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NEWSLETTEROpen access to help move Africa from knowledge periphery to centre
We interview Max Price, vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town – Africa’s top-ranked institution – for the latest in our series “Thoughts and experiences of African university leaders”. In Africa Analysis, Russel Botman argues that open access could help Africa tackle its development challenges by moving the continent from the periphery of knowledge production to the centre.
In Africa Features, Asle Rønning finds growing understanding of the key contributions African universities could make to the continent’s development.
Nicola Jenvey reports on graduate unemployment in South Africa’s skills-short economy, and Tunde Fatunde reveals that a rush by Nigerian graduates for low-skills jobs has raised questions about the usefulness and relevance of university education in that country. Mamadou Mika Lom writes that Senegal’s top university is back in the eye of a storm following a tumultuous academic year.
In World Blog, William Patrick Leonard describes websites that have sprung up in the United States based on alumni evaluations of universities. Could they be more valuable to some than the major rankings?
In Commentary, Daniel J Guhr contends that the race to drive up international student numbers could damage America’s higher education reputation, and Rachel Brooks discovers that wealthier students in Britain are most likely to apply to cheaper universities overseas.
And in Global Features, Brendan O’Malley outlines a new report by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack calling for governments to implement a ban on the use of schools and universities as barracks and bases during conflicts.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
African university leaders series
SOUTH AFRICAKaren MacGregor
Professor Max Price has led Africa's top-ranked university for four years. The University of Cape Town's vision is to be 'Afropolitan' and it is also highly international, with nearly 20% of students and 25% of academics from outside South Africa. Price told University World News what the institution is doing right.
An African Union-appointed taskforce has recommended the creation of a continental research council, to ensure that science becomes an effective instrument in overcoming underdevelopment, creating wealth and improving livelihoods in Africa.
The East African Community's five member countries have approved a key bill seeking to harmonise and standardise their university education systems, ending three years of haggling.
Concern is growing in Kenya’s higher education sector that the country may soon face a critical shortage of mid-level professionals and technicians, due to the rapid expansion of public universities that are swallowing up institutions offering vocational qualifications.
Kenya’s Higher Education Loans Board in partnership with government has commenced an ambitious higher education financing programme targeting over 250,000 civil servants, which will see all those willing to acquire a university education get funding.
SOUTH AFRICAMunyaradzi Makoni
South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande has called for a debate to inform the use of African languages for teaching and research in higher education. He said the country must move from merely developing African languages as languages of scholarship in academia, to giving them identity as part of the academic discourse.
A new university is to be set up in Morocco to boost research on the environment and development and to serve as an ‘engine of development’ for Mohammed VI Green City in Benguerir, north of Marrakesh.
BURKINA FASOJane Marshall
Burkina Faso has been undergoing a “remarkable expansion” of private higher education, to the detriment of women and the socially disadvantaged and leading to geographical inequalities, according to an editorial in Sidwaya of Ouagadougou. It also reported that graduate unemployment, unknown 30 years ago, is now a serious problem.
Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing positive economic development, and there is increasing understanding of the important contributions universities have to make if African societies are to achieve the next stages of development.
SOUTH AFRICANicola Jenvey
South Africa has a glaring disparity between its higher education system and the workplace, an issue that can only further harm an economy struggling to absorb its youth and grow in line with its BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – trading bloc partners.
Among the applicants for truck driver positions advertised recently by a Nigerian-owned transnational company were holders of degrees, MBAs, masters and some PhDs, from reputable universities at home and abroad. The rush for low-skill jobs raises questions about the usefulness and relevance of university education.
SENEGALMamadou Mika Lom
After a tumultuous academic year because of a teachers’ strike during eight of its 25 weeks, the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar – Senegal’s biggest university – finds itself again in the eye of a storm.
Open access can help Africa to address its developmental challenges by moving the continent from the periphery of knowledge production to the centre. And the growth of open access on the continent signifies that Africa is ready to lead itself and its sciences deeper into the 21st century.
Audits to improve university management and a national consultation on higher education were announced by Senegal’s new Minister for Higher Education and Research Professor Mary Teuw Niane at his first interministerial council meeting held for the new academic year.
Calm returned to the Ankatso campus of the University of Antsiranana earlier this month after negotiations between the Minister for Higher Education Etienne Hilaire Razafindehibe and protesting students. The talks took place after a resurgence of violence, during which a car belonging to the university was set on fire and five students were arrested.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Efforts by the government to make studying in Australia more attractive to foreign students appear to have boosted unemployment rates among the nation’s young people, according to a new report. It says tens of thousands of foreign students are successfully applying for different visas at the end of courses so they can stay and work in Australia, in the hope of becoming permanent residents.
It’s no longer enough to leave university with a degree – even a masters – at least not in the European Union. Successful graduates of the future must have the skills that equip them for the job market of the modern age, says a European Commission strategy paper released last Tuesday.
MYANMARNaw Say Phaw Waa
There were many reasons why Barack Obama chose Yangon University to make a major speech during his landmark visit to Myanmar last week – the first to the country by a United States president. He outlined the reasons himself as he noted that education was the key to America’s future, and was going to be the key to Myanmar’s.
Jordan has been rocked by widespread protests, including by students, against price hikes resulting from the government's decision to liberalise fuel prices. University presidents have dismissed strike and sit-in action organised by student unions at several institutions as ‘unlawful’.
GLOBALSarah King Head
Responding to the worsening situation in Syria, Institute of International Education President and CEO Allan Goodman recently announced that a global consortium of higher education institutions and organisations had pledged an additional US$1.3 million in emergency support for threatened Syrian scholars and students.
Universities need to do a better job of equipping young people to succeed in the 21st century, Andreas Schleicher, deputy director for education at the OECD, argued at the recent World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar.
France’s Higher Education and Research Minister Geneviève Fioraso has blocked the appointment of a provisional director of the elite Institute of Political Science, known as Sciences Po.
A global coalition of United Nations agencies and international NGOs supporting education and human rights has called for governments to implement a “clear and unamibiguous” ban on the use of schools and universities as barracks and bases during conflicts.
UNITED STATESWilliam Patrick Leonard
Two new American sites that provide alumni data on what a university is like could give students with no inside track on institutions the information they need to decide where to study. Could this kind of personal information eventually prove more useful than that in the major rankings?
UNITED STATESDaniel J Guhr
The Open Doors report shows rising enrolment numbers for international students in the US, but is the country in danger of substituting high quality education with a race to drive up enrolment numbers for the sake of short-term revenue? In the process, educational quality and integrity are likely to be sacrificed. Such an unsustainable dynamic rarely ends well.
Erasmus is a key part of the European enterprise, allowing greater mobility of students across the continent and opening up opportunities. There are fears that the budget for extending the programme may be cut, but this would impact on those who have been most hit by the recession.
UNITED KINGDOMRachel Brooks
UK students are increasingly likely to travel abroad to study, as tuition fees make studying in the UK more expensive and competition for the top universities makes them difficult to access. Statistics suggest, however, that it is wealthier students that are taking most advantage.
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In a groundbreaking move, it was revealed that the College of Law – Britain’s largest provider of legal education and training – had been granted full university status, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph. It is the first private university to be established since Buckingham – officially a charity – was awarded the full title almost 30 years ago.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation has joined the American Association of University Professors in urging accreditors to take steps to ensure that the protection of academic freedom is a central concern in their evaluation of higher education institutions, writes Peter Schmidt for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Sociology is almost second nature to Mitchell Duneier, a professor at Princeton: he has taught it 30 times, and a textbook he co-wrote is in its eighth edition. But last summer, as he transformed the class into a free online course, he had to grapple with some brand new questions, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
Online courses provided by some of the top universities in the United States are going to be used by students at local community colleges, in a project funded by the Gates Foundation, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.
Nine top US universities and colleges have formed an academic partnership to help Burma rebuild its higher education capacity, it was announced last week in the wake of a historic visit to the country by US President Barack Obama, writes Lalit K Jha for The Irrawaddy.
Six universities in Taiwan will merge into three due to the nation's declining birth rate, the Ministry of Education said last week, writes Linger Liu for The China Post.
The continuing expansion of online higher education could help Iran to one day emerge from the shadows of theocracy and transform more seamlessly into a liberal democratic society, a conference has heard, writes Matthew Reisz for Times Higher Education.
National Union of Students President Liam Burns has been pelted with eggs and fruit at the conclusion of a march in London, which was marked by a low turnout and widespread anger over the perceived failure of the organisation to fight the trebling of university fees in England, write Shiv Malik and Rebecca Ratcliffe for the Guardian.
Four private tertiary education providers in New Zealand have had their intake of foreign students suspended after they were found to be in breach of their obligations to international students, writes Simon Day for Stuff.
Scottish students risk missing out on higher education places in their own country due to a huge increase in competition from elsewhere in the EU, one of the country’s leading universities has warned, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
Samwel Odhiambo feels that he fits in well in Mumbai. The Kenyan student, now in his third year of an IT degree at Patkar College in Goregaon, left Nairobi to pursue higher education in India. "It is five or six times more expensive in Kenya," he said. "I also wanted a new experience, so I came here," writes Bhavya Dore for the Hindustan Times.
Banks have become stricter this year about sanctioning loans for study abroad, following complaints from Indian students about the recognition of foreign universities. They have put in place a number of checks and are demanding more documents from students, reports Aparna Ramalingam for TNN.
Auckland University and New Zealand’s government appear headed for a showdown over what courses the university is offering – and what the country needs, writes Simon Collins for The New Zealand Herald. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce is threatening to force the university to take more engineering students.
A delegation from the Liberian government that visited the headquarters of the World Bank in New York, where it participated in a week-long intensive consultation, has returned home, reports the Daily Observer.
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission is conducting a feasibility study around the country into electronically connecting colleges through the Pakistan Education and Research Network, or PERN, writes Myra Imran for The News.
One of the most popular universities in East Africa is not accredited, according to Kenya’s Commission for Higher Education, writes Benjamin Muindi for the Sunday Nation.
The Students Association of Nigeria in Diaspora has called on the Nigerian government to address the dangerous trend whereby huge sums of money are taken to other countries as university and school fees, writes Ibrahim Chonoko for the Daily Trust.
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