NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
Military use of research pushback in Japan, South Korea
Suvendrini Kakuchi and Aimee Chung
As dozens of the world’s artificial intelligence (AI) researchers threatened to boycott a top South Korean research university due to its links to a weapons manufacturer to help develop AI-directed weapons, Japanese universities have been asked to set up procedures to identify military uses of research.
Cryptocurrency mining attacks mainly target universities
Potentially damaging cryptocurrency mining behaviours are increasingly targeting higher education institutions – they now suffer from more than half of such known mining activities – with Asian countries the most affected, followed by North America and Europe, a new report has found.
Dismay over pro-China hounding of Hong Kong scholar
Mimi Leung and Yojana Sharma
A group of Hong Kong scholars has expressed concern to the United Nations over a barrage of criticism from pro-China groups against a Hong Kong law scholar over purported remarks on independence. They say the coordinated attack is the most serious against an academic in recent years.
Universities mourn ‘Mother of the nation’ Winnie Mandela
The country’s universities last week mourned the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, anti-apartheid icon and former wife of democratic South Africa’s first president Nelson Mandela, who passed away in Johannesburg on 2 April at the age of 81 after a long illness.
Universities told to deliver rankings data or face cuts
India’s minister responsible for higher education has told public universities that they must take part in the country’s rankings or face penalties, possibly funding cuts, after several universities failed to provide data and documentation for the latest national rankings released last week.
10 universities launch centres to boost entrepreneurship
In a bid to tackle graduate unemployment and contribute towards developing a knowledge-based economy, 10 universities in Libya have launched entrepreneurship and innovation centres to produce entrepreneurs equipped to run their own businesses.
The quest for truth in the age of demagogues
In an era of populism and alternative facts, universities’ role is to insist on the distinction between truth and untruth. They can also challenge a legacy of inequality and provide hope, social mobility and a renewed sense of civic engagement.
International partnership solution to the bioscience gap
Lack of resources including basic laboratory infrastructure seriously hampers the education of bioscientists that Africa needs. A partnership approach that focuses on teaching techniques and sustainable solutions can address some of the challenges.
The need for a harmonised approach to refugee education
Marco Di Donato
As a result of seven years of conflict, young refugees from Syria are growing up without the skills they need to access higher education. Higher education must help ensure there are educational pathways that will stop them from becoming a lost generation.
Towards more achievable university vision statements
Overly ambitious and unrealistic vision statements will not be able to drag Ethiopian universities higher up the regional and international ranking ladders. Instead, universities might be better off focusing more seriously on what they can achieve locally.
Seeking good-quality, socially engaged universities
Could concerns about the quality of higher education in the Middle East region be in part addressed by not just modelling universities on Western institutions and adopting global best practice, but also drawing on local traditions and creating systems that are more locally engaged?
CHANGES AND CHALLENGES IN HE
To celebrate our 500th edition, University World News asked its correspondents and commentators around the world to pick the most significant change or challenge facing their country or region in the 10 years since our first edition, or the one that will have the most impact in the 10 years ahead.
A look on the bright side of HE internationalisation
Shifting international student recruitment patterns do not signify the end of internationalisation. Programme mobility has been growing fast over the 10 years since University World News was founded and there remains a strong case for knowledge sharing across nations.
Academic freedom is essential to democracy
Patrick Blessinger and Hans de Wit
Without academic freedom, critical thinking cannot be cultivated and higher learning cannot be nurtured, yet academic freedom has come under new and more complex threats in the years since University World News’ first edition, including from nationalist-populist trends, social media and ‘fake news’.
Declining populations point to a sombre future for HE
Many countries in East and Southeast Asia saw two decades of unprecedented expansion in higher education, but continuing dramatically declining birth rates will cause upheaval and fierce competition between universities, and in some cases restructuring, in the next 10 years.
Economics is chipping away at the soul of US colleges
Mary Beth Marklein
The United States was heading into the Great Recession of 2008 when University World News published its first edition in 2007. So it should not be surprising that the most significant challenge faced by US higher education in the past 10 years is nothing new: rising tuition and other fees paid by students.
An optimistic narrative for higher education ahead
Africa is expected to account for more than half of the world’s population growth in the next 30 years or so. This presents a challenge and an opportunity for higher education, which, with the right policies in place, could power the ‘Africa rising’ narrative.
The changing pattern of internationalisation in Africa
Patterns of student mobility in Africa have been undergoing significant shifts in the past decade, with China investing more and greater emphasis on regional mobility, which is set to grow over the decade ahead, especially if opportunities outside Africa become more constrained.
Momentous university open door policy abandoned
A decision by the Labor government in 2008 to lift federal restrictions on university enrolments opened the door to thousands of young Australians who might never otherwise have been given the opportunity to attend university. But now a federal conservative government is responding by slashing university funding.
How the decision to triple tuition fees changed history
For a good case study in unintended consequences, it would be hard to beat the decision passed in December 2010 to allow a tripling of the tuition fee cap. The political fallout could yet imperil years of higher education reforms but arguably has already delivered the vote for Brexit.
A decade of reforms under three presidents rolls on
The election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France in 2007 triggered a series of ongoing university reforms that have increased autonomy, funded elite public-private partnerships and supported the creation of elite clusters aimed at making French higher education more internationally competitive.
Internationalisation confronted with far-right gains
Nineteen years into the Bologna Process, Germany can look back on a bumpy transition to Europe-wide recognised university degrees, but has also experienced increasing popularity as a country to study in. However, the AfD, the country’s largest opposition party, wants to see a U-turn in internationalisation.
Universities can lead recovery from shock of austerity
The austerity programme imposed on Greece brought the country to its knees and universities, students and academics suffered traumatic cuts in funding and wages and drastically reduced access to knowledge and resources. Nevertheless, universities can have a vital role in recovery.
Will Nordic model of higher education survive reforms?
Jan Petter Myklebust
Will the ongoing reforms in Scandinavian countries change the Nordic model of higher education, characterised by high levels of public funding, for both education and research, high levels of support staff at universities and high numbers of PhD grants?
Free university tuition is ‘in the law and here to stay’
María Elena Hurtado
Registration and free education for the most vulnerable 60% – a policy instigated by Chile’s vocal student movement that staged massive protests demanding quality, free, not-for-profit education – will be remembered as Chile’s greatest achievement in higher education in the past decade but universal coverage remains the objective.
Court outlaws second screening of university candidates
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has indicated it will appeal a recent high court ruling outlawing the 13-year-old practice among individual universities of re-screening university candidates who have already passed the national admission test known as the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.
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