|11 January 2015||Issue 143||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NEWSLETTERHERANA II – Emerging research universities in eight African countries
In a Special Report this week, we cover the launch of the third phase of HERANA – the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa – and look at findings so far from analysis of data collected over six years at flagship universities in eight African countries.
In Africa Features, Mosoba Mosoba describes the Open University of Tanzania’s efforts to expand its presence across the region, and in Africa Analysis Goolam Mohamedbhai calls for universities to integrate sustainable development into all of their teaching, research and engagement activities.
Rahul Choudaha argues in World Blog that universities need to ask themselves four questions to test the sustainability of their international student recruitment strategies.
In Commentary, Marguerite Dennis urges universities to use career counselling as part of efforts to prepare students for the job market. Frances Saunders outlines ways in which Britain’s Institute of Physics is tackling underlying bias against girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and Jiang Bo and Robert Coelen chart China’s fast-tracking of higher education internationalisation.
In Global Features, Zofeen T Ebrahim reports on the disruption of education in Pakistan following a Taliban attack on a school last month.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Egypt’s higher education authorities have started reviewing the cases of scores of students expelled from universities for alleged participation in violent anti-government protests. More than 50 students have already been reinstated.
It will cost Ghana’s government US$180 million per annum for the next three years to fully turn the country’s 10 polytechnics into technical universities, a report by a committee set up to work on the institutional conversion programme has said. Meanwhile, a working group has developed a national quality assurance framework for higher education.
Construction is about to start on two new universities in Senegal, each with capacity for 30,000 students, President Macky Sall has announced. One will be the second public university in the capital Dakar, and the other is the University of Sine-Saloum at Kaolack.
Kenya’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is proposing new regulations that will compel universities to ensure that 25% of graduates each year are at the postgraduate level, in an effort to end a biting shortage of lecturers.
CÔTE D’IVOIREWagdy Sawahel
In an effort to ease the burden of overcrowded universities and improve access to higher education, the government of Côte d’Ivoire has announced the creation of a digital university to boost distance education.
HERANA III – Supporting African research
The third phase of HERANA – Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa – kicked off at a workshop held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, late last year and will run for two years. The international research project, the longest and biggest of its kind in Africa, is led by the Centre for Higher Education Transformation and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. University World News, a partner to HERANA, was there.
Six years of research in collaboration with flagship universities in eight African countries has produced a unique, comprehensive and comparable data set – and in the process data collection capacity in the institutions has improved “dramatically”, supporting steady growth in their production of knowledge and PhDs.
AFRICANico Cloete, Ian Bunting and Peter Maassen
The Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa – HERANA – project was initiated to explore the link between universities and development on the continent. The study started with the collection of data at both the national and institutional levels at universities in eight African countries.
International donor agencies and foundations have pumped research funding into Uganda’s flagship Makerere University, and the institution has developed new research strategies and directions and strengthened graduate training and management. There have been collective benefits for the transforming university, according to Dr Florence Nakayiwa, director of the planning and development department.
Challenges facing higher education agencies in eight African countries have been identified in research by Tracy Bailey, leader of the Roles and Functions of Higher Education Councils and Commissions in Africa Project. Problems include political interference and weaknesses in planning, system-level governance, capacity and data quality.
The Open University of Tanzania is reaching out to higher education institutions in neighbouring countries to establish collaborations that will encourage more international students to enrol for distance learning.
Following the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development it is now incumbent on higher education institutions to integrate sustainable development into all their teaching, research, community engagement and campus activities.
Ebola funding needs to spur health services and research capacity in the worst hit nations. Currently there are worrying signs that local researchers have been left behind in the scientific effort to curb the deadly virus.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
UNITED KINGDOMDavid Jobbins
UK Home Secretary Theresa May has reportedly been forced to back down on a plan to require all non-EU international students to leave the country on graduation and to apply for new visas if they intend to work in Britain.
Japan lags behind the United States and the United Kingdom in international research and is being held back by a system that restricts international collaboration and focuses on supporting research for the domestic market, experts said at a seminar in Tokyo.
The European University Association, or EUA, has called on higher education institutions to foster ‘risk-taking’ in their approach to ‘Excellence’ initiatives, in a new report examining ten national schemes across the continent.
UNITED STATESMary Beth Marklein
Tension over tuition fees, efforts to address s exual assaults at universities and battles to reverse state bans on guns on campus will be among the key issues in higher education in 2015, according to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
An ever-increasing proportion of Australian parents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year enrolling their offspring in private schools in the belief this will boost their academic performance and their chances of going on to university. But a new study has found that whether or not students attend government or private schools, or how wealthy their parents are, does not affect how well they succeed in higher education.
Germany’s Upper House has approved a constitutional amendment allowing for more cooperation between the country’s federal and state governments in higher education and research matters, including more federal funding of research facilities.
CENTRAL ASIANick Holdsworth
Tajikistan's state broadcaster has started airing Hollywood and Bollywood movies without dubbing or subtitles in an attempt to improve English language learning in the Central Asian country. The idea behind the move, initiated by the former Soviet republic’s Channel One last autumn, is to encourage viewers to pick up English from watching films they love.
PAKISTANZofeen T Ebrahim
Schools and universities in Pakistan closed early and delayed their reopening until this week over security fears after the Taliban attack on a Peshawar school on 16 December, with many remaining closed until mid-January. But students and academics are questioning whether they will be any safer when they open.
UNITED STATESPaul Voosen, The Chronicle of Higher Education
The media storm over the Facebook study on the impact of emotive language has left big data scientists searching for ways to resolve the ethical questions their research can raise.
Many universities have adopted short-term strategies for dealing with international student enrolment. There are four questions they should ask themselves if they want to test how sustainable their strategies are.
Many graduates find themselves unemployed despite companies advertising vacancies due to a mismatch of skills and employment opportunities. Could universities do more to prepare students for the job market?
UNITED KINGDOMFrances Saunders
Britain’s Institute of Physics is launching two projects aimed at dealing with the underlying bias which puts girls off studying STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – subjects at a higher level and blocks their progress in the workplace.
CHINAJiang Bo and Robert Coelen
A raft of conferences and meetings in December shows China’s commitment to rapid expansion of internationalisation of higher education.
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China's Maoist ideologues are resurgent after languishing in the political desert, buoyed by President Xi Jinping's traditionalist tilt and emboldened by internal party decrees that have declared open season on Chinese academics, artists and party cadres seen as insufficiently red, write Chris Buckley and Andrew Jacobs for The New York Times.
China's top science and engineering bodies aim to select younger academicians and cut administrative interference among scholars in 2015, reports China Daily.
Close to 40% of faculty positions in the country's higher education institutions are vacant. Experts say that while central institutions and institutes of national importance had a better student to faculty ratio, state public universities took the brunt of the shortage, reports TNN.
Anti-Israel resolutions presented at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association were not voted on after members rejected a vote to suspend the group’s bylaws, report JTA and Rebecca Shimoni Stoil in The Times of Israel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi batted for giving universities more academic freedom and autonomy and promised to cut excessive regulation and cumbersome procedures to encourage research, reports the Press Trust of India.
Librarians at dozens of colleges have been scrambling to reorganise their subscriptions to academic journals after a company that manages subscriptions abruptly filed for bankruptcy this fall, writes Kaitlin Mulhere for Inside Higher Ed.
One of America’s most prestigious law schools got a legal slap on the wrist, and many of its professors are unhappy after the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced that Harvard Law School had failed to respond adequately to student claims of s exual harassment and assault and was therefore in violation of Title IX, writes Elizabeth Kulze for vocactiv.com.
Third-year economics student Inna Shmarai is stressing out these days. It’s not just that exams are coming up soon at the National University in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. What’s adding to the slight 19-year-old’s worries is that ever since her university was taken over by armed separatist fighters in east Ukraine she isn’t sure exactly what degree she’ll receive when she eventually does graduate – and whether it will actually be worth anything, reports AFP.
Minister Todor Tanev has pledged a new Education Act instead of patchy amendments and insertions to the existing one, reports Novinite.
The drug habits of Australian students will be the focus of new research to determine whether prescription medications such as Ritalin or Adderall are being misused in a bid to enhance academic performance, write Eliza Edwards and Andrew Purcell for The Sydney Morning Herald.
In a unanimous vote, Israel's Council for Higher Education approved last week for colleges, not just universities, to begin awarding doctoral degrees, therefore creating the first private universities in the country. PhD programmes that will be offered in the private colleges will require approval from both the council and an international committee, reports i24news.
Many of the UK’s leading universities are refusing to spell out just how they are spending their students’ £9,000 (US$13,600) a year tuition fees, writes Richard Garner for The Independent.
Higher education participation rates across the world are set to soar further despite more than doubling over the past two decades, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.
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