Features
China ‘facemask diplomacy’ during the coronavirus pandemic – with boxes of masks sent around the world as gifts while Europe, America, Africa and Latin America are still in the throes of the crisis – won’t stem concerns about the risks in research collaboration with China.
A survey of more than 200 higher education institutions across Europe has found that the need to provide additional resources, considerable amounts of co-funding and ensure long-term sustainability are the biggest challenges for participating in the European Universities Initiative, the European University Association says.
Higher education leaders in South Africa are looking to move to a European model for open access publishing of scholarly articles as soon as possible, according to the body that coordinates the country’s public universities.
The flow of knowledge both ways across Denmark’s borders is surprisingly poor compared to comparable countries, according to a new analysis by the Danish Council for Research and Innovation Policy or DFiR, which uses eight indicators to investigate how Danish research and innovation are interacting with the world.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the government is launching a new push to prevent brain drain out of the country, particularly from domestic universities and research institutions, with figures showing 50,000 scientists have left in the past five years. But experts are sceptical.
English has been the medium of instruction in Rwandan universities for over 10 years, but despite attempts to promote English in higher education, proficiency remains an ongoing challenge for both learners and lecturers.
The Swedish Higher Education Authority is applying to regain full membership of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education or ENQA, to make it easier for Swedish universities to establish joint degrees with other European institutions that have signed the agreements.
Daniel Burston, in Pscyhoanalysis, Politics and the Postmodern University, argues that the crisis in the liberal arts, the loss of faith in evidence, has led not to any sort of liberation but, unknowingly, has furthered the corporate agenda now dominating many North American universities.
Recent policy changes in the United Kingdom have ensured that employability activities are high on the agenda of all universities, rather than being a specialism of a few institutions, with careers services becoming more embedded in the strategic role of universities, according to a new report.
Local people in the Pongkor area of West Java plan to turn a former gold mining site into a centre of education, edu-tourism and the rural economy when the state-owned mining company winds down its operations there as its mining licence expires next year.
A new analysis of PhD graduates’ salaries shows that significant differences in salary exist within PhDs six years after graduation, with post-docs who stay at the university and then leave suffering a salary gap. Health sciences graduates face the biggest difference in pay.
The United States is reaching out to empower Africa’s youth and build partnerships with African universities to enhance their role as instruments of national development. Should Africans be worried about the motives behind such overtures and their longer-term implications?
Competition for jobs among university graduates in Africa is expected to intensify in the near future, a factor that will force new graduates to accept jobs that are not aligned with their skills, education level or even areas of specialisation, according to a new report by the African Development Bank.
In a world where politics, trade and security are more directly entering into the realms of academic research, and tensions are exacerbated by geopolitical tensions and rising nationalism, how do you ensure internationalisation of research is carried out in a responsible way?
The diaspora is widely acknowledged as a critical resource for the development and revitalisation of higher education in Africa, but how to extract that value, and forge mutually beneficial academic relationships with diasporans and Africa-based scholars and institutions, is less straightforward, not to mention the question of who, ultimately, should be responsible for funding such initiatives.
Indonesian academics are divided over whether Monash University’s plan to open a campus in their country will boost research efforts or damage smaller private universities and want tight regulations on any future agreements to ensure only the best universities can establish a branch campus.
Universities are working overtime to try to convince European Union students to take up 2020-21 Erasmus+ study placements in United Kingdom universities and encourage UK scientists to continue collaborating with European research partners in accessing Horizon 2020 grants from the European Commission amid post-Brexit confusion.
The student drop-out rate has fallen by more than 70% at Indian Institutes of Technology in the past four years, and by more than 20% at Indian Institutes of Management, after a concerted effort to monitor student progress and provide support.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-backed ‘Futures of Education’ initiative has called for the democratisation of knowledge and a clear commitment by higher education and knowledge producing institutions to an agenda that primarily values equality and sustainability.
The sanctions for plagiarism at Rwandan universities are tough. But with the aid of plagiarism-checking software, some universities are tackling the problem head-on and winning. University World News conducted a survey among some universities to find out what they were doing to curb the problem.
Kenya’s second president, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi (1924-2020), who died on 4 February in Nairobi, oversaw a kleptocracy that looted the economy for 24 years and persecuted a generation of dissenting academics and students. But he also introduced free primary education, built many secondary schools for girls and presided over an increase in the number of fully-fledged public universities in Kenya from one to six.
Twenty-six-year-old Marceline Gato became visually impaired when she was seven and was unable to attend mainsteam schools. Today, she is a third-year journalism student at the University of Rwanda, where students with disabilities are supported in line with the national inclusive education policy, but resources remain limited.
Teodor Shanin, one of Britain’s leading sociologists and the founder of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences in Russia, has died, aged 89.
Part-time learners in England are increasingly seen as needing to be bent to fit institutional structures not designed with them in mind. Instead, policy needs to drive institutions to change, to respond positively to diverse needs and to value part-time study opportunities, a new paper says.
Half of 15-year-olds in 41 countries expect to work in one of 10 popular jobs that are ‘traditional’, with some at risk of becoming automated out of existence, says an OECD survey. It found inequalities in career choices and options, confusion about how qualifications relate to careers, and some ‘negative misalignment’ in the qualifications young people aspire to versus what they need to achieve job goals.
The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration hit media headlines after incorrectly interpreting European Union regulations, resulting in scores of people being wrongly convicted of benefit fraud. Universities are taking some of the blame – for not teaching EU law sufficiently.
Hit by an internet blockade for six months, every day hundreds of academics, researchers, students and others board a train – dubbed the ‘Internet Express’ – in Indian-administered Kashmir to cross into a region where they can access the internet and hopefully complete long-pending work.
A recent report in Uganda calling for prospective higher education tutors to train in mainstream industry and “appreciate society and employer needs” before being licensed to teach at universities revisits the perennial question: what is the role of a university?
Canada’s University of Ottawa is helping to build capacity in African universities through a dozen African partnerships and by founding an innovation network, but it also sees an opportunity to strengthen its bilingual mission in a continent where French-speaking populations are growing fast.
Natural disaster-prone Japan, which focuses heavily on earthquake-prediction research, technologies and countermeasures, is allocating new funds for building resilience against climate change-related typhoons and flooding, and will also boost flood and earthquake resistance measures as host to the Olympic Games this year.
Sixty-four chief executives at America’s richest private non-profit institutions earned a million dollars or more in the 2017 calendar year. Among presidents who served the whole year, the average pay was US$608,000. Many are also on deferred compensation deals worth millions when vested.
Governments have for decades ignored scientists’ warnings that global warming would create a wave of extinctions. Now scientists fear that Australia’s unprecedented bushfires, destroying millions of acres of grasslands and forest, are set to wipe out large numbers of its unique animal and plant species.
In an age of e-learning, access to a reliable and stable internet connection remains an ongoing challenge at the University of Rwanda, the country’s only public university, made up of nine campuses and 30,000 students. University World News spoke to a member of management to find out how the university is coping with current demand and how it plans to improve its connectivity in the long term.
Democracy is expanding across Africa with 20 countries due to hold presidential, parliamentary or council elections in 2020. However, participation rates in voting, politics and civic engagement – particularly among the youth – are low. Should African universities be promoting political engagement among their students?
Student activism has an important role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063, as articulated by the United Nations and the African Union respectively.
Data resulting from articles with hyper-authorship – beyond 100 authors and-or 30 countries – produces such erratic, even potentially distorting outcomes, that it should be removed from analysis at a national and institutional level, the Web of Science says in a new report.
African universities have been relatively late in joining the ‘anti-fake news’ movement which confronts the rising tide of false information. But it’s not too late to join, according to experts.
Africa should end the lip service it pays to South-South cooperation and collaboration in higher education, and African universities should enter into reciprocal partnerships in order to harness scarce human resources.
Students from India continue to flood into Australian universities at a greater rate than from any other nation, but their presence is creating growing problems due to a too-frequent inadequate command of English and academic misconduct.
Against the backdrop of declining academic staff numbers, universities in Nigeria have been accused of under-reporting student numbers and hiring lecturers already employed at other universities in a bid to convince the National Universities Commission that they have enough staff to meet lecturer-student ratio requirements and retain their programme accreditation.
Malawi’s policy of enrolling students into public universities based on a controversial quota system has divided the country, raising accusations of the suppression of minorities and prompting promises of a debate in parliament.
The African Research Universities Alliance has an obligation, as a transnational intellectual platform, to help Africa tell its own stories, generate its own knowledge and be free.

In a stunning rebuke to the province’s Conservative government, Ontario’s Superior Court has quashed the Tory’s Student Choice Initiative. Under the scheme, instead of students being charged a single student union fee set by their university or college student association, they were presented with the choice of opting in or out of fees for clubs or activities.
South African researchers could be priced out of the mainstream of global scholarship under new, expensive plans for open access publishing being considered by the government in Pretoria.
Controversy over the Post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination – an entrance examination conducted by individual universities in Nigeria – continues to rage following calls by members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives to have the test stopped once and for all.
A second report into rigged recruitment in Swedish universities has confirmed the findings of a Swedish Association of University Teachers and Researchers report into the problem – that the vast majority of jobs are temporary positions and most positions go to people recruited internally.
For the first time there has been a fall in the number of students studying for UK higher education qualifications through transnational education (TNE), according to a new report, but there has been strong growth in EU countries and in UK branch campuses.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has become a global reality but African universities have been watching the unfolding scenario largely from the sidelines, according to a new report from the African Development Bank which argues that most African universities are too focused on traditional teaching and publication rather than innovation and transfer of technology.
The world’s largest skills-formation classroom aimed at improving learning outcomes through education technology is taking shape, courtesy of US$25 million in joint funding from the World Bank and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.
Ahead of next week’s African Research Universities Alliance conference – Africa and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Defining a role for research universities – University World News canvassed the views of a selection of experts in higher education on the state of readiness of Africa’s research universities for the next 'revolution'.
Traumatised students and academics are struggling to cope at South African universities plagued by a 'rape culture' and the failure to overcome the legacies of past and present discrimination. In response, a new network has been established among universities in the country’s Western Cape province with the goal of addressing inequality within the post-school system and society at large.
Several African countries are currently subjected to international sanctions, which, according to a recent report, negatively affect academic research and higher education – even after they are formally lifted.
A longstanding and simmering rivalry is continuing to pit tertiary colleges against universities in Uganda, with the former accusing the latter of diminishing the role of tertiary colleges through encroachment and duplication of academic programmes.
African women vice-chancellors have a unique perspective on gender-inclusive higher education. A group of them is to discuss strategies to boost the number of women studying and teaching science, technology and innovation-focused subjects, and ensure their entry into leadership positions.
An executive order by the Ugandan president to “move” the salaries of academic scientists to “desired levels”, excluding lecturers in the arts and humanities, has reignited tensions in an age-old debate.
The global outpouring of grief for producers and other workers killed in a major arson attack on one of Japan’s most acclaimed animation companies – Kyoto Animation Studio – in July, in which 35 were killed and 30 injured, illustrates the strong universal appeal of Japanese animation, that has also attracted increasing numbers of foreign students to study in Japan.
The African Development University in Niger's capital, Niamey, is the result of the vision of a young man, Kader Kaneye, who started dreaming 12 years ago about how to empower youth in his country through quality higher education. He will be sharing his experience at the 14th eLearning Africa conference, to be held in Abidjan in C^ote d’Ivoire from 23 to 25 October.
Tunisia is partnering with France to open a new university based in the North African country offering to teach business skills and provide degrees that will help build sustainably growing economies in Africa.
Academic promotions at universities across Africa have long depended largely on a lecturer’s length of service and number of research publications. However, in an era in which creativity, innovation and proactive problem-solving have become a prime currency, should this traditional approach remain the alpha and omega?
A United States federal judge has ruled that Harvard University does not discriminate against Asian American students through its use of race conscious admissions. But groups opposing affirmative action are expected to continue their decades-long campaign to end race-based affirmative action through litigation.
Recruitment of foreign academics in Japanese universities has contributed significantly to higher education internationalisation, but recent research has highlighted cultural gaps and troubling differences in career expectations of foreign teachers in Japan, leading to frustration and a sense of being marginalised.
Despite low levels of investment in research and the country’s limited researcher capacity, South Africa’s research performance is disproportionately high and the country clearly “punches above its weight in this area”, according to a new report on the state of research in South Africa.
At least four separate agreements dealing with higher education cooperation are set to be signed between the Russian Federation and 10 African countries at the upcoming high-level Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum taking place from 23 to 24 October in Sochi, Russia.
A recent report on global tertiary education from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that while South Africa has made significant progress in growing the number of people in secondary education, the country’s investment in the tertiary sector still has a way to go before it meets global standards.
A new phase of promoting higher education that emphasises digital learning through massive open online courses or MOOCs has emerged in India, says the latest UNESCO report, and it is connecting students to global learning platforms and making learning more dynamic.
Climate change is so important that it needs the same amalgamated level of ambition as was the case for European nuclear research decades ago and a supercomputer on the level of CERN, scientists at the seventh Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany were told.
Participants in a Moscow conference on digital transformation of higher education had their every word and expression monitored under an innovative approach designed to show participants how new models of education and training could be effective, especially for older people, in the digital era.
While critics and fans alike admit that he laid a strong foundation for higher education and contributed significantly to the expansion of the higher education sector in Zimbabwe, the late former president Robert Mugabe also went on to undo many of his own achievements.
Does the science fiction television series Doctor Who shape viewers attitudes to science? Dr Lindy Orthia decided to find out so she questioned nearly 600 volunteers who had watched the series on whether it influenced their relationship with science. Many said it did – but not in consistent ways.
The share of 25- to 34-year-olds with a tertiary degree has risen sharply in the past decade, helped by providing financial support mechanisms for students, but institutions now have to balance expansion with containing costs and adapting to a changing world, says the OECD.
Women in India take a back seat in science and technology research, but they are at the forefront of the country’s world-class space agency the Indian Space Research Organisation, which recently launched its Vikram moon lander as part of its Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission.
The leader of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, Jacob Rees-Mogg, faced a backlash after comparing an expert who warned of the risks of medicine shortages under a no-deal Brexit to the disgraced anti-vaccination researcher Andrew Wakefield – in an echo of the Leave campaign strategy of dismissing experts.
As Algeria moves to replace French with English in universities, in neighbouring Morocco lawmakers have passed a draft education law that will pave the way for strengthening French in pre-university education, overturning decades of Arabisation and raising concerns about threats to cultural identity.
Africa’s largest open distance learning institution, the University of South Africa (UNISA), is embroiled in an internal struggle between staff unions and executive management over its so-called “transformational” academic promotion criteria that some view as a legitimate way to boost the numbers of senior black academics and achieve equity, but others see as “lowering the bar” and “racist”.
The picketing of South African-owned businesses in Nigeria by the Nigerian national student body has ended, but the academic community is losing patience with the ongoing deaths of Nigerians in South Africa and has called for firmer action.
With the cost of higher education textbooks soaring by between 800% and more than 1,000% around the world over the last three decades, university students are being tempted to sign up to online libraries offering unlimited access to hundreds of thousands of titles for a monthly fee that is less than buying a single book.
The global economic impact of 5.1 million international students in 2016 can be estimated at US$300 billion. But student mobility is being threatened by a confluence of forces – lower prospects of work and higher costs of education. Urgent action by governments and universities is needed to sustain the momentum of student mobility, says a new report by higher education strategist Dr Rahul Choudaha of Studyportals.
Political parties should be banned from university campuses in South Africa, according to a number of leading academics and senior administrators who attended a recent academic round-table discussion on the book Rebels and Rage: Reflecting on #FeesMustFall by University of the Witwatersrand Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Habib.
The website 'Study in North Cyprus' describes the territory as a “student paradise”, but the recent murder of another Nigerian student in Northern Cyprus – in this case at the hands of fellow Africans – continues to raise questions about the quality of life for African students in the self-declared republic.
Australia’s oldest citizens are graduating in increasing numbers from universities, demonstrating that ageing has not affected their mental abilities. The latest is 90-year-old Lorna Prendergast who graduated from the University of Melbourne on 27 July with, appropriately, a masters degree in ageing.
Data sits at the heart of understanding South Africa’s diverse student mix and can provide the best chance for students to succeed at universities, according to professors Ahmed Bawa and Francois Strydom, authors of a presentation at the Siyaphumelela 2019 Conference held in Johannesburg last month.
The University of Central Asia, a unique university on the New Silk Road being developed by China to link Asia to Europe, hopes to tag onto the new infrastructure to educate some of the most marginalised communities in the mountainous region – most of them living a nomadic lifestyle raising livestock and facing problems due to conflicts and climate change.
Swedish universities are performing well on efficient use of resources and productivity compared with their peers in the Nordic countries, but some could improve their performance, an investigation by the Swedish National Audit Office and national audit offices in other Nordic countries has concluded.
Postgraduate education students from New York University and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in the United States are learning invaluable lessons in the teaching sector about the links between societal changes and education as well as the impact of education on society, through a one-month programme based in South Africa.
There has been remarkable growth of faith and belief societies in British universities. At least 888 societies with more than 18,000 members operate on campuses. “Universities have become a battleground in a much larger culture war,” a new report points out. They are also havens for free speech, where religions flourish harmoniously alongside each other.
African universities have been producing too many graduates with costly degrees and diplomas that lack mastery of skills that are necessary in the 21st century labour market, according to researchers at the African Development Bank.
In an extensive analysis, the OECD has examined the fast-changing global higher education landscape over the past 10 years and changes that can be expected in the coming decade. It forecasts that the number of young people with a degree will reach 300 million in OECD and G20 countries by 2030 and highlights challenges of access, cost, quality and relevance.