|25 October 2015||Issue 161||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NEWSLETTERSouth African students – From #RhodesMustFall to #FeesMustFall to free HE?
In Africa News, Sharon Dell reports on a tumultuous week for South African higher education. Massive countrywide student protests closed universities and culminated in the government freezing fees at current levels.
A Special Report provides follow-on coverage of the 26th International Council for Open and Distance Education World Conference held in South Africa from 14 to 16 October.
In Africa Features, Wachira Kigotho attends a workshop in Nairobi of CODESRIA – Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa – where diaspora and African scholars heard that neglect of the humanities and social sciences had dangerously narrowed Sub-Saharan Africa’s view on development.
In Africa Analysis, Nico Jooste and Savo Heleta argue for a ‘global commons’ for internationalisation of higher education, to neutralise the global North’s dominance of debate and encourage collaboration. Chika Sehoole and James Otieno Jowi report on this month’s African Network for Internationalization of Education annual conference, which called on African universities to contribute to meeting the new Sustainable Development Goals.
In Commentary, Ellen Hazelkorn calls for citizens to be continually educated about science so they can participate in knowledge- and science-based decision-making and innovation.
In Australia, Bob Kinnaird argues that education policies should target wealthier foreign students as poorer students are exploited as temporary workers. Ly Tran and Cate Gribble focus on the benefits of international students to the country.
And in Global Features, Yojana Sharma asks International Association of Universities President Dzulkifli Abdul Razak about his concept of higher education for a single planet.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
SOUTH AFRICASharon Dell
After a week of mounting countrywide protests, South African university students will not be paying more for tuition next year. And they will be given extra time to write their end-of-year examinations. But the push for free higher education for poor students is far from over.
In an apparent violation of academic and other freedoms, Morocco’s government has allegedly prevented historian Maati Monjib from travelling to take part in conferences in Europe. Now the academic, human rights activist and writer is struggling for his life, more than two weeks into a hunger strike protesting against the government’s treatment of him.
Egypt is to establish a Higher Education Regulatory Funding Authority in collaboration with the United Kingdom. The aim is to create an improved and more autonomous higher education system.
A season of disturbances is continuing at the Copperbelt University, Zambia’s second largest institution based in Kitwe. Lecturers embarked on a go-slow last week in a bid to persuade the government to install new management and in protest against late salary payments – and police engaged in running battles with students demonstrating against the academic stoppage.
For many years, cases of sexual harassment and rape were swept under the carpet by Nigerian universities. But times have changed. Female students, supported by parents and civil society organisations, are hitting back and universities have introduced rules to counter sexual assault on campuses.
Medical students across Morocco are continuing a strike, begun on 1 September, against proposed legislation on compulsory medical service in the countryside.
The marginalisation of social sciences and humanities in African universities has radically stifled scholarship, according to CODESRIA – the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa. At a workshop in Nairobi, scholars from the diaspora and from Sub-Saharan Africa heard that this had narrowed the region’s view on development.
GLOBALNico Jooste and Savo Heleta
The parameters of the debate on the internationalisation of higher education have been dominated by the North. We need a global commons where power dynamics are neutralised in order to encourage true collaboration.
AFRICAChika Sehoole and James Otieno Jowi
The 6th annual conference of the African Network for Internationalization of Education was held just a week after ratification of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. African universities were urged to position themselves to contribute to meeting the global goals through partnerships.
SOUTH AFRICAEmanuela Carleschi
South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training has approved a revised version of a contentious 2003 research funding policy. The Research Outputs Policy 2015 comes into effect in January. It has been welcomed by academics as having the potential to introduce considerable changes in how research output funds are awarded. But will the apparently ‘new’ policy actually just be more of the same?
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Théophile Mbemba, higher education and universities minister in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has closed 174 higher education institutions that have been judged ‘non-viable’.
Representatives of the American universities of Michigan State and California, Berkeley presented the MasterCard Foundation grants initiative to students at the University of Lomé in Togo. The programme’s aims are to enable bright but disadvantaged young people, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, to study in leading universities abroad, and to help train future leaders to promote development when they return to their home countries.
26th ICDE WORLD CONFERENCE
There were 900 delegates from 67 countries at the 26th International Council for Open and Distance Education, or ICDE, World Conference held in South Africa from 14 to 16 October. Open, distance and e-learning’s major global gathering was hosted by the University of South Africa under the theme “Growing Capacities for Sustainable Distance e-Learning Provision”.
This has been the ‘Year of Education’, with a flurry of global policy statements key to online, open and flexible education, said Gard Titlestad, secretary general of the International Council for Open and Distance Education. At a High Level Policy Forum, 130 leaders and policy-makers went a step further, identifying actions that would help higher education to meet the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
UNITED STATESSungula Nkabinde
The future of technology is being shaped in Silicon Valley and California’s global innovation hub will thus dictate the evolution of education technology. The digital revolution and the ‘sharing economy’ mean education will become more accessible, but education technology writer Audrey Watters believes that does not necessarily bode well for the greater good that is the transfer of knowledge to the world’s most economically vulnerable people.
As societies change, so must leadership. Today’s higher education leaders must be ready to adapt to the new era of fast-paced technology, and to understand and engage in the complex environment in which it operates. Reputation and connectedness will be real assets, according to Harold Jarche, an internationally renowned expert on workplace transformation.
MOOCs – massive open online courses – have the potential to build new learning pathways. Governments, universities and stakeholders have a duty to scrutinise how the opportunities MOOCs offer can best be harnessed for development, the International Council for Open and Distance Education conference heard.
An ‘operational network’ that stretches across the world and will offer regional support structures for open, distance and e-learning institutions was launched on the final day of the biennial conference of the International Council for Open and Distance Education.
Educators have no doubt over the efficacy and need for learning analytics, but the invasion of privacy that it entails makes it an ethically grey area – because more often than not, the data is collected without students’ knowledge or consent. This is overlooked supposedly because it is done in the interest of better education.
Given the competitive environment of higher education, institutions need to improve student retention and success and attract high-performing students while ensuring their employability, according to Jon Baldwin, managing director of market development for Tribal. Analytics can be key in responding to these imperatives.
While universities and other tertiary institutions increasingly expand their e-learning and online capacities, they often fail to back up the educational technology with adequate lecturer knowledge to deliver it effectively and sustainably.
When it comes to university league tables, open and distance learning providers are getting a raw deal, said experts at the International Council for Open and Distance Education conference. “We feel pushed by the current rankings,” said Albert Sangrà, UNESCO chair in education and technology for social change at the Open University of Catalonia in Spain.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Countries should step up their investment in long-term research and development to develop frontier technologies that will reshape industry, healthcare and communications and provide urgently needed solutions to global challenges like climate change, according to a new OECD report. And long-term basic research, which is mostly carried out by universities and government institutes, has a vital role to play, the report says.
NORWAYJan Petter Myklebust
The government is to phase out its Quota Scheme for international mobility and plough 40% of the money saved into two-way institutional collaborations and research collaborations with BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and Japan.
As Yale-NUS College – the flagship liberal arts programme in Asia run by Yale and the National University of Singapore – inaugurated its new campus with three residential colleges this month, there have been rumblings of discontent over the course content.
Ashoka University, a new private liberal arts university in India, is expanding collaborations with Yale University, strengthening a collaboration that began five years ago, before Ashoka admitted its first student cohort in 2014. It could eventually become a basis for a college on the lines of Yale’s collaboration with Singapore, according to observers.
GLOBALEllen Wexler, The Chronicle of Higher Education
In 2011 there were fewer than 10 massive open online courses, or MOOCs, worldwide. Today there are nearly 4,000 and while the hype has died down, the interest continues to rise. In 2015 the number of new students registered on MOOCs is equivalent to the previous three years combined.
Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen is now facing allegations of having violated ethical principles for research on human beings during her doctorate. Von der Leyen’s dissertation is currently under review for alleged plagiarism.
Yojana Sharma talks to International Association of Universities President Dzulkifli Abdul Razak about higher education institutions' role in helping refugees and migrants and contributing to sustainable development, and about his concept of higher education for a single planet.
Science education requires a whole-of-education and whole-of-society approach. Citizens should be assisted to continually refresh their understanding so they can participate actively and responsibly in science-informed decision-making and knowledge-based innovation.
International education policies should be targeted at wealthier students who are less at risk of exploitation by employers looking to undercut domestic wages and work visas should be restricted.
AUSTRALIALy Tran and Cate Gribble
Rather than viewing international students as taking jobs from young Australians, the benefits of international education must be showcased to the wider Australian community.
CANADAGrace Karram Stephenson
Universities should not have the sole rights on research and may have something to learn from how polytechnics have forged partnerships with business.
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Saudi students face racial discrimination at a number of European universities, a Saudi diplomat has alleged, writes Sounak Mukhopadhyay for International Business Times.
A total of 43 of the 86 national universities are set to carry out structural reforms, such as establishing new faculties and realigning existing ones, in the six years from fiscal 2016, reports Jiji Press.
Officials at Myanmar’s 169 colleges and universities are busy drafting charters for their respective institutions, which will allow them to be self-governing starting from the upcoming academic year, writes May Thinzar Naing for Myanmar Times.
A new report says that more than £500 million (US$770 million) should be taken from UK universities in the Spending Review and given to further education, or FE, colleges to improve training for engineers, technicians and skilled construction workers, writes Sarah Cassidy for the Independent.
Apple has won patent infringement lawsuits against other companies, but its loss on 16 October to a university could have significant impacts on other university researchers concerned about their intellectual property rights, writes Lucy Schouten for The Christian Science Monitor.
A leading academic has warned that elite Australian universities are more concerned with protecting their reputation than dealing with sexual harassment and assault, write Henrietta Cook and Bridie Smith for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Students took to the streets of Paris recently to protest against the sorry state of French universities, which are suffering from overcrowding and a chronic lack of funding, reports The Local.
When the Open University announced last month that it would be closing seven of its nine regional centres in England, it said it was a response to the changing demands of students, rather than funding. But staff say abandoning many of the opportunities for face-to-face contact and support will change the OU’s ethos, writes Harriet Swain for the Guardian.
The chair of the University of British Columbia's board of governors, John Montalbano, has resigned in the wake of a report which found the university failed to protect a professor's academic freedom, reports Jason Proctor for CBC News.
Fears of corporate influence on higher education are nothing new. But are colleges and universities, which receive smaller and smaller shares of their budgets from public funding, and which have struggled to bounce back from the 2008 recession, more likely to accept gifts with ideological strings attached than they would have been previously? asks Colleen Flaherty for Inside Higher Ed.
Both Gayatri Ganesh, director of development at the Christian Hospital, a rural hospital in Mungeli, India, and Paolo Pagaduan, a project manager with the World Wildlife Fund in the Philippines, have signed up for courses at the new non-profit group Philanthropy University, started by Amr Al-Dabbagh, a Saudi businessman and philanthropist, writes Paul Sullivan for The New York Times.
A study of more than 22,000 university staff shows that academics in regional universities were more likely to experience bullying compared to those at other types of universities, writes Timothy Charles Skinner for The Conversation.
A new study examining the economics of public research universities found that at least 11 states spend more on locking up citizens than educating them, writes Carl Stoffers for New York Daily News.
The Hong Kong government should provide incentives for students to study innovation and technology-related disciplines so local universities can remain competitive. This is the view of City University of Hong Kong President Professor Kuo Way, writes Shirley Zhao for South China Morning Post.
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