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NEWSLETTERAfrican candidate for top UNESCO job wants new focus on higher education
In Africa Features Rachad Farah, Djibouti’s ambassador to UNESCO and a candidate for its top job, tells Yojana Sharma that the UN agency should prioritise higher education, particularly in the developing world. Gilbert Nganga discovers what the manifestos of top candidates contesting Kenya’s upcoming presidential elections have to say about higher education.
In Africa Analysis, Mohamed Eljarh contends that Libya needs government and industry to join forces to plug a skills shortage in the oil and gas industry.
In World Blog, Anne Corbett argues that global influence is about more than economic or military might. Deep cultural knowledge of other countries, through learning other languages, is vital.
Karoly Fuzessi writes in Commentary that protestors are lining up against government moves on higher education in Hungary, and Pawan Agarwal and Philip Altbach find that bureaucracy and lack of convergence between state and central governments are holding back progress in India's higher education system.
Alya Mishra describes student disappointment at the failure of British Prime Minister David Cameron to adequately address work visa and degree non-equivalence issues during his visit to India last week. And Sarah King Head outlines a new Institute of International Education book exploring the transformation of higher education in Latin America.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Egypt has launched a 10-year higher education plan aimed at reforming the sector and promoting the development of a knowledge-based economy. One goal is to establish 60 new universities in the coming decade.
The Nigerian government recently created three new universities in the north, bringing to nine the number of institutions set up by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in the past two years. But the move has polarised the university community, especially vice-chancellors, as well as the public.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, has expropriated land from a private company to build a family university, among other educational facilities. The university will be located in Mazowe, where she is running an orphanage and has built a primary school.
The Mauritian government has announced the opening this year of the Indian Ocean island’s first French language university, to be called Université des Mascareignes, with the help of France’s University of Limoges.
SOUTH AFRICAIshmael Tongai
South Africa’s Fort Hare University – the first institution created for black people under apartheid – re-opened on Wednesday, after the return to class of many of the thousands of students who had been sent home for protesting against a steep increase in residence fees.
Zambia’s government is set to build a university in its troubled Western province, where people have been demanding secession and claiming lack of development. Observers have interpreted the move as an attempt by President Michael Sata to pacify the restive area.
A new report has proposed the scaling up of e-initiatives in an effort to boost medical education across Africa, bridge the health workforce gap and tackle the brain drain in the world’s most health resource-limited communities.
Professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne, head of the steering committee for the government’s national consultation on higher education, has described challenges facing the sector and measures needed to solve a structural crisis in Senegal’s universities. But the lecturers’ union SAES has warned that the consultation is heading for “total failure”.
The Centre of Excellence in Science for Sustainability in Africa, CESSAF, has launched a PhD scholarship initiative in a range of scientific fields, with training to be offered in Angola and the United Kingdom.
UNESCO should promote higher education in the developing world in particular, to provide hope for unemployed young people, according to Rachad Farah, Djibouti’s ambassador to the UN agency, who announced his candidacy for the top UNESCO job last November.
Politicians seeking the presidency in Kenya’s 4 March elections have proposed far-reaching changes to higher education. In manifestos launched in recent weeks, the top candidates have among other things proposed restructuring higher education and making it free, building more technical colleges, new student bursaries and higher salaries for lecturers.
Libya faces rising demand for skilled workers in the oil and gas industry. Industry and higher education must work together to come up with relevant training that equips workers of the future with the right skills for the jobs that will need doing. Western universities are needed as partners in building Libya’s training resources.
Students at two higher education institutions in Gabon’s capital Libreville have barricaded access to their campuses in protest against non-payment of grants, and other grievances.
The government in Madagascar has ordered back-payment of grant money owed to students studying abroad – some of whom have not been paid for more than a year.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Australian universities have welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard of a US$1 billion plan to boost jobs through industry and innovation, saying it had the potential to unleash research and innovation as the key drivers of national productivity.
Lack of quality teaching, absence of industry collaborations, a slowing economic growth rate and excess supply have forced the closure of hundreds of management and engineering institutions in India over the past few years, an industry study has revealed.
The world’s two largest providers of massive open online courses, or MOOCs – the US-based edX and Coursera – have separately established new links with universities across the globe, including in Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico and Singapore, while also signing up more American universities.
The Greek Education Ministry’s plan to abolish, relocate or merge higher education departments and in some cases entire universities for economic reasons is once again throwing the academic community into turmoil.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has announced eight reforms to the student financial support system. In her weekly press report last Tuesday she said the reforms would save the government DKK2 billion (US$360 million) a year – but that Denmark would still have the world’s most generous student loan scheme.
SWEDENJan Petter Myklebust
Several Swedish universities are preparing to employ all doctoral students from 2015, changing from the current system in which PhD students receive financial support that varies according to the funding source.
The visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron to India last week has left Indian students disappointed that he did not address important higher education issues. There were no concessions on the UK’s post-study work visa for non-European students, and there was little progress on tackling non-equivalence of UK masters degrees in India, they said.
LATIN AMERICASarah King Head
The Institute of International Education in the United States has published a book that explores the policies, institutions and programmes that have helped transform the Latin American higher education landscape over the past three decades.
To have true global influence today requires more than military or economic skill. It also requires the deep cultural knowledge that learning languages gives. However, the importance of speaking different languages has been ignored in the Bologna process until recently.
Hungary's higher education system is in chaos and protesters have taken to the streets against moves that would drastically cut government funding, limit university autonomy and tie students to their homeland for years after graduation.
INDIAPawan Agarwal and Philip Altbach
Despite several areas in which India compares well with richer countries, deeply rooted structural and cultural issues are impeding progress in its higher education sector.
GLOBALDustin Welbourne, University of New South Wales
Forget blurry pictures and casts of big footprints. A Texas veterinarian, Dr Melba Ketchum, and her collaborators have published an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal proving the existence of Bigfoot.
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Changes to the way universities are funded in Britain will result in economic costs six times higher than any government savings, new figures suggest, writes David Mercer for The Independent.
This year’s Association of International Education Administrators annual conference in New Orleans took as its theme “Re-imagining Higher Education in a Global Context” and sessions focused on many of the phenomena that are propelling change, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.
Today, many of America's best young Sinologists are forgoing academia and instead choosing more lucrative careers in government or the private sector – working for select audiences on specific topics – writes Joshua Eisenman for US News.
The Council of University Presidents of Thailand has vowed to continue pushing for longer visas for foreign lecturers and students, writes Chuleep orn Aramnet for The Nation. Currently, foreign students in Thailand are required to renew their visas every three months, while foreign lecturer visas also require regular renewal.
People in their sixties should go to university to retrain because they will be expected to work for longer before retirement, the British government has suggested, writes Tim Ross for The Telegraph.
The higher education sector in New York has led all other industries in job growth over the past decade, and officials say colleges and universities are playing a primary role in the transition from a labour-based to a knowledge-based economy, writes Jessica Bakeman for Lohud.com.
Stanford University has set a new record for college fundraising, becoming the first institution to collect more than $1 billion in a single year, according to a report released last Wednesday, writes Terence Chea for Associated Press.
Harvard University in the United States, which often faces pressure from students and alumni to shed controversial investments, has agreed to create a senior position in its investment management arm, to consider the environmental, social and corporate governance aspects of its holdings, writes Todd Wallack for The Boston Globe.
Chile’s Education Ministry announced last Tuesday it would launch a digital platform that will allow students of the soon-to-be-defunct Universidad del Mar to access their academic records online, writes Alicja Siekierska for The Santiago Times.
Indonesia’s Vice President Boediono said last Tuesday that it was impossible to prevent foreign universities from operating in Indonesia, particularly in the current era of globalisation, reports The Jakarta Post.
The Welsh government has welcomed a report claiming that universities in Wales are "punching above their weight" in delivering quality research, but stressed the need to target resources, reports the BBC.
Scottish universities have been warned that they risk being seen as ‘cash cows’ if they raise tuition fees for students from other parts of the UK, reports stv news. The Scottish government wants to enshrine the current voluntary limit of £9,000 ($13,600) a year in law, but university leaders say legislation is unnecessary and would infringe on their autonomy.
With a stern warning to members of governing councils of Nigeria’s universities to steer clear of the day-to-day management of their institutions, Minister of Education Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai last Thursday inaugurated the chairs and council members of four federal universities, writes Mohammed Abubakar for The Guardian.
Kenyan universities are opening satellite campuses across the country as they seek to meet growing demand for education. However, some experts feel there is a better and cheaper way to improve access to education – by investing in e-learning – writes Edith Musyoki for AllVoices.
Two prestigious Hong Kong universities were to hold admissions consultation meetings in Taiwan this weekend to recruit local students, write Stanley Cheung and Maia Huang for Focus Taiwan.
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