|28 June 2015||Issue 154||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NEWSLETTERResearch in the social sciences on the rise in Africa – CODESRIA
At the 14th General Assembly of CODESRIA – the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa – there was excitement over the high level of reflections and more than 100 full papers. Wachira Kigotho reports on a warning that quality in universities must further improve to reduce an increased risk of brain drain stemming from internationalisation.
In Africa Analysis, Sheldon G Weeks details major challenges facing Botswana’s oldest and newest public universities. And in Africa Features Elizia Volkmann finds the private sector stepping in to provide higher education in information technology in Morocco and Wachira Kigotho charts the rapid expansion of higher education in Tanzania as outlined in a World Bank study.
In Global Features, Brendan O’Malley unpacks a new report from Scholars at Risk, which documents how militant groups and state forces in many countries are using violence, imprisonment and intimidation to silence students and academics.
In Commentary, we offer opposing points of view on the proposed academic boycott of Israel. John Kelly argues that a total boycott could ensure that Israeli academics and students force their government to ease restrictions on Palestinian universities; while David Newman contends that the activities of the boycott movement serve only to weaken the chances of Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement.
Also in Commentary, Peter Tindemans says we should think in novel ways to reshape doctoral training given that growing numbers of PhDs will end up in non-research positions.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
A tight competition for professional and technical skills is emerging in Africa with most companies experiencing volatile labour mobility of highly skilled persons, according to a new study by EY, one of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited.
Kenyatta University – Kenya’s largest institution by student numbers – has teamed up with New York-based private equity firm Integras to build hostels with a total of 10,000 beds. The US$11 million project is to be executed under a public-private partnership.
Just months after a terror attack killed 148 people at Garissa University College in northeast Kenya, 300 of its surviving students have been awarded scholarships to complete their studies by the German Academic Exchange Service.
Lecturers at all six public universities in Uganda will have a salary increase of 53% effective from July. The pay hike is an effort by the government to improve higher education quality and skills development. But academics are not impressed.
Two private higher education institutions in Mauritius, both with Indian links, are to close. The Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (Mauritius Branch Campus) will shut in December 2015 and the Amity Institute of Higher Education in June 2016, according to press reports.
A regional fund for study and innovation grants for Africa has been established by three African governments and a collective of business leaders under the World Bank’s PASET – Partnership for Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – initiative. One of PASET’s aims is to award 10,000 doctoral grants over 10 years to support research and innovation.
A Tripoli University Business Incubator is to be created in the Libyan capital in an effort to narrow the gap between university educational outputs and the needs of the workplace, and to encourage new businesses. The initiative supports Libya Vision 2020, which includes sweeping higher education reform.
The private sector is stepping in to provide higher education in information technology in Morocco, as the government struggles to match demand from the North African country’s growing economy with an output of highly skilled graduates.
Tanzania has made progress in expanding access to higher education in order to gear young people towards a middle-income economy by 2025, according to a World Bank report. It provides a snapshot of how the East African country is catching up with tertiary education growth trends in neighbouring states such as Kenya and Uganda.
More than 500 delegates attended the 14th General Assembly of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, or CODESRIA, held in the Senegalese capital Dakar from 8-12 June under the theme “Creating African Futures in an Era of Global Transformations: Challenges and prospects”.
This month, at Africa’s biggest gathering of social scientists, the quality of papers and depth of reflection made it clear that universities are turning a corner. “It indicated significant recovery taking place in higher education systems,” said Dr Ebrima Sall, executive secretary of CODESRIA – the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.
The quality of education in African universities must be urgently improved in order to stem the brain drain and reduce risks stemming from the internationalisation of higher education, delegates at the 14th General Assembly of CODESRIA – the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa – were told.
Nollywood, Nigeria’s vibrant film industry, has come of age by attracting tertiary educated audiences and can be used effectively as an integration tool in West Africa and beyond, says Dr Oluyemi Oyenike Fayomi, a senior lecturer at Covenant University in Nigeria.
BOTSWANASheldon G Weeks
The old University of Botswana and the new Botswana International University of Science and Technology, both public institutions, have been experiencing a time of turmoil. At one university the vice-chancellor has faced challenges. The other’s leader resigned after only 17 months and left the country.
The first stone has been laid in Douala of UTEC, the Université de Technologies du Cinquantenaire, a new technology university being built at a cost of XAF25 billion (US$42.7 million) by the Cameroon Evangelical Church.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Violent attacks on higher education students, staff and institutions around the world are occurring with “alarming frequency”, according to a new report, which documents 485 killings in 18 countries in the past four and a half years.
CHINA-UNITED STATESYojana Sharma
New York University’s flagship branch campus in Shanghai would have to be closed down if principles of academic freedom are not honoured in China, Jeffrey Lehman, the vice-chancellor of NYU Shanghai, told a US house subcommittee hearing on the threat to academic freedom by China’s growing influence on US universities.
The European University Association, or EUA, fears a vote in the European Parliament to formally adopt the European Union European Fund for Strategic Investments, or EFSI, and divert EU research funding to EFSI’s budgets will mean a squeeze on other earmarked funds for collaborative research by universities and other research bodies.
Universities will face pressure to streamline and refocus their mission on developing skills for the global jobs market under sweeping reforms announced last week. The education ministry wants to raise the standing of science and technology and said that humanities departments could be axed.
MYANMARNaw Say Phaw Waa
An amended National Education Law was approved by Myanmar’s union parliament last week after months of student protests. But it still excludes recognition of student and teachers’ unions – a key demand of demonstrators.
NORWAYJan Petter Myklebust
The case of two Iranian students appealing against a decision of the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board in spring 2014 to block renewal of their residence permits for PhD study at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology was heard by the Oslo District Court on 17-22 June.
Thierry Mandon has been appointed as the new state secretary for higher education and research. He takes over at a time of austerity and low morale among the university community, after a period of three months during which the post was vacant.
Palmer United Party Senator Zhenya Wang has proposed an opt-in/opt-out model for university fee deregulation in a bid to break months of deadlock between the government and opposition over higher education reform.
NORWAYJan Petter Myklebust
The Council of State has ordered the merging of 11 higher education institutions into four new institutions, thereby establishing the Norwegian University of Science and Technology as the largest university in Norway. The mergers are intended to strengthen the institutional landscape.
A new report from the Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitoring Project has not only highlighted the targeted killing in conflict countries but has revealed that in many places state authorities are using violence, imprisonment and lower levels of intimidation to silence students and academics with opposing points of view.
UNITED STATESKatherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education
It’s hard for Charles K Ross to shake his first image of the University of Mississippi. He was watching a televised football game in 1994, and the Ole Miss stadium was a sea of Confederate-flag-waving fans. Ross was appalled. A flurry of changes since then have made the campus a more welcoming and inclusive place.
The German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, celebrated its 90th anniversary this month. Although it was once hijacked by the Nazis, it now plays a key role in the academic world, and contributes to peace-building by enabling students from war-torn countries to continue their higher education.
An international academic boycott of Israel provides a chance, however slight, to bring academic freedom to Palestinian universities, which are severely restricted by the Israeli government.
Calls for an academic boycott of Israel only serve to weaken liberal voices on campuses and allow the government to shift the spotlight away from its policies on the West Bank and the Palestinians.
A change is needed in how we deal with doctoral education in the light of funding shortages across Europe, as the reality is that many doctorate holders will end up in non-research positions.
GLOBALWilliam Patrick Leonard
Korea offers a growing number of courses in English, which is a good draw for international students, although it can present problems for some Korean students.
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Students are flocking into Islamic-based higher education institutions as the government plans to turn Indonesia into a global centre for Islamic study, writes Hans Nicholas Jong for The Jakarta Post.
Figures from 2014 reveal that more than 2,000 students submitted complaints against universities in the UK, up 3% on last year and the highest number recorded in the report's 10-year history, writes Josie Gurney-Read for The Telegraph.
Funded by a US$40 million investment from Microsoft Corporation, the University of Washington and China’s elite Tsinghua University will launch a new programme in Seattle in 2016 to focus on technology and design innovation – a cooperative move between nations for whom technology has been a sore point in recent years, writes Melissa Korn for The Wall Street Journal.
The college and university accommodation crisis in Ireland has become “so chronic” that students are being forced to sleep rough, share a bed with strangers – or give up on studying altogether, writes Aftab Ali for The Independent.
A group of senior United States university representatives has visited Iran, in what is believed to be the biggest academic delegation since the 1970s, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.
The number of Chinese mainland students applying to Hong Kong universities has dropped by more than 30%, according to several local universities, with observers claiming the decline was likely prompted by the region's unstable political environment, writes Yuen Yeuk-laam for Global Times.
High-tech collaboration between British universities and China’s aerospace sector is under scrutiny as US authorities investigate links between Beijing’s biggest military aircraft manufacturer and Iran’s ballistic missile programme, writes Charles Clover for Financial Times.
Ethiopia’s higher education infrastructure has mushroomed in the last 15 years. But the institutions suffer from curricula being abandoned due to funding cuts, unqualified – but party-loyal – lecturers, and shoddily built institutions. The rapid growth of Ethiopia’s higher education system has come at a cost, but it is moving forward all the same, writes George West for the Guardian.
Ahead of the new academic year, leading Armenian universities are holding rector elections with new promises and new expectations, writes Gohar Abrahamyan for Armenia Now.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The University of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo was once a status symbol for the whole country – today it is a symbol of state failure and viewed as a stronghold of resistance to President Joseph Kabila's controversial third term bid, reports Deutsche Welle.
The genome of the superbug that has put hospital authorities across the globe on alert has been mapped, raising hopes that scientists could finally tame the bacterial bandit that has been linked to Australian deaths, writes Bridie Smith for The Age.
Japan has not yet decided if it will resume killing whales as part of its Antarctic research whaling programme, but the country believes it has the right to do so, writes Dennis Normile for Science.
Medical marijuana advocates and researchers are celebrating a surprise decision by the Obama administration to scrap reviews that delayed – sometimes for years – private and state-funded research into marijuana’s medical value, writes Steven Nelson for US News and World Report.
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