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NEWSLETTERInternational education inequities, Africa and HE’s ‘soft power’
In World Blog, Hans de Wit and Nico Jooste write that a recent global dialogue held in South Africa on the future of international education tried to debate issues inclusively – but vested interests ensured that the agenda remained unequal.
In Africa Analysis, Damtew Teferra picks up on the ‘soft power’ debate in University World News and argues that rather than tampering with nomenclature, the focus should be on higher education shaping a new cooperation paradigm.
Trouble over tuition fee hikes has erupted at three tertiary institutions in Nigeria’s Lagos state, writes Tunde Fatunde in Africa Features. In Q&A, Gilbert Nganga interviews the head of Burundi’s National Commission for Higher Education, Sylvie Hatungimana, on the state of the sector and impending reforms.
In Commentary, Errol Morrison urges tertiary institutions in the Caribbean to focus on niche areas in which they have a competitive edge, while Peter W Halligan unpacks a new report showing that in terms of weighted citation impact, Wales is punching above its weight.
Evelyne Glaser describes an Austrian study that found the benefits of study abroad – especially for long periods – to be significant and enduring, and Karl Markgraf outlines an award-winning programme at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire that reaches students who might not otherwise have studied abroad.
And in Global Features, Jan Petter Myklebust looks at the hot issues of degree quality and relevance in Denmark and Sweden, and Ameen Amjad Khan finds academic opinion divided over Pakistan’s plans to set up several new women-only universities, in an effort to raise female enrolment.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
GLOBALHans de Wit and Nico Jooste
A recent dialogue on the future of international education aimed to debate the issues in a more inclusive arena in South Africa. However, vested interests still dictate that the agenda remains unequal. Organisations need to work together to make international education a truly global matter.
The World Bank continued rolling out its African centres of excellence initiative this month, meeting representatives of universities in Nigeria – the country won 10 of the 15 centres – to discuss logistics around how the funding will be disbursed. The project seeks to promote regional scientific spec ialisation to deliver quality training and research.
In an effort to expand its ‘Look Middle East’ policy, India has announced a number of initiatives to boost higher education cooperation with three major natural resources-rich North African countries – Morocco, Tunisia and Sudan.
Kenya has moved to reform the way students are admitted to universities by launching a new body that will equitably place learners in public and private universities as well as tertiary colleges.
Ghana’s government has gone ahead and set up a committee to draw up modalities for a proposed national research fund to support the activities of academics – even though lecturers have vowed to fight the fund because it would scrap current allowances.
A middle-level private college is set to make history in Kenya later this year when it transforms into a university – a first for a private college in the East African country.
Three public tertiary institutions in Lagos, the richest state in Nigeria and West Africa, are embroiled in controversies over tuition fees. Lagos State University was temporarily closed following violent student protests over fees and other issues.
The new approach to global partnership, including in international higher education, will not prevail simply by tampering with nomenclature. Rather, the conversation needs to sharply focus on how higher education stakeholders engage, both in practice and dialogue, in proactively shaping and pursuing the new cooperation paradigm.
Burundi, an East African Community member state and the region’s smallest nation, has been toiling to rebuild higher education, which had lagged behind due to a decade-long conflict that started in 1993. Sylvie Hatungimana, head of the National Commission for Higher Education, spoke to University World News about the sector and upcoming reforms.
With Madagascan universities due to adopt the university degree system based on the Bologna process by 2015, the country’s biggest university – Antananarivo – is preparing to switch to the new structure of three, five and eight years of higher education.
Unrest broke out at the University of Thiès in Senegal, where students were demanding grants that had not been paid for four months. And in Togo’s capital Lomé, police dispersed a student meeting with teargas. Three students were arrested and several injured.
Students in Benin fear a wasted year as lecturers at public universities on indefinite strike threaten to invalidate the 2013-14 academic year if the government does not accept their demands.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
The European Union has shelved negotiations with Switzerland over two major higher education and research programmes. The move came after the Swiss government’s announcement that it would deny EU member Croatia talks over a labour market agreement.
The conservative federal government has “declared war on red and green tape” and plans to hold the first of two ‘Repeal Days’ on 26 March, as part of its programme to abolish more than 8,000 laws and regulations it claims have clogged the arteries of federal agencies. Senior officials among the 63,000 professional and administrative staff in Australia’s universities will be hoping for a sharp reduction in the vast mass of reporting requirements they handle.
Starting in 2015, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund is to provide C$1.5 billion (US$1.4 billion) over a decade to support university research that contributes to the country’s long-term economic competitiveness.
Student plagiarism might be alive and well and sprouting up in campuses around the world, but in Slovakia, at least, measures put in place in 2010 are bearing fruit. For the past four years, all higher education institutions have been obligatory users of an 'Antiplag' programme – and there is open access to a Central Repository of Theses and Dissertations.
With growing aspirations for higher education, and domestic institutions providing only enough places to meet a quarter of student demand, ‘shadow’ education has emerged as one of Vietnam’s fastest growing services in an increasingly competitive admissions environment.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
Sofie Carsten Nielsen, who took over from Morten Østergaard as Denmark’s Minister for Higher Education and Science this month, has pledged to continue reforms underway – notably improving quality and the quest for greater workforce relevance. These have become hot and sometimes divisive issues across Scandinavia.
PAKISTANAmeen Amjad Khan
Pakistan plans to set up new women-only universities in Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur and Sialkot, to add to seven existing women’s universities, Punjab’s minister Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman announced in Lahore last month.
UNITED STATESEric Kelderman, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Janet Napolitano had zero experience leading a college before she became president of the University of California last year. Yet after just four months on the job, Napolitano (56) has outlined major goals for the system, including a reconsideration of tuition policies, improving cooperation with the other two higher education systems in the state, ensuring the prominent role of research and graduate education, and making the campuses carbon-neutral by 2025.
Tertiary institutions in the Caribbean need to focus on niche areas in which they have greatest knowledge rather than competing with the rest of the world on an unequal playing field. More must also be done to boost educational performance at school level.
WALESPeter W Halligan
Wales has a relatively small researcher base, and secured only 2% of the total UK research spend in 2011. But according to a report by scientific information service Elsevier, in terms of weighted citation impact Wales has overtaken countries such as Norway, Finland, Ireland and New Zealand and is one of the best places to do research.
An Austrian survey of the impacts of study abroad programmes on graduates has found that the benefits – especially of longer study abroad – are significant and enduring.
UNITED STATESKarl Markgraf
An award-winning ‘internationalising the campus’ programme has significant benefits for students and reaches students not normally involved in study abroad projects.
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Egypt’s Supreme Council of Universities has decided to ban the organisation of political activities in support of presidential candidates on campuses, writes Aya Nader for Daily News Egypt. The decision is part of efforts to avoid increasing tensions between students.
UK universities must go to India if they are to benefit from a shake-up to international higher education which will see India enrolling the largest number of students into tertiary education in the world by 2020, writes Claire Shaw for the Guardian.
The rising influx of foreign students to Swiss universities is bringing more international talent to the country. But the debate on who foots the bill for welcoming such bright young minds is tying academics and legislators in knots, writes Matthew Allen for swissinfo.ch.
By the end of 2014, Russia’s Education and Science Ministry is due to adopt a new list of academic requirements for foreigners who want to get a higher education in Russia. International applicants will have to spend a year learning Russian, maths and key subjects in their chosen field in order to take entrance exams to their university of choice, writes Darya Lyubinskaya for Russia & India Report.
Universities across the world actually benefit during recessions, wielding far greater recruiting power to attract talented graduates compared with the private sector, shows new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science, reports Finchannel.com.
Emergency staff worked through the night in snow and sleet to pull survivors from the debris of an auditorium whose roof collapsed under the weight of snow, killing 10 people and injuring 100, most of them recently enrolled freshmen of a South Korean university, write Kim Yong-Ho and Hyung-Jin Kim for Associated Press.
UK student graduations may be at risk after lecturers’ leaders backed plans for a marking boycott as part of an escalating row over pay, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
Ex-prisoners of conscience are still being shunned by universities because nobody wants to bear responsibility for allowing them back, reports the Bangkok Post.
Just in time for its first graduates, the University of the People, a tuition-free four-year-old online institution built to reach under-served students around the world, announced last Thursday that it had received accreditation, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
Cambodia’s minister of education will no longer place a validating signature on the country’s university degrees, and tertiary education institutions will soon be audited and properly accredited for the quality of education, write Khy Sovuthy and Matt Blomberg for Cambodia Daily.
The Higher Education and Scientific Research Ministry has decided to put an end to new Yemeni government scholarships to private Malaysian universities due to their poor educational quality and high costs, reports FMT.
Despite tall claims of prioritising higher education, Pakistan’s federal government has once again failed to meet the deadline set by the Islamabad High Court to appoint a permanent chair of the Higher Education Commission by 12 February, a move that also violates HEC Ordinance 2002, writes Waseem Abbasi for The News.
Independence is the only way to secure free higher education in Scotland, a group of academics has said. Members of the pro-independence 'Academics for Yes' group attacked what they called ‘marketised’ higher education elsewhere in the UK, reports the BBC.
The National Development Plan’s vision puts education, training and innovation at the centre of South Africa's long-term development. But in international comparative terms, the country is not performing well in respect of producing new knowledge, writes Heather Nel for The Mail & Guardian.
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