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NEWSLETTERUniversity challenges in South Sudan; Tanzania acts against branch campus
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In the latest in our article series “Thoughts and experiences of African university leaders”, Andrew Green interviews Vice-chancellor John Apuru Akec in South Sudan, who is struggling to get his new University of Northern Bahr el Ghazal off the ground.
In Africa Features, Tunde Fatunde reports on Nigeria’s plans to set up six ‘mega-universities’, and Fortune Sylivester probes the reasons why a branch campus in Tanzania has been ordered to stop offering postgraduate degrees.
In Commentary, Adam Tyson, in response to the critical article we published by the European Students’ Union, outlines the advantages of Europe’s proposed new study loan guarantees, aimed at expanding student mobility, and Phil Honeywood argues that Britain can learn a lot from Australia about promoting international education.
Neal King, president of the International Association of University Presidents, wonders how to create a knowledge base that is truly global, and Bindu N Lohani argues that in order to grow, South East Asian nations need to invest in developing knowledge economies.
In World Blog, William Patrick Leonard finds that traditional students in the US are receiving poorer quality offerings as colleges try to balance their budgets by increasing student intakes. In Student View, Faizan Khan writes that international students bring many advantages to countries, but face a range of challenges.
Yojana Sharma looks in Features at recent meetings between policy-makers and university leaders as China strives to deepen its higher education links with Europe. Carmen Paun reports on the European Commission-backed U-Multirank’s efforts to ensure the quality of its ranking indicators, and Chrissie Long finds Catholic higher education leaders in Latin America encouraged by the choice of the new pope.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
African university leaders series
SOUTH SUDANAndrew Green
Dr John Apuru Akec wants to use universities to develop South Sudan, the world’s newest country, which became independent in July 2011. It is a noble and sensible goal. But first of all, the vice-chancellor will have to help make the nation’s higher education system work.
EAST AFRICAGilbert Nganga
The East African Community has slashed its budget for harmonising education systems and curricula in the five member countries in the coming fiscal year, further slowing a process that has nearly flopped due to financial constraints.
An Egyptian public university has referred a lecturer to a disciplinary board for allegedly making blasphemous remarks – the latest in a series of moves against liberals in the Islamist-ruled country.
SOUTH AFRICAPeta Lee
As Britain's universities minister opened the new building that will be the control hub for the largest radio telescope on Earth, the Square Kilometre Array, South Africa revealed its commitments to the preconstruction phase of the huge research project it is co-hosting with Australia.
SOUTH AFRICAKaren MacGregor
South Africa’s post-school education budget has been increased to R34.3 billion (US$3.8 billion) – growth of 8.6% over last year – Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande said last week. A priority is to provide opportunities for 3.5 million youths not absorbed into employment, education or training this year.
Malawi’s President Joyce Banda has constituted a special committee to investigate problems affecting the higher education sector and propose corrective measures.
Two new initiatives are under way in North Africa to promote regional and international higher education and research cooperation. The United Nations University is establishing a sustainable development institute in Algeria, and a Regional Environmental Education Group will be set up in Tunisia and Morocco.
China is to deepen joint medical research with Africa, particularly in training African medical scientists.
Nigeria’s National Economic Council recently made several far-reaching decisions on the future of tertiary education in the country, including the creation of ‘mega-universities’ in six geo-political zones, each with the capacity to admit up to 150,000 students.
The Tanzania Commission for Universities has finally acted against a branch campus of Uganda’s Kampala International University, ordering the Dar es Salaam-based institution to stop offering masters and doctoral courses.
Universities in Madagascar must announce individually when they will start their new academic year, following disruption caused by strikes that has resulted in the University of Antananarivo only now completing its 2011-12 year.
Police used teargas to break up violent fighting between students of the University of Kinshasa and local ‘kuluna’ gang members, when the students retaliated for attacks the gang had made on some of them.
A new centre for research and development has opened in Louga, as part of a programme in Senegal to set up centres in all regions to develop local scientific knowledge and skills and technology transfer. In a separate initiative Fortica, a youth entrepreneurship project, will focus on teaching ICT skills to 2,000 young people.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Delhi University, regarded as India’s top university, is in turmoil amid an increasingly politicised battle over its plans to switch to a four-year undergraduate programme from the next academic session, beginning in July.
For the second year running, the network of 24 research-intensive universities called Universitas 21 has published an annual report on global rankings of national higher education systems rather than their universities.
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, head of the opposition National League for Democracy in Myanmar, has said that British universities can help reinvigorate her country’s education system, ravaged by years of military rule.
Last Tuesday, ministers from European Union accession countries in the Balkans decided with the European Commission on the topic of the next action of the Western Balkan Platform for Education and Training. The most likely option will be to map the links between the world of learning and the world of work.
For the first time an Australian university is using the crowdfunding system to attract money from the public to cover all or some of the costs of research. Eight academics at Deakin University in Melbourne have turned to a crowdfunding site called Pozible.com in an attempt to raise funds for their research projects.
May is the Month of the Brain, our most energy-consuming organ. Representing only 2% of the weight of an adult, the brain consumes 20% of the energy produced by the body. Efficient energy supply is crucial for the brain, so that our memory, mobility and senses can function normally, says Professor David Attwell of University College London, who is researching the mechanisms by which the brain is powered.
In a flurry of recent international meetings of education policy-makers and university leaders, China is deepening its higher education links with Europe. A more in-depth relationship would include a stronger focus on understanding the management and governance of public universities to enable increased international collaboration.
The consortium running the European Commission-backed U-Multirank is working to ensure the quality and reliability of the indicators it will use to measure universities, University World News has been told in an exclusive interview.
LATIN AMERICAChrissie Long
Less than a year after the Catholic church stripped a top Peruvian university of its association with the Vatican, educators in the region’s Catholic universities are encouraged by the choice of new pope.
UNITED STATESKarin Fischer, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Since the Boston Marathon bombings three weeks ago, the United States government has enacted just one significant security change: it has ordered increased scrutiny of international students coming into the country.
UNITED STATESWilliam Patrick Leonard
Colleges in the United States sought to balance their budgets by increasing student intakes, but this has meant having to offer a range of remedial courses, which in turn has had an impact on their budgets. Those who have paid the price are traditional, full-time students. International students thinking of studying in the US should take note.
Recently University World News carried a report on the call by the European Students' Union to scrap the proposed new European study loan guarantees and to use the funds instead for traditional Erasmus grants. But by agreeing to underwrite loans, the European Union will support thousands more young people to study abroad.
International education in the United Kingdom has got bogged down in political debates about migration, and this has led to an identity crisis. Australia has sought new ways to counter public fears about immigration through student visas and may provide some lessons.
Universities increasingly aim to produce ‘global citizens’, but this throws up all sorts of issues around the national orthodoxies and assumptions that underlie the creation of knowledge. How can the barriers between countries be overcome to create a truly omnipresent science?
ASIABindu N Lohani
In the past Asia has tended to invest in higher education through bricks and mortar. The Association of South East Asian Nations region now needs to look at developing knowledge infrastructure so that it can compete globally.
Adapting to studying in a different country presents many challenges, including overcoming language and cultural differences and being accepted by the local community. International students need to be viewed in ways that are mutually beneficial to them and the community.
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François Hollande’s embattled administration faces a major test this month as it attempts to push sweeping changes to higher education through the French parliament, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.
The recent cancellation of US college entrance exams in South Korea – the first time SAT tests have been called off nationwide anywhere in the world for suspected cheating – is throwing the spotlight on the country's hyper-competitive academic environment, writes Jeyup S Kwaak for The Wall Street Journal.
Yangon Technological University has come a long way since it was the site of anti-government student protests in 1988 that eventually spread across Myanmar. The campus has been refurbished and a sense of normality is beginning to return. One important question is how the university is going to forge links with the outside world, writes Lara Farrar for The New York Times.
Problems in Libya’s higher education system, which is plagued by overcrowding and poor teaching standards, have prompted the government to send thousands of promising students abroad to complete their studies, reports the Libya Herald.
US President Barack Obama and Mexico's President Pena Nieto have announced a partnership to expand economic opportunities for citizens of both countries and to develop a 21st century workforce for mutual economic prosperity, according to a statement from the US State Department, reports Celia Baker for Deseret News.
At a summit in June, India and the US will announce eight new agreements between top research universities, in a bid to give fresh impetus to their education diplomacy under the US$10 million Singh Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, reports One India.
During the Cold War, Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists produced ideas and inventions, such as distant early-warning radar and satellite-tracking systems, to help the United States prevail over the Soviet Union. Today, MIT is working with the Russians, not against them, writes Oliver Staley for Bloomberg News.
Australia's top ‘China Ready’ university, the University of New South Wales, has signed the latest in a series of strategic partnerships with China's National Academy of Education Administration, cementing the Sydney-based university as China's premier higher learning partner from Down Under, reports Xinhau.
Celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking became embroiled in a growing furore last week over his decision to boycott a prestigious conference in Israel in protest over the state's occupation of Palestine, write Harriet Sherwood, Matthew Kalman and Sam Jones for the Guardian.
The Australian government’s recent proposed cuts to university funding and student loans will cost universities A$1 billion (US$1,02 billion) a year by 2017 and make it harder for people to balance study and work, the chief of the peak body for Australian universities said last week, write Bella Counihan and Sunanda Creagh for The Conversation.
The University of Sydney has amassed more than A$300 million (US$306.5 million) in philanthropic donations since quietly embarking on a $600 million fundraising campaign in 2008. The university announced the result at a dinner to mark the going-public phase of its campaign, write Sarah-Jane Collins and Daniel Hurst for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Private non-profit colleges in America are offering students tuition fee discounts of 45%, on average, in response to a changing financial environment that stems from the weak economic recovery, writes Janet Lorin for Bloomberg News.
Massive open online courses company Coursera last week announced a pilot programme with several education publishers, who will make some of their e-textbook content available free to students while they take an online Coursera class, writes Ellis Booker for InformationWeek.
Academics and students should have more say over how much university principals get paid, according to the chair of an influential report on the sector, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.
A change in US federal education loan policies has left many students at some of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities struggling to fill a gap in their financial aid and is forcing hundreds to leave, writes Renee Schoof for The Washington Post.
Microsoft has announced a TV white spaces pilot project in Tanzania to provide affordable wireless broadband access to university students and faculty. The IT giant has tied up with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology and UhuruOne to provide affordable broadband access to students and faculty in Dar es Salaam, reports Telecom Lead.
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