- China: Targetting Academic Fraud
- Brazil:Affirmative action in Higher Education
- UK:Research promotion in Universities
- Somalia:First Foreign Branch Campus
New penalties for academic fraud went into force across China on 1 January. The Ministry of Education has announced its intention to crack down on students,faculty members, and other academics who commit plagiarism, fabricate research results, or engage in the widespread practices of purchasing or dealing in academic papers, dissertations, or other academic writings produced by the country’s thriving composed-to-order trade. Under the new rules, plagiarism on theses can result in denial of degrees at all levels, as well as withdrawal of degrees awarded in the past. Misconduct could also lead to the expulsion of students and banning them from reapplying for a period of years, as well as the dismissal of university faculty and staff members. Chinese experts believe that their country’s “academics need to be trained in ethics and how to properly cite other people’s work,”
In August 2012 the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, signed a bill making it mandatory for all federal universities in Brazil to reserve 50% of the places in each degree program for students coming from public schools according to their family incomes and their ethnic profile (self-declared descendants of blacks and Brazilian natives), and giving them 4 years to implement the programs. Not to be undone, in December of 2012 the governor of the State of São Paulo, Geraldo Alkimin, announced his own affirmative action project for the state universities, calling it a program of “social inclusion with merit”. Differently from the federal government that enacted the legislation without any consideration for how to address the low educational qualifications of most students coming from public schools, the São Paulo project introduced two innovations: first, students entering through the quota system would have to attend two years of a preparatory college, after which they would have access to university degree programs according to their achievements. Second, those students would also get a stipend of
half the Brazilian minimum wage, about 140 US dollars a month
Research is fundamental to a university’s reputation, ranking and future funding, but are UK universities really doing enough to promote and inform the public of the research they do?When scouring through university websites in search of their latest developments and projects for the launch of our new research round-up, Research in brief (RIBS), it became increasingly apparent this information was not always easily accessible – to those outside the realm of academia at least.Where is this research information to be found online? University webpages that do publicise their institution’s latest research are often uninviting orunimaginative in format, listing titles of research papers that have not been updated for months, or even years in some instances. Some universities fail to
provide access to online information about their research at all.
The horn of Africa’s self-declared state of Somaliland may get its first foreign university by mid-2013, if plans by a private university in Kenya to open a branch campus there come to fruition.The rapidly expanding though relatively new Mount Kenya University, headquartered in Thika in central Kenya, is planning to open a campus in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa.Mount Kenya has been on an ambitious regional expansion trajectory barely 10 years after being founded,and has in the past year opened campuses in Kigali, Rwanda, and in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The university also has a virtual campus in Nairobi.Somaliland – a stable region in turbulent Somalia – is becoming an attractive investment destination, including in the field of higher education.
- Trends:5 Trends for Branch Campuses
- N Africa: Maghreb Countries to Launch Joint University
- UK/EU HE will suffer if UK withdraws from EU
- China: Foreign universities find it hard in China
- Greater push-back from home campuses
- A shift from expansion to quality
- Global competition to be education hubs
- Focus on economic development
- Increasing diversity of programs
A new pan-Maghreb university and science academy will soon be established, MAP quoted Libyan Education Minister Mohamed al-Faitouri Soualem as saying Wednesday (December 26th) in Rabat.The announcement came after an Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) ministerial committee meeting with Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. Education ministers from AMU member states Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia discussed ways to harmonise basic education methods and facilitate student and teacher mobility in the Maghreb.
The British attitude to Europe often seems sad and unnecessarily destructive.The idea of withdrawing from the European Union is profoundly mistaken, promoted by a ragtag of interests and members of the national press who often seem to confuse Europe with immigrants and run stories with two variants: “They’re taking our money” and “it’s just a crazy bureaucracy.” The result is clear enough: Britain has become more and more marginalized within Europe, a stance that can only make it more and more marginal to the world at large.
Britain’s Lancaster University, New York’s Juilliard School, which specialises in music, and Duke University in North Carolina, are just the latest foreign institutions to pile into an already crowded marketplace. Other co-operative and exchange programmes in higher education are being announced almost every month.None of them finds it easy to work with an academic system whose standards and values are so different from those in the West. Not least of the hurdles is maintaining scholarly independence in China’s restrictive political environment. The collapse of a Beijing-based undergraduate programme jointly run by two elite institutions—Yale University in America and Peking University—has highlighted some of the difficulties
- Haiti:Role of the University in Emergency Situations
- Australia: Private Colleges Growth Stall in Australia
- UK/US Crtique of Ivy League Admission Policy
- Employability: Skill Gap is Real and Global
After January 12, 2010, Quisqueya University in quake ruined Haiti discovered that it has been missing the point. Educating students who do not know their country and its needs, who have learned to ignore any solidarity with the poor is not the task. We need to help our young researchers escape the stress of “publish or perish” that force them to publish to continue to feed a worldwide scientific literature abundant in generalities but irrelevant for the needs of our planet and for our communities. We are empowering our students by creating a structure for active community participation as a part of life at the university. We try to transform the university into a “militant” institution that is involved in the collective effort of national development. Our teachers are becoming aware, little by little, that if we are to continue to teach biology and soil mechanics for students to prepare them to
emigrate to Canada, then we cease our reason to exist. In a sense, this new mindset is already a radical transformation in my eyes, and a good seed for real change in the future.
Private higher education has hit the wall in Australia, with its once-meteoric growth stalling.Student numbers increased just 0.3 per cent this year and fell 1.8 per cent in equivalent full-time terms, according to data from the federal Department of Innovation.This compared with average annual growth of about 7 per cent over the past two years, and about 40 per cent between 2007 and 2009.Private colleges’ international enrolments, which had seen annual rises of between 25 and 30 per cent during the boom years of 2007 to 2009, fell 10 per cent this year.Domestic growth stagnated, continuing a trend that began with the commonwealth’s 2009 announcement of the demand-driven higher education system.The new system allows public universities to enrol as many undergraduates as they can attract. But teaching funds are unavailable to most private providers or technical education providers, forcing them to rely on full-fee enrolments in an environment where publicly subsidized university places are more available than ever.
Wealthy donors to Ivy League universities can “buy a place” for their offspring, and admissions policies at elite U.S. universities are far less meritocratic than anything that would be accepted in Britain, the universities and science minister has argued.David Willetts made the comments in a debate with Lord Rees of Ludlow, the astronomer
royal, about the future of British higher education. He said that large donations to prestigious private universities in the United States meant that favours were returned in terms of the admission of donors’ children. “You can buy a place for your child, although obviously your child has to meet a pretty high minimum standard,” Willetts said. “To escape the constraints of state funding, [the Ivy League universities] have to make other sacrifices so as to achieve alternative sources of income and they’ll trade off some choice [over admissions] in return for securing a stream of income,” he added. Top U.S. universities also admit students based on ethnicity and sporting prowess, he added. Such policies go “way beyond anything the [UK] media would regard as acceptable,” in terms of shaping admissions using
nonacademic criteria, Willetts said.
A new study by McKinsey that shows that only 42% of employers believe new graduates in the workforce are adequately prepared by their colleges or other pre-employment training programs.Recent graduates know they’re ill trained: The same study finds that 45% of youth think they’re prepared for their jobs.Schools and training centers, however, have a much rosier view.The perception gap is global. Farrell and her team surveyed people in nine countries (and looked at programs in 25 nations) and found huge differences between how employers and schools view graduates’ skills. The chasm was biggest in Germany, where 83% of educators think students are prepared and only 43% of employers are happy with the quality of incoming young hires.Farrell notes that colleges and universities tout the successes of their incoming students–test scores, academic achievement, acceptance rates, and the like–but rarely spend the same amount of energy sharing data about job placement and success rates of graduates. where, she asks, is the ranking of colleges (a la the US News & World Report Best Colleges lists) based on outcomes? “We think focusing on what’s happening to kids on the way out is a big opportunity.”
- US: Stanford redesigns humanities Ph.D
- UK: universities in online launch
- Gender gap: Why do women in science publish less than men?
- China: Quick route to enhance international student number ?
- Africa: Ranking of African Universities
Complaints about doctoral education in the humanities — it takes too long, it’s not leading to jobs, it’s disjointed — are rampant. So too are periodic calls for radical reform.
But Stanford University is encouraging its humanities departments to redesign humanities doctoral programs so that students could finish in five years (down from the current average of seven at the university and much longer elsewhere), and so that the programs prepare students for careers in and out of academe. While the university is not forcing departments to change, it last week gave all humanities departments a request for proposals that offered a trade: departments that give concrete plans to cut time to degree and change the curriculum will be eligible for extra support — in particular for year-round support for doctoral students (who currently aren’t assured of summer support throughout their time as grad students). The plans would need to be measurable, and the support would disappear if plans aren’t executed.
A partnership of UK universities is launching an online project, challenging US universities that have dominated this emerging market.They will aim to give the public access to higher education courses via computers, tablets or smartphones.The partnership will include the Open University, King’s College London, Bristol, Exeter, Warwick, East Anglia, Leeds, Lancaster, Southampton, Cardiff, Birmingham and St Andrews.Courses will be offered from next year.This could “revolutionise conventional models of formal education”, says Universities Minister David Willetts.The project will represent the biggest UK response to rapidly growing online universities – with these universities planning to offer courses through a shared online platform.
Even as women have narrowed or closed gaps in earning Ph.D.s in many science disciplines, their numbers have remained relatively small at the senior faculty ranks. A range of theories have been offered to explain these lingering gaps. Some see continued sexism as the culprit. Others say that women may be opting out of the demands of winning tenure in the sciences — and still others say that women publish less than do men.A study published Wednesday in PLOS ONE confirms that women in a series of scientific disciplines publish less, on average, than do men. But the study went further, and looked for trends within the disciplines — and the authors argue that their findings suggest that women may be publishing less than men because departments are not providing them with the same resources.
A scheme to allow Hong Kong students to attend universities in mainland China without taking part in the competitive national entrance examination, the gaokao, is to be extended to more Chinese institutions despite criticisms that their degrees are not recognised for many jobs in Hong Kong’s public sector. Almost 1,000 Hong Kong students were able to attend any of 63 universities in mainland China this year under a scheme announced in August 2011 during a visit to Hong Kong by China’s Vice-premier Li Keqiang as part of his ‘basket of gifts’ to boost ties between Beijing and Hong Kong. The scheme will now be expanded to a total of 70 mainland institutions, after China’s Ministry of Education this week announced that seven prestigious universities – including Tsinghua, Remin, Nanjing, Zhejiang, Xi’an Jiaotong and Shanghai Jiaotong – would be allowed to recruit a proportion of their students independently of the gaokao.
While students from across the continent continue to move abroad to study at leading learning institutions in the U.S. and Europe, Africa boasts its own league of great universities. Presented below is Part I of Africa.com’s Top 10 Universities in Africa excluding South Africa. The Egyptian universities occupy the top 3 spots. Part II of the study will feature the Top 10 Universities in South Africa, a country that is home to enough academic heavyweights to populate its own list.
- US: “downward mobility” in HE is pose major challenge
- UK: HEFCE analysis of strategically important and vulnerable subjects (SIVS)
- Africa: Open access to address the developmental challenges
- US:Tertiary education declining in value for money
An integral part of the American Dream is under threat – as “downward mobility” seems to be threatening the education system in the United States.The idea of going to college – and the expectation that the next generation will be better educated and more prosperous than its predecessor – has been hard-wired into the ambitions of the middle classes in the United States.But there are deep-seated worries about whether this upward mobility is going into reverse.Andreas Schleicher, special adviser on education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says the US is now the only major economy in the world where the younger generation is not going to be better educated than the older.
HEFCE came up with a 10 year analysis of the number of students at various levels of higher education in UK and also diced this data by subjects. This will help the understanding of strategically important and vulnerable subjects (SIVS) and to identify where a subject might be at risk.There has been a considerable improvement in the flow of graduates in 3 of the subjects since 2005 – maths, physics and chemistry – but through the next phase will also address the variable patterns in Engineering and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL). At UG level, growth in international numbers has continued in the last three years, and at 20 %, outpaced the growth in home student numbers, which increased by just 6%.In some areas of PG research (i.e., biosciences, and chemical engineering)
international numbers have fallen while home numbers have grown.
Africa still at the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index and its research output still less than 1% of the global total. But what is also true is that Africans are doing something about it. Since October 2010, when Stellenbosch University became the first African higher education institution to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, the number of signatories on the continent has grown to 28 – in just two years. The Berlin Declaration dates from 2003 and is regarded as a milestone of the open access movement.It promotes unrestricted access to scientific knowledge and cultural heritage, and more than 400 institutions worldwide have already signed it. The growth of open access on the continent signifies that Africa is ready to lead itself and its sciences deeper into the 21st century.Clearly, Africa has aspirations to grow its share in global knowledge production. And open access is an important tool for realising this aspiration. Knowledge production is important because it drives development, and open access accelerates that drive.
In worldwide rankings more than half of the top 100 universities, and eight of the top ten, are American. The scientific output of American institutions is unparalleled. They produce most of the world’s Nobel laureates and scientific papers. Moreover college graduates, on average, still earn far more and receive better benefits than those who do not have a degree.Nonetheless, there is growing anxiety in America about higher education. A degree has always been considered the key to a good job. But rising fees and increasing student debt, combined with shrinking financial and educational returns, are undermining at least the perception that university is a good investment.Concern springs from a number of things: steep rises in fees, increases in the levels of debt of both students and universities, and the declining quality of graduates.
- Chile: OECD advises a tighter scrutiny of university accreditation
- UK: 10 new universities formed, focus is humanities
- South East Asia: Greater Mekong region to emulate ERASMUS & Bologna processes
- India: Waking up to international student recruitment
- UK: First for-profit British university
- Saudi Arabia: Research chairs are suffering
- Singapore: Demise of an offshore campus
- UK: No-exam university courses fuel degree inflation
- Taiwan: NTU takes over the HEEACT ranking
The key HE news items for the week are :
- UNITED STATES: Goldman Sach’s Foray Into Highered
- UNITED KINGDOM: Council for the Defence of British Unis
- CHINA: Higher Education For Foreigners
- INDIA: 6 Levers to Enhance Quality in HE
- KENYA: New rankings system causing a stir
- UNITED KINGDOM: Anonymous lecturer paints a troubling picture
- WORLD: New metrics for international rankings
- UNITED KINGDOM: Fallout from LMU’s license revocation
An annual poll has found that students studying at UK universities are more satisfied with their universities than at any time over the past eight years.
The National Student Survey (NSS), carried out every year since 2005, measures the responses of students at 154 higher education institutions, as well as a slightly smaller number of further education colleges.
The survey asks final year undergraduate students how satisfied they are with various aspects of their university experience, with 30 questions asked in total. Teaching, assessment and feedback, academic support, organization and management, learning resources, personal development, overall satisfaction and access to health facilities are covered by the questions, and this year students were also asked how satisfied they were with their students’ union for the first time. Continue Reading