World Blog
Short-term changes in research and publishing-related policies in universities and long-term changes to the education system more broadly are needed in Pakistan to produce research that not only has the promise of global impact but is connected to and usable by communities.
Co-creation is one of the main megatrends across industries. It makes sense that a product, policy or framework is developed in collaboration with stakeholders and tailored to their context. So how can universities and policy-makers work together to co-create innovative higher education policy?
Countries around the world are promising post-study rights in a bid to boost international student numbers, but without proper jobs it will end in anger and disappointment. Instead, they should pivot towards supporting international students transition successfully to their early careers back home.
Study programmes that expect memorisation of facts and the passing of high-stakes exams are unlikely to set graduates up for success in the future work environment. So why do some lecturers still resist the call for education that encourages critical and creative thinking?
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.
Helping university instructors to become more aware of the metacognitive biases of first-year students when it comes to students’ evaluation of their own academic performance is crucial to the effective implementation of suitable systematic pedagogical approaches that may lower first-year dropout rates.
The introduction of performance-based funding at universities in some Canadian provinces and other current trends are cause for alarm, necessitating an urgent debate about what kind of society we hope to maintain, foster and create – and how universities can best serve that society.
Quality assurance in the last 25 years has contributed relatively little to solving the structural problems of the higher education sector and the challenges facing the evolution of the sector in Latin America, as evidenced by its minimal competitive participation at the global level.
According to a university president, the current ceiling on tuition fees in Vietnam is too low compared to the expectations for and requirements of educational institutions – a claim supported by research which shows that students will pay extra if the quality of education is sound.
United Kingdom international higher education faces strong challenges in the new year from a government that appears keen to reduce dependant visas and cap student numbers, despite the economic benefits international students bring, to a housing crisis that deprives students of a first-class experience and damages the reputation of UK universities.
Higher education institutions, often accused of not keeping pace with society, can find themselves in a balancing act when it comes to meeting quality assurance standards while also leading innovative teaching-learning practices, advancing novel research and responding to change in a diverse environment.
The return to ‘education as normal’ after COVID-19 should not stop higher education institutions in developing countries from being inventive because harnessing digital technologies can build education systems that are able to withstand unforeseen events and obstacles to progressive education and lifelong learning.
The higher education sector, like many others, faces an existential challenge to respond to the climate emergency, but by sharing solutions in the spirit of open learning and collaboration – activities at which universities excel – we can lead the way in responding.
Community service is a critical tool for decolonising African universities and can turn universities into real partners for development, but until the obligations of this key mission are enshrined in policy or law and adequate funding is provided, it will remain largely voluntary.
Beyond recruitment drives, equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives should enrich learners and learning, monitor quality education design, indigenise curricula, inspire leadership, assess academic impact and foster glocal community development – and there are examples from across the world to illustrate their multiple applications.
Institutions of higher education have a wealth of student data they can use to support students through their individual higher education journey by offering greater flexibility in their study patterns and being more proactive in identifying difficulties students may have along the way.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the dangers of healthcare nationalism, which limits us in improving the health of all people and prevents us from acting together as a global medical community committed to working towards Sustainable Development Goal 3 on good health and well-being.
The Saudi government’s recent unveiling of new educational visas for international students aims to send a message that the Kingdom is a welcoming and emerging environment for research and study and restates the government’s commitment to the country’s Vision 2030 educational ambitions.
Developing the capacity for reflection is one of the ways in which higher education prepares learners for life and work in the 21st century by fostering creativity. As much a virtue as a skill, reflection can also challenge teachers to re-evaluate academic practices.
The responsibility for designing and implementing a vision for African universities that aspire to be effective, relevant and responsive to the development needs of society and the economy does not rest on vice-chancellors alone, but should be shared between university leaders and governments.
India’s achievements in science and technology are impressive, but they could have been even better if greater attention had been paid to improving the quality of the country’s research and if more public and private sector investment in research and development had been forthcoming.
While it may be challenging at times for a faculty to hear from external professionals that there are some deficiencies in its curriculum, advisory boards can help to ensure that potential graduates are at the forefront of what the workforce and society requires.
In its emphasis on specific learning objectives and employability, the draft Higher Education Commission of India bill of 2018 works against Kant’s notion of a university as a place where scholars freely engage in criticism of existing knowledge for the pursuit of truth.
Differences between Eastern and Western teaching and learning norms can cause difficulty for Asian students in dealing with the kind of reading expected at Western institutions, but by incorporating higher-order learning strategies into daily practice students can enhance critical reading skills and improve efficiency.
While academic freedom itself might sound like a unique notion, it is simply the commonplace and understandable request of workers asking for the conditions they need to competently and effectively carry out their duties as expected, required and urgently needed by society.
Intellectual dependency fostered by teaching methods used in many African universities promotes a culture of intellectual laziness that is ultimately detrimental to the development of Africa, a continent that needs citizens who are creative, innovative and critical in order to address its challenges.
At a time when the international student market is characterised by ongoing turbulence, and competition in the sector is immense, universities that address the overall well-being of international students, be it economic, emotional, psychological or social, are likely to stand out.
Over the past 40 years, there has been a student amnesty law enacted before every election. In addition to showing the political importance of the student demographic, the law is an implicit admission of the inequalities that characterise the current higher education system.
If a university committee system is to work properly, it needs to be characterised by timely decision-making, no unnecessary duplication and-or overlaps in memberships and in the various committees’ remit, and an efficient flow of communication between committees and the broader university community.
There are wide gaps between the science and policy-making areas, but the two approaches can be complementary if they meet somewhere in the middle to combine the single big picture sought by policy-makers with the level of detail required by scientists.
A new series, produced by the International and Comparative Education Research Group at Universiti Brunei Darussalam, will present insights into the changing face of higher education in Asia, based on the experiences and perspectives of a diverse group of the region’s scholars.
If universities in the United Kingdom offered the appropriate support for international students to start successful careers back in their home country, the path to immigration – erroneously perceived as being part and parcel of the post-study visa rights offered by receiving countries – would be far less compelling.
Higher education institutions need to analyse and, in many cases, appropriate the mechanisms used by successful commercially operated businesses, particularly when it comes to eradicating administrative silos and harnessing data so as to better understand the real needs of all students.
The United Kingdom’s new visa policy is a missed opportunity to rebadge the country as a genuine post-colonial power which rejects the brain drain of talented students from other countries in return for a genuine sense of collaboration in building transferable skills and knowledge.
The prospects for success when it comes to changing workplace culture are improved if the institution is receptive to broad participation from the beginning of the change process, including a discussion of the intent of the change and potential implications for different groups.
The reported proposal by the Ghanaian government to allocate ‘fixed block grants’ to public universities as part of measures to address fiscal challenges facing the economy raises concerns, and highlights the need to find sustainable methods of financing accessible and affordable higher education.
With increasing reports of senior staff leaving universities to take high-profile positions with commercial organisations, it may be time for universities to give real thought to the ways in which they can attract, recruit and retain the brightest and the best talent.
The Common University Entrance Test in India is intended to address disparities in mark allocations by different examination boards and provide a ‘level playing field’ for access, but it does nothing to slow down the pressure to get into a few highly sought-after universities and colleges.
The Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027 serves as a handbook for the development of a high-quality digital education ecosystem which puts emphasis on co-creation, linking actors in the European Union and its member states, including teachers, citizens, businesses and various sectors of society.
The existence of memoranda of understanding entered into before the pandemic to govern the terms of international exchanges, visits and collaborations between higher education institutions begs the question: do they need to be updated in a post-COVID world or thrown out altogether?
Given their importance, it can no longer be assumed that students’ social-emotional skills, traditionally emphasised by primary and secondary schools, are sufficient. Universities need to make social-emotional learning part of their operations if they want to keep students engaged, thriving and learning.
While the swift higher education reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is understandable, it ignores the most vulnerable and could jeopardise the foundation of international collaboration and ultimately harm individuals and institutions with little to no control over state policy-making.
A compliance culture focused on criteria delineated by an external authority can result in a process of ‘ticking boxes’ rather than one of examining the achievement of strategic goals defined by the higher education institution, addressing areas for improvement and fostering continuous quality enhancement.
Among the many performance-based funding models available to African universities, performance contracts are a good option because they allow for a tailored approach to individual institutions and emphasise negotiation between governments and universities over goals to be achieved in return for funding.
The United Kingdom needs to end the outdated division between businesspeople and students when it comes to its visa system. International students bring multiple benefits to the country, including to the UK’s levelling up agenda and its ambitions for the education export sector.
With the right team, a culture that supports the sharing of differing points of view, and a process that enables the team to move beyond the react-respond mode, crises can be managed effectively and institutions can come out stronger as a result.
Higher education obviously has a responsibility to educate ‘more concerned citizens’ who participate in the broader life of our society. But ‘what’ should universities teach, and ‘how’ should they do it in order to produce such citizens? Here are some suggestions.
When, why and how did higher education become central to the European project? The process of forging greater cooperation around higher education in Europe is important and the details and context matter, even more so in this era of misinformation about the European Union.
Recent changes in quality assurance legislation in Chile and Mexico show the importance of including all stakeholders in discussions. But more needs to be done to put institutions at the heart of quality assurance and to incentivise them to make improvements.
China’s higher education internationalisation has moved from inbound to outbound in recent years, with Chinese universities now establishing overseas branches and programmes, although the balance is still mostly towards inbound internationalisation. While this could change, given China’s ambitions, there are still barriers in the way, ranging from quality and cost to politics.
Many universities in the United States have started the semester online due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID. They need to think sensitively about the support they offer to international students, many of whom are fearing for their health and their finances.
At a time of increasing competition for staff, universities should consider investing in mentoring to aid academics’ career progression. This brings benefits for mentors, mentees and the institution itself in terms of talent retention, since without good staff an organisation’s progress and productivity suffers.
The controversy over the admission and deportation of world number one tennis star Novak Djokovic, who had not been vaccinated for COVID-19, will do nothing to reduce the bad taste left in the mouth of many international students over their treatment by Australia during the pandemic.
New regulations regarding off-campus education and training institutions herald the continuation of China’s trend towards a mixed economy or a ‘free market’ under which capitalism is closely supervised by the government, ie by the ruling Communist Party.
Despite fears about the spread of the use of English and Mandarin in higher education, it is unlikely that either will completely dominate. In many locations, national and local languages will prevail and linguistic innovations may even make the whole debate on language dominance obsolete.
An alliance of companies and associations has been formed to create a recognised system of common benchmarks and standards for the use of artificial intelligence in education in order to ensure safe and responsible use, build greater trust and allow it to fulfil its potential.
COVID-19 is a moment of crisis and change for global scholars, showing how connected we are to each other and that our destiny as a species is indissolubly collective. It challenges scholars and universities to rethink the role of higher education as a public good.
Despite concerns that Chinese students will stay close to home after COVID, there are reasons to believe they will continue to want to study abroad, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. These include the cultural experience, pressure from parents and influencers and gaokao frustration.
Academic concerns about the quality of transnational education and educational equality in transnational universities in China – particularly about the quality of English-medium instruction and Chinese students’ linguistic competence – reflect an urgent need to review the effectiveness of this way of teaching.
The outdated curriculum and teaching methods in Libya’s universities don’t match advances in today’s global education system and students suffer from lack of access to materials and teaching staff, which make for a poor student experience and challenges finding employment or doing studies abroad.
Higher education leaders face many challenges and good leadership can depend on context. Inspiring leaders may have high standards, a strong vision, and be creative, smart, honest and tough but fair. What is also important is for leaders to stay connected and to plan carefully for their successors – something that definitely needs more attention within the sector.
Much blame for the lack of research capacity in African universities is laid at the door of funding problems, but that ignores issues such as the importance of institutional leadership in promoting a research culture. Leadership should receive just as much attention as funding.
The technology already exists for universities to deliver live, online and asynchronous teaching so why not give more students the choice to learn in a way that best suits them by combining all three simultaneously? It’s a much more inclusive way of teaching.
India produces large numbers of engineers, but many don’t have the skills required by industry. The way the subject is taught needs reform, with more emphasis on learning by doing and dropping the nationwide curriculum to allow universities to adapt to associated industries’ requirements.
Pressure to publish and climb the rankings is everywhere in higher education and it affects younger academics in developing countries more, where access to journals is more challenging. The skewing and fatigue it induces is damaging higher education in the Global South.
Higher education needs to take bullying and harassment more seriously. Universities must stop enabling leaders to get away with atrocious behaviour that perpetuates a bullying culture, and must tackle workplace environments that provide fertile ground for harassment to flourish.
Quality assurance of Chile’s higher education institutions is facing considerable challenges following the passing of legislation reforming higher education, due to long-standing weaknesses in the regulation process. Quality assurance mechanisms need to be strengthened to identify and provide support to poorly performing institutions.
Entrepreneurship education needs to be embedded in the Indian higher education curriculum so that young people can help create jobs that drive a more sustainable world. It is a powerful means of reducing poverty, stimulating infrastructural growth, boosting innovation and enhancing social and environmental sustainability.
To further a culture of democracy through education, we need to revise our understanding of what learning is for, that does not ignore its ethical dimension. The Council of Europe has developed a Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture that defines 20 competences around values, attitudes, skills and knowledge, and critical understanding.
Morocco is facing an unemployment crisis fuelled by a learning crisis. Public universities have been producing too many graduates with costly degrees and diplomas who lack mastery of the transferrable skills that are necessary in the labour market of the 21st century. Reforms are needed.
Community engagement projects as part of higher education courses can help to tackle a range of complex and entrenched social issues, including tackling barriers of lack of awareness and knowledge in the community to achieve effective and sustainable inclusive education and special education.
Despite the change of administration, the United States is still facing a number of prevailing winds which will affect its ability to attract international students to its universities. Revenue generation cannot therefore be the priority of national policy for internationalisation of US higher education.
Amid all the chaos of the pandemic, some good practice emerged in higher education and a lot of it centred around visible leadership, engagement and agility – the need to listen to people’s experiences and to be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances.
Universities have an important role to play in educating young people about ethics and addressing corruption and bribery in the wider society. A key strategy could be the provision of a conscientisation course to help students to assess and develop ethical decision-making skills.
An American college professor suspected in a series of arson fires has been charged with setting a small blaze in a forest near Northern California’s massive Dixie Fire, reports Associated Press.
Dr Kogi Naidoo has become the first black president of The Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia in its 30-year history, having overcome many significant hurdles, and could bring new perspectives to a society committed to the advancement of higher education.
Government attempts to control academic autonomy and freedom are growing in India amid instances of interference in the appointment of vice-chancellors, increased pressure to sack critics of government policy and greater centralisation of regulation. And all the while freedom of the press is under threat.
Indian students have been hit badly by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic this summer, but 54% are still keen to study abroad. However, they face unprecedented challenges due to lockdowns causing cancellation of secondary school leaving exams and delays in the application process.
Syrian refugee students in Lebanon are at particular risk from the country’s economic and social collapse. They were facing discrimination, insecurity, destitution and displacement even before the pandemic led to devaluation and hyper-inflation. International agencies need to understand the challenges they are experiencing.
To address future health threats, and prepare future health professionals to implement a holistic approach and be more effective and innovative, we need to develop a One Health culture in higher education through increasing interdisciplinarity and embedding it in the culture of our institutions.
More and more African universities say they are striving for research excellence – it is frequently mentioned in vision and mission statements – but it requires a long-term plan to create a scientific research culture, plus the right institutional leadership and a curriculum that develops research skills early.
The UNESCO Qualifications Passport for Refugees and Vulnerable Migrants is paving the way for Syrian refugees’ access to higher education in Iraq. The passport addresses a global problem of national recognition authorities and higher education institutions lacking the tools needed to evaluate refugees’ qualifications.
An analysis of a project in Brunei on digital literacy for underserved communities shows how the arts, humanities and social sciences contribute to ensuring that, post-COVID, no one gets left behind when it comes to digital learning.
Benchmarking provides an independent perspective about how an institution stacks up compared to other like institutions. But it’s not enough to just compare. It is about understanding what is working and what could be improved and taking action to drive up quality.
Africa lags behind other regions in terms of the amount of gross domestic product spent on research. In Ghana, one reason is that the government has failed to win the battle against unions to ensure that money ostensibly aimed at promoting research is actually used for that purpose.
It is not merely ‘misconduct’, but violence that many victims of ‘sexual misconduct’ have experienced. To transform university cultures and provide truly inclusive learning and working environments for all, we first need to pay attention to the language we use, particularly when it comes to sexual violence.
The dominance of the employability agenda at universities and the focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM subjects has led us to downplay the role of the arts, humanities and social sciences, but COVID-19 has shown that it is central to how we rebuild after the pandemic.
Undervaluing doctoral education by restricting support for PhD students and programmes due to COVID-19 resource losses risks critical damage to higher education and human and economic development – and may shift global talent flows in the immediate future, and potentially in the long run.
Universities need to become more agile if they are to adapt better to the challenges they face in the future. That means good leadership and structural changes which involve people at all levels so that they feel part of any decisions that are made.
Although the pandemic has greatly disrupted higher education around the world, it has also reset education abroad for institutions willing to take a more expansive view of what international higher education can entail and trial approaches that are not solely focused on mobility.
Involving students in driving up the quality of higher education, particularly at a time when higher education is changing and given that students are often more clued up about how digital learning might work best, is a win-win situation for everyone.
Recent research shows that inadequate governance and the dominance of the vice-chancellor are leaving the United Kingdom’s universities dangerously exposed to market threats, but this isn’t the only nation’s education system facing severe leadership gaps. Australia and New Zealand display a similar approach.
An analysis of how Indian institutions are faring in the QS World University Rankings by Subject shows that they continue to perform solidly in some fields, but there is room to improve in areas such as environmental studies, agriculture, nursing, the arts and education.
The link between resource allocation and position in Chinese universities has been little studied, but it is clear that publication rates rise significantly after an academic becomes a dean at a lower ranking university. This power effect is constrained, however, at top universities.
The arts and humanities are central to understanding the local and human contexts in which the COVID-19 pandemic is situated and in imagining more socially just possibilities for the future. Via deep observation, listening and empathy, they can cultivate the compassion that drives social change.
Experiential learning methodologies must evolve with the move to greater blended and online learning post-COVID to increase student engagement and foster holistic skills development. Immersive and interactive experiential approaches, which were beginning to feature more regularly across campuses, should be used within digital learning.
The provision of more flexible and modular learning opportunities in the European area has been accelerated by policies supporting the implementation of micro-credentials. Recognition will be essential for their success, but this requires new approaches and the application of existing tools to work.
COVID-19 has tested universities’ organisational agility and given them a unique opportunity to evaluate on a broader level their readiness to confront unexpected and extraordinary challenges and become resilient and ever-ready to respond to the next crisis that comes along.
PhD supervision needs to be considered in a more holistic way with the emphasis on teamwork, particularly as COVID-19 is likely to bring changes to how international researchers complete their studies, but it requires better recognition and reward for the collaborative effort needed.
COVID-19 has accelerated the move to online higher education, but we should use this as an opportunity to question what we put online: it should not be about just teaching of knowledge, which may go out of date fast, but about active learning.