General Commentary
In the face of conflict, persecution and earthquakes, academics from Northwestern Syria, which lies outside the control of the al-Assad regime, are working to achieve international recognition of new higher education institutions in Northwestern Syria to enable students to pursue their studies.
Networks built on a foundation of shared values empower their members through multiple perspectives and collaborative approaches, which is especially important in higher education. As such, social networks are now a primary mechanism through which faculty and students can build their social capital.
A new survey aims to measure how pervasive the practice of sex for education, fees, grades and jobs has become around the world in the hope that people will not be able to ‘unsee’ what is essentially a pandemic hiding in plain sight.
Creating bridges between research and practice in the field of international student mobility is as urgent as it is complex and necessitates targeted action. Data, like that derived from a recent survey of researchers and practitioners, improves our understanding about what works best.
The advent of AI like ChatGPT could significantly boost the production of scholarly papers. Academics need to consider why they publish, and harness the new technology to reduce time spent on routine tasks and contribute towards a more creatively fulfilling life of the mind.
Despite a lot of local data, there is a dearth of accessible African datasets and challenges around local languages. However, broadband connectivity, 5G and the internet of things are spreading and will make data collection for powerful AI analytics in education in Africa possible.
Suppression of freedom of speech and free elections are acknowledged as warning signs of democratic erosion. It is time for us to recognise attacks on academic freedom in a similar fashion and strengthen understandings of academic freedom as a foundational element of democracy.
South Africa is facing a visa crisis which is affecting students and universities. The country needs officials who can process applications quickly and with the utmost professionalism. The support of the government is needed to streamline and increase transparency in visa processes to prevent higher education internationalisation from being undermined.
Do students really think about an institution’s approach to climate action when deciding where to apply? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Sustainability is increasingly part of international students’ criteria for choosing a university, making it the right choice for the climate and recruitment.
Collaborative higher education programmes between the United Kingdom and Southeast Asian countries – better known as UK-ASEAN transnational education or TNE – face challenges from the tensions of trying to offer a UK education within a specific national context. What are some of its causes and consequences?
As philanthropy continues to boom, universities across the globe need to ensure that they have solid donor risk management policies in place and learn lessons from high-profile cases such as the debate about the University of Oxford’s fundraising from the tainted Sackler family’s charitable trusts.
South Africa, the continent’s largest producer of scholarly output, has a responsibility to work with African countries and the Global South to move beyond the empty rhetoric about epistemic decolonisation and lead the process of dismantling the Global North’s hegemony and bibliometric coloniality.
Digital articulation models – where partner universities offer the best of online and on-campus experiences and open up opportunities for institutions to attract a diverse range of students – have been emerging since the pandemic and could make the internationalisation of higher education more accessible.
Worldwide, 22% of artificial intelligence professionals are women, but only 8% of films about AI feature a woman as an AI scientist. Only by understanding and mapping the problem of gendered representations can we shift the landscape of who does and does not ‘count’ as an AI scientist.
Nothing short of a human revolution would be an appropriate response to the depths of the multiple crises humanity faces. Yet universities are legacies of an era of monastic, hierarchical and siloed teaching and learning approaches. How can they be reinvented to become transformative?
Women’s under-representation in scientific publication means that their perspectives, expertise and contributions are being overlooked. On International Women’s Day, 8 March, it is important to emphasise the barriers that women scientists continue to experience. The failure to tackle these is undermining Africa’s development and progress.
A great deal can be learned from community radio which challenges the dominant knowledge hierarchies by recognising local communities as the bearers of valuable community knowledge who can then become active producers of content rather than remaining passive consumers or receivers of knowledge.
The introduction of a carbon footprint score defined by the transparency of a university in its reporting would enable universities to compete with each other not only in respect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but by increasing the transparency and availability of data.
As university rankings and the dominance of the ‘world-class model’ begin to fade, the time is right for universities to explore other models that offer a holistic approach to their development and embrace a constant search for self-improvement and greater societal impact.
Designing and implementing ways to foster systems literacies at scale requires substantial investment, experimentation and learning, but we believe developing ‘systems beings’ as a holistic model for systems literacy and education policy promises exponential long-term benefits to society’s ability to grapple with complexity.
Work already done towards the development of internationally comparable ‘education for sustainable development’ or ESD indicators – currently missing from all of the existing higher education sustainability rankings – suggests that universities need to select sustainability indicators mindfully, aligned with their own needs rather than latest trends.
Researchers should see ChatGPT as an aide, not a threat, and one that might have particular uses for emerging economy researchers, graduate students and early career researchers. It is just possible that ChatGPT, and similar artificial intelligence tools, could help democratise the research process.
The immediate reaction to ChatGPT by some in higher education has been to ban it. But taking a step back towards more traditional ways of assessing students or trying to outsmart it with new technology will just lead universities into an arms race where we will always be behind.
Artificial intelligence will change the type of jobs available, and the skills those jobs require. It could call into doubt the credibility of credentialing, from which universities draw their power. It is time for universities to adapt and not just embrace the AI revolution but lead it.
The debate over banning ChatGPT and transforming university assessment rages on, but while there are potential pitfalls to artificial intelligence, these can be outweighed by the benefits. By embracing new technologies and innovative teaching, universities can remain relevant and effective in preparing students for future challenges.
Universities need to open up debates about the ethical challenges that new technologies throw up. Fontys University in the Netherlands introduced a Moral Design Game – an innovation that enables students to talk to each other about ethical issues around new technologies, from multiple points of view.
Questions about using artificial intelligence go further than cheating on exams or generating text for scientific articles. They are about university values, in particular, the integrity of academic work, but they are also about exploring the evolving relationship between humans and machines.
Banning artificial intelligence technologies such as ChatGPT is neither the solution nor a possibility. Rather, universities can learn from the past, work to understand how the technology operates, and do what they do best: probe, critique, analyse and explore the limitations – then talk about this with our students.
To boost Chinese students’ employability, universities in Australia and Chinese students need to do more to address cultural misunderstanding and encourage the creation of effective social networks. Students could do with support in applying for visas, and should improve their English and career management skills.
China’s universities are stepping up to the climate change challenge with an array of initiatives in research, knowledge sharing, national and global collaboration, and teaching and learning. But there are significant obstacles, and more needs to be done to address the link between theory and practice.
Universities are based around a typical student model that fails to acknowledge the caring responsibilities that many carry. These students deserve the same respect and support as others. The strengths and skills they bring through their roles as carers should be valued and given space in academia.
Universities need to resist the urge to recruit hundreds of thousands of students for purely financial gain while host countries deprive the source country of their most capable brains. We need a new system that requires universities to recirculate some of the income to schemes that encourage and reward students for returning home.
Active maintenance is required to defend collegiality, a distinctive feature of university governance that has a global dimension. International research is finding that collegiality is often taken for granted and sometimes even forgotten about, and that islands of collegiality are at risk of being perverted.
United States universities can learn from their Canadian counterparts when it comes to private refugee sponsorship programmes, and can use these to support and equip student leaders to be partners in sustainable humanitarian action within the higher education system.
Vietnam’s private universities are often closely linked to private company interests and their fate will rise and fall with these companies. But the private economy is politically contentious in the country – and if businesses come under suspicion, the private universities they own will surely be affected.
A new Studyportals report urges universities to diversify recruitment efforts when it comes to international students, but maximising diversification may not be an ideal approach for every country or institution and ranking them based on diversification is a flawed and potentially harmful approach.
Companies that are legally permitted to sell educational credentials that have the potential for misuse and damage to the public interest should be investigated by the United States authorities, given that their products provide, despite assurances to the contrary, an opportunity to commit professional fraud.
Is it frustrating that people don’t see the benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion education, or the impacts of systemic racism? Yes! Regardless, as a faculty member, I think it is my role to teach students to think critically instead of what to think.
The first global ranking instrument placing values, ethics and sustainability as central principles of higher education institutions worldwide aims to capture student and academic views on the student learning experience, inspiring leadership in higher education and commitment to sustainability and integrity. But is it a ranking?
Evidence suggests that some international students are returning to study after the COVID pandemic with unresolved mental health issues that may affect their ability to study and their overall well-being. It is time for higher education to revisit its duty of care to these students.
The idea of creating in the Amazon a global university dedicated to saving the most consequential ecosystem of the planet seems like an unavoidable call to action. The question is not whether we should embrace the idea, but how we can make it work.
Universities, particularly those in the Global North, have increasingly begun to develop what is referred to as ‘diaspora strategies’ to take advantage of the cultural diversity and transnational connectivity of their international students and faculty in order to gain a competitive global advantage.
The search for solutions to contemporary challenges is aggravated by a lack of people qualified to resolve them and there is a need to overhaul education and training systems. A new book shows how recent European initiatives can assist in accelerating quality teaching worldwide.
An arbitrary cap on the number of international students, motivated by a desire to limit headline net migration figures in the United Kingdom, is a bad idea. Instead, it is essential to understand what lies behind the increase in numbers of study visas issued to non-European Union citizens.
The trends identified by a study of collaboration between United States and Chinese scientists during the COVID-19 pandemic provide valuable information to understand and support US and Chinese scientists’ international collaborations so that they are well positioned to respond effectively during crisis situations.
The opposition bloc’s pledge to abolish the Council of Higher Education if it wins the upcoming elections in Türkiye means that one of the most centralised higher education systems in the world may be decentralised and universities will have greater administrative, financial and academic autonomy.
As neither domestic nor international students, forced migrant students in the United States often fall between universities’ administrative cracks. While they qualify, like domestic students, for lower, in-state tuition rates and financial aid, they need specific support beyond that which is currently offered to most domestic students.
Only 3.3% of nearly a million school-leavers in Ethiopia passed their final examinations with 50%. The shocking result is the outcome of two decades of challenges and will affect the intake in public and private higher education institutions. It has now prompted Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education to devise a national strategy in a bid to halt the decay.
A European Union-funded project that recycles heat, materials and water across multiple sectors offers an excellent example of the interplay between research institutes and technical and non-technical partners in the creation of useful knowledge that is focused on promoting more sustainable ways of living.
A new definition of higher education internationalisation can create an opportunity for South Africa to become an ‘active and self-determined’ contributor and partner in the global field of internationalisation of higher education instead of merely replicating dominant concepts and definitions from the Global North.
Colleges and universities should focus on consolidating and ramping up their competitive courses and small learning units for learners to utilise in the building up of their tailored micro-credentials for reskilling and upskilling purposes, and even as a pathway towards full qualifications.
Global inequality is an issue that both concerns and motivates all those working in the higher education sector, but misguided efforts to combat the problem through quick-fix solutions that do not in fact reach the intended audience are never going to be effective.
The need to achieve greater inclusion in higher education responds to a strong social justice imperative, and higher education systems in which opportunities are equally distributed have become the basis for sustainable development and for the construction of fair and democratic societies.
While there is no blueprint for the implementation of digitally enhanced learning and teaching, which requires changes for the entire institution and can bear relatively high risks, institutional strategies and inter-institutional peer learning are key enablers, combined with engagement of staff and students.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals depends in part on preserving and strengthening democracies around the world and higher education institutions have a remarkable role to play – through increasing access to quality education, raising awareness and engaging with community and stakeholders – in achieving them.
Although the midterm elections in the United States were relatively good news for higher education, many of the policies that affect universities and colleges are state based. What is clear is that, for higher education, elections matter – at least in liberal democracies.
There is widespread recognition that the fees charged to international students in a number of countries are excessive. This business model is negatively impacting on human capabilities and institutional capacities in low-income countries. Critical now is a collective ownership of the problem, to ensure the legitimacy of universities.
Late last year, the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand initiated a process to eliminate 170 academic jobs to cut costs. The Employment Relations Authority found that the university’s approach breached its collective employment agreement with staff and their union, and ordered it to withdraw the termination notices.
The concerted efforts of national, regional and international networks are showing great promise to make university social responsibility a central dimension of higher education around the world, and in the next decade we expect to see socially engaged universities become the dominant model.
We need research teams to be representative of the communities they are serving. If you don’t see yourself, your struggles, your community, your potential in what is researched, it is all the more difficult to see yourself as part of those research teams.
Global university rankings are unlikely to disappear, but changes are afoot, fuelled in large part by the need to redefine excellence by navigating away from citations and indicators that reinforce historic advantage and prestige and towards more relevant priorities: equity, ethics, integrity and sustainability.
International programme and institutional mobility has tremendous potential to widen access to quality education. But how do we address the two key challenges associated with the quality assurance of transnational education: differentiating between the comparability of learning outcomes and of learning experience and fostering cross-border cooperation?
Nepal’s University Grants Commission has proposed a policy to guide the country’s universities towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, but the challenges facing institutions are so overwhelming they can only be managed through the combined efforts of national and international bodies.
For those who research rankings, the recent exodus of elite law schools participating in the US News and World Report ranking is welcome news given the negative impacts that these metrics have had in higher education, especially in the international education arena.
If we are to successfully institutionalise inclusiveness in international higher education, encourage innovation and ensure the availability of data for evidence-based policy-making, we also need to ensure that social infrastructure (for example, higher education institutions) is on a par with economic infrastructure.
Over the last three years, universities in the United Kingdom have lost approximately a third of their domestic tuition funding due to inflation and in some cases there are concerns as to whether or not the lights will remain on without growing numbers of inbound international students.
The energy crisis calls for strong, predictable and sustainable financial support from public authorities to enable universities in Europe to maintain their quality of research and teaching and to protect students, many of whom are still reeling from disruptions to their studies caused by COVID-19.
Against the backdrop of an impending return to ‘fiscal prudence’, the involvement of students and other stakeholders in determining the yearly priorities for education under the European Semester, as well as indicators monitored as part of the process, is of paramount importance.
Community engaged learning can help sharpen the university’s response to a series of challenges that echo those of the sixties: a crisis of authority and the need for universities to prove their contribution to society, a rise in social engagement, and calls for democratisation.
Higher education institutions around the world are uniquely positioned not only to serve as exemplars of sustainable organisations, but they also possess and produce the intellectual capital needed to know how best to tackle the Sustainable Development Goals through teaching, research and service.
If we adhere to the idea that universities are sources of truth and knowledge, they need to expand their role and influence in society through greater engagement with the communities they are intended to serve, while also improving their communication with the public.
International students are flooding back to Australian universities. But getting more skilled international graduates into the right jobs after graduation will require more than the government’s simple policy change of allowing visa extensions to lengthen from two to four years.
The third World Higher Education Conference provided an opportunity to rethink and reimagine teaching and learning, research and social engagement from the perspective of access, quality and equity and set a good foundation for the national, regional and global stakeholder debates that lie ahead.
The remarkable growth of private universities in India over the last decade, particularly those considered elite, has increased the complexity and competitiveness of the entire sector and has emphasised the need for public sector institutions to innovate and adapt on the basis of student expectations.
No one could have predicted the changes to academe in respect of the internet, tenure and ideology. But they have fundamentally altered academic life, driving the need for a new framework for academe based on what unites academics across geographical and disciplinary borders.
Singapore universities’ contribution to the country’s intellectual life is more modest than their outstanding global competitiveness might suggest because of a structure of incentives and disincentives that has nudged individuals and institutions away from public-facing scholarship that could illuminate key issues facing society.
The Unnat Bharat Abhiyan initiative aims to connect higher education institutions with local communities to address rural developmental challenges. In Tamil Nadu two new programmes have been launched which recognise the central role of students in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
As predicted, higher education is trying as fast as possible to return to the old way of looking at internationalisation as a market and income source, ignoring the high social and economic risks of such an approach as well as neglecting ethical concerns.
Chinese international students are often stereotyped as lacking particular skills for success and as ‘cash cows’ for the United Kingdom higher education sector. It is time for the sector to ensure that all students experience value – academically and personally – in their degree programmes.
However helpful the delineations of different academic cultures have been for those of us who study and work in academe, the times we live in may require of us to consider what ties academics together and unites us, rather than describe our differences.
An emergent pathways model is bridging the gap between publicly accessible academic research on the structural conditions that limit opportunities for aspirant young black women engineers and the decision-makers who are in a position to support specific student groups to ensure they thrive.
It is time for international educators to own up to what economists euphemistically term the ‘externalities’ of our work, namely, lethal greenhouse gas emissions from air travel that are materially exacerbating social injustices around the world, and to take bold action to redress them.
A water security project based in two informal urban settlements in India, involving university masters students and a workers’ collective, shows the power of co-creation in generating knowledge based on everyday realities and empowering ordinary people to contribute towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The metaverse is here to stay and we cannot let learners disappear in it. By making social and emotional learning central in the metaverse, there is an opportunity to bridge the virtuality-reality divide and foster a sense of community to drive real change.
Among a host of benefits, participation in the European University of Post-Industrial Cities or UNIC, a partnership between 10 European universities and their cities, has given University College Cork in Ireland an opportunity to deepen its third mission and bring engaged research to the fore.
While open science has permeated a variety of academic fields in Vietnam, bringing with it increased access to knowledge and better collaboration, to relocate it from the periphery to the centre of the academic landscape where it belongs requires bottom-up and top-down efforts.
The first summit of university leaders from Africa and Europe has resolved to launch new types of long-term collaboration. Based on the draft African Union-European Union Innovation Agenda, this includes, among others, long-term funding and the need to draft a comprehensive strategy of research infrastructure investment in Africa.
Creating a generation of complex systems thinkers who can contend with global challenges involves equipping students with transdisciplinary competencies and expertise. A case study involving transdisciplinary graduate programmes at the University of British Columbia in Canada offers insights into how such competencies can be built.
Commitments to tackling inequalities in higher education participation and success across the world are tiny compared to the importance placed on practically all other aspects of the global higher education agenda, yet failure to address such inequity will inevitably foster resentment regarding higher education itself.
A new scale, which analyses the barriers to inclusion of university students with special educational needs and directly involves university teaching staff, can help to improve the overall inclusion process and determine the training needs that staff may have with regard to diversity.
When it comes to international education, Chinese mobility has for decades played a vital role in post-secondary institutions worldwide and although the number of students may wax and wane, Chinese students are likely to seek opportunities in the West for generations to come.
African governments, business enterprises and universities have a shared responsibility to raise the research capacities and productivity of universities and countries. The research ecosystem depends on the availability of adequate funding, motivated researchers, robust facilities, dynamic collaborations, strong intellectual property policies, effective dissemination and translation of research results into products and policy, and for social impact.
Research council funding policies tend to stipulate that international co-investigators cannot receive funding for their contributions, which works against collaboration. An ‘opening up’ of council funding rules is needed to create a global mechanism for collaboration that is more flexible, efficient and impactful.
Delegations of global university leaders are flocking to India, the second largest higher education system, stimulated in part by the emphasis on internationalisation in the new National Education Policy. But infrastructure and policies for effective internationalisation are still lacking and realism is important.