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NEWSLETTERUniversity policies all wrong in Southern Africa, France, Canada and the UK
In Africa Analysis, Piyushi Kotecha and Mohammod Irfan contend that long-term planning and aggressive policy interventions are essential if Southern Africa is to raise its tertiary participation rates. Mamadou Mika Lom writes that while lecturers in Senegal have suspended three months of industrial action, they are still unable to perform their jobs properly.
We report on the German-South African Year of Science launched in Cape Town last week, and in Student View Adeagbo Oluwafemi says high fees for non-regional African students are eroding the internationalisation aims of South African universities.
The conference ‘circus’ is the topic of this week’s World Blog by Hans de Wit, who suggests strengthening regional international education associations and holding a global conference once every few years.
In Commentary, Jean-Marie Boisson charts the evolution of France’s higher education and says the fragmented system needs a complete overhaul, and Michael Marin argues that students protesting against fee hikes in Quebec are fighting a funding model that has failed in another Canadian province. In the latest article from Paying the Professoriate, Ben Jongbloed writes that European universities must balance good pay with benefits or they will struggle to attract and retain the best academics.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
Kenya plans to raise state funding of universities by 36% from July, in a push to boost access to higher education and to implement several key initiatives meant to grow the sector.
Germany and South Africa’s research ministers launched a Year of Science 2012-13 in Cape Town last Monday, aimed at strengthening higher education and science collaboration between the two countries and kicking off 41 joint research projects.
Canada's International Development Research Centre has announced that it is closing two of its six regional offices – including one in Africa – and terminating support for its Innovation for Inclusive Development programme, as it seeks to absorb an 11% cut in its annual budget.
Egypt is to launch an e-library on university freedoms aimed at promoting and supporting academic freedom, improving awareness of the concept and shedding light on legal and social aspects of human rights.
The biggest problem with vocational education in Tunisia was finding jobs for its graduates, and the government was going to try yet again to modernise the system to fit the needs of the economy, reported La Presse of Tunis. Meanwhile, a competitive initiative aiming to instil entrepreneurial skills in young people took place in Tunis this month.
SOUTH AFRICAIshmael Tongai
Stellenbosch University in South Africa has raised R2 billion (US$256 million) since launching a fundraising campaign 20 months ago aimed at boosting research and driving the ‘science-for-society’ approach of its Hope Project.
The University of Zimbabwe has mounted a major fundraising campaign aimed at restoring its status as one of Africa’s premier higher education institutions, in a programme backed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
The stage was set for the emergence of hominids – the ancestors of humans and great apes – in Africa’s Great Rift Valley 14 million years earlier than previously thought, according to an international team of geologists, ecologists and palaeontologists. The finding follows radiometric dating of volcanic ash beds in East Africa.
AFRICAPiyushi Kotecha and Mohammod Irfan
Without long-term planning and aggressive policy interventions, the tertiary education participation rate in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is unlikely to keep up with demand from the region's 276-million strong population, let alone match the progress of regions such as East Asia and the Pacific or participation rates in the rest of the world.
SENEGALMamadou Mika Lom
Teachers at Senegal’s public universities have decided to resume classes while waiting for new President Macky Sall to settle into office and deal with urgent issues – but they are encountering problems doing their jobs because of disruption by school-leavers who have yet to sign up for courses.
At the beginning of this year, Denis Tumwesigye Kyetere moved from Uganda to Kenya to take over as executive director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation. He is one of many Ugandan academics who have moved abroad in search of better remuneration.
SOUTH AFRICAAdeagbo Oluwafemi
High numbers of postgraduate and international students in a university are major requirements for successful evaluation and ranking. African universities are now preaching ‘internationalisation’ and collaboration with foreign institutions through various programmes, for both research purposes and international recognition.
University of Namibia-based geneticist Dr Percy Chimwamurombe has been awarded the prestigious Georg Forster Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, placing him among the best scientists from developing and transition countries.
Closed since April 2011 because of a post-election crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, student residences in Port-Bouët in the economic capital Abidjan are in varying stages of neglect and dilapidation, reported FratMat.info, which presented an inventory of the five sites.
Students from the University of Omar Bongo in Gabon’s capital Libreville have been protesting for more than a month against the imposition of an age limit for student eligibility for scholarships. Nearly 2,000 over-age students have been disqualified from receiving funds.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
A roadmap for South East Asian nations to introduce sustainability education into universities by 2015 is being finalised, with an outline for teaching and research across the region presented to top officials during a meeting in Bangkok earlier this month.
MALAYSIAHoney Singh Virdee
Students in Malaysia will be allowed to join political parties and take part in other activities on campus after amendments to the controversial Universities and University Colleges Act were rushed through parliament last week.
A controversial new higher education law has been shelved until at least August after its tabling in Indonesia’s parliament, expected in March, was postponed several times in recent weeks following widespread opposition.
ECUADORMaría Elena Hurtado
An Ecuador quality assurance body has suspended and will likely close 14 universities and polytechnics in an attempt by the government to implement a new higher education policy and raise standards in institutions – particularly those derisively known as ‘garage schools’.
The European Commission’s higher education head has defended the European Union’s planned U-Multirank university rankings system against its critics.
DENMARKJan Petter Myklebust
A professor of political science at Copenhagen University has been charged with 'soft espionage' for allegedly giving information to Russian secret police on ”persons attached to the Centre for Military Studies” at the university. He denies espionage.
Another prominent political figure in Germany has been accused of plagiarism after a probe by web-based investigators. Margarita Mathiopolous, recently a policy consultant for Foreign Secretary Guido Westerwelle, now has to resign her doctoral title.
UNITED KINGDOMDavid Jobbins
Universities in the three devolved countries of the United Kingdom face an uncertain future in the wake of the government’s decision to switch the financial burden from the state to students in the form of higher fees, according to a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute.
Concern that world-class professors would be deterred by the ongoing freedoms controversy over Yale University’s tie-up with the National University of Singapore to create a liberal arts college in Singapore, have proved unfounded, according to the local university. It said recruitment was forging ahead.
GLOBALHans de Wit
There are numerous big international education conferences and their numbers of participants are growing. However, few are regional and there is not enough cooperation between them. International education associations need to internationalise more by strengthening regional representation and coming together every few year to debate global issues.
France's higher education system has evolved in a unique way and this has led to a plethora of small institutions that are poorly organised and inefficient. The current reforms to the system will merely concentrate more power in the hands of these institutions’ presidents. The system needs a complete overhaul, with universities in major locations encouraged or forced to merge.
Student protestors against tuition fee hikes in Quebec are fighting against a funding model that has failed in Ontario. There is little evidence in Canada to support arguments in favour of shifting the burden of paying for higher education from the state to individuals.
Without a committed and adequately compensated professoriate, European universities will find it hard to attract and retain the best staff. They need to balance a good pay package with benefits in kind, such as good facilities and opportunities for career progression.
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UNITED STATESThe Chronicle of Higher Education.
INDIAThe Times of India.
FINLANDTimes Higher Education.
UNITED KINGDOMThe Telegraph.
UNITED KINGDOMBBC News.
UNITED STATESThe New York Times.
SAUDI ARABIAAl Sharq. The newspaper added that female students dressed in boyish styles were to be barred too.
SAUDI ARABIAAl Arabiya. Dr Sarhan al-Otaibi, a professor of political science at King Saud University in Riyadh, told Asharq newspaper that the university would be the first to open its doors to female students of political science beginning next year.
AFGHANISTANDeutsche Welle. Some 150,000 high-school graduates took part in the most recent university entrance exams, but only 40,000 were accepted – a circumstance that generated a lot of anger and disappointment.
SOUTH AFRICABusiness Day.
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