NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
Japan overtakes UK in THE global rankings, China rises
United States universities continue to dominate the Times Higher Education or THE World University Rankings this year but are mostly static or in decline; while Japan overtakes the United Kingdom as the second most-represented nation and China continues to march up the rankings and takes top spot in Asia.
Regional winners, losers in THE global rankings
The 2019 Times Higher Education or THE World University Rankings analysis shows marked improvement for Asian universities at the expense of stagnation or decline in North America, Europe and Oceania, while Latin American and African universities are still struggling to make an impact on the rankings.
Top technology institutes recruit global staff jointly
Indian Institutes of Technology will pool their resources to hire professors collectively from abroad – in a drive to fill a severe shortage of faculty at the country’s top institutions. Each will be allotted a region in the United States or another part of the world to target.
Universities warned after pro-independence party ban
Hong Kong’s universities are nervously looking at student reaction in the wake of the shock banning of the Hong Kong National Party – which espouses Hong Kong’s independence from China – last week, following a new warning from the city’s education authorities.
Kavanaugh-Ford hearing faced dilemmas familiar on campus
Sarah Brown, The Chronicle of Higher Education
The extraordinary United States Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday involving Christine Blasey Ford and Brett M Kavanaugh grappled with many of the same questions that have been intrinsic to the debate over campus sexual assault and harassment and how to deal with it.
eLearning – The challenges of implementation
While most African governments are upbeat about e-learning opportunities, they often ignore the fact that information and communications technology infrastructure is expensive and out of reach of many schools and even universities, former World Bank managing director Dr Mamphela Ramphele told the eLearning Africa conference in Rwanda last week.
Remote participation yet to take off in universities
A new study has revealed that, on average, United Kingdom students miss 10 hours of classes a month, yet UK universities are struggling to keep up with the remote study trend, which has taken off in the workplace to adapt to modern lifestyles.
Is political correctness eroding universities’ mission?
Jan Petter Myklebust
Concern has been raised about a growing culture of ‘political correctness’ imposed by universities in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries that is said to be stifling open debate and academic freedom, and even creating a culture of fear among staff at universities.
Research universities alliance launches two new centres
The African Research Universities Alliance has launched two new centres of excellence, based at the University of Lagos in Nigeria – the first to be launched outside of South Africa.
Could Stephen Hawking have studied in Germany?
The German National Association for Student Affairs has published a survey on the situation of students with disabilities and chronic diseases, which finds that this group is confronted with a wide range of impediments at university, hindering their studies.
Academic study quantifies sanctions impact for first time
Government-funded scientific research has been undertaken for the first time to investigate the economic impact of sanctions. Zimbabwe lost about US$4.8 billion worth of revenue in the manufacturing sector in 2010 and US$2.1 billion in 2015 due to Western sanctions, preliminary results show.
Towards global recognition of HE qualifications
Roger Y Chao Jr and Stig Arne Skjerven
When the Tokyo Recognition Convention comes into force next year, it has the potential to become a milestone on the way to a borderless Asia-Pacific Higher Education Area and to re-energise efforts to enhance access, mobility and quality in higher education.
Promoting Malaysian culture through internationalisation
Hazri Jamil, Wan Chang Da and Ooi Poh Ling
Malaysia’s desire to be an international education hub would benefit from a broader approach through internationalisation-at-home policies that reach all students. A comparison of a private and a public university show significant differences in investment in internationalisation and the types of opportunity offered.
Enriching value of HE connections across the diaspora
Early findings of African academic diaspora linkage programmes show that they offer a range of benefits to home and host institutions, including academic expertise and funding – and the linkages are long-lasting. African governments should recognise the value of intellectual, not just financial, remittances.
THE PUBLISHING CRISIS
There is a crisis in academic publishing – too much pressure on top journals, too many books of marginal quality, the rise of predatory journals and publishers that publish low or marginal quality research and tremendous pressure on academics worldwide to publish, according to Philip Altbach and Hans de Wit. Their argument has triggered a continuing debate among higher education experts.
Must academic evaluation be so citation data driven?
Is the academic citation market that is used to decide tenure sufficiently ‘free’ to inspire confidence that metrics can ever truly reveal whose work has substantively mattered the most to the research community?
The dangers of limiting research to elite universities
Jenny J Lee and Alma Maldonado-Maldonado
Suggestions to differentiate published research universities from mostly teaching universities are disturbing, as the implications are not only that social, economic and institutional inequities would remain unaddressed and probably worsen, but that the distribution dynamics of global wealth would be affected negatively.
Reduce publishing in India and increase quality
Unlike in the West, the publishing crisis in India is due to the government’s policy of making research compulsory across all institutions without taking into account their different nature, the quality of faculty or the lack of basic facilities for research.
Scholars targeted as Uighur purge engulfs universities
Names have emerged of academics in Xinjiang who disappeared, possibly to Xinjiang’s vast internment camps, after major purges of the region’s universities, as Beijing’s widespread crackdown on the Uighur Muslim population of the Northwest province of Xinjiang engulfed higher education.
Iran’s ‘branch campuses’ reach Sub-Saharan Africa
Iranian universities are rapidly expanding their branches in both number and capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa, in a move seen by higher education experts as either enhancing academia on the continent, or attempting to extend Iranian cultural diplomacy or 'soft power' to serve Iranian political, economic, religious and cultural agendas.
Curriculum transformation – ‘A long and tortuous battle’
The transformation of South African universities will not be “handed over on a silver platter” but will have to be fought for in what is likely to be a “long and tortuous” battle, a recent conference focused on ‘decolonisation’ of university humanities curricula heard.
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