NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
Higher education funding divide grows across Europe
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the divide between higher education systems that increase public funding and those that reduce investment is getting wider in Europe, with recovery slow and fragile in many countries and with some still going backwards, a new report says.
Over 100 HE institutions bid for ‘world-class’ upgrade
A total of 100 of India’s top universities and colleges are vying to be named ‘institutions of eminence’ as part of the country’s higher education reforms to upgrade around 20 institutions into ‘world-class’ universities within the next 10 years.
Blended learning network to overcome faculty shortages
A network of East African universities that will be able to share scarce teaching capacity through the use of 'blended' learning and effective approaches to teaching is in the offing to address staff shortages in the region’s institutions.
Government unveils plans for two-year bachelor degrees
The United Kingdom government has announced plans for two-year accelerated bachelor degrees that it claims could save students up to £25,000 (US$33,000) compared with taking the degree over three years in the normal way. It hopes they will attract mature students but also many school leavers.
Sectorally mobile researchers are ‘change agents’
Jan Petter Myklebust
Danish universities need to do more to promote sectoral mobility of researchers, which fosters increased innovation, knowledge turnover, technological development and relevance for research and education, according to the findings of a major investigation by the Danish Council for Research and Innovation Policy.
Universities body announces tuition fee increase
The issue of fee-free education is yet to be settled, but the vast majority of the 26 universities have determined that the inflationary-linked increase for 2018 will be set at 8%, according to a statement released last week by Universities South Africa.
Universities are sitting on a large pot of unspent funds
Jan Petter Myklebust
The minister of higher education and research was shocked to learn that Swedish universities and colleges have accumulated SEK12 billion (US$1.4 billion) in unspent funds allocated by government and thinks it should be spent on raising quality.
Government report calls for review of student support
The latest government report on Germany’s ‘BAFöG’ student support system – which provides financial support to one in five students – reiterates its vital role in higher education and recommends a future government to review support levels, especially in the light of soaring rental costs for students.
Business schools as change agents in an era of corruption
If African business schools are to serve as change agents and play an effective role in combating systemic corruption in Africa, they need to equip future business leaders with pragmatic political skills rather than rely solely on developing an individual’s ethical outlook, according to new research from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.
Low turnout at ‘restrictive’ student elections
Voter turnout appeared to be low at the student union elections which took place in Egypt last weekend – the country’s first such polls in two years – and many candidates won their seats unopposed, according to local news reports including Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Intelligent as well as artificial assistance needed
In the rush to keep up with digital technology, we must not forget that intelligent assistance should be prioritised above the use of artificial intelligence. Our students need to know that being connected is not enough – it is what you do with the connection that is important.
A global recognition convention for academic mobility
Stig Arne Skjerven and Einar Meier
The draft global convention on academic mobility will improve the rights of internationally mobile students, promote robust ethical quality assurance systems, contribute to building trust across borders and pave the way for increased global cooperation in higher education.
Brexit breakthrough, but what next for universities?
Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon
The stage one Brexit agreement achieved earlier this month has been heralded as a breakthrough that will have brought relief for university chiefs despite ongoing uncertainty, but there are signs too that the European Union is already forging ahead without the United Kingdom.
Are branch campuses improving students’ employability?
International branch campuses are facing questions about their sustainability. It’s a good point to ask their students about their perceptions of how they prepare them for the jobs market and to what extent they can tap the experience of teachers from the parent university.
The merits of equality in Africa-China HE collaborations
China-Africa higher education collaboration can be used to supplement the efforts of individual universities, but it cannot be a substitute for national human resources development or local capacity building initiatives.
The languages strategy is an important first step
Hanne Leth Andersen
The Danish government’s national languages strategy is much needed to address the plummeting take-up of languages. For universities a key task is to integrate language skills in foreign languages other than English into other courses and to develop local languages strategies with municipalities.
NEW NATIONALISM AND UNIVERSITIES
University World News was a media partner of the New Nationalism and Universities international conference held at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its Center for Studies in Higher Education. Alumni and leading scholars from around the world discussed rising nationalism and populism in its many forms, and the impact on the missions and activities of universities. This is the second of two special reports on the conference.
Right’s greatest threat to universities is yet to come
United States universities are embattled on several fronts in the age of Trump and the rise of the alt-right, but the biggest threat yet may come from the conservative agenda on tax cuts and the likely impact of massive ensuing cuts, speakers predicted at the University of California, Berkeley’s conference on New Nationalism and Universities.
Intellectual freedom the target of illiberal regimes
While the Turkish government is conducting a mass purge of academics, Hungary’s government is quietly changing the rules of law in relation to higher education for the same purpose, to silence opposition and consolidate power, the New Nationalism and Universities conference at the University of California, Berkeley was told.
Will this be a Chinese century in higher education?
While the United States and United Kingdom have made decisions that raise uncertainty over international cooperation and free movement of students, China is pushing to become a global leader in higher education – but will it push ‘Chinese characteristics’?
Scholar’s death sentence upheld as appeal ‘not filed’
‘Wrongfully convicted’ scholar Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, an emergency medicine specialist, has been told his death sentence will go ahead after the authorities kept his court review date and location secret from his lawyers to deny him the chance to appeal, human rights organisations say.
Higher education’s social responsibility to refugees
Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta
Given the scale of the global refugee problem – and in particular the fact that only 1% of adult refugees attend university – colleges and universities should demonstrate their commitment as good global citizens by helping more of them access higher education.
The story of how Singapore became a research nation
Bertil Andersson, outgoing president of Nanyang Technological University, looks back at 10 years of higher education in Singapore, dramatic changes in the research and higher education landscape and the rise of Singapore’s research universities in global rankings – which turned the country into a ‘smart nation’.
Iran, Saudi Arabia vie for influence over Afghan HE
Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are building Islamic universities and higher education institutions in restive areas of Afghanistan, using them as a proxy battleground and soft power tools for expanding their ideological, cultural and political spheres of influence, according to regional experts.
Students as victims of a national language malaise
Is the inability of Algeria to decide on a dominant language of instruction – Arabic or French – impeding the potential of its graduates and stunting economic and social development?
Horizon 2020 backs major push to tackle tinnitus
Jan Petter Myklebust
Three Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks have been awarded €10.3 million (US$12 million) from Horizon 2020 to teach 40 plus PhD candidates across 11 countries – France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Poland – to support research into tinnitus, which affects 50 million Europeans.
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