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NEWSLETTERFree higher education in South Africa – The poor, rich and ‘missing middle’
In Africa Analysis, Nico Cloete argues in response to South Africa’s #FeesMustFall student movement that free higher education in a developing country is financially impossible and morally wrong as it privileges the rich – ‘Affordable higher education for all’ should be the rallying cry.
Reuben Kyama interviews Reeta Roy, president and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, following the inaugural Young Africa Works Summit in Cape Town, and finds her inspired by the ideas and commitment of Africa’s future leaders.
In Africa Features, Wachira Kigotho learns that the revitalisation of African higher education is being eroded by under-funding and the rise of ethnically-based universities.
University World News attended the South African Technology Network’s Eighth Annual International Conference and, in the first of two Special Reports, unpacks discussions around the theme of “Entrepreneurship Education for Economic Renewal.”
In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha writes that the last thing any well-intentioned institution wants to do is treat international students as ‘cash cows’ – they need rather to investigate and invest in international student success.
In Commentary, Jeremy Rappleye and Edward Vickers examine scenarios for Japan’s Super Global Universities programme, saying that segregation of international faculty and students will not lead to successful internationalisation. Nita Temmerman contends that a major challenge for online learning in developing countries is that learners and teachers are separated from each other, in societies that place high value on social contact. And Ruwayshid Alruwaili expresses concerns that merging the ministries of higher education and education represents policy drift in Saudi Arabia.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
A sharp drop in oil revenue, combined with stringent new rules to prevent haemorrhaging of foreign currency reserves, has left thousands of Nigerian students studying abroad cut off from financial support, with the government agencies and parents unable to assist them. Students have sent distress calls to the Nigerian government for assistance.
Moroccan academic Maati Monjib has suspended his three-week hunger strike after authorities ended a travel ban imposed on him. But he has been accused of destabilising state security and might face up to five years in prison.
Zimbabwe has come up with a law compelling the higher and tertiary education minister to ensure that at least half of ministerial appointees on all university councils are women, as required by the country’s Constitution.
Amid concerns that global rankings of universities prejudice African institutions, Peter Okebukola, former executive secretary of Nigeria’s National Universities Commission, has countered that league tables can encourage competition and improve performance.
Zambia has resolved to undertake major university infrastructure projects. The government is seeking to operationalise new higher education institutions and finish incomplete construction projects in 2016, in an initiative that involves around 12 universities and colleges.
A Shona-Chinese dictionary produced by academics at the University of Zimbabwe and its Confucius Institute will be launched on 20 November in Harare. But the dictionary – the first in Africa – is already on the market.
In spite of warnings and a conciliatory gesture by Morocco’s Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, medical students maintained pressure on the government by staging a mass demonstration against proposed legislation to make them carry out two years’ compulsory service in the countryside.
The MasterCard Foundation hosted its inaugural Young Africa Works Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, from 29-30 October 2015. The gathering focused on preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship in agriculture. REUBEN KYAMA spoke with REETA ROY, president and CEO of the Toronto-based foundation, at the close of the summit.
Attempts to revitalise African higher education are being eroded because of under-funding, competing forces that try to influence who goes to university and what they should be taught, and the rise of ethnically-based institutions, according to experts.
SOUTH AFRICANico Cloete
‘Free Higher Education’ sounds revolutionary and is an appealing mobilising cry. But in a developing country it is financially impossible and morally wrong, as free higher education privileges the rich. The poster should read ‘Affordable higher education for all’ – with clear understanding that affordable means different costs for different groups in society.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND HE
The South African Technology Network, a grouping of universities of technology in South Africa and Namibia, held its Eighth Annual International Conference 2015 at Vaal University of Technology from 19-21 October. The theme was “Entrepreneurship Education for Economic Renewal”. This is the first of two special reports from the conference, which was attended by University World News.
SOUTH AFRICAKaren MacGregor
The South African government used funding mechanisms to sharply increase the production of PhDs and research outputs in universities. Now clever ways need to be found to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education, said Professor Ahmed Bawa, vice-chancellor of Durban University of Technology.
All universities in the Netherlands now offer entrepreneurship education and from next year it will be obligatory in vocational colleges, said senior researcher Dr Petra Gibcus. But content differs greatly between institutions and faculties – and it took far too long to integrate entrepreneurship education into the curriculum.
There are six key elements of an entrepreneurial university, according to Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, pro vice-chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa – good leadership and governance, capacity incentives, entrepreneurship in teaching and learning, a culture of entrepreneurship, stakeholder partnerships, and internationalisation.
Students at the Université des Comores fear a wasted academic year, and are considering strike action in protest against lack of access to their studies due to financial and logistical problems.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
UNITED KINGDOMDavid Jobbins
UK universities face their biggest shake-up in decades under plans for a further shift towards a market approach. This will include a new regime designed to reward good teaching, in which high performing universities will be allowed to increase their tuition fees by the rate of inflation.
Australia ranks “very, very poorly” on the commercialisation of research and must lift itself up through better collaboration between industry and universities, according to Senator Simon Birmingham, the minister for education and training, in a speech to the Australian Research Council.
FINLANDJan Petter Myklebust and Ian R Dobson
Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen and Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka last week presented a proposal to parliament for removing legal obstacles to the export of Finnish education products and expertise.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
The near doubling of foreign nationals taking an academic degree in Denmark from 2008 to 2014 is a step forward, but the government should do more to ensure that foreign students stay on and work, according to Minister of Higher Education and Science Esben Lunde Larsen.
Germany’s course guidance centres are increasingly seeing students turning up with their parents. The helicopter parent phenomenon could at least partly be because of greater numbers of under-age school-leavers enrolling at universities.
UNITED STATESEllen Wexler, The Chronicle of Higher Education
It was the kind of exit designed to make a statement. Last week all six editors and all 31 editorial board members resigned from Lingua, a prominent linguistics journal, after a disagreement with the journal’s publisher, Elsevier. The announcement re-energised concerns about the relationship between academics and for-profit companies, and the future of scholarly publishing.
Universities should not regard their international students as cash cows, but take a greater interest in new research that looks at what factors are necessary for them to succeed.
The World Innovation Summit for Education, or WISE Summit, held in Doha, Qatar from 3 to 5 November under the theme “Investing for Impact: Quality education for sustainable and inclusive growth”, brought together public and private sector operators, policy-makers, governments, NGOs and foundations from over 100 countries.
Private sector funding of education is gradually winning over doubters about its social value as well as return on investment, say the authors of a new report from education management consultants, Parthenon-EY, presented at last week’s WISE Summit.
If higher education does not pro-actively tackle the world's most pressing educational problems, whether it is the need to keep pace with changing workplaces or forced displacement caused by conflict, issues of access and equity could become irrelevant.
JAPANJeremy Rappleye and Edward Vickers
Will Japan’s Super Global Universities programme succeed in internationalising Japanese higher education amid stiff competition or will continued segregation of international faculty and students continue to stand in the way of mutually beneficial internationalisation?
Social connection is an important part of online learning in developing countries and higher education needs to acknowledge this by finding ways to promote both remote learning and social contact.
SAUDI ARABIARuwayshid Alruwaili
Merging the higher education and education ministries has created concern that the drive towards a world-class system may be going off course.
EUROPEJohn J Joughin
The University of East London is one of a number of universities in Europe offering scholarships to Syrian refugees and hopes some of the people it will help will one day build the Syria of the future.
IRELANDJan Petter Myklebust
One of the surprise success stories in the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme this year was the entry of four Irish universities into the list of the 50 top-performing universities. But how did they do it?
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In what is seen by many as a severe blow to academic freedom, a newly drafted regulation suggested by Turkey's Higher Education Board will pave the way for the closure of private universities, writes Hasan Karali for Today’s Zaman.
The vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong has distanced himself from a decision by the chairman of its governing council to seek a court order banning media revelations of its meetings, writes Stuart Lau for South China Morning Post.
Getting to the top of a blue-chip company is still the prerogative of those who study at the world’s most elite universities, according to Heidrick & Struggles, the executive search company, writes Della Bradshaw for FT.
Oxford University has been urged to review its decision to accept £75 million (US$114 million) from Len Blavatnik, Britain’s richest man, to build the Blavatnik school of government, writes Luke Harding for the Guardian.
President Jacob Zuma is currently exploring the establishment of a formal commission of inquiry to look into transformation‚ free education and institutional autonomy at institutions of higher learning, as well as living conditions of students on campuses‚ reports RDM News Wire.
Fees for Malaysian students in public universities are amongst the lowest in the world, with the government subsidising at least MYR16,000 (US$3,722) per student for the duration of their studies, reports Bernama.
Rectors of higher education in the Gulf Cooperation Council recently discussed the possibility of allowing GCC citizens to study at universities of member states with the terms of admission and privileges the same as their nationals, writes Abdul Hannan Tago for Arab News.
Education Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen has urged Finland’s universities to think seriously about which field of study they will specialise in by the year 2025. In an open letter urging universities to become the “best in the world” in a certain area, Grahn-Laasonen raps the learning institutions for their inefficient use of resources, asking for example why only 60% of university staff are employed in tuition or research, reports Yle.
Governor Ram Naik has asked all universities in Uttar Pradesh to do away with Western attire at their convocations and opt for traditional ethnic wear, writes Ishita Mishra for TNN.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham wants to make universities more accountable for how they spend their money after it was revealed billions of dollars a year are redirected from teaching to research, writes Matthew Knott for The Sydney Morning Herald.
North Korea is making efforts to spur online education at its major universities in a bid to better instil the North's ideology into young people and nurture their expertise, reports Yonhap News Agency.
Social Finance Israel and the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation recently announced the launch of a new social impact bond, the first of its kind in Israel in the field of higher education, which aims to reduce the drop-out rate and extend the studies of computer science students in Israel, writes Lidar Gravé-Lazi for the The Jerusalem Post.
A senior University of Zimbabwe official has been suspended for allegedly providing President Robert Mugabe with a small cap of knowledge during the recent graduation ceremony, writes Valentine Maponga for NewsDay.
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