|05 June 2016||Issue 174||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NEWSLETTERStaff development pilot empowers academics to rethink the curriculum
In Africa Analysis, Eilis Ferran argues that if all of the world’s leading research universities partnered with African institutions to boost research capacity, there could be a transformative impact on the continent’s capacity to produce knowledge. Elizabeth de Kadt, Brenda Leibowitz and Precious Sipuka report on a pilot staff development initiative that aims to empower senior academics to rethink approaches to the curriculum.
In Africa Features, Sharon Dell reports on the centenary celebrations of the University of Fort Hare in South Africa – the alma mater of numerous African leaders including Nelson Mandela – which were marred by violent student protests. We interview Michael Faborode, secretary general of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, and find institutions uniting in their efforts to develop higher education in Africa’s biggest economy.
In a series on ‘Transformative Leadership’, published in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, University World News looks at barriers to social equity and social justice and ways to overcome them through education. Suellen Shay suggests South African higher education leaders look beyond widening access to a vision of equity that is about re-landscaping the terrain to ensure a more appropriate higher education for all, and Rebecca Farnum looks at the growing movement of scholactivists, scholars who are keen to ensure their work has social impact.
In World Blog, Hans de Wit warns of the consequences of internationalisation indicators in global rankings, which influence the way universities and governments internationalise and the way internationalisation is measured. And in Commentary, Pratik Gandhi sets out the benefits to India of attracting more international students, and suggests how this can be done.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Uganda’s nine public universities are set to undergo substantial restructuring as the government prepares to implement reforms recommending the formation of ‘innovation universities’.
AFRICA-MIDDLE EASTWagdy Sawahel
University leaders, higher education policy-makers and experts from the Middle East and North Africa have called for stronger measures to improve university governance and teaching quality, in order to increase the competitiveness and employability of graduates.
A bill by the Nigerian parliament’s upper house to curb sexual harassment on university campuses – which carries jail sentences of up to five years for offenders – has successfully passed a second reading. A third and final reading of the bill is expected soon.
The medical school at Egypt’s state-run Suez Canal University has unveiled a plan to teach humanities, including fine arts and philosophy, in an attempt to enhance communication between junior doctors and patients.
The global French-speaking universities association, Agence universitaire de la Francophonie, has forged new partnerships that will boost higher education in Africa – with Cameroon to improve university governance, and with the French Research Institute for Development to support research masters and projects in Africa.
The second phase of the African Union Research Grants has been launched with a call for proposals for research into food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture. US$9 million will be allocated for research this year, and more next year under the US$20 million initiative supported by the European Union.
Students in the faculty of law and politics at Senegal’s Université Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar went on strike in May demanding that all graduates who have passed a first degree should be entitled to enrol for a masters course – as has been the case until now.
The director of the centre providing student support services to Senegal’s biggest university has denied allegations of financial irregularities made by the national anti-corruption office.
There is growing collaboration between the vice-chancellors of 143 Nigerian federal, state and private universities, as well as with African and international associations, as leaders unite to develop and internationalise their institutions, says Professor Michael Faborode, secretary general of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom that for young black South Africans like himself, the University of Fort Hare was “Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, all rolled into one”.
If all of the world’s leading research-intensive universities partnered – even modestly – with African institutions to boost research capacity, there could be a transformative impact on the continent’s capacity to produce knowledge.
SOUTH AFRICAElizabeth de Kadt, Brenda Leibowitz and Precious Sipuka
Seriously rethinking approaches to the curriculum, and to teaching and learning, requires staff development that draws on unacknowledged expertise, gives status to teaching and learning, and builds collaboration between institutions. In August, fellows from 22 South African universities will emerge from a pilot programme that set its sights on these ambitious goals.
In this month’s special supplement in our transformative leadership series, published in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, University World News looks at the challenges to social equity and how higher education can overcome these obstacles and prepare young people to achieve social justice.
SOUTH AFRICASuellen Shay
To achieve social change, leaders need to look beyond widening access towards greater equity within the university, ensuring that the curriculum reflects the diversity and needs of the growing number of non-traditional students.
An increasing number of academics and students are keen to ensure their work has a social impact, questioning the purpose of knowledge and using it to create transformative change.
Geeta Dharmarajan has dedicated her life to challenging poverty in the slums of Delhi through using the power of story and student-centred learning to transform educational achievement and questions whether Indian universities are preparing young people to think, ask questions and take action to change society for the better.
CHINABin Wu and W John Morgan
Higher education reform should not be limited simply to the redistribution of higher education resources by region and by social group, but should embrace a rethinking of universities’ role in transformative social change.
While there are notable examples of universities leading innovative programmes, current efforts to reform education to tackle the challenges facing Roma in Europe will be severely compromised unless much more is done to confront the re-emergence of violent prejudice against them.
ISRAELGad Yair and Nofar Gueta
What causes at-risk students to drop out or fail to thrive at university? Research shows that positive academic experiences are crucial and suggests ways that these can be improved to transform the educational trajectory and increase equity.
UNITED STATESBrendan O'Malley
Aya Waller-Bey suffers from survivor guilt. She knows she is one of the lucky few from a mostly-black community of blue collar workers to make it to not just one but two elite universities and she is using the opportunity to tackle the injustice, inequality of opportunity, by pressing for diversity on the curriculum – and the study of hip hop.
GLOBALHans de Wit
Internationalisation only accounts for a small proportion of global rankings, but the way it is measured can have a lasting impact on how universities shape their internationalisation strategy.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
The number of Indian students going abroad to study is growing at a faster pace than ever before. With the exception of the United Kingdom, student numbers from India to the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Germany grew faster than overall overseas student numbers to these destinations, according to the latest report by MM Advisory Services in New Delhi.
The Russian government is planning to create conditions for the acceleration of research and development activities at the national universities, according to recent statements of Dmitry Livanov, Russia’s minister of education and science, changing the current approach under which the vast majority of scientific research is carried out within the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The European Students' Union has become the first student organisation to formally adopt 'the Bergen Declaration', a global student declaration calling for universal cooperation “in the defence of students’ rights, public tertiary education and access to education for all”, and aimed at creating a global student movement.
In a move widely viewed by experts as responding to international pressure, Japan has said it will host some 150 Syrian refugees as foreign students in support of Europe’s efforts to tackle the influx of tens of thousands of people fleeing war in their country.
The 68th annual conference of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, with 9,500 participants, was held on 29 May to 3 June in Denver, Colorado, USA. Mary Beth Marklein reports for University World News.
UNITED STATESMary Beth Marklein
If Donald Trump wins the United States presidency it could reverse the annual record-breaking gains in international student enrolment at US universities over the past decade, according to poll results released during the annual conference of NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, in Denver last week.
GLOBALMary Beth Marklein
Fake higher education degrees and diploma mills are a billion-dollar industry and have spiralled into a major threat for employers and university admissions offices across the world. One potential solution is being hatched by a global network of stakeholders, known as the Groningen Declaration Network, involving the development of a system making it easier for universities to transfer academic records.
Indian students are demanding a more international campus so they can learn the skills they will need in a global economy. Now is the time to put a strategy in place to make India a destination of choice for international students.
The establishment of the Fulbright University Vietnam is an important step towards reforming the Vietnamese higher education system and making it more relevant to the country’s economic needs.
EUROPEMikhail Balyasin and Georgiana Mihut
Students who take part in Erasmus Mundus masters programmes are participating in surveys on quality assurance processes in order to offer meaningful feedback that may lead to improved student services and course quality.
UNITED STATESJeffrey R Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Virtual reality was the next big thing 10 years ago, then faded from view. Today it is making a comeback as new technology is ushering in the next generation of online education, in which students and professors will don their virtual reality goggles to take online classes.
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All publicly funded scientific papers published in Europe could be made free to access by 2020, under a “life-changing” reform ordered by the European Union’s science chief, Carlos Moedas, writes Nadia Khomami for the Guardian.
A government panel last week proposed the creation of higher education institutions offering vocational courses to address the need for specialists in sectors such as information technology and tourism, reports Jiji.
Some 77,814 Turkish students could be denied a place at university because they did not sit the Transition to Higher Education Examination in the expectation that they could opt for open admission, only for a draft amendment to propose the abolition of such a route to university enrolment, reports Hurriyet Daily News.
Scottish school leavers from poor backgrounds are being squeezed out of university by Scottish National Party government policies, according to a highly critical expert report that concludes the most eminent institutions are becoming more middle class, writes Simon Johnson for The Telegraph.
Facing budget constraints and demand for greater accountability in higher education, states are tying public college and university funding to the institutions’ ability to retain and graduate students. But a new paper from the Century Foundation argues that such performance-based funding models are reinforcing disparities within public higher education and doing little to move the needle on completion, writes Danielle Doublas-Gabriel for The Washington Post.
Two major universities are set to allow students to earn course credits which will go towards their final degree through massive open online courses, or MOOCs, for the very first time in the United Kingdom, writes Aftab Ali for the Independent.
Universities and colleges are responding to the rapid growth in the population of older people in Ireland by offering retirees a chance to develop a second career, writes Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times.
The era of strong government-subsidised growth for universities appears to have ended with new figures showing the number of offers to students to enrol in undergraduate courses grew by only 1.2% in 2016, writes Tim Dodd for Australian Financial Review.
The University of Helsinki has announced its decision to impose tuition fees of €13,000 to €18,000 (US$14,500 to US$20,000) on its postgraduate students from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area, reports Aleksi Teivainen for Helsinki Times.
Indiana University challenged a new state abortion law in federal court on 25 May, arguing it restricts academic freedom by criminalising the acquisition or transfer of foetal tissue used for research, writes Rick Seltzer for Inside Higher Ed.
Pyongyang University of Science and Technology is North Korea’s first privately funded university. It opened in 2010. But the head of the university says it is facing financial difficulties because of international sanctions against North Korea, reports Voice of America.
Some of France’s most illustrious scientists were outraged – and last week, their president listened. After meeting five Nobel laureates and a winner of the Fields Medal, French President François Hollande has cancelled more than half of an unexpected €256 million (US$286 million) cut in research and higher education budgets that had caused consternation in the country's scientific community, writes Martin Enserink for ScienceInsider.
Newly released documents in a lawsuit against Trump University cite several former employees of the institution as saying the university didn't live up to what it promised students – calling it a “fraudulent scheme” and “a total lie”, writes Jacob Gershman for The Wall Street Journal.
A Chinese university professor has called for a ban on romance between teachers and students on campuses, along the lines of some of the United States universities, drawing sharp criticism from students and netizens, reports Press Trust of India.
A new network of leading European universities is set to launch this year in a bid to enhance the research capacity of institutions on the continent, writes Ellie Bothwell for Times Higher Education.
Australia's most powerful universities have fallen into line over university admissions standards, recommending wholesale changes in the wake of a Fairfax Media investigation that brought the sector's integrity into question, writes Eryk Bagshaw for The Sydney Morning Herald.
A Pakistan Day ceremony was organised by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and Campus France in Paris last week with the aim of bringing French institutions of higher learning closer to Pakistani universities so as to enhance collaboration for developing human resources and strengthening research in Pakistan’s institutions, reports The News.
Brussels universities expect a decline in the number of foreign students because of a perceived terrorist threat to the Belgian capital in the wake of the airport and metro terror attacks on 22 March which caused 32 deaths, reports Xinhua.
More than half of public universities in Malaysia have extreme disparities in favour of women, according to a new report by the Penang Institute, writes Ong Kian Ming for MalaysiaKini.
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