|13 April 2014||Issue 129||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NEWSLETTERSuccesses and challenges in strengthening research uptake in Africa
In Africa Analysis, Tomas Harber outlines achievements and challenges of a British initiative run by the Association of Commonwealth Universities that aims to strengthen research uptake capacity in 24 universities in 12 African countries.
In Africa Features, Gilbert Nganga reports on a ground-breaking partnership between Kenya and France to set up credit lines for university expansion and student loans. Nicola Jenvey looks at the contribution of universities to the South African economy, and Wagdy Sawahel at USAID’s new strategy for building capacity in African higher education.
Munyaradzi Makoni profiles young Swede Malin Cronqvist, who set up a crowd-funding NGO to finance the degree studies of Tanzanians from poor families, and Francis Kokutse describes how a group of academics in Somalia created the private, non-profit University of Mogadishu out of the ashes of civil war.
In World Blog, Daniel Kratochvil and Grace Karram argue that with the right kind of support, international branch campuses can evolve into innovative, knowledge-producing organisations.
In Commentary, Charikleia Tzanakou finds evidence of social and personal benefits of PhD training, beyond the financial advantages usually charted, and Meysam Salimi unpacks the good practice guide to preparing PhD students published by the League of European Research Universities.
In Student View, Lea Meister, Dominik Fitze and Mélanie Glayre describe the negative impacts of the immigration referendum that put Swiss involvement in Europe’s Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 initiatives on hold.
In Global Features, Yojana Sharma outlines a new report on skills and student mobility in Asia, which estimates that up to 30% of international students stay on to work in host countries and Sergey Berzin charts growing disquiet in Russian academe over the dismissal of historian Andrew Zubov, after he wrote a critical article on Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Egypt’s universities, rocked by months of anti-government protests, have toughened up on security following deadly explosions near the country’s largest academic institution. Dozens of students involved in protests have been expelled in recent weeks.
Kenya’s government has launched a major initiative to train senior university managers including council members, vice-chancellors, their deputies, deans, heads of departments and managers in a strategic project funded by the African Development Bank.
The United States is to expand a scholarship programme for Tunisian students and has agreed to create a centre for technological innovation and establish a Tunisian-American permanent committee for bilateral cooperation in the field of higher education and research.
Zimbabwean prosecutors have charged 11 student leaders for breach of the peace or bigotry following protests held in the capital Harare in February. The trial has highlighted possible divisions between moderates and hardliners in President Robert Mugabe’s government.
A law that allows the authorities of the University of Ghana to prevent people who are not members of the institution from entering its premises has come under attack on several fronts, after a booth was erected at the main entrance to control road use.
Student unrest has broken out in Burundi, where students went on strike over reform of their grant system. And in Côte d’Ivoire, students have been protesting over lack of housing – 18 months after universities reopened after two years of closure.
Kenya has signed a ground-breaking partnership with French public financier Agence Française de Développement that intends to set up credit lines to fund university expansion and student loans.
SOUTH AFRICANicola Jenvey
Government expenditure on South Africa's universities should be boosted by 40% and an additional R3 billion (US$288 million) invested annually in research and development in higher education institutions if the country aims only to be on a par with world averages, according to a new study.
USAID recently launched a strategic framework for building the capacity of African higher education institutions and systems. Research has indicated that the social and private rates of return for tertiary investments in Sub-Saharan Africa are among the highest in the world.
Swedish student Malin Cronqvist was about to head off to spend 10 weeks in Tanzania doing volunteer work at a local guesthouse in 2010, when she began wondering how she could make a positive difference in a country where the higher education dreams of thousands of youngsters die each year because of lack of money.
The civil war that devastated Somalia also closed down Somali National University in the capital Mogadishu. But thanks to the determination of a group of academics a new institution arose out of the ashes, the private, non-profit Mogadishu University. From an initial student intake of 225 in 1997, the university has grown to 6,000 students.
Research-intensive African universities can play an important role in contributing to the evidence base to address Africa’s development challenges. In rising to meet these challenges through quality research, they are providing African solutions to African problems and stimulating local demand for better, stronger and more contextualised evidence.
A dozen associations and political parties have announced the creation of an "observatory to control Zionist infiltration into Tunisian universities".
The Central Africa and Lakes bureau of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, or AUF, has started a selection process for higher education and research projects from the region for support from the agency.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
GLOBALJan Petter Myklebust
With higher education "the object of high hopes, the site of rapid change and the focus of intense scrutiny", it was imperative to think creatively and share ideas about how to tackle the evolving issues faced today, Princeton University President Christopher L Eisgruber told a high-level global forum of university leaders and policy-makers held in Paris last week.
A survey of more than 1,300 institutions worldwide by the International Association of Universities has identified the biggest institutional risk of internationalisation as being that it primarily benefits wealthier students, and the most significant societal risk as the increasingly commercial nature of higher education.
TAIWANMimi Leung and Yojana Sharma
The student occupation of Taiwan’s legislative building in protest against a trade-in-services agreement with China ended peacefully last week after mediation by the legislature’s speaker. But the protests, dubbed the ‘sunflower movement’, could continue outside the building if student demands are not met.
Economic stagnation and high youth unemployment in developed countries have contributed to emerging concerns over whether traditional models of higher education are capable of producing employable graduates, the International Finance Corporation’s 6th Private International Education Conference heard in San Francisco this month.
The signing of a free trade agreement between Australia and Japan last Monday has boosted the prospects for greater involvement between the two nations’ universities, with Australia seeking to accelerate university, research and business ties with Japan.
UNITED KINGDOMDavid Jobbins
Numbers of international students seeking to study key subjects at universities in the United Kingdom are dropping because tighter immigration rules are creating an "unwelcoming" impression, an influential House of Lords committee says in a just-published report.
Universities in at least 16 countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, are to benefit from a GBP375 million (US$630 million), five-year Newton Fund aimed at boosting research and innovation in ‘emerging powers’ through international research collaboration.
Medical students worldwide called for universal health coverage to be a specific health goal within the post-2015 global development agenda, at the general assembly of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations held in Hammamet, Tunisia, last month.
As the global competition to attract skilled and talented workers has intensified, international students have become an increasingly important source of immigrant workers. A new report by three major international organisations estimates that 15% to 30% of international students who study in the most advanced countries stay on to work.
Russia’s academic community has been spooked by the dismissal of Professor Andrei Zubov, a renowned historian, theologian and political scientist at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, following a critical article in which he compared Russia’s actions in Crimea with Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938. There have been student protests, and a 5,000-strong petition in support of the professor.
UNITED STATESMarc Parry, The Chronicle of Higher Education
In 2009, David Lazer sounded the call for a fresh approach to social science. By analysing large-scale data about human behaviour – from social network profiles to transit-card swipes – researchers could "transform our understanding of our lives, organisations and societies", Lazer, a professor of political science and computer science at Northeastern University, wrote in Science.
GLOBALDaniel Kratochvil and Grace Karram
Branch campuses are often seen merely as cash cows. But they can mature into innovative, knowledge-producing organisations if they are properly administered and take advantage of local expertise.
Research on the value of PhDs has been limited to their financial and economic impact. But there is evidence of much broader social and personal benefits.
The League of European Research Universities has put together a good practice guide of what its universities do to prepare PhD students for either an academic career or life outside the university.
SWITZERLANDLea Meister, Dominik Fitze and Mélanie Glayre
In February Swiss voters approved plans to restrict immigration. This put on hold European programmes like Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020, restricting Swiss students' ability to study abroad and other European students' ability to study in Switzerland.
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United Kingdom Universities and Science Minister David Willetts has unveiled plans to create dozens of new university campuses in areas identified as higher education ‘cold spots’, reports Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
Officials at Venezuela's largest university have called on President Nicolas Maduro to help protect students after masked pro-government vigilantes attacked a peaceful gathering on campus and injured seven people, report Mery Mogollon and Chris Kraul for the Los Angeles Times.
Japan’s education ministry plans to start a comprehensive programme to give researchers and students ethical guidance on writing academic papers, after major cases of research misconduct at various institutions, reports Japan Times.
British academics could have their research assessed alongside scholars from Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, under plans being considered by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, reports David Matthews for Times Higher Education.
A new system of ‘Sharia-compliant’ student loans is to be launched to allow more Muslim students to go to university, it has been announced, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph. David Willetts, the UK universities and science minister, said an alternative financial model was being created to satisfy Islamic law that forbids Muslims taking out loans that make interest.
Their fear has caged them into silence. They have done what they can to hide their identities. But often, it’s not enough to escape the threats and harassment. Animal researchers from public universities around Florida are now fighting to keep their personal information out of the hands of animal rights activists, writes Beatrice Dupuy for the Independent Florida Alligator.
Muhammad Kana’ane, who served nearly five years in an Israeli prison for his involvement with Hezbollah, had planned to speak at Tel Aviv University on 7 April, but the institution released a statement the night before revoking the approval, reports Lidar Gravé-Lazi for Jerusalem Post.
The principal of Dundee University in Scotland has said continued membership of the European Union is "a must" for Scottish universities, whatever the outcome of the independence referendum, reports Grant Smith for The Courier.
Austin Delaney and Tom Healy of the Nevin Economic Research Institute recently issued a timely call for a debate on the funding of Irish higher education, writes Chris Johns for the Irish Times. In an extensive study of various methods used around the world, the authors also briefly explore the connections between economic growth and higher learning.
The highly contentious British student loans system is unravelling, writes Hugh Muir in the Mail & Guardian. Many predicted it would, but the surprise, given its high profile and political toxicity, is that it is falling apart so fast: hopelessly flawed, it seems to be falling under its own weight.
Attending a university or technology institute in Greece requires sacrifices from all the family. It is estimated that preparing a student for entrance examinations for higher education costs at least €14,000 (US$19,500), reports Konstantinos Menzel for Greek Reporter.
A student at Princeton has filed a lawsuit against the university and seven administrators, alleging that they discriminated against him when they reacted to a suicide attempt in his dorm room, reports Jonathan Swartz for USA Today.
A vice-chancellors' committee set up by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has given final shape to a roadmap for higher education in Punjab province in Pakistan over the next 10 years, reports The News.
Universities should aim to become powerhouses for positive transformation and idea generation, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah last week. She has thrown down the gauntlet to universities in Singapore to come up with global ideas that have great impact, so that the republic need not always look to other countries, reports Joy Fang for Today Online.
Many universities in Vietnam make do without rectors. Others seem to have a problem retaining rectors, changing them frequently. And still more employ sub-standard rectors, reports Tien Phong for VietNamNet Bridge.
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