 positions of permanent faculty, most of which are still occupied by ad hoc professors, writes Arpan Rai for India Today.


Hong Kong research funding shortfall hits HK$12 billion

Hong Kong’s main public funding body for academic research says it needs an extra HK$12 billion (US$1.5 billion) to maintain its current level of support for universities, with its cash surplus set to dry up in two years, writes Peace Chiu for South China Morning Post.


Education minister announces plan to outlaw essay mills

The education minister is looking to clamp down on 'essay mills' that are selling work to third-level students, writes Stephen McNeice for News Talk.


Vocational education lacks long-term strategy – Expert

A leading expert says the AU$1.5 billion (US$1.1 billion) Skilling Australians Fund for vocational education announced in the federal budget is welcome, but Australia needs a longer term strategy to ensure that the vocational side of tertiary education can be expanded to meet student needs, writes Tim Dodd for Financial Review.


World Bank offers support to autonomous universities

The World Bank’s board of executive directors on 15 May approved US$155 million in financing to strengthen the research, teaching and institutional capacity of three autonomous universities and improve the management of Vietnam’s higher education system, reports The Financial.


Top university to hold black only graduation ceremony

Harvard University will host a graduation ceremony exclusively for black students, organisers have announced as more than 170 students and 530 guests have signed up to attend the event, which will be held on 23 May, writes Niamh McIntyre for the Independent.


World Bank grants US$100 million for higher education

The World Bank board of directors on 12 May approved US$100 million in financing for Sri Lanka's higher education sector, to raise enrolment in key disciplines, improve the quality of degree programmes and promote research, reports Colombo Page.


Tuition discounting climbs amid weak enrolment

Tuition discounting at private colleges and universities is up again. Tuition revenue is straining to keep up. And enrolment is weak, writes Rick Seltzer for Inside Higher Ed.


China extends invitation to higher education students

China is bent on establishing relations in Morocco. Having initiated more than 80 businesses in the Kingdom, the Asian country is now opening up its higher education system to Moroccan students, writes Amira El Masaiti for Morocco World News.


Professional bodies must stop ‘harassing’ universities

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i has cautioned professional bodies against creating chaos in universities by inciting students over programmes' accreditation, writes Augustine Oduor for the Standard.


Plan for common engineering college test under review

The central government is reviewing its plan to introduce a common entrance test for admission to engineering colleges across the country from 2018, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said last week, reports The Economic Times.


Shock at news of university medical school scam

KwaZulu-Natal Health provincial leader Sibongiseni Dhlomo registered his shock after a syndicate selling spots at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson Mandela School of Medicine was busted this month, writes Jeff Wicks for Times Live.


125 doctorates expected from new Swedish funding

The Swedish government has agreed to support the training of 125 PhD and 147 masters students and 65 post-doctoral fellows over the next five years, following a new cooperation agreement reached with five public universities in Uganda which will see support go to 17 research teams, writes Prisca Baike for The Observer.


West Bank student election win reflects political mood

A student group ideologically aligned with Hamas has won the most seats for the third year in a row in an election held at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank in a result that, according to a policy expert, reflects the overall political mood among Palestinians, reports Al Jazeera.


University to set up ninja studies centre

A Japanese university is planning what it says will be the world's first research centre devoted to ninja – the black clad assassins known for secrecy and stealth, reports AFP.

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