General News
The role universities play as centres of learning and bearers of knowledge allows institutions to lead research on climate science and use that knowledge to inform policy-making and practice in both climate adaptation and mitigation, says Dr Bob Manteaw from the University of Ghana.
The Pan African University is facing a myriad of challenges, and its rector has implored Africa’s business sector and other regional partners to assist the institution, which was established in 2011 as part of the African Union’s Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education in Africa.
A draft defence bill aimed at the exclusive exchange of technology with the United Kingdom and the United States has set off alarm bells in Australian academic circles because of what academics say is the potential for criminalising activities the research community considers normal.
The latest data from the Graduate Outcomes Survey in Ireland show that 83% of last year’s class was in employment nine months after graduation – up from 75.9% for the class of 2020. The figures are seen to confirm the value of a higher education qualification.
Allegations of Anti-Hinduism against an Indian academic arising from his lecture on Palestine come amidst reports of another complaint against an academic and guest speaker accused of expressing support for Palestinian militants, and the arrest of Indian students taking part in pro-Palestine rallies.
As record numbers of graduates sit China’s fiercely competitive civil service examinations, hoping for secure government jobs amid high youth unemployment, the government is widening its special recruitment system for some civil service posts to include Chinese citizens who have graduated from top overseas universities.
As fighting intensifies across Myanmar, with mounting casualties for the military regime, newly graduating medical students have been drafted in as military reservists. “The junta is losing on all sides,” said a spokesperson for the exiled National Unity Government and is strengthening its forces in various ways.
Amid mass rallies against Israel’s ongoing bombing of Palestine, Indonesia’s Syiah Kuala University in Aceh province is taking a further step by providing scholarships for 50 Palestinian students, after an agreement was signed on 16 November by the university and the Palestinian ambassador to Indonesia.
South Korea has long been known for its innovative university-industry collaborations. Now, global developments in generative AI – most widely represented at the moment by ChatGPT – are prompting new ways for the country’s universities to work with South Korea’s own technology giants.
While welcomed by some academics, a roadmap aimed at helping Arab states’ universities to climb global rankings, prepare their graduates for the workplace and improve working conditions for staff, has been criticised for being out of touch with reality and overlooking implementation challenges.
The leader of the General Syndicate of University Teaching Staff Members, who disappeared from the union’s headquarters on the campus of the University of Tripoli, Libya, on 16 November, has been released by the Tripoli-based Internal Security Agency, tasked with protecting state interests.
As the conflict centred on Gaza continues, academics and students in the occupied West Bank are facing an intensified campaign of arrests and have appealed to the international community for help to protect the territory’s universities from the full impacts of the war.
Some of Zimbabwe’s institutions of higher learning are experiencing a cholera outbreak sweeping across the country, with some students now being told to bring water from home as education authorities fail to supply the commodity. Health authorities have ordered the closure of a teachers college.
Young scientists, researchers and civil society activists from across Africa who gathered at the inaugural Youth Forum on Adaptation Finance in Africa have called on leaders from around the globe to urgently scale up adaptation finance and include young people in actions to fight climate change.
The documented hijacking of a legitimate academic journal earlier this year shows how the pressure on researchers to publish, combined with the proliferation and development of AI technology, is threatening to undermine trust in research and is even derailing the careers of affected academics.
The Pakistan government’s announcement that it will increase the number of scholarships available to Afghan students has been seen as a bid to reduce international criticism around its deportation of Afghan nationals without proper documentation, and ease tensions with the neighbouring Taliban government.
The Israel-Palestine conflict has challenged higher education institutions to think carefully about the way they handle themselves in the context of strongly opposing views and when important freedoms – of expression and association – come up against security concerns and fears of alienating sections of their community.
A Philippines academic invited to speak on a panel on ‘Public Intellectuals, Populism and Power’ at a conference at the National University of Singapore early next year has accused the university of undermining academic freedom by tearing up her invitation without giving an explanation.
University actions to prevent the discussion of sensitive topics on campus are causing jitters among Hong Kong academics as the city’s top university this week barred a British lawyer from giving a lecture on judicial independence and the rule of law in Hong Kong.
The alleged kidnapping of a union leader from the labour organisation’s headquarters located on the campus of the University of Tripoli, Libya, on 16 November has sparked outrage in the academic community and from human rights organisations. The incident comes amid an ongoing faculty protest.
Led by two Australian universities, which are to start branch campus operations next year, other top international universities are poised to enter India following the issuing by the Indian higher education regulator of final guidelines for the setting up of foreign university campuses.
Despite the emphasis on practical application rather than theory in Horizon Europe projects and the financial deductions they mean for the national research budget, researchers are upbeat about the benefits arising from Denmark’s high rate of participation in Horizon Europe research projects.
Outrage about the situation in Gaza is growing in academic circles in South Africa, judging by the proliferation of critical pronouncements about the crisis. A prominent recent initiative came in the form of an open letter that has drawn the support of researchers, lecturers, administrators and students.
Only a third of scientists in Africa are women – and, while gender equality in African research is gradually progressing, women scientists in most countries continue to describe their careers as an ‘obstacle course’. South Africa and countries in the Maghreb were making progress, a UNESCO report stated.
French universities that are recruiting students in Africa will accept them based purely on merit, irrespective of the region they come from or the international language they speak. This is a shift from previous recruitment practices when French institutions preferred students from francophone Africa.
The 12% rise in international student numbers in the United States – the fastest growth rate in four decades – has pushed numbers almost back to pre-pandemic levels. While student numbers from India grew by 35%, students from China remain the biggest single national group, despite a slight decline in numbers.
A new report suggests that ‘internationalisation at home’ can improve the internationalisation experiences of all students on United Kingdom university campuses, particularly by internationalising the curriculum, and its findings will feed into the process of producing a new international higher education strategy.
A new online tool provides granular data about the economic contribution of international students in the United States, which totalled over US$40 billion in the 2022-23 academic year. Its launch follows the formation of a new coalition to increase enrolment and diversify the pool of international students.
A new coalition of higher education associations, the business sector and other stakeholders has united around the aim of increasing the number of international students choosing to enrol in universities and colleges in the United States and making sure they have what they need to thrive.
A brain drain from science and the higher education system in Russia is accelerating due to a complicated economic environment and the country’s ever-growing isolation in the international arena. The importance of this issue for state security was recently confirmed by top officials.
Visas issued to Indian students have picked up after a slow-down a year ago, leading with record numbers in the United Kingdom and a significant increase in student visas issued by the United States. This is in contrast with Canada, possibly due to its political row with India.
The high study permit refusal rate for African students seeking to study in Canada can be blamed on increases in the volume of applications as a result of a recruitment model that invites mass applications and, in Africa, often relies on inexperienced downstream recruitment agents, an expert in the field has said.
The hopes of thousands of polytechnic graduates to convert their Higher National Diplomas to degrees have been dashed following a recent pronouncement by the National Universities Commission that such an upgrade would be unconstitutional. The National Universities Commission is Nigeria’s regulatory body for universities.
Lack of support for new faculty members, usually PhD holders who lack teaching qualifications and experience, has been cited as one of the factors hampering quality education in institutions of higher education in Africa. One intervention, proposed in a new book, is that of ‘faculty champions’.
A new law that requires incoming foreign workers to earn salaries above a minimum threshold in order to qualify for a residence permit has amplified wider doubts about the Swedish government’s commitment to attracting and retaining international doctoral students and young researchers.
The United Kingdom government appears to be putting its money where its mouth is to help address challenges and opportunities presented by rapidly advancing AI technology, with a £300 million (US$366 million) investment to create a national Artificial Intelligence Research Resource and the country’s most powerful supercomputer.
A successful ‘first dollar’ community college student aid programme in the United States offers an alternative funding model for four-year colleges and universities where students run up tens of thousands of dollars of debt because existing financial aid options fail to cover both tuition and living expenses.
Tunisia is to establish an agency to support international students during their entire period of study. It will contribute to making the country a preferred destination for French-speaking students from across the African continent, the ministry of higher education and scientific research has announced.
There have been 439 Palestinians from the university community killed and 11 higher education buildings completely or partially damaged since the start of the Israel-Palestine war on 7 October, according to the Palestinian government. Higher education has been severely disrupted.
A recent academic study draws attention to the unique identifying features of a dangerous new category of product provided by diploma mills which capitalises on the misuse of the principle of accreditation of prior learning to provide fake qualifications based only on ‘life experience’.
Academics and researchers say the Norwegian government’s proposal to offer only 200 scholarship grants targeting two-year masters students mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa is an inadequate and too narrowly focused response to the fall in non-European international student numbers since tuition fees were introduced this year for students from outside Europe.
The latest figures suggest that graduate unemployment in Bangladesh is continuing to rise and has doubled in the last five years. Educationists blame a lack of academic and industry linkages and a mismatch between what universities teach and the skills needed in the job market.
An alarming fall in the number of research students from the European Union and a drop in new PhDs from China are threatening to have a ‘compound impact’ on the research output of the United Kingdom within the next five to 10 years, warn international higher education experts.
To help solve growing societal challenges, universities should not only pull together across disciplines and across continents but work with local communities, particularly in post-industrial cities and regions, but also where communities are trying to recover from natural disasters and conflict, the Magna Charta Observatory conference heard.
Education institutions and policy-makers have a vital role to play in helping to build peace, but first they should take a look at how they might be contributing to conflict, which in many countries around the world can make them a target of attack.
Fuelled by a surge of Latinx, Black and Asian student enrolments and a return of ‘stop outs’ who left college during or after COVID-19, the number of undergraduate Americans in higher education grew for the first time since the pandemic. But the number of first years is down.
In what is being seen as a landmark case for academic freedom, the South Korean Supreme Court found a history professor ‘not guilty’ of defaming former victims of Japanese military sexual slavery, known as ‘comfort women’, in her book. But the case is not over yet.
Countries in Africa struggle to reach their full potential in a fast-developing fashion industry due to limited educational and training systems, a persistent lack of investment and infrastructure in the sector, and insufficient intellectual property protection.
Academics in Hong Kong are dismayed at the dismissal of a history academic from her post at the Chinese University of Hong Kong two days after the Hong Kong authorities denied her a visa allowing her to return to her teaching post at the university.
The latest Free to Think report by the Scholars at Risk network documents hundreds of attacks on students, higher education institutions and scholars in 66 countries. They range from a suicide bombing of an educational centre to laws banning the teaching of critical race theory.
Two African higher education networks have formed a partnership to enhance scientific and scholarly communication on the continent, providing researchers with access to agricultural scientific data free of charge. According to a survey, few researchers use commercial databases, which underscores the need for such a service.
The University of the South Pacific in Fiji is spearheading fisheries market training and research across the region as part of a five-year programme that works with and trains fishing communities in Pacific Island countries to promote sustainable management and sound ocean governance.
Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Mychailo Wynnyckyj, has called on Western universities to stem the drain of talent over its borders by refocusing support on study and research programmes in Ukraine.
Academics and students have welcomed recent public comments from Denmark’s higher education and science minister signalling plans to increase the number of international students accepted into Danish universities, in a move ultimately aimed at addressing talent deficits in some economic sectors.
While still top performers, there is some evidence of a waning dominance on the part of universities in the United States and the United Kingdom in the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject – and a greater diversity in terms of both institutions and countries is emerging.
A league table ranking English universities by their success in getting students from less advantaged backgrounds into well-paid jobs puts the University of Bradford in top spot. But a leading expert in widening access to higher education has questioned relying on salary levels to judge graduate success.
More women academics than men tend to feel pushed from their jobs and 43% of female professors leave because of a ‘chilly’ workplace climate, according to a new study of American professors, highlighting the need to understand how reasons for quitting differ by gender, race and career age.
The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission has suspended the accreditation of new academic programmes for public universities to get them to put in place measures to reaccredit existing programmes, John Dadzie-Mensah, deputy executive secretary at the National Accreditation Board, said. Existing programmes can continue in the meantime.
Most stakeholders have welcomed a proposed overhaul of Sweden’s research and innovation funding system that will see all competitive public funding channelled through three new authorities instead of 20 agencies – a move aimed at creating a system better able to meet future challenges.
The quota of non-local undergraduate students from overseas and mainland China at Hong Kong’s public universities is set to double from 20% to 40% – part of a raft of measures announced this week that are intended to position Hong Kong as an international hub for education, innovation and research.
Québec’s decision to double fees for out-of-province students at three top English-language universities, in a move aimed at protecting French, has been described as “catastrophic” by the principal of one of the affected institutions, and was widely denounced by politicians and business leaders.
Rectors of universities in North Africa and higher education institution members of the Francophone University Association (Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie) have agreed to enhance partnerships to use scientific diplomacy to advance the economic, social and cultural development of these countries and the region.
Students at the University of Hong Kong could be expelled or fined over any conduct or activity considered to bring the city’s top-ranked higher education institution into disrepute, according to new university regulations deemed by students to be ‘vague and unnecessary’.
A Sri Lankan university has indicated it will not participate in a maritime research project involving a Chinese research vessel. The decision follows open pressure on Sri Lanka by India and the United States over the intentions of the ship in the strategic region.
Support from higher education institutions in refugee host countries has helped to increase the global enrolment of refugees in higher education – from 1% in 2019 to 7% in 2023, which is nearly halfway to the United Nations target of at least 15% enrolment by 2030.
An algorithm developed by a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania and nine other researchers that is able to ‘read’ university application essays and determine pro-social and leadership qualities also makes it possible to filter out readers’ biases and contribute towards a more diverse student intake.
Three out of the ‘big four’ study destinations for English-taught programmes – the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada – fall below the global average for student satisfaction across a number of indicators in what is billed as the world’s most comprehensive university satisfaction survey.
Academic experts say better monitoring and protection of Indonesian forests are needed to deal with forest and peat fires, which are currently generating air pollution in the form of a transboundary haze that has closed schools and is straining Indonesia’s relations with its neighbours.
There is a need to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education institutions across Africa to create a sense of belonging for every student and to advance transformation. Students’ voices should also be heard, according to speakers at a public dialogue hosted by the Alliance for African Partnership.
The rector of Utrecht University in the Netherlands has defended his institution’s decision to pull out of the Times Higher Education ranking, saying it is not in line with the university’s ‘values and ambitions’, and the university’s absence from the ranking would not affect its popularity with students.
As the Israel-Palestine military conflict continues, a Palestinian university has called on the international community to help in addressing the root causes of the situation while another has urged Palestinians to submit evidence of potential war crimes to the International Criminal Court.
The Sudan Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research met with university leaders on 15 October to explain challenges related to the resumption of academic activities in the sector – amid resistance to an earlier ministerial decision to reopen all public and private institutions.
The Norwegian government proposes to allocate NOK1 billion (US$91 million) to research on artificial intelligence over the next five years but seeks to reduce overall funding for universities for a third consecutive year in a move critics say is bad news for basic research and quality.
The Association of University Heads, Israel wrote a public letter on 11 October urging universities around the world to make unequivocal public statements both on the Hamas attacks and student support for them. But university leaders are divided on what is the appropriate response.
Universities in Cameroon and in Africa, in general, have been enjoined to lead in the global action to fight climate change. Considered vital hubs of research and teaching, their role in driving solutions to climate change on the continent is key, academics say.
A potential jump in the number of universities in Nigeria has been applauded by several academics, but they cautioned that standards must not be compromised as the National Universities Commission considers licence applications from 270 new private higher education institutions.
Education International and the European Trade Union Committee for Education have issued a joint statement condemning the “severe attack” Hamas launched against Israel – as have German education bodies – but also appealed to both sides to end the violence and commit to direct negotiations for peace.
A recent defrosting of ties between Australia and China, the expansion of higher education in China and the warming of relations with India are helping to open up opportunities to recruit students to Australia and set up branch campuses, the Australian International Education Conference heard.
Through a series of inquiries, reviews and amendments in the education and immigration systems, Australia is moving to salvage its standing in the ever-competitive international education sector to attract more and more students, Minister for Education Jason Clare told the Australian International Education Conference on Wednesday.