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NEWSLETTERUniversities must change for new kinds of students – not vice versa
The second Siyaphumelela Conference was held in South Africa last week. The word means ‘we succeed’ and the initiative is aimed at building the capacity of universities to mine and analyse data to boost student success, drawing on lessons learned from the United States.
In a Special Report, Nicola Jenvey explains how Dr Tim Renick from Georgia State University emphasises changing universities – not students – to boost success. She also reports on the major revamp of South Africa’s National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
Jane Marshall discusses a new guide produced to raise awareness of MOOCs – massive open online courses – in developing countries, in the Features section. She also interviews the Nigerian Ambassador to UNESCO Mariam Y Katagum, who is on the board of the Commonwealth of Learning, about the opportunities and challenges facing MOOCs in Africa.
In our ‘Transformative Leadership’ series, in which University World News is partnering with The MasterCard Foundation, Sharon Dell tells how Malawi-born Mphangera Kamanga has followed her vision to study agriculture to help smallholder African farmers, particularly women, to improve their yields.
In Commentary, Philip G Altbach, Georgiana Mihut and Jamil Salmi report on their research and recommendations on international advisory councils, which many top universities have established. And World Blog provides a view of Brexit from the Continent, with Hanneke Teekens looking at the why and ‘where to now’ of the Brexit wake-up call.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
While some have welcomed it, many academics, business representatives and civil society groups in Nigeria have rejected Federal Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu’s recent scrapping of the post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination admissions system.
The French Development Agency has given a US$30 million concessional credit line to commercial banks in Kenya to finance new and ongoing university infrastructure investment initiatives in strategic faculties.
Carnegie Mellon University has received US$10.8 million from the MasterCard Foundation to help train the next generation of technology leaders and entrepreneurs at its campus in Rwanda. The grant is expected to benefit more than 125 academically talented but economically disadvantaged students from across Sub-Saharan Africa.
An international consortium of elite higher education institutions has been launched in Fes, Morocco, dedicated to “promoting education, culture, research, entrepreneurship and innovation on an intercontinental scale”.
Africa and Turkey have unveiled a higher education cooperation plan that includes setting up a joint university, networking among Turkish and African universities and enhancing student and academic mobility.
SIYAPHUMELELA – STUDENT SUCCESS
Siyaphumelela, which means ‘we succeed’, is an initiative to improve the capacity of five South African universities to collect and analyse student data to boost student success. It is funded by America’s Kresge Foundation and coordinated by the South African Institute for Distance Education. Last week the second Siyaphumelela Conference was held in Durban.
UNITED STATESNicola Jenvey
Universities are honour-bound to defy conventional approaches to students, otherwise they merely perpetuate inequalities for disadvantaged students that the higher education system has been producing for decades, said Dr Tim Renick, vice-president for enrolment management and student success at Georgia State University in the United States.
SOUTH AFRICANicola Jenvey
South Africa’s National Student Financial Aid Scheme is being substantially overhauled to pave the way for assistance for a broader range of deserving tertiary students while recognising government’s responsibility to eliminate structures that lumber university drop-outs with loan repayments.
SOUTH AFRICAKaren MacGregor
“We want to move away from promising practices into proven institutional models, to demonstrate that students from all types of background can succeed,” says Jenny Glennie, executive director of the South African Institute for Distance Education, which is leading a four-year initiative that uses data analytics to improve student success and graduation rates.
SOUTH AFRICANicola Jenvey
Resolving problems around student fees, accommodation, food and career guidance had to take precedence when discussing student success in South African higher education, as ignoring these issues only perpetuates an unequal society, says University of the Witwatersrand Vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib.
UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning have produced a guide to raise MOOC – massive open online course – awareness in less well equipped developing nations, and to advise on how policy-makers can build new routes to higher education and lifelong learning to benefit increasing numbers of their young – and older – people.
Nigerian Ambassador to UNESCO Mariam Y Katagum, a member of the governing board of the Commonwealth of Learning, answers questions on the opportunities and challenges facing the provision of MOOCs – massive open online courses – in Africa.
At the age of 12, Malawi’s Mphangera Kamanga knew she wanted to study agriculture so she could help smallholder farmers to improve their yields. “I realised that there was a need for labour-saving technologies and improved policies around access to land and resources to assist women in particular to increase their yields.” At 24, her vision is holding steady.
One element of the ‘Africanisation’ debate involves assessing the value of contemporary literature written by Africans in the diaspora. Critics complain that Afrodiasporic literature is not in tune with the continent, and is sanitised and Westernised. But these works take students beyond their national and personal borders, which is crucial in times of global cultural flux.
KENYAIshmael I Munene
On 19 January 2016, in an unprecedented demonstration of clout, the Kenya Commission for University Education ordered Kisii University, a state institution, to close 10 of its 13 branch campuses, and relocate the 15,000 students affected to the main campus. This move brings to 20 the number of campuses ordered closed by the authorities.
A police officer has been found guilty of the murder of student Bassirou Faye, who was shot during clashes between police and students at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop, the country’s leading university, in August 2014.
An agreement with France to finance the construction and equipping of two higher institutes of professional education and a university specialising in agriculture is going ahead under a programme to expand higher education in Senegal.
The student federation FESCI at the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, have demanded the removal of riot police from the campus, saying they feared for their safety after the accidental death of a disabled student who was hit by a police vehicle. But FESCI students themselves reportedly nearly lynched the higher education minister.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O'Malley
Unions representing academics and students have demanded urgent assurance of government support for higher education following the narrow vote to leave the European Union in the recent referendum, amid fears that loss of EU funding will put staff jobs at risk and lead to students being charged higher tuition fees.
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O'Malley
Universities will remain in the dark on the implications – for students, staff and research – of leaving the European Union until wider discussions on the United Kingdom’s relationship with Europe are held, according to the universities and science minister. Current indications by two prominent contenders for the Tory leadership are that those talks will not begin before the end of the year.
The United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union could not only hit British universities and research groups receiving EU funding, but also weaken the ability of the European Research Area to compete globally with the US and other emerging science powers in Asia, experts say.
The decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union will have impacts throughout European higher education and research, according to Horst Hippler, president of the German Rectors’ Conference. The body has pledged to do all it can to continue German collaboration with the UK.
INDIAKaruna Narayan and Yojana Sharma
New regulations to allow Indian universities to collaborate with universities and colleges overseas and enable Indian students to gain credits for study abroad semesters have been announced by India’s Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani. The measures are aimed at bringing world-class education to Indian students, as well as improving higher education curricula.
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O'Malley
The United Kingdom's delivery of transnational higher education has been growing at five times the rate of international student recruitment to the UK, according to a new report, and four in five universities surveyed intend to expand their transnational education, or TNE, provision in the next three years.
NORDIC COUNTRIESJan Petter Myklebust
The different student aid schemes in the Nordic countries lead to significant differences in loan-taking behaviour and whether students take on a job, but they make no difference to the rate of study progress or completion of degree, a survey has found. However, the motivations to avoid delays are different across countries.
UNITED STATESPaul Basken, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Data mapping of 'personal reach' is one of the best ways of predicting whether a researcher stays at a university and gets promoted and it can also be used to help address the challenges to career advancement of female and minority scientists, for instance by identifying the value of potential future co-author collaborations.
Students today, and internationally mobile students in particular, are part of a transcultural and urban way of life that is highly cosmopolitan. Will the United Kingdom default from this? What will the impact of Brexit be on UK universities and on internationalisation of higher education in Europe?
GLOBALPhilip G Altbach, Georgiana Mihut and Jamil Salmi
All different kinds of tertiary education institutions can draw benefits from the expertise and international perspectives of an 'international advisory council'.
Internationalisation is increasing in status in higher education, but what does it take to lead a university’s international strategy?
GLOBALMary M Kritz
An analysis of differences in overseas study shows big differences across the globe and suggests that if African countries could expand and strengthen their university systems, they could stem the brain drain abroad.
UNITED KINGDOMPaul Boyle
Multidisciplinary research centres need to offer a win-win situation for all staff and will help create a more balanced research ecosystem that will leave us better placed to achieve advances in our understanding of the world around us.
UNITED STATESSamantha Bernstein and Adrianna Kezar
With 70% adjunct faculty, who work on a semester-to-semester basis, the current system is not helping students. What can replace the traditional tenure system and how could it promote excellence in teaching?
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Despite the country’s leaders vowing to crack down on religious seminaries that are recruiting grounds for domestic and international Islamist militant groups, Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government is giving US$3 million to the Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary, also known as the ‘University of Jihad’, writes Tim Craig for The Washington Post.
In China's highly competitive market, sometimes even above average scores fail to get the desired results. Now, instead of being shunted to universities they don't want to attend, students have the option of attending universities abroad, thanks to the jump in the number of universities willing to accept gaokao scores, writes Chen Ximeng for Global Times.
The national review of gender equality in higher education, which was done by the Expert Group and commissioned by the Higher Education Authority, outlined the need for a greater gender balance of staff, and higher education institutions will risk funds being withdrawn if they pay no heed, writes Marése O’Sullivan for UTV.
The government plans to bring in a law to stop rampant plagiarism in academia, with punishment ranging from a warning to deregistration in the case of students and dismissal from service for teachers, writes Neelam Pandey for the Hindustan Times.
Higher Education Minister Sumayia Abu Kosha last week proposed to ban armed political activities in Sudanese universities, reports the Sudan Tribune.
A US$400 million gift to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev from the estate of Dr Howard and Lottie Marcus of California on 24 June, earmarked in large part for water research, is the largest-ever bequest in Israel, reports JTA.
The German Embassy recently granted diplomas to bookworms at high schools across Seoul who successfully completed German language courses offered by Germany’s school authorities and foreign office which will give them the necessary competence to study at German universities or work at Germany-related organisations worldwide, reports The Korea Herald.
China is warning its students to steer clear of fake universities. An information website has published a list of 30 such institutions following the annual college entry exam in June. This is the sixth such list in existence, reports RT.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The Papua New Guinea government has established a commission of inquiry into the recent violence at the nation's university campuses which led to the death of a student and the torching of buildings at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, writes Joy Kisselpar for ABC News.
Elite universities have tumbled down a new university ranking when judged on their teaching quality as critics say they spend too much time on research, writes Javier Espinoza for The Telegraph.
President John Dramani Mahama is promising massive infrastructure developments in four polytechnics that will not be part of the take-off in the conversion to a technical university process, reports Ghana Web.
During a national cancer summit last week, United States Vice President Joe Biden pledged to take action against research institutions that don't report their clinical trial results, writes Andrew Liptak for The Verge.
The University of the Witwatersrand announced recently that it had developed free, online courses to be made available over the next three years, as part of efforts to enhance access to higher education, reports BDLive.
A Jewish student has received an apology and payment of £1,000 (US$1,330) from the University of York Students' Union after complaining of anti-Semitism, reports The Telegraph.
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