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NEWSLETTERConvening on African higher education policy, leadership, governance
In a Special Report, we highlight some of the research, projects and plans discussed at a recent convening on “Higher Education Policy, Leadership and Governance” in Africa held in Nairobi for grantees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In Africa Features, Peta Lee finds out about crime-ridden South Africa’s first BSc degree in forensic science.
In World Blog, Grace Karram argues that Canada’s public and faith-based universities need to work towards a more integrated higher education system. In Commentary, amid debates in France about whether the Islamic veil should be banned from universities, Rosemary Salomone contends that laïcité attitudes might need to adapt to a globalising world.
Meng-Hsuan Chou looks at how the financial crisis has affected the ‘Europe of Knowledge’, and Paul De Frijters compares Australian universities to the royal courts of old. In Student View, Aerie Rahman maintains that Malaysia’s decision to extend an Islamic course to private universities is an attack on university and student freedom and autonomy.
In Features, Geoff Maslen looks at the prospects for Australian universities after next week’s general election – and finds them gloomy. Yojana Sharma writes that the banning of a professor of constitutional law for an article he wrote signals an ideological crackdown on academics in China. We report on a new encyclopedia on the Shanghai rankings that features interviews with the leaders of its top 200 global research universities,
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
AFRICA: Policy, leadership and governance
A convening on “Higher Education Policy, Leadership and Governance” in Africa was held in Nairobi recently for grantees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The objectives were to share research, practices and findings on how grantees are influencing higher education policy and leadership, to identify gaps, develop a common vision and map the future. University World News, which received a grant to support its “Thoughts and Experiences of African University Leaders” article series, was there.
An all-Africa higher education summit is to be held next year, bringing together stakeholders from across the continent to develop a charter and programme of action aimed at revitalising the sector. Another goal will be to build an advocacy alliance for higher education.
There appears to be growing willingness in Africa to provide better oversight to higher education institutions. But academics, including vice-chancellors, are “not taking up the challenge to domesticate and harness the spaces they are given”. This was one of the lessons learned at a convening of higher education leaders and researchers from across the continent.
Preliminary findings of the Higher Education Leadership Programme in Africa – HELP – have revealed numerous weaknesses and impediments hindering the governance and leadership of African universities. Also highlighted were gender issues and state interference.
TrustAfrica, a pan-African foundation launched six years ago in Senegal, has been organising higher education dialogues in several African countries to provide a neutral and safe space for conversations on higher education transformation.
Ghana is to hold biennial national higher education summits in order to institutionalise regular interaction among stakeholders, following a recent high-level policy dialogue held in the capital Accra. Participants also agreed to formulate a tertiary education vision and plan for the West African country.
There has been phenomenal growth in government data on the internet, with an estimated more than a million datasets posted online by governments. The boom has major implications for university governance – but different types of data have varying degrees of impact on diverse levels of governance.
There is palpable anger and disappointment among Nigerians who have gained admission to British universities for the upcoming academic session. Students already in UK institutions are also unhappy over the new ‘visa bond’ scheme to be implemented against ‘high risk’ visitors by the David Cameron administration.
SOUTH AFRICAIshmael Tongai
Despite being put under administration and rescued from bankruptcy by the government, Walter Sisulu University is still in a terrible mess. Last week the institution was closed indefinitely over an unresolved salary dispute with workers that had been simmering for more than six weeks.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has called on the government to build skills and tailor higher education graduates towards fields and businesses required in the labour force and for national development.
A week after Senegal’s Presidential Council on Higher Education Reforms took place, the university lecturers’ union SAES reacted against the changes approved, saying there could be “no peace in the university sector” because the government had violated an agreement signed in March 2011.
SOUTH AFRICAPeta Lee
The University of the Free State is making history by offering a BSc degree in forensic science – the first of its kind in crime-plagued South Africa. According to the department of genetics, the degree will target, among others, people working on crime scenes and criminal cases in the South African Police Services and forensic laboratories.
Unemployed graduates have been demonstrating in the Senegalese capital Dakar against the government’s failure to provide them with jobs.
Fifty students in Burkina Faso who were arrested during violent demonstrations against the closure of university services during the holidays have been granted provisional release by the Ouagadougou appeal court. Meanwhile students’ parents have called for the closed facilities to be reopened.
Indian scientist Ashok Kumar Bakshi is to take over as the new director of the Tertiary Education Commission – and he reportedly faces an early problem concerning recognition of private Indian universities in Mauritius.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
As part of its goal of winning government in the 7 September general election, Australia’s federal Opposition has promised A$100 million (US$89 million) over five years to create a ‘New Colombo Plan’ that will offer 300 undergraduate Australians the chance to study for one or two semesters in the Asian region each year.
NEW ZEALANDJohn Gerritsen
Eleven years after the introduction of the country's NZ$250 million (US$195 million) research fund for tertiary institutions, the New Zealand government is proposing only minor changes to it.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
Industrial PhD graduates in Denmark have been scoring higher than those with conventional doctorates in terms of employment and income, according to a new report by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation.
NORTH KOREAYojana Sharma
A spokesperson for the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Sciences Po, has confirmed that Kim Han-sol – grandson of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il – will begin classes at its Le Havre campus this September, after French news reports revealed that he would join the three-year Europe-Asia undergraduate programme taught in English.
A private medical school in Malaysia, Allianze University College of Medical Sciences, is to expand to Europe with the purchase of a major university site in London.
Those inhabiting Australia’s 39 public universities could hardly be more pessimistic about the future as the nation heads to the polls next Saturday to elect a new federal government. It now seems certain that conservative parties, headed by current Opposition leader Tony Abbott, will replace the Labor Party administration that has held office since 2007. The only other certainty for higher education is that no matter who wins, the prospects are grim.
A professor of constitutional law at a major Chinese university has been banned from teaching, after an article he wrote on constitutional reform was deemed ‘unconstitutional’. The move signals a continued tightening of ideological control in universities since China’s new President Xi Jinping and other politburo leaders took office in March.
Interviews with leaders of institutions featured in the Academic Ranking of World Universities culminated recently in The Shanghai Jiao Tong Top 200 Research Universities Encyclopedia – an effort “to go beyond the numbers associated with rankings to better understand some of the most important institutions in our collective future”.
It is time to move past a focus on the differences between Canada’s public and faith-based universities and try to build some common ground so that the higher education system is more integrated.
French policy-makers and intellectuals are debating whether the Islamic veil should be banned from universities, in keeping with France’s tradition of laïcité. But globalisation trends could mean French attitudes will need to adapt fast to a changing world.
How has the financial crisis affected the ‘Europe of Knowledge’? Current emphasis on innovation means that the impact has not been totally adverse, although economic concerns mean different parts of Europe are affected differently. In the long term this could lead to a brain drain from some parts, but higher education institutions are still key to integration.
AUSTRALIAPaul De Frijters
Australian universities operate like the royal courts of old in Europe, Asia and Africa, with a system presided over by the king and a self-serving nobility, reliant on funds from international students, while academics are kept distracted writing strategic visions and other activities.
GLOBALGerard A Postiglione, The Chronicle of Higher Education
In August, New York University officially started its Shanghai programme, welcoming nearly 300 undergraduates – 150 from China, 100 from the United States and 45 from other parts of the world. As NYU-Shanghai begins in earnest, let’s examine why China has enticed American universities to its shores.
Malaysia’s decision to extend an Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies course that is compulsory in public universities to private universities is an attack on university and student autonomy and freedom.
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A special programme has been launched to enrol students from Syria at Saudi universities as a humanitarian gesture, reports Arab News. Official approval has been granted to Syrian students who cannot continue university education due to the worsening situation in their country.
China's culture and economy may attract overseas students, but the education system does not. And that's a big problem because the government is trying to attract more foreign students as part of an internationalisation strategy, in an attempt to grab a slice of the international education market, writes Yang Yang for China Daily.
While the US Congress struggles with passing immigration reform, many lawmakers and educators around the country are finding common ground on initiatives that improve undocumented students' access to higher education, writes Amanda Holpuch for the Guardian.
The Education Ministry has finalised a draft policy to allow foreign universities to open branches, enter joint ventures with local counterparts or operate study centres in Bangladesh, writes Mushfique Wadud for Dhaka Tribune.
Universities in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia say they are scrambling to deal with a possible shortfall of international students because a strike by foreign service officers is delaying some visa applications, reports CBC News.
More than 13,000 students who qualified for a university place in Hong Kong this summer have been denied a spot due to space shortages, writes Samuel Lai for Time Out.
American universities are relying on academics and students to help strengthen data security following a spike in cyber attacks. While institutions continue to monitor their networks and engage in joint efforts with law enforcement, educating the university community plays a vital role in protecting their systems, writes Riva Gold for The Wall Street Journal.
The Indian government has begun efforts to increase the gross enrolment ratio in higher education to 30% by 2020 from the current level of around 19%, according to Minister for Human Resource Development MM Pallam Raju, reports Press Trust of India.
Less than 1% of students pursuing higher education in India opt for research-oriented courses, parliament was informed last Monday, reports Press Trust of India.
The University of East London has ordered an investigation into its international activities after the closure of its Cyprus campus, which recruited just 17 students in its first six months, reports Cyprus Mail.
Ten years ago affirmative action gradually started being adopted in both state and federally funded Brazilian universities, in an attempt to give underprivileged Brazilians better chances of getting free higher education – and thus access to better jobs. Now ‘quotas’ are mandatory in all of Brazil's 59 federal universities, which have until 2016 to reserve half of their positions for affirmative action, writes Julia Carneiro for BBC News.
The Pan-African University has received a major boost with a support grant of US$45 million from the African Development Bank, according to a statement from the African Union received by PANA last Thursday, reports AfriqueJet.
A world-class financial services technology lab at the University of Sydney is looking to double Australia's financial services exports and create 30,000 jobs, writes Brian Karlovsky for ARN.
Famed Harvard legal professor Lawrence Lessig may be the last guy you would want to pick a fight with over copyright issues over the internet, writes Michael B Farrell for The Boston Globe.
The acronym Mooc has made Oxford Dictionaries Online – a web-based lexicon of current English by the publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary, writes Chris Parr for Times Higher Education.
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