Also: Giants: Heyns and Hakim honoured for their work
1 April 2021  Issue No: 307
Africa Top Stories
PHOTOThere is a fast-growing void and a stark mismatch between people’s current skills and the skills that will be needed for jobs during the Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR. Governments, businesses, schools and universities around the world are simply not helping people to acquire the skills they need to succeed in this new environment, but deliberate, strategic and comprehensive career guidance could make a difference.
The monumental contribution that Professor Christof Heyns has made to advance human rights in Africa and beyond emerged this week from a memorial Facebook page created to honour the former director of the Centre for Human Rights, which is part of the faculty of law, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Former students, academic peers from across the world and colleagues remembered him as an academic, activist, intellectual and human being.
A failure to define what ‘transformation’ means and how it may be measured is blocking prospects of broader change at South Africa’s public universities. In fact, the term is overladen with what may be called ‘surplus politics’ and, as a result, “obscures, rather than clarifies, research and debate”, according to a number of the country’s leading higher education analysts and former planners.
Africa News
PHOTOEquipping students with 21st-century employability skills demanded by employers would require a review of existing curricula, and more investment in existing education policies. To fill the gap between university curricula and industry demands would also require a change in teaching methods and a move away from teaching theory only to also equipping learners with technical and hands-on skills, experts told a webinar on 24 March.
Africa Commentary
PHOTOI have deliberately chosen not to use the full n-word in this piece as I would like the detractors of former vice-chancellor and principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Adam Habib, to contemplate a little more deeply their position and think more about the consequences of their actions. It would be futile for me to exacerbate an already volatile discussion at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London on the use of the full n-word.
Student Blog
PHOTOFinancial aid schemes across the world enable poor students to study. But no one should be fooled into thinking the money makes life easier for the recipients. It opens the door to a university education and the opportunity to graduate but, once you are a student, the struggle for survival continues. This is a reflection on the arduous journey and the ultimate outcome.
Africa Features
PHOTOIn an effort to achieve knowledge-based sustainable development, a UNESCO report titled Mapping Research and Innovation in the Republic of Mozambique urges the Southern African country to expand postgraduate studies and promote high-quality research and innovation. But how should it go about it?
Subject Rankings 2021
PHOTOThe QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021, released in March, compared 13,883 individual programmes, at 1,440 universities globally, across 51 academic disciplines. Seventeen departments at African universities are among the world’s 100 best places to study their subjects. How does a department or a faculty become a top study destination? University World News asked a few universities to consider some of the important building blocks.
Global Commentary
PHOTOWhile the fundamental principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy have not changed in 30 years, their context has, with increasing curbs on them in several European countries in line with pressures on democratic systems and values. Action is required to defend them.
World Blog
PHOTOAn analysis of how Indian institutions are faring in the QS World University Rankings by Subject shows that they continue to perform solidly in some fields, but there is room to improve in areas such as environmental studies, agriculture, nursing, the arts and education.
Global Features
PHOTOHong Kong’s University Grants Committee, which oversees the city’s publicly funded universities, has indicated that universities’ implementation of compulsory education on the National Security Law could affect stepped-up funding. But lecturers say it is not clear how such a course could be delivered.
World Round-up
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