General Commentary
Teaching about gender violence and injustice with and for intersectional gender justice is a process of constant learning and becoming and it requires a curriculum, pedagogy and teaching practice that go beyond the development of students’ theoretical knowledge and critical analysis skills.
Alongside sustainable development, higher education digitalisation is a shared priority across Asia, Europe and globally and is increasingly recognised for its immense potential to create pivotal opportunities for all higher education systems and to enhance accessibility, inclusivity and overall quality and standards.
Latin America needs to learn from countries that have successfully reformed their vocational education and training systems and embrace more practical types of learning that allow graduating students to join the labour market and lead the transformation that their national economies require.
Despite the fact that many students from South Asia in the United Kingdom and Australia plan to stay and work in their host countries after graduation, there are barriers to employability which operate at the individual, institutional and at national policy level.
Two centuries ago, John Newman argued that a university is there to provide ‘valuable’, rather than ‘useful’, knowledge. University discourse has evolved since then, but ‘valuable’ can be interpreted in contemporary terms as ‘responsible’ and that is what we seek: a responsible international university.
Big data platforms that provide an integrated view of research data, ensuring that high-value decisions are based on an inclusive, truthful and unbiased view of a country’s research ecosystem are set to radically change the evaluation of individual countries in world science.
As competition around employment increases, Chinese students seeking jobs in Singapore would do well to focus on building a reliable social network that can boost a job seeker’s credentials by implying they bring resources other than their own skills, abilities and knowledge.
A university in Mexico has developed and deployed an educational technology ecosystem that incorporates artificial intelligence with a view to improving teaching methodologies, enhancing efficiency and integrity in student assessment, and monitoring and supporting the development of transversal and disciplinary student competencies.
Key proposals by the Dutch education minister aimed at balancing the country’s need for international students with intense criticism about the rapid growth in their numbers move the internationalisation debate forwards, but also need to recognise potential ethical consequences and challenges.
Being a ‘public good academic’ – someone who has an understanding of and commitment to their civic responsibility to advance the public good agenda – comes at a price, including relational, psychological, career-related and personal resource costs.
By adopting Green Open Access, the global research community could have forced academic publishers to downsize to the real costs of publication: managing peer review. But superstition, habit and digital laziness prevailed, and publishers are still laughing all the way to the bank.
When it comes to climate change, international educators are part of the problem, but we can also be part of the solution if we come together as a sector and commit to moving towards more sustainable internationalisation practices, even if it involves making sacrifices.
As policy-makers in several countries are starting to question whether there is really need for an endless increase in university graduates, political interest is shifting towards more equitable post-secondary participation and meeting the skill demands of occupations just below the high-skilled ones.
While the efforts of the Saudi government to provide global educational experience through external scholarships remain strong, a shift has become discernible recently, as other government and private entities in the kingdom launch scholarship programmes aimed at building talent in strategic sectors.
As the hype about micro-credentials increases in the context of higher education, it is important to unpack the different objectives of learning underlying the concept of micro-credentials in order to critically assess the suitability of universities in providing these learning experiences.
How the higher education sector creates an enabling environment wherein lecturers and students can experiment with the potential and limits of artificial intelligence tools, how it uses the opportunity to develop higher-order critical thinking capabilities, and how it instils a values-driven, integrity-focused approach are some of the challenges brought on by AI.
While media and governments are obsessed with ‘workforce development’, the fact is that most higher education institutions have always been involved in educating people for jobs. They need to continue to do so, but with greater efficiency and understanding of possible future scenarios.
Rather than an attempt to ‘cancel’ him, exploring honestly and transparently the legacy of J William Fulbright provides an opportunity to face his ‘mixed legacy’, and also that of the field of international education or IE – along with potential contemporary complicities with racial injustice.
On a daily basis, national research and education networks in Africa are proving to be inspirational to other organisations and businesses around the globe in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education and as key players in creating a better planet for learners.
The Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education, which entered into force in March, represents a true milestone in the international legal framework for qualifications recognition and an important step in boosting international student mobility and helping refugees access education.
New measures which include the capping of English-taught courses and programmes aim to rescue Dutch higher education from having become a victim of its own success when it comes to internationalisation and could serve as a blueprint for other countries facing similar challenges.
Rhodes University in South Africa recently restated its long-held position that an academic institution that is committed to sound research principles should not participate in rankings. In doing so, it is joining high-profile universities around the world that have expressed concern about the neocolonial nature of ranking systems.
As international higher education, research and innovation face a more competitive, nationalistic, turbulent world, we should embrace the potential of using knowledge diplomacy – based on reciprocity and mutual benefits – to help resolve national, regional and global challenges and strengthen relations between and among countries.
As universities seek to educate increasingly diverse populations, any commitment to inclusiveness must include the recognition of and accommodation of all disabilities – including invisible disabilities which include chronic diseases and non-diagnosable conditions such as long COVID – and the dismantling of systemic ableism.
While some see Brexit as an opportunity to turn Eurosceptic ideas into policy for higher education, the experience of the research sector shows the heavy cost of destroying the spirit and practice of collaboration enjoyed within the European Union by the higher education and research sectors.
The illiberal takeover of higher education in countries such as Hungary holds urgent lessons for countries such as Israel and emphasises the importance of intellectual resistance on the part of students and faculty, which may include the establishment of alternative institutions or exile.
While student flows have increased a reciprocal exchange of people, knowledge and culture in Europe, when it comes to academic staff, uncompetitive salaries in Southern Europe are causing a brain drain and are making countries such as Italy less attractive to foreign researchers.
A new report shows how algorithms can bias searches of academic literature, favouring authors who are white, Western and male, and that many researchers are unaware of how widespread this is. Academics need to learn what they can do about it.
Despite the noteworthy growth in quantity and quality of scientific research emanating from China, Chinese authored articles receive only half the citations from US researchers as non-Chinese authored papers – a situation likely to be exacerbated by current US-China tensions and COVID travel disruptions.
A recent survey found that nearly 60% of students agree that not being seen as equal members of the academic community is a challenge to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, with tokenistic student participation in quality assurance perceived as a challenge by 63%.
European medium-sized cities have become active attractors of skilled migrants. As prime drivers of such internationalisation, universities have a role in ensuring stakeholder collaboration to coordinate strategies to attract, incorporate and ensure the integration of international migrants and students in the city.
The world of higher education has a lot to learn from the current resurgence in Latin America and the Caribbean region of interest in the role of universities in the promotion of democratic development through stronger engagement with civil society – and vice versa.
If universities enact the five ‘I’s of internationalisation – intent, inclusivity, innovation, interactivity and impact – they can place internationalisation at the core of what they do. This has become critical in an interdependent world driven by common challenges and in need of common solutions.
Instead of just striving to eliminate biases in datasets, researchers should ask why biases are in datasets in the first place and what power and politico-economic factors cause them. Rather than searching for a good algorithm, we should ask what a good society is and about technology’s place in it.
The use of artificial intelligence in higher education presents both challenges and opportunities to academics. We need to navigate this new landscape thoughtfully and responsibly so that AI tools like ChatGPT are used to facilitate learning and scholarship rather than undermine it.
It is beginning to look as though the increasing use of sustainability and equity indicators in global university rankings are, in part, designed to cover up declines in basic research, innovation and advanced instruction in the West and the rise of universities throughout Asia.
In the United States, where the local news business is in crisis and full-time staff reporters have disappeared, university-led state legislature reporting programmes have stepped in, according to the Pew Research Center. Over 10% of statehouse reporters are students – and in some states significantly more.
Higher education institutions around the world have a duty to work together to defeat colonialism and embrace humanity. But much of today’s equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives are just hollow words and do not result in any real action for change.
As humanity becomes more interconnected, lifelong and lifewide learning will become more ubiquitous as people need to develop more human skills such as higher-order thinking skills, creative thinking skills and strategic metacognitive skills. Education, knowledge and learning must be treated as global common goods.
Universities and national policies in the world’s leading international student host countries are increasingly focused on the commercial aspects of international activity. Warning lights are flashing about the academic, economic and ethical risks of viewing higher education internationalisation as an industry. But is anyone listening?
A European Parliament report on academic freedom shows that the issue is taken seriously not just for universities but for society as a whole. The report has some suggestions for ways to tackle differing levels of freedom in a variety of political contexts.
Artificial intelligence projects like ChatGPT can be understood as directly colonial, because they depend on treating the whole of humanity’s cultural production to date as theirs to freely use. But universities can become important sites of resistance to this next colonial phase of knowledge production.
Internal political decisions as well as country realignments and geopolitical tensions are impacting higher education decisions and international student mobility. Universities need to stop looking for the next China, diversify their international recruitment efforts and be adaptable to changing geopolitics.
From finances to teaching and learning, COVID-19 affected different universities in different countries in different ways, with many acting quickly to adapt to the situation. By comparing their performances, we can understand what helps them to stay resilient and prepare better for future disruption.
Perhaps the most important quality of a knowledge society is its capacity to apply knowledge for human and social development. We need to rethink higher education and its purpose as a common good based on humanistic ethics and values and embracing different types of knowledge.
A group of innovative universities in Sub-Saharan Africa are working on a common problem. How can they bring economic opportunities to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population? Their solutions to upscale training in digital skills could make all the difference to the continent’s future.
Two types of pressures necessitate revisiting the role of a professor. Firstly, the pressure to account for “market-friendliness” and, secondly, to respond to the transformation and decolonisation imperatives as a result of massification. In this context the professorial role may need to re-adapt to respond to broader socio-economic and political exigencies affecting higher education.
Claudine Gay will become Harvard University’s second female president and first black president in July 2023, meaning six out of eight Ivy League institutions – America’s elite private research universities – will have women leaders. What does this mean for gender equity in higher education?
Artificial intelligence is likely to have an impact on the recognition of qualifications as much as on any other area of education. Laws, regulation and practice will need to be reviewed, and understanding and practice developed in the higher education community. The approach that will evolve should recognise the use of AI and seek to counter its abuse.
One answer to pedagogical problems posed by ChatGPT and other AI word manipulation systems requires restoring genuine, real-world interactions for younger generations. Reality and experience may be dismissed in this digital age, but they remain the best place to get an education.
In an era of stricter securitisation of research, more thoughtfulness and better professional judgement are required from several groups in order for international research collaborations to continue and for the global science system to have a chance to remain at least somewhat open.
Universities are well-placed to lead the shift towards the development of a circular mindset which recognises the interconnection and interdependence between humankind and nature – a necessary step in human evolution if we are to create a more sustainable world for future generations.
Change brought about through edtech challenges deeply held ideologies and identities surrounding teaching, the classroom experience and the purpose of the university. Understanding the complexity of resistance and the different emotions that feed into it is an important first step towards overcoming it.
The announcement that Russian is to be available as a second language in Egyptian schools and colleges is a timely reminder that the world of global higher education, a key element in ‘The Great Game’, is facing a new set of challenges.
International students may not have the same understanding of digital learning as domestic students. Problems they face can be tackled by universities taking a more thoughtful and inclusive approach, focusing on providing equitable digital experiences. This requires a clear commitment from leadership and a dedicated digital team.
The number of biosafety labs around the world – many of which are located in universities – is increasing steadily as a response to perceived public health concerns. A new report tracks trends that raise biosafety and biosecurity concerns, particularly where biorisk management oversight is weak.
There are many measures that can be implemented by policy-makers, universities, recognition centres and professional bodies to remove barriers to the integration of those refugees from Ukraine who are seeking employment opportunities or access to education and training in their host countries.
The development of high quality non-profit private universities over the past half-century, especially in the Global South, represents a remarkable development: despite the challenges they face, these elite private institutions have brought vitality to an often moribund higher education environment in their country.
Critical analysis of the Indigeneity claims by the international higher education community is necessary to remove the apathy and malaise that is evident in the ongoing cycle of false claims. To achieve change, perpetrators need to be challenged by the people they serve.
Post-digital means moving beyond an understanding of technology as gadgets, tools and devices towards an understanding of technology as an extension of human capabilities and intelligence. For higher education it will require a focus on access and ethics, with sustainability at the centre.
In his 2016 book titled The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab observed that as the workplace becomes more digital and high tech, and AI and robots become crucial, there is an urgent need to still feel the human touch grounded in meaningful close relationships and social connections between people.
There is a lot of hype about AI, especially ChatGPT. But the voices of academics who understand the challenges it presents have been silenced by the rush to marketisation of universities and a culture of fear, and are too enfeebled and exhausted to come up with solutions.
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.