University World News Africa Edition
03 April 2016 Issue 170 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Are African universities ready for the return of diaspora academics?

In Africa Analysis, James Otieno Jowi describes Norway’s new programme for academic collaboration with the global South, which represents a move away from study abroad that results in brain drain to postgraduate-level partnerships and short exchanges. Deren Temel argues that the World Bank and UNESCO’s competing visions impeded African higher education. Now governments must modernise universities while widening participation to achieve truly sustainable development.
In Africa Features, Reuben Kyama outlines ambitious plans for training a new generation of leaders, following the launch of the African Leadership University in Mauritius. And in the latest in a series on African university leadership, Wachira Kigotho reports on a study by CODESRIA’s Ibrahim Oanda Ogachi questioning whether African universities are ready for diaspora academics.
In Commentary, Gearóid Ó Cuinn argues that transnational education is not detached from human rights obligations and universities involved are responsible for due diligence and monitoring for abuses.
Dean Hristov encourages universities to use big data and predictive analytics to predict future skills needs and develop future-ready global talent, while Terje Mørland and Stig Arne Skjerven call for a Europe-wide qualifications ‘passport’ for refugee students. And in Global Features, Jan Petter Myklebust reports on the findings of a Swedish study on the use and effects of the tenure track system in six countries.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Tunde Fatunde

Following a barrage of criticism laced with threats of lawsuits, President Muhammadu Buhari has apologised for the firing of 13 vice-chancellors of public universities. The apology is unprecedented in the annals of Nigerian higher education – as was February’s mass sacking.
Gilbert Nganga

Kenya’s public universities have agreed on a new tuition fee model that will see students pay fees based on the courses they undertake. This ends years of haggling over a differentiated unit cost system, which vice-chancellors said last week would promote equity in the funding of public institutions.
Kaci Racelma

Mauritania has produced its first medical graduates trained within the country rather than abroad. Medical higher education has been expanded and new facilities built in the impoverished northwest African country that is largely desert.

The University of Cape Town has invited students, staff and the wider university community to contribute views on whether contested names of some key campus buildings and spaces should change – and to what – in order to tackle “the issue of whom and what we honour”.

The Moroccan government is encouraging university lecturers to promote gender studies, with the introduction of courses and policies aimed at encouraging the promotion, equality and independence of women.
Esther Nakkazi

Bilateral research collaboration between Uganda and Sweden has been renewed for five years, ending in 2020. The new research cooperation agreement focuses on institutional capacity building and human resource development in public universities in Uganda.
Jane Marshall

Senegal has announced that a new human and social sciences education and research unit will open next year in Kolda in the south. A centre for research and experimentation has also just opened in the region – raising the number of such centres countrywide from eight in 2012 to 23 now.
Reuben Kyama

The African Leadership University, launched in Mauritius last month with the aim of training Africa’s future leaders, has huge ambitions – to build 25 campuses across the continent and train three million leaders in five decades. It has partnered with Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University to award internationally recognised degrees to graduates.
AFRICA: University leadership
Wachira Kigotho

Members of the academic diaspora are dependable ambassadors for universities in Africa in the face of the unstoppable onslaughts of economic globalisation and higher education internationalisation, argues Ibrahim Oanda Ogachi, programme officer for the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.
James Otieno Jowi

Norway recently unveiled its new programme for academic collaboration with the global South. Significantly, this major partner of African higher education has shifted from full degree study abroad scholarships that intensify the brain drain to postgraduate-level partnerships and short exchanges.
Deren Temel

Ministries in Africa must simultaneously modernise higher education systems while widening participation. To do this they must convince governments and donors that system innovations and societal benefits have an equally important rate of return in terms of truly sustainable development.
Papias Musafiri

The Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering 2016 that took place in Senegal last month brought together African and global leaders from science, industry, civil society and government. The aim was to create “a unified African scientific identity integrated into the global scientific community and to inspire talented young people to pursue science”.
Maina Waruru

The governments of Kenya and South Africa have invited applications for joint research from scholars in public universities in the two countries. There will be R4 million (US$272,000) in funding available under a joint scientific and technological collaboration founded in 2004.

The government of President Alassane Ouattara has adopted measures to improve working conditions for university lecturers and researchers in Côte d’Ivoire, and to raise the quality of education.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Brendan O'Malley

A memorandum establishing the BRICS Network University will be signed by the rectors of the 12 participating universities at the first conference of the institution, in Ekaterinburg, Russia, this coming week. The network university is devoted to the creation of masters and PhD programmes and promoting academic mobility.

United States college students are pursuing a broader range of international educational activities despite not receiving academic credit for them, due to growing provision by institutions, the lower cost than credited study abroad programmes, and growing interest among students, according to a new report by the Institute of International Education, or IIE.
Eugene Vorotnikov

The Russian government has approved a project for the establishment of a large-scale research and technology valley in the centre of Moscow, which will be the biggest in the country, according to a spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. It will incorporate part of Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Unsoo Jung

The South Korean government has chosen half a dozen universities to lead and foster inter-Korean reunification education among the country’s universities, with funding from the government, amid heightened cross-border tensions with North Korea.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The University of Oslo will be opening a centre on right-wing extremism later this month after winning a NOK50 million (US$6 million) government contract in a national competition last autumn. The initiative is part of the government's response to the terror attacks by Anders Behring Breivik in July 2011 in which 77 people were killed.
Brendan O'Malley

The New York-based Scholars at Risk Network has urged the Turkish Minister of National Education, Nabi Avci, to make public a private affirmation of Turkey’s commitment to academic freedom and called on him to support ending the investigation of 1,128 academics from 89 universities who signed a petition criticising military operations in the south-east of Turkey.
Brendan O'Malley and Jan Petter Myklebust

A government inquiry has proposed the introduction of the tenure track position of assistant professor to address the lack of career structure in Swedish universities. But it warns that it should be used “more broadly than as a purely elite track” as found in other countries.
Gearóid Ó Cuinn

Oversight of transnational education programmes is governed by the standards, including human rights obligations, of the sending country and universities involved should do due diligence and monitor for abuses that affect them.
Dean Hristov

By fusing big data and predictive analytics universities can adapt their curriculum and pedagogies to ensure their students are ready for the future global talent market.
Terje Mørland and Stig Arne Skjerven

The unprecedented migration and refugee crisis demands out-of-the-box thinking which is why there is a need for a Europe-wide qualifications passport for refugee students. It would establish a fast-track scheme to evaluate refugees’ educational and training background while still ensuring their mobility around Europe.
Robin Matross Helms and Laura E Rumbley

There is not much data showing the impact of different internationalisation strategies, but some factors can be clearly identified.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Tenure track develops elite recruitment but does not provide employment security for post-doctoral candidates in general and reduces the mobility of academic staff, according to a new report on the use of the system in Denmark, China, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.
Dan Berrett, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Researchers have long noticed that an oddly large number of jihadists have engineering backgrounds. New research suggests they are right. But why? The findings add to the debates about the seeds of terrorism and the blind spots that can afflict engineering education.
Nita Temmerman

What matters above all else for a successful education system is the quality of its teachers and requires giving them respect, status, a decent salary and career pathways commensurate with other professional areas.
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Alexandra Elbakyan is a highbrow pirate in hiding. The 27-year-old graduate student from Kazakhstan is operating a searchable online database of nearly 50 million stolen scholarly journal articles, shattering the US$10 billion-per-year paywall of academic publishers, writes Michael Rosenwald for The Washington Post.

The average student attending a four-year, in-state public college pays about US$19,500 in tuition each year. Is that an investment worth making? Forbes has made answering that question a little easier with its Best Value Colleges 2016 rankings, published online Tuesday, writes Julia Glum for International Business Times.

UK university staff have cited the lack of transparency around Chinese transnational education, or TNE, legislation as one of the main barriers halting higher education partnerships between the two countries, writes Ellie Bothwell for Times Higher Education.

A Grattan Institute report released on Tuesday has recommended the income threshold for university debt repayments should be cut by A$12,000 (US$9,200), saving A$500 million every year, reports Australian Associated Press.

Research into cosmic evolution, the structure of matter, the origins of life and understanding how the brain works all deserve strengthened support, according to China's latest 5-year development plan, which could triple funding for basic research by 2020, writes Hao Xin for Science.

Over 300 academicians, activists, artists and writers published a statement condemning the state violence and unlawful detention at the University of Hyderabad and crackdowns at other institutions, reports First Post.

The government has embarked upon a scheme to fund ‘pure science’ scholars who have completed their PhDs to enable them to continue their post-doctoral research in India, reports Press Trust of India.

The Higher Education Commission has expressed concerns at universities not following the commission’s plagiarism policy by not taking action on plagiarism complaints against their faculty, reports The Express Tribune.

The Bangladesh government last week approved in principle the draft of ‘The Accreditation Council Law, 2016’, with a view to ensuring standards of higher education in the country, reports The Daily Star.

A slight majority of people agree with the new academic year for universities as it falls in line with the international and ASEAN – Association of Southeast Asian Nations – bi-semester system, according to the result of an opinion poll carried out by the National Institute of Development Administration, reports Bangkok Post.

Short-term policy-making risks jeopardising efforts to widen participation in English higher education, it has been warned, after yet another change in the national approach to encouraging those from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply to university, writes Chris Havergal for Times Higher Education.

The University of California System is frequently lauded as one of the best public education systems in the world. But a scathing new state audit of the system tells a story of manipulation of admissions standards for financial gain, writes Abby Jackson for Business Insider.

The Department of Higher Education and Training has allocated R1.9 billion (US$129 million) towards improving the infrastructure, student housing and maintenance, among other things, at 24 state-owned universities, reports SA News.

The Kenya National Examinations Council's board was dissolved on 24 March over the irregularities that marred national examinations in 2015, and nine senior officers were arrested, writes Ouma Wanzala for The Nation.
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This Week

Africa Features
The African Leadership University launched in Mauritius has huge ambitions

Africa Analysis
A shift is evident in Norway’s new academic partnerships with the global South

Africa: Ministries should navigate competing higher education visions to achieve sustainable development

Universities should be aware of human rights obligations in transnational education

Why don’t universities use big data to develop future-ready global talent?

Call – European qualifications passport for refugees to fast-track evaluation of prior education

Governments around the world introduce policies to promote HE internationalisation

World Blog
For any education system to be successful, there must be good quality teaching

Global Feature
Swedish report finds tenure track system lures elite researchers but reduces mobility

Special Report
Diaspora academics can be depended upon as ambassadors for universities in Africa