Protests as government shuts down Islamic HE institutions
Student demonstrations erupted and two academics were arrested by Mauritanian police in the outcry following a government shutdown of two Islamic higher education institutions at the end of September, after their teaching licences were revoked due to alleged links with the main opposition Islamic political party and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Student death at sea highlights education crisis
Thousands of students protested after a student was killed by the Moroccan navy during an illegal migration journey at sea, which has highlighted the ongoing emigration by young Moroccans in search of a better education and living standards in Europe.
Academics criticise plans to establish new universities
Academics have lashed out against proposals to significantly increase the number of public universities in Nigeria, as the government unsuccessfully grappled with an assessment report of public universities that highlighted glaring weaknesses within the sector.
University cash crisis worsens as state cuts budgets
Kenya’s beleaguered public universities have been told to further tighten their belts after being slapped with a US$10 million budget cut that will worsen their cash woes, in austerity measures that are meant to avert a looming economic crisis.
Union joins strike after government reneges on deal
Nigeria’s university staff union has joined a national strike to demand that the government stick to the terms of the agreement that it made with the union over public university revitalisation.
Minister unveils ambitious plans for higher education
Tonderayi Mukeredzi and Kudzai Mashininga
Zimbabwe’s new and extensive development plans include creating innovation hubs at universities, upgrading student accommodation, making higher education more affordable for students and establishing the country’s first geospatial and space agency.
Accreditation lies at the heart of development
Eric Fredua-Kwarteng and Samuel Kwaku Ofosu
Accreditation performs a vital role in improving higher education, but it needs more resources and to be linked to government policy on development, making it strategically relevant as a tool of national planning.
Challenges of ensuring quality education
Although Ethiopia’s higher education budget is substantial, the government needs to change its focus from capital expenditure to investing in quality education.
eLEARNING AFRICA 2018
The eLearning Africa Conference, the largest in Africa on learning, training and technology, was held in Kigali, Rwanda from 26-28 September under the theme of “Uniting Africa”. The conference, which attracted hundreds of experts, focused on how technology can break down barriers, enabling Africans to share knowledge, learn and prepare for the future. University World News – Africa was there as a media partner.
Leaders urged to work towards digital knowledge parity
African leaders were urged to work towards 'digital parity' so as to enable the continent’s inhabitants to participate in and be represented as equals in both the digital and material worlds.
Call for urgent ‘e-volution’ of university libraries
Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa need to move away from the idea of libraries as buildings that stock books on dusty shelves to learning spaces that can facilitate access for students, academics and researchers to information at any time or place. For those libraries to attain cutting-edge status, however, they need to be properly funded.
Online MOOCs battle against traditional mindsets
The once glittering allure of massive open online courses (MOOCs), viewed as new learning vehicles to carry most of Africa’s youth to the frontiers of a university education, has dimmed.
E-learning boosts brain-gain and reduces costs
Experts have called on African universities to immediately adopt the philosophy of brain-gain, facilitated by e-learning programmes, in a bid to reduce the cost of academic services and management, and invest more money in research and development.
Call to increase ICT research funding at universities
Rwandan universities have called for extensive funding to research how information and communications technology (ICT), including mobile phones and the internet, could be leveraged to benefit ordinary users in various sectors.
Africa vs rest of world in lively digital revolution debate
“This house believes Africa has nothing to fear from a fourth industrial revolution and should seize the opportunity it represents,” was the motion of a highly contested debate at the 13th International Conference and Exhibition on ICT for Education, Training and Skills Development in Kigali, Rwanda, on 28 September.
SATN CONFERENCE 2018
The South African Technology Network, a consortium of technology-focused universities, held its annual international conference in Durban from 11-13 September on the theme “Fourth Industrial Revolution – The role of universities”. The conference explored how institutions in other countries are addressing the challenges presented by the fourth industrial revolution as well as the changing demands of industry and business in South Africa and around the world. University World News was there as a media partner.
4IR – The key to our future on Earth, and beyond?
If universities exist in part to solve the most pressing problems of our time, they have their work cut out for them. The reality is that if humans maintain their current rate of consumption, which already exceeds the capacity of Earth to renew itself, we will soon need two planets to live off, National University of Singapore Professor Seeram Ramakrishna told the annual South African Technology Network Conference held in South Africa last month, which explored the role of universities in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
University-industry collaboration for a smart future
The fourth industrial revolution is set to bring radical changes to the workplace – including the loss of jobs through automation and artificial intelligence – but industry will still need universities to provide the right kind of people. This makes effective collaboration between the two sectors even more important.
Using 4IR technology for the greater good
For the developed world, the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) brings with it celebrated innovations such as cardboard beer bottles and driverless cars – both of which originated in a university and have clear benefits to society. In the developing world, the implications of the 4IR are perhaps a little less clear, as a recent conference on the role of universities of technology has shown.
Renewing the bonds between industry and universities
South African Technology Network member universities last month secured an invitation to visit Saab Grintek Defence, South Africa’s leading defence and security company, with a view to understanding how to foster a mutually-beneficial working relationship between the industry and universities of technology.
SOUTH AFRICA-UNITED STATES
Partnerships – A grand but rewarding challenge
South African higher education institutions should demand respect from prospective partners and ensure that partnerships are mutually beneficial and reciprocal, the recent South African Technology Network conference heard.
Increasing HE enrolment and implications for quality
Sub-Saharan Africa is under increasing pressure to increase enrolment at higher education institutions as a result of recognition of the sector as being vital to development, rapid growth in young populations in African countries and improved access and success at school levels. But what are the implications of such pressures for quality of teaching and learning?
HE leaders silent over scourge of student drug abuse
Drug abuse on campuses in Nigeria undermines student health and increases violence in wider society, say campus health staff, yet university authorities remain silent about how they will tackle this explosive issue.
Students to be linked to cyberspace
As Cameroon carries out a programme to develop advanced digital infrastructure in all its universities, Jacques Fame Ndongo, the minister for higher education, visited the two universities in Yaoundé to inspect the project’s progress.
Call for more research resources
As the University of Lomé prepared to host the international science conference JSIL-2018 (Journées Scientifiques Internationales de Lomé 2018) in the coming week, its director of research and innovation, Essohana Batchana, said he regretted the lack of resources allocated to research and innovation and their absence from university programmes.
NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
White House discussed unilateral ban on Chinese students
The Trump administration earlier this year considered banning Chinese nationals from studying in the United States, as part of a national security crackdown on industrial espionage, including intellectual property theft – but shelved the proposal, fearing damage to the economy and diplomatic relations.
Decline of international graduate enrolment quadruples
Between fall 2016 and fall 2017, first-time graduate enrolment of international students at universities in the United States fell by 3.7%, a quadrupling of the rate of decrease. Experts have linked the sharp fall with the Trump administration’s hardline visa and immigration policies and rising costs.
EU data laws puts China research collaborations at risk
Universities in Europe sharing research data with institutions in China could be in breach of new European Union laws on data protection, legal experts said, a warning that could have an impact on Europe-China research collaborations, particularly in the medical field and artificial intelligence.
Minister announces major campus political reforms
Malaysia’s Education Minister Maszlee Malik last week announced major reforms to overturn laws barring students from campus political activities, lifting restrictions that allow students to hold campus elections only with the permission and oversight of university administrations.
University leaders urged to unite against populism
A former rector of the Vienna University of Economics and Business has made an emphatic appeal to university leaders to demonstrate solidarity in the face of "growing populism" and ensure that universities counter "issue diagnoses" that are fabricated or exaggerated with evidence and reward critical thought.
Investigation into university governance criticised
Jan Petter Myklebust
The draft reforms of university governance and funding distributed by Sweden’s special investigator on higher education, Professor Pam Fredman, have come under heated criticism from academics and academics’ rights advocates, who say they will sideline academics and reduce university autonomy.
Lawyers and students share unhealthy weight concerns
An obsession with their body weight and shape could be contributing to elevated stress levels among the nation’s lawyers and law students. A research study has found that both groups are far more concerned than the typical Australian about their weight and shape.
Why Putin’s 5-100 project is doomed to fail
President Vladimir Putin’s ambition to get at least five Russian universities into the top 100 in global university rankings by 2020 looks set to fail miserably, judging by the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and lack of true university autonomy is behind the slow progress.
Does the university system encourage dishonesty?
Igor Chirikov and Evgeniia Shmeleva
Research shows students become more dishonest as they progress through higher education in Russia. Universities should be incentivised to develop policies and programmes against dishonesty and punish misdemeanours. The new Ministry of Science and Higher Education needs to make combatting academic dishonesty a top priority.
The consolidation of Chinese private higher education
Chinese private higher education faces a series of mergers and acquisitions – with the latter currently hitting record levels. To stand out, private institutions need to focus on career-oriented education as students seek qualifications that are in demand in the labour market.
The shifting paradigm of higher education
Patrick Blessinger, Shai Reshef and Enakshi Sengupta
A growing chorus of people now see affordable lifelong education as a moral imperative and more universities are seeking ways to make university more affordable for more of their students – in some cases, or even in some states, making it tuition-fee free.
THE PUBLISHING CRISIS
Towards a sustainable knowledge distribution system
Philip G Altbach and Hans de Wit
Without recognition of the need for institutional and individual differentiation, the knowledge distribution system will continue to be dysfunctional and ridden with inefficiencies and growing corruption. There is need for differentiation in academic publishing too, with more attention given to diversity and inclusion.
Can Silk Road HE partnerships fill ‘vacuum’ left by US?
Major changes in the global order will have implications for higher education partnerships in Europe and China, with China’s massive New Silk Road initiative playing a role that could even see China emerging as a global higher education leader, international academic experts say.
‘Rethink role of HE beyond rankings’, says minister
The role of higher education is changing, and the existing research-led university model and the system of university ranking and evaluation need to evolve with the times, Singapore’s Education Minister Ong Ye Kung told an international higher education conference recently.
Women are key to closing the talent gap, report finds
Jan Petter Myklebust
A better gender balance in the workforce and top management and more women recruited to the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – at universities is the key to Danish technological advancement, according to a new report by the Innovation Fund Denmark.