NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
SDGs – Universities are moving from what to do to how
The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, including one on education, were agreed at a United Nations summit two years ago and aim to solve the world’s biggest problems by 2030, but how far have universities gone in helping to achieve them?
One in six state-funded university places axed
The number of state-funded places at domestic universities has been cut by 17% this academic year in line with Ministry of Education and Science proposals under the ongoing reform of the Ukrainian national system of higher education, which includes dropping specialist degrees.
Universities warn court of harm caused by travel ban
Higher education associations have submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court warning that the Executive Order banning entry to the US from six countries will send a “clarion message of exclusion” to foreign students and researchers around the globe.
Universities told to step up anti-extremism measures
Ameen Amjad Khan
With a rising tendency towards extremism among university students from privileged backgrounds, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal last week urged university vice-chancellors to step up anti-radicalisation measures on campuses.
UNITED KINGDOM-UNITED STATES
UK minister signs umbrella science agreement with US
United Kingdom Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson has signed a UK-US Science and Technology Agreement with United States Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith G Garber, marking the first umbrella agreement between the United States and United Kingdom.
Public backs higher funding for university research
The overwhelming majority of Canadians believes in the importance of university research for Canada’s future as an innovation leader and its importance in tackling pressing global challenges, and that university research should be funded at globally competitive levels, according to a new survey.
Drastic population drop to hit higher education funding
Without reforms to the higher education sector, Thailand’s drastic population drop in recent years could affect the funding and quality of universities – and put many universities at risk – education experts warn after the university central admissions exam saw a 20% drop in numbers of applications.
Experts call for radical changes in higher education
Experts say Poland needs to take radical steps to address underfunding, mission diversity, quality assurance weaknesses and gender bias, and improve research excellence, doctoral training and internationalisation. But not all of their ideas made it into the higher education law proposed last week.
Universities face an age of cyber crime
An increasing number of cyber attacks targeting African higher education institutions and universities points to the need for more effective security and greater emphasis on university-based education and research, according to experts.
A nationalist approach to internationalisation of HE
The nationalist policies of the Hungarian government sit side by side with a desire to continue to attract international students, but there is a danger that some higher education principles – and even entire institutions – may end up falling victim to right-wing political agendas.
What can Brexit Britain expect from a trade agreement?
Questions about partnerships with European Union universities and branch campuses have been raised since the Brexit referendum. The easiest path forward for United Kingdom universities after Brexit remains an agreement with EU programmes because trade deals would be subject to individual states’ agreement and restrictions.
In defence of flagship universities
The best approach to building 'world-class' universities in most African cases would be elevating existing flagship universities which already have some brand, history and visibility, and human and material resources.
Changing higher education to achieve social inclusion
Indian academics are stuck in their ways. It is easier to follow the traditional teaching path and methods – such as using books used in universities in the United States and the United Kingdom – than look at what could really make a difference to those from lower social castes. They could borrow some ideas from Brazil.
Universities need to embrace a more global outlook
The latest rankings are not good news for Latin American universities. They should serve as a catalyst for more internationalisation which will drive greater innovation.
Rich lessons from implementing internationalisation
Shaheen Motala Timol and Kevin Kinser
Mauritius’ internationalisation efforts over the past few years have offered a rich learning experience for the country so it can use its unique contextual advantages to design a culturally informed regulatory framework which fits its vibrant higher education sector.
Lifelong learning requires an evolving university
Universities need to adapt to a changing world where students will need to learn throughout their lives. That means selectively forgetting some ways of doing things from the past in order to fully invent and realise the future of higher education – and it isn’t easy.
New cyber law threatens academic freedoms and activism
A proposed Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill is likely to have a devastating effect on academic freedom and student activism in Zimbabwe, where the law and legal system are used to thwart dissent from ordinary citizens, academics and student activists.
Despair over new medical college admissions changes
The suicide of a student who achieved 98% in school subjects has highlighted the despair felt by thousands of India’s lowest caste and poorest students who have been denied entry to medical college following changes in medical admissions policy that have been upheld by a Supreme Court ruling.
Can Finland capitalise on its educational reputation?
Jan Petter Myklebust
At a time of layoffs of staff at universities due to economic cutbacks, initiatives towards new educational export projects have been mushrooming, spurred on by government ambition, supported and staffed with experts, and seeking to build on and export ‘Global Education Brand Finland’.
Why Beall’s blacklist of predatory journals died
Paul Basken, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Jeffrey Beall, an academic librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, abruptly shuttered a blacklist of journals he deemed untrustworthy nine months ago. But while the project has ended, debates over its merit and impact live on – and questions it raised about open access remain unresolved.
AFRICAN SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING
African scholarly publishers based in South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon and Uganda, as well as the global book distributor African Books Collective, met in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently to discuss the challenges they face and opportunities to strengthen monograph publishing through collaboration. This Special Report kicks off a new African Scholarly Publishing section that will run regular articles on developments in the academic book and journal publishing sector on the continent.
Universities need imaginative, ICT-enhanced presses
Thierry Luescher and François van Schalkwyk
How are African university presses faring under the global scholarly publishing industry’s current 'market' conditions and the contradictory developments of 'robber capitalism' on the part of large commercial publishers and hyper-marketisation on the one hand, and the emergence of 'social capitalism' and open access knowledge sharing on the other hand?
Network aims to strengthen African scholarly publishing
A small group of African scholarly publishers has launched a network for collaboration, experience-sharing and advocacy – and they have invited other publishers of scholarly monographs across Africa to join. Work has already begun on initial projects including building a shared database of peer reviewers and developing peer review standards.
ABC – Taking African scholarly books to the world
African-published books are as easily available as any book published anywhere and the international market for African scholarship is healthy. But African books are now far more accessible outside than within the continent. Through the African Books Collective, African publishers worked together to successfully sell their books to the North – now they must operate in the same way in Africa.
Desire for knowledge – Langaa and publishing in Africa
Francis B Nyamnjoh and Kathryn Toure
Can enhanced circulation of African worldviews help shape the evolution of humanity? This is our vision at Langaa Research and Publishing Common Initiative Group which, along with other African publishers, stirs the imagination and contributes to cultural development and renaissance.
The costs of losing local research to global publishers
The overwhelming proportion of South African research goes to international publishers, and the academy is forced to buy back its own knowledge – often at exorbitant prices. As Africa’s research output grows, university presses will have to radically improve capacity to have any chance of controlling research outputs in the global knowledge economy.
Research offers ways forward for university presses
The first research to provide an empirically-based overview of African university presses reveals a bleak landscape – but also a group of active presses that are deploying technology to reduce production costs, enhance visibility and widen their reach. It offers ways forward for universities and presses keen to respond to the remarkable growth of research in Africa.
The African university press – A gloomy picture
While the university press is a non-commercial enterprise, it must be run with strictly commercial and business-like efficiency. Evidence from many dormant African university presses – their frequently low profile and visibility, and meagre publishing output – paints a gloomy picture and suggests this is not always the case.
Joint project to tackle disaster from space
Australia’s top science organisation, the CSIRO, is to conduct joint research with United States-based Radiant.Earth into satellite imagery and earth observation data for promoting disaster resilience and tackling critical issues in health, climate change and sustainable water management, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region.