|16 March 2014||Issue 127||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NEWSLETTERRealising the potential of open, distance and
e-learning in Africa
In Africa Analysis, Paul Prinsloo warns that while open, distance and e-learning has huge potential in Africa, a sober assessment is needed of ODeL as one variable among many factors in post-secondary contexts.
In Africa Features, Gilbert Nganga reports on a new tuition fees deal that has taken three countries in East Africa a step closer to higher education harmonisation. Jane Marshall describes the Institute for Euro-African Management, a French-Moroccan partnership that is training high potential managers in Africa, and Francis Kokutse profiles a university in Ghana that is fully committed to quality assurance.
University World News blogger Serhiy Kvit has been appointed minister of education and science in Ukraine. In his last blog, the professor and rector describes the role of students and academics in the momentous changes of the past month.
In Commentary, Simon Marginson argues that a global and cosmopolitan approach to human rights and citizenship is the way forward for students in the United Kingdom – and part of Europe – who are trapped by the politics of anti-migration. Bernd Wächter contends that student mobility has become a mantra, but there are different types of mobility and their effects may not be as universally beneficial as sometimes claimed.
Anne J MacLachlan finds that Germany’s Excellence Initiative has delivered valuable innovations in doctoral education. Arthur O’Neill studies university leader adverts in Australia and concludes that the language of business permeates and divides staff into executives and worker ants.
And in Global Features, Yojana Sharma uncovers restrictions on scholarly access to historical archives in China.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Five African countries – Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda – have committed to invest more in science, technology and engineering education to accelerate progress towards knowledge-based societies within a generation. Their pledge last Thursday followed a high-level forum in Kigali co-hosted by the World Bank and Rwandan government.
Two Egyptian university professors who worked as aides to Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi have been suspended from duty for alleged violence and graft, in the latest crackdown on sympathisers of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.
Public universities in Benin were recently closed in protest against human rights abuses and corruption. The country’s three academic unions joined an indefinite strike by civil servants that paralysed the public sector from late last year.
Tunisia and the European Union have formally established a mobility partnership that, among other things, will help facilitate mutual recognition of qualifications, enhance the exchange of higher education information and experience, and foster the flow of researchers and students. There are 10 European countries involved in the partnership.
Seven universities in Africa and South Asia will share DKK100 million (US$18.6 million) over three years in the second phase of a Danish-funded programme to build research capacity in the global South.
Cape Verde has become the latest country to join the African Virtual University, a pan-African intergovernmental organisation aimed at increasing access to quality higher education through innovative use of information and communication technologies.
An alumni association has been launched by Botswana’s newest private university, with the aim of linking its staff and students to the country’s well-do-to resource-based economy.
EAST AFRICAGilbert Nganga
Students from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda will in future pay local fees in any of the three East African Community states. A new deal has moved the countries closer to harmonised higher education, which has been elusive for the past five years due to difficulties in agreeing key parameters like fees and credit transfer.
The Institute for Euro-African Management, an innovative French-Moroccan partnership, is training a new generation of high potential managers in Africa. Its first cohort of masters students, from eight African countries, will graduate in September.
The University of Professional Studies, Accra, is determined to make its mark on the international scene through quality assurance, says Vice-chancellor Joshua Alabi. “We were the only African university to subject ourselves to two major programmes – the African Quality Rating Mechanism and Europe's Institutional Evaluation Programme.”
There is no doubt that open, distance and e-learning has huge potential in Africa to contribute to economic growth and poverty eradication, and to address social injustices and inequalities. But realising its potential depends on a sober assessment of ODeL as one variable among many interdependent and often mutually constitutive factors in local and international post-secondary school contexts.
The United Nations University is to open a research and development institute in Dakar, the first in Francophone West Africa and the third on the continent. The agreement was signed this month between David M Malone, rector of the university, and Mankeur Ndiaye, Senegal’s minister for foreign affairs.
The arrest of a student accused of leading a strike has heightened tension at the University of Abobo-Adjamé in Côte d’Ivoire. Meanwhile, students and lecturers at Cocody University are on strike demanding the removal of police from the campus.
Measures to promote the mobility of researchers, academics and students between Angola and South Africa were approved at a workshop on scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
In a move aimed at improving and maintaining quality in higher education institutions, the government announced that India’s accreditation agencies would now be autonomous, fully free of government interference and run independently by competent experts.
CHINAMimi Leung and Yojana Sharma
Shen Peiping, vice-governor of China’s Yunnan province, is being investigated by the Communist Party for “serious disciplinary and legal violations”, it was announced last week. While official media normally spotlight disgraced officials’ extravagant spending, in this case the focus has been on qualifications – in particular Shen’s swift rise up the academic ladder to become a professor.
The number of students enrolled in universities in Afghanistan will rise dramatically this year, with an expected increase of up to 50% in students entering public universities after record-breaking passes in university entrance examinations.
ASIAAmeen Amjad Khan
Academic collaboration between neighbours and arch rivals India and Pakistan is weak – and hopes of it improving have been dented by the suspension of 67 Kashmiri students by an Indian university after they volubly supported Pakistan during a cricket match.
UNITED KINGDOMPeta Lee
The British government has announced a massive GBP300 million (US$499 million) investment in cutting-edge science projects. The funding injection goes beyond the country’s borders, and will see British scientists and businesses working on some of the world’s biggest collaborative science projects of the future – including the Square Kilometre Array.
ARAB STATESWagdy Sawahel
Arab states have approved a strategy to harness science, technology and innovation for development by improving science education, upgrading and reforming universities, building research capacity and encouraging international cooperation.
GLOBALJan Petter Myklebust
Continuing health inequities in and between countries require global political solutions, according to an international commission convened by The Lancet and the University of Oslo. The problem cannot be tackled by the health sector alone, at the national level or with technical measures.
The German Academic Exchange Service – DAAD – is to open an information centre in the Tatarstan capital Kazan, in Russia. The centre will also support a new German-Russian university in the region.
China has been gradually restricting scholarly access to historical archives, making it more difficult to access declassified historical documents in the past year, according to frustrated academics.
UNITED STATESMegan O’Neil, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Underage drinking. Cars parked illegally. Threatening social situations. The nature of the real-time alerts that started rolling in to Virginia Commonwealth University’s police dispatch centre this past autumn – sometimes as many as five a day – surprised campus safety officials.
Students played a major role in the ousting of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and, after his departure, blockaded the education ministry building until their demands for greater democracy and accountability were met.
UNITED KINGDOMSimon Marginson
International students in the United Kingdom – and much of Europe – are trapped by the politics of anti-migration, which diminishes the value of their experience and their education. Moving ahead of a government looking backwards to parochial elements, through a global and cosmopolitan approach to human rights and citizenship, is the way forward.
European discourse on international student mobility appears to verge on fanaticism in some quarters. We need to have a rational debate on the issues, based on evidence about the effects of different types of mobility.
GLOBALAnne J MacLachlan
Germany’s Excellence Initiative has brought valuable innovations that could prove useful elsewhere. But bringing different forms of doctoral education closer together requires recognition that higher education systems reflect particular cultural values and history.
A study of the language used in university executive adverts shows how the language of business permeates and divides university staff into executives and worker ants.
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Student Nivedita Ghose never imagined that studying diseases could place her in the theatre of operations where the tensest geopolitical conflict between Russia and the United States since the end of the Cold War is unfolding, writes Charu Sudan Kasturi for The Telegraph India.
Mental health problems are on the rise among UK academics amid the pressures of greater job insecurity, constant demand for results and an increasingly marketised higher education system, write Claire Shaw and Lucy Ward for the Guardian.
Ten miles from King Louis XIV's Palace of Versailles, another monument to French ambition is rising out of muddy wheat fields. Twenty colleges and research institutes are combining to create Université Paris-Saclay, soon to be one of France's largest universities, at a cost of about EUR6.5 billion (US$9 billion), writes Oliver Staley for Bloomberg Businessweek.
Oversight of for-profit colleges and universities by the United States Department of Education has been mired in political quicksand and thwarted by the colleges' effective lobbying and legal challenges. But now, states and other federal agencies are stepping in and cracking down, writes Matt Krupnick for The Hechinger Report.
As the anthropology instructor engaged her class, a fault line quickly developed. American students answered and asked questions, even offered opinions, but the foreigners - half the class, most from China - sat in silence. It became clear that some had understood little of the lecture at Oregon State University and were not ready to be enrolled. In fact, they are not, at least not yet, writes Richard Perez-Pena for The New York Times.
In the latest fallout of last summer's Gezi Park protests against the government's redevelopment plan for a park in central Istanbul, two academics have been expelled from Marmara University's faculty of communication for joining the protests, reports Today's Zaman.
According to the United States government’s federal research division, at the height of Cambodia’s development in 1970 - before the civil war and the Khmer Rouge obliterated the country’s educational infrastructure - only 730 of the University of Phnom Penh’s 4,570 students were women. The situation has improved since then, but women still lag well behind, write Will Jackson and Vandy Muong for Phnom Penh Post.
After growing rapidly for two decades, higher education enrolments in Poland peaked in 2009, having risen fivefold to almost two million. This year, the numbers have tailed off and are set to fall further, even though Poland’s university enrolment rate is the fourth highest among OECD nations, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.
Universities across the continent are said to be watching proceedings at the University of Windsor. Eyes are on the student government. The university’s student alliance held a controversial referendum on whether to support the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which asks for a boycott of any business that has ties with Israel, reports CBC News.
They are all disturbing cases. Three Canadian universities, in different regions of the country. Episodes of male s exual aggression and, beyond that, an alleged assault. And three similar responses from the universities’ leaders, identifying each campus with 'r ape culture', writes Brian Hutchinson for National Post.
A new survey of America’s college freshmen has found that the percentage attending their first-choice institution has reached its lowest level in almost four decades, as cost and the availability of financial aid have come to play an influential role in decisions of where to enrol, reports Associated Press.
Biola Jeje (22) graduated from Brooklyn College last May with a degree in political science and a mission: force lawmakers to address the US$1.2 trillion student debt crisis, writes Patricia Sabga for Aljazeera America. "It’s unfair that it’s happening to us, and we’re even being sort of blamed for the amount of debt that we’re being put in," she said from the offices of New York Students Rising, where she serves as state-wide coordinator.
Until recently, university councils did not have a collective voice. But the new University Council Chairs Forum South Africa, or UCCF-SA, aims to rectify this. The vision of the organisation is to promote cooperative governance and transformation of universities, within a unified coordinated higher education system, writes Jairam Reddy for Mail & Guardian.
As the debate for and against Scottish independence hots up, a group of students has given a good idea of which way they would be voting after rejecting the motion in a mock referendum, writes Lucy Sherriff for The Huffington Post UK.
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