University World News Africa Edition
19 June 2016 Issue 175 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Growing a new generation of mathematics researchers for Africa

In Africa Features, Munyaradzi Makoni looks at efforts by the Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association to promote international research collaboration in mathematical sciences and train a critical mass of researchers. Sharon Dell reports on how South African universities of technology are positioning themselves as partners in the field of waste recycling and management, a relatively new and potentially lucrative research and job creation area.
In Africa Analysis, Tunde Fatunde and colleagues comment on a thought-provoking paper on university transformation by Oladapo Afolabi, a professor of applied chemistry and former head of service for the Nigerian government. Renu Modi and Rhea D’Silva write that racism against Africans in India is a reality that must be countered by promoting greater intercultural understanding.
The United Kingdom’s referendum on whether to stay in or leave the European Union will take place on Thursday 23 June. In World Blog, Elspeth Jones and Hans de Wit look at the possible impact of Brexit on the numbers of international – and particularly EU – students choosing to study in the UK.
In Commentary, Gerard Postiglione and Xiaoyu Chen write that major changes to universities in China indicate that they are shifting from the Soviet model towards the international mainstream of research universities.
Anand Kulkarni and Angel Calderon maintain that India’s new national university ranking scheme has much to commend it but there are opportunities for improvement, while William G Tierney says the Indian government’s goal to have 20 highly ranked world-class universities is unrealistic, requiring not only huge investment but also reforms promoting institutional autonomy and academic freedom.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Munyaradzi Makoni

Benchmarking as a tool for improving quality in African universities was the focus of the first regional benchmarking and capacity building workshop organised by the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – PASET – and held in Abuja, Nigeria last week.
Wagdy Sawahel

Poor investment, weak capacity and security, as well as political instability and onerous bureaucracy in war-torn Libya have produced a higher education system characterised by inadequate infrastructure and graduates poorly prepared for jobs, according to a new report.
Karen MacGregor

The World Bank Group’s board of executive directors has approved a US$140 million credit for eight Eastern and Southern African countries to set up 24 centres of excellence in universities to strengthen postgraduate training and research in priority sectors.
Wagdy Sawahel

Egypt plans to designate 2017 as a year of African cooperation in higher education, research and innovation with a view to enhancing the capacity of universities, increasing academic staff and student exchange, and promoting joint research and projects.
Jane Marshall

Scores of officials have been arrested in Algeria and Morocco, and charged with fraud for alleged involvement in leaking of school-leaving baccalauréat examination papers.
Sharon Dell

South African universities of technology are positioning themselves as critical partners in what is considered a fairly new but highly relevant area of research, innovation and job creation: waste recycling and management, an industry conservatively estimated by the government to be worth R25 billion (US$1.6 billion) per annum.
Munyaradzi Makoni

Mathematics is “vital” for achieving a thriving science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce in Africa, according to experts. Yet it faces critical challenges: low university funding, a regional brain drain, and reduced intake of undergraduate students, particularly women, in university mathematics programmes.
Robtel Neajai Pailey

Nigerian scholar Oyekan Owomoyela suggested that “getting ‘Africa’ back into African Studies is to get African Studies back to Africa”. This can be achieved, among other ways, by creating a canon of scholarly literature by Africans, more citations of African scholars, and more African scholars influencing the research agendas of top-rated African Studies journals.
Tunde Fatunde

Oladapo Afolabi, professor of applied chemistry and former head of service for the Nigerian government, presented a futuristic and thought-provoking paper on transforming universities for this century and beyond, at the Annual Conference of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities held from 29 May to 2 June at the University of Jos.
Renu Modi and Rhea D’Silva

The brutal murder of a young Congolese man has blown the lid off a simmering pot of resentment against the treatment of African migrants in India, especially the large student community. Clearly something is amiss in the meta-narratives of ascendant India-Africa economic, strategic and diplomatic relations.
Henry Fram Akplu

Before 2000 there were fewer than 15 private higher education institutions in Ghana. By 2015 their number had grown to 106, compared to 83 public institutions. The private sector mainly absorbs excess demand from the tuition-free public system – but elite private institutions are emerging that target applicants from wealthy families locally and globally.

Cooperation in fields of scientific research between Côte d’Ivoire and the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement has shown positive results, said Professor Bakayoko Ly Ramata, the Ivorian minister for higher education and scientific research.
Zuleika Arashiro

Women from the South need to be more than a superficial reflection of a university’s diversity. They need to address historical inequities in the global education system.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Nic Mitchell

Germany and the Netherlands are stepping up their game to capture a bigger slice of the transnational education or TNE market, a conference launching a new international TNE-Hub heard on 10 June.
Brendan O'Malley

The United States Department of Education has recommended that the largest national accreditation agency, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, be stripped of its power as gatekeeper of billions of dollars of financial federal aid for independent colleges, a move that would shake up for-profit higher education.
Eugene Vorotnikov

The cost of tuition at Russian universities may double this year, due to the devaluation of the national currency, the ruble, and the consequences of the financial crisis in the country, according to latest predictions of analysts of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.
Brendan O'Malley

Belgium’s KU Leuven has topped the first Reuters ranking of Europe’s Most Innovative Universities, with the United Kingdom’s Imperial College London and Cambridge University coming second and third. Germany took 24 of the top 100, beating the UK which took second place with 17. But the Republic of Ireland now boasts more top 100 innovative universities per capita than any other country in Europe.
Yojana Sharma

At least five provinces in China have scrapped a scheme announced last month to adjust university admissions quotas to improve access for students from poorer provinces, after fears that parent protests during the sensitive national university admissions test period could spread to more provinces.
Linda Yeung

Cultural attitudes among parents who see higher education simply as a route to a good job, and limited government investment in research, are holding back innovation and creativity, according to Tony Chan, president of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which is currently hosting the Asia Universities Summit.
Arielle Martinez, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Colleges are using big data to design courses – increasingly they are crunching job-market data, which are more up to date and precise than ever before, to develop more programmes geared to preparing students for, and giving them the skills they need to join the workforce.
Jan Petter Myklebust

There is increasing recognition of the value of healthcare innovation sector research and a growing trend in Nordic countries to look at further strengthening health research and advanced degree teaching with increased international participation.
Elspeth Jones and Hans de Wit

What could the impact of a United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union be on international students? Would it deter EU students from studying in the UK and could these numbers be made up from elsewhere?
Daniel Hook

With many universities now depending on European Union funding for a significant portion of their research budgets, can people be confident the United Kingdom government will make up the shortfall?
Chris Bickerton and Lee Jones

The United Kingdom’s referendum on membership of the European Union is not about funding for individual laboratories; it is about democracy. Those defending the status quo should ensure that they do not disguise political and cultural preferences for economic and scientific necessity.
Gerard Postiglione and Xiaoyu Chen

Reforms in China are driving innovation in everything from curriculum design to academic promotion and Peking University is leading that change.
Anand Kulkarni and Angel Calderon

India’s new ranking scheme aims to capture data that is relevant to the country’s higher education institutions, but there are areas where value could be added.
William G Tierney

The Indian government is misinterpreting why United States universities are in the top positions for global rankings. If it wishes to have a handful of world-class universities created within the next decade, public funding and philanthropic support must increase – but so, too, must institutional autonomy and academic freedom.

An international team of researchers has detected a second burst of gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of spacetime – just four months after the report of the first detection was acclaimed as a historic breakthrough by scientists around the world.
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Idris Baluken, People’s Democratic Party deputy parliamentary group co-chair, has addressed a parliamentary question to Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz, asking him to clarify the mystery surrounding the validity of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s university diploma, reports Hurriyet Daily News.

The nation's elite Group of Eight universities has proposed that the federal government reintroduce limits on how many students each university can enrol, a suggestion slammed by other vice-chancellors as "cancerous" and "selfish", writes Matthew Knott for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Students set to join universities in September have shunned Garissa University College, dealing a blow to government efforts to revive the institution a year after a deadly terrorist attack there, writes Ouma Wanzala for The Nation.

New research shows there's a considerable gap between men and women when it comes to being promoted to the top jobs in the country's universities, writes Conan Young for Radio NZ.

Harare West MP Jessie Majome has called on President Robert Mugabe to step down as chancellor of all state universities, arguing the workload was now too much for him given the increasing number of state universities in the country, writes Veneranda Langa for News Day.

With a record number of students set to don cap and gown, new research shows that a bachelor degree is no longer the career ticket it once was. That's because of rising competition, fewer opportunities and an economy that's shifting gears from the fast lane to something slower, reports Bloomberg News.

An American mathematics student will have her fees refunded after winning her case against a Swedish university that offered sub-standard tuition, reports The Local.

Thai universities need to move with the times as they brace for steadily declining enrolments, academics have warned. They said new social trends could make some majors outdated, writes Dumrongkiat Mala for Bangkok Post.

The federal government has named an expert panel to conduct an unprecedented and sweeping review of how it supports university-based scientific research, writes Ivan Semeniuk for The Globe and Mail.

A newly released study says Mexico needs to shift the focus of education reform urgently from primary to secondary schools and higher education, as the government wages a pitched battle with teachers and unionists who blocked highways and occupied buildings in ongoing protests against reforms passed in 2013, reports Mark Browne for CNS News.

President Ollanta Humala has pledged to restore Peruvian higher education, but the creation of a Superintendency of Higher Education has caused controversy. It will replace the National Association of Rectors and will have the power to create universities, promote quality and impose sanctions, writes Akshan de Alwis for Diplomatic Courier.

The Assam state government this month announced free education for students with a family income of less than Rs100,000 (US$1,500) per annum who are seeking admissions in higher secondary, three-year degree and polytechnic diploma courses from this year, reports Press Trust India.

Since October of last year to the middle of April this year damage to universities’ property has amounted to more than R450 million (US$30 million), reports Denise Williams for The Citizen.

University philanthropy is enjoying a revival. Although fundraising accounts for only 3% of universities’ £29 billion (US$41 billion) annual income, it is growing fast, reports The Economist.

Two Australian journalists have argued that the Chinese government is buying influence over Australian universities by donating libraries and funds for institutes as part of a broader push to strengthen its soft power in the country, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.

A new HSBC report has found that parents in Singapore spend twice the global average on their child's tertiary education and most parents believe spending on this is more important than paying other bills and saving for their retirement, reports Asia One.

A new point-scoring admission system in UK universities may remove the advantage now enjoyed by students who take Hong Kong’s Diploma of Secondary Education examination, writes Shirley Zhao for the South China Morning Post.

Just call him ‘Dr Prince’. The late superstar never went to college but the University of Minnesota is going to posthumously give him an honorary doctorate of letters later this year, writes Maria Puente for USA Today.
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This Week

Africa Features
South African universities of technology eye rich prospects in field of waste management

International collaboration boosts maths research and postgraduate training

Africa Analysis
Oladapo Afolabi on transforming Nigerian universities

World Blog
Could Brexit have a significant impact on international and EU student recruitment?

Special Report
Will the UK government plug the research funding gap in the event of Brexit?

Brexit: British academics should look at the bigger picture not their own self-interests

Transformative Leadership
Significance of a growing presence of women from the South in international universities

China: Major changes in universities indicate shift from the Soviet style control of the past

India’s national university ranking is commendable but there is room for improvement

Major reforms are needed for India’s wish for world-class universities to be fulfilled