General Commentary
Amid the current debates about the introduction of an international student levy in Australia that universities may pass on to their students, thereby pushing up the cost of a higher education, the question of what students are getting for their money looms large.
The University of the People, the first non-profit, tuition-fee-free, American, accredited online university, offers an innovative model to make quality higher education accessible to all who desire to transform their lives and help make the world a better and more peaceful place.
International student recruitment is not only about amassing the highest number of students; it is about establishing and enhancing best practices and resources for those already on campus to ensure that they succeed and graduate, and become part of a thriving community of alumni.
There have been optimistic reports about international student bounce-back after COVID-19. But we cannot ignore the possible impacts of the current geopolitical reality and instability on higher education mobility and internationalisation, as illustrated by this week’s election victory in the Netherlands of an extreme right anti-immigration party.
Low public and private investment levels in research and development remain a trend in most African countries. Still, this bleak narrative contrasts with knowledge production patterns by African nations as bibliometric studies of articles authored or co-authored by scientists and scholars over the past two decades show healthy annual growth.
A recent meeting made up of representatives from 35 European countries, including students, discussed a range of issues affecting integrity in higher education, including the impact of artificial intelligence on higher education and the need to promote student awareness of education fraud.
The COVID-19 pandemic, Xi Jinping’s ambitions to turn his country into an innovation superpower loyal to the Communist Party, and Western alarm about those ambitions, have shaped Chinese higher education, but a fourth development – the slowing of China’s economy – could play a bigger role.
As student demand for higher education grows in India, the availability of high quality faculty is key to meeting the goal of quality education, but attracting such faculty comes with a number of challenges that call for careful planning and an understanding of national trends.
Recent changes in China’s academic appraisal process and the current stress on ideological correctness have ushered in new barriers for China’s social sciences scholars. Is it worth trying to publish outside China in the face of such changes and challenges?
A strong defence of academic freedom arises when universities are recognised as spaces for open debate and as legitimate and reliable sources of knowledge production. While a distinction between arguments, facts and opinion needs to be drawn, universities cannot cut themselves off from society.
Why are experts in supercomputing leaving universities? The human capital behind the world’s fastest supercomputers needs to be retained before it is too late. And action needs to be taken to encourage new talent into academia with clear and incentivised professional pathways.
At the European Union’s first Global Gateway Forum, research and higher education underpinned almost all the points made by the group of leaders – a massive opportunity for universities. But they need to make the argument about their role loud and clear, to their governments, and to their supranational blocs, starting with the European Union and the African Union.
The number of children at international schools in China suggests the number of Chinese undergraduates in the United States could soon bounce back, but Chinese parents are weighing up the advantages of US study with a perceived risk to their children’s physical safety.
The recent Magna Charta Universitatum conference in Poland focused on urban renewal and on the importance of co-creation of knowledge and collaboration with communities to overcome obstacles to societal well-being. This requires a multidisciplinary perspective and openness to diverse partnerships.
The ASEAN Consolidated Strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the post-pandemic recovery have profoundly changed the work landscape, underlining the importance of upskilling and reskilling in the ASEAN region through sustainable international partnerships.
European University Alliances are 50 networks of universities that have spread to 430 higher education institutions in 35 countries and attracted around 1,700 associated partners. The alliances have spawned a new wave of studies and breathed new life into Europe-level cooperation on higher education reform.
International climate talks will be held in December 2023 in the United Arab Emirates. While the summit, known as COP28, is considered essential to securing global agreements needed to avoid dangerous climate change, confidence is at a low. One reason is the man in charge.
Universities in Russia are experiencing a structural transformation, marked by decreasing autonomy, militarisation, and ideologisation of curricula. As they distance themselves from Western models, these institutions are reverting to Soviet-era approaches to higher education which are expected to intensify as the war continues.
Ethiopia’s vulnerability to human-made and natural disasters as well as climate change has led to various forms of internal displacement, which is impacting the education sector. So far, the government’s interventions have neglected the higher education sector, which is also affected by these challenges.
If Donald Trump wins a second term as president, United States universities face an existential threat as does civil society. The message that will be sent out loud and clear is one that encourages other current and wannabe autocrats of the world, with dire consequences for higher education.
A recent conference in Mexico found keen interest in new technologies among higher education stakeholders. However, innovation more generally is held back by limited resources, a situation that could benefit from strategic partnerships, greater private sector investment and support from for-profit technology vendors.
A complex interplay of historical and cultural forces has resulted in the creation of a competitive and exclusionary academic environment for international academics which poses significant challenges to their successful integration in Japan, despite the official push towards internationalisation of higher education institutions.
Internationalisation and sustainable development have to be seen as complementary rather than opposing dynamics at higher education institutions. We need to ask how a different kind of internationalisation could contribute not only to making institutions more sustainable, but how it could contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.
While more needs to be done to mainstream cross-cultural learning and understanding into higher education curricula, the big challenge for the 21st century is to export it, beyond academe, as essential knowledge, skills and abilities in the lives and work of graduates.
Universities in the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – are promoting their sustainability successes at the COP28 meeting in Dubai. It is part of a wider bid to climb the global rankings.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Education’s recent decision to set a new admission standard for postgraduate students has set in motion unprecedented restriction on access to the postgraduate programmes of many public and private universities. It is not clear what the purpose of the standard is.
Change leadership involves steering an institution through major disruptions and organisational transformation. Research highlights the need for effective change management and academic collaboration to help universities around the world overcome the challenges of implementing education for sustainable development across the whole institution and curricula.
As work continues on improving access and quality in higher education systems worldwide, equity and inclusion have become a more important policy focus. This requires fresh perspectives and proactive measures to shape the future transformation of higher education aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.
English is increasingly being used by universities and governments around the world to attract international students and demonstrate ‘international calibre’. But global education is a complex terrain of power and influence, and the large-scale adoption of English could have serious consequences for other languages.
Through embedding an international approach, learning from best practice, attracting top talent, forging partnerships with universities around the world and offering internationally accredited courses, Narxoz University is becoming globally recognised and is helping to address Kazakhstan’s ‘brain drain’.
A major continental project has shown that a strategic approach to university leadership development in Europe is imperative to confront complex challenges – but awareness of its importance varies. The project also helps to build a solid foundation for capacity-building for university leaders at the European level.
The proposal in Australia to introduce a levy on international student fees is a radical move and its wider implications need to be carefully considered, including the risk of the students feeling even more like cash cows in comparison to their domestic counterparts.
How can we transform the growing geopolitical tensions and shifts in global power dynamics playing out in European Union-China higher education cooperation into potential opportunities for enhanced cooperation? Here are recommendations for universities and policy-makers that could help in tackling cooperation challenges.
The development of Africa-Europe Clusters of Research Excellence, the yields of a process that started at a meeting of the African Research Universities Alliance and the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities in Brussels, Belgium, in 2018, has ushered in a new era of South-North scientific collaboration.
For the first time in modern history, a coalition of university leaders and academics spanning two continents aims at lifting research collaboration into a new era. How did this groundbreaking agreement, already involving 250 researchers from about 100 universities across 60 countries in 20 newly created Clusters of Research Excellence, come about?
A collaborative venture that is without equal in the global higher education sector is involving hundreds of researchers, backed by the long-term commitment of dozens of institutions across Africa and Europe, to resolve key questions that require the equitable collaboration of scientists across Africa and Europe.
The development of academic rankings has reached an inflection point as some of the world’s leading universities – concerned about fundamental flaws and institutional autonomy – begin to speak out and consider action. Do university leaders wish to continue propping up such an arbitrary system?
Higher education in Brazil, including graduate education, has suffered a series of setbacks over the past few years, leaving the new administration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with a string of challenges, which include restoring budgets, ensuring greater social inclusion and addressing regulatory and quality assessment issues.
In stark contrast with the United Kingdom, interactions about international higher education between the Australian federal government, state governments, tertiary education institutions and the private sector seem far more collaborative and more squarely aimed at achieving the best outcomes for all parties.
Universities in Latin America have long benefited from the explicit juridical protection of their autonomy, but the former Bolsonaro government in Brazil highlighted a core weakness in the Latin American concept of university autonomy: the secondary and subordinate position it gives to academic freedom.
The notion of standing in solidarity with those who are suffering and the commitment to creating a more peaceful, just and equitable world are at the core of being a global citizen – with or without national affiliation – which is what international educators should be.
Only 3.2% or 27,267 of the 845,099 students who wrote Ethiopia’s 2023 national school-leaving examination from July to August 2023 achieved the required 50% to qualify for tertiary education, the ministry of education recently announced. The results have been vehemently criticised. What will the ministry do?
The study of history is in crisis due in part to dependence on international student fees, commercialisation and a misguided belief that humanities degrees do not lead to good jobs. We need the support of governments and university managers to fix the problem.
A new UNESCO course for rectors is based on the premise that for higher education institutions to fulfil their roles as exemplary organisations, as technical, cognitive and cultural models of sustainability for students and their communities, they must develop an organisational culture for sustainability.
As Finland prepares to implement full-cost tuition fees for non-EU international students, both the higher education sector and the students themselves could benefit from commonly agreed-upon rules and quality criteria to ensure that all institutions follow specific criteria in their education export activities.
There is a lot that American colleges can do to fill the information gap in college admissions that widened during the pandemic, and to counter the high anxiety levels among Chinese parents prepared to move heaven and earth to get their children into prestigious institutions.
Employability is becoming embedded in higher education with considerable moral authority and creates unachievable expectations. However, higher education is not very effective in direct preparation for work and cannot create jobs – and the mantra of employability works against higher education’s core educational mission.
Reflexive pedagogies imply a radically different conception of pedagogy from what we are used to, as traditional pedagogies have failed to provide higher education institutions with an educational basis to develop students’ intellectual capacity and skills to engage in the world as productive citizens.
As we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October, it is vital that universities and governments in countries where the scourge of sexual exploitation in higher education is a reality take steps to safeguard the welfare of female students.
A new book highlights global best practice when it comes to promoting equity in higher education and shows the importance of visionary leaders, internal and external support and sustained efforts by teams committed to overcoming the hurdles that are faced by under-represented students.
Closing the education financing gap to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (quality education) is a question of justice and any plans to widen access and success need to be serious about the role of wealth inequality in depriving young people of their right to education.
During a recent trip to Al-Noor University College in Mosul, which was hosting its inaugural congress on sustainability and the aviation industry, there was keen interest in improving education quality and student mobility through the introduction of a national qualifications framework.
It’s time the predominant view of international students as sources of local, state and national revenue that has been embraced and propagated by international education organisations for decades evolves into one that highlights all the benefits of welcoming international students into our communities.
The MSCA4Ukraine fellowship scheme is the first dedicated European Union fellowship scheme for at-risk scholars, and the kind of benefits it offers for individuals and communities may soon be extended to scholars at risk from other countries under a forthcoming EU initiative.
The one-time uniformity of the Soviet Union provides a natural laboratory in which to conduct a broad and comparative analysis of the development of different post-Soviet institutional-level governance models that offers important insights for advancing governance both in this region and beyond.
A recent summit involving leading universities, foundations, international bodies and researchers highlighted the scale of the equity crisis in global higher education and the weight of the responsibilities upon those working in higher education – both universities and other stakeholders – in addressing it.
Mentoring is perhaps the most heard need from early career researchers. But it’s one of the hardest to address. We’ve got to crack this issue at scale if we’re going to transform the prospects for early career researchers and unlock the world’s talent.
A new book, which explores the phenomenon of education recruitment agents in three countries, tackles the controversial issue of agent remuneration, and how it influences the advice prospective students receive. A related question is whether it is value for money for universities.
Politicisation of universities is not new, but it is moving rapidly from the margins to the centre of global higher education and is undermining core values of academia in the process. So far, with few exceptions, opposition has been weak or non-existent.
Involving students in being partners in their own learning may not be seen as a natural fit for the more top-down approach to teaching in Asia, but cultural issues are no barrier to a model that promotes greater inclusion.
By harnessing the power of crowdsourcing, citizen science can make science more inclusive and can help to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Concerns over Russia’s authoritarian turn and its actions in Ukraine may result in the further disintegration of the Soviet model, with internationalisation of higher education both a driving force and a force for stability in the emerging regional order.
Internationalisation increases student diversity. That needs to be reflected in a greater respect for the different languages international students speak, but the imposition of English-only policies in the classroom may act against inclusion.
There is much that can be done to tackle academic corruption, from seeking out innovative approaches and looking at what is happening in schools, to keeping abreast of technological advances, not stigmatising international students and close collaboration among researchers and practitioners worldwide.
Higher education institutions in Africa have been relegated to a marginal position in global knowledge production. A shift is needed towards the knowledge economy, diverse epistemologies, diversifying higher education systems, and engaging with international dimensions while promoting progressive and innovative policies in African universities.
Taejae University, South Korea’s new global online university, has its first class starting this autumn. Enrolment has been low so far despite its ambitions to disrupt the higher education market. The university needs to prove what sets it apart from other institutions.
When it comes to higher education reforms, student experience is rarely taken into account. A recent study shows why it should be and how that relates to the Sustainable Development Goals. The greatest differences in students’ experiences are based on gender, discipline and public versus private universities.
Universities in the United Kingdom cannot be complacent about recent student recruitment success as competition grows. That makes it crucial for institutions to ensure that the international student journey from application to arrival is as seamless as possible.
University College Cork in Ireland started on the sustainability journey before it became fashionable. Since then it has become a world-leading sustainability university – and a great example of a bottom-up approach to sustainability that was met with a top-down commitment from university management.
Through ‘education for sustainable development’, university classrooms have the potential to become living laboratories where students apply disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to real-world problems. This vision requires long-term commitment from institutional leaders with a sustainability vision for the future.
The deal struck to get British researchers back in the Horizon programme has been welcomed in the United Kingdom and on the continent. But it is not just down to policy-makers. Much of the hard work has been done by institutions and individuals, based on enduring relationships.
The Global Leadership Summit held on 22 August in Durban, South Africa, brought together leaders of international education from numerous countries around the world to discuss the most pressing issues currently facing international higher education in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.
The student protests which called for the decolonisation of higher education in South Africa between 2015 and 2017 were the focus of a recent two-day colloquium that explored the legacy of the ‘Fallism’ movement and its significance for the nature, orientation and composition of the African university.
If higher education quality and better governance are the purposes of Ethiopia’s new regulation which allows for public universities to become autonomous institutions, appointing politicians to head the transition and the semi-privatisation of the country’s premier public higher institution is not the answer.
Universities are traditionally seen as gateways to knowledge, but today they are emerging as new embassies, centres of cultural and diplomatic exchange between nations. International branch campuses serve as live testaments to the relationships between nations, turning academic partnerships into strategic alliances.
Suspending academic collaboration with China out of hand is unproductive and leads to mutual isolation. An open, mutually respectful and productive academic relationship between China and the West is vital to confront the severe geopolitical, climate, energy and healthcare challenges our world faces.
Canada’s recent education-export growth has been unmatched and its contribution to the economy roughly equals that of the aerospace industry. But lack of federal regulation makes Canada highly susceptible to unwanted behaviours and future deflation if student expectations don’t match student experiences.
The stories of two Vietnamese language teachers who taught Vietnamese in South Korea and Brunei respectively offer entry points into broader discussions around the growing availability of Asian languages in Asian universities and what this means for the cultural and economic dominance of the West.
In a groundbreaking study that challenges traditional norms of teacher induction, a team of researchers from two South African universities has proposed a visionary approach that leverages the involvement of students in the induction of new university teachers, opening the door to educational transformation.
We live in a world of information overload, but too much choice may lead us to spurn different and new perspectives and opt for the safety of familiar voices. How does the propensity to live in our own echo chambers affect higher education research?
Changing ideas about the purpose of international education have helped it to diversify, but at the same time have geared it towards commercialisation and geopoliticalisation. Despite these shifts, international education for academic purposes remains one of the key driving forces for international students.
The rapid development of national language education programmes over the past 10 years as part of the process of internationalisation of higher education in Vietnam calls for a more dynamic way of understanding the phenomenon of higher education internationalisation in Asia and beyond.
By ratifying the UNESCO conventions on higher education, Central Asian countries can collaborate with other parties to foster mutual recognition arrangements, advance the development of recognition tools and access capacity-building opportunities, thereby expanding their influence and contributing to the international higher education community.
The significant carbon footprint of the Erasmus+ student mobility programme could be reduced in a number of ways – ranging from incentivising and developing more sustainable forms of transport such as train travel, and reducing resource consumption, to rethinking the very concept of mobility.
Learning loss, an opportunity gap, polarisation and environmental and climate justice have in common systems of practices and policies that are pervasive and intentionally exclusionary. They reflect system failures. As educators, we must ask how we are contributing to the problem or solutions.
A new study highlights the need for the training of research ethics committees in Sub-Saharan Africa tasked with reviewing data-intense research protocols where data protection and data sharing are important. This is to better handle the ethical, legal and social implications of big data-related research, which are inadequately supported by legislative and enforcement frameworks.