- 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.
- US: Heavy hitters team up to offer free online courses
- Middle East: Spotlight on teaching quality
- Brazil: Affirmative action decision upheld by Supreme Court
Prestigious universities in the States are putting their weight behind free online courses. Harvard and MIT have announced a partnership called edX which will begin enrolment this fall. With 60 million dollars to commence the project, the universities will be offering five courses including classes in engineering and humanities. University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Stanford have also announced a partnership recently called Coursera, which will be offering free online courses. Both MIT and Stanford have already pioneered successful free online course offerings, with MITx enrolling 120,000 students and Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence course signing up 160,00 students.
[alert_blue]Full Story: New York Times[/alert_blue]
At a recent conference in Riyadh concerning ‘World-class teaching universities’, the general director for international affairs at the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education has highlighted a strategy to becoming a top teaching university. Salim Al Malik called for universities to evaluate teaching quality and to set up learning centres to train staff, as well as, to make teaching training a component of postgraduate studies. Universities, he said, are measured too heavily on research alone and that teaching should not be relegated in the pursuit of becoming a world-class institution.
[alert_blue]Full Story: University World News[/alert_blue]
Brazil has upheld sweeping affirmative action policies in higher education which allows a quota for enrolling students of African or indigenous descent. Now the country, which has more people of African descent than any other country outside Africa, is starting to tackle the economic and social divides that many are saying are linked to racial politics. Supporters of the bill say that they hope this policy will not only tackle social issues but help bridge the learning gap necessary for job creation.
[alert_blue]Full Story: Boston.com[/alert_blue]
By Danny Byrne
The first ever ranking of Latin American universities was launched by QS on 4th October with an event at Canning House in London. Attended by an important number of embassies from Latin America in UK, journalists, universities in the UK, and other key stakeholders, the event was sponsored by IELTS and supported by the Foreign Commonwealth Office and the Canning House, and viewed live online by over 2,000 people among universities, students, employers, media and independent organisations from Latin America and other countries in the world.
The event was opened by Professor Maxine Molyneu, Director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas, who welcomed the new ranking as a positive development for universities in the region.
“This exercise draws attention to the significant achievements that Latin America has made in higher education, and serves as a reminder that a good number of universities have attained international standing for the quality of their research and teaching programs,” Molyneu stated. “The information will help to support international exchange and collaboration between scholars and institutions, and that in turn will help to advance knowledge”.
Introducing the new exercise, QS Managing Director Nunzio Quacquarelli situated QS University Rankings: Latin America™ within an evolution toward more nuanced and targeted QS research exercises, stretching from the first QS World University Rankings® in 2004 through to the QS Asian University Rankings™, QS World University Rankings® by Subject, QS Stars™, and the now QS University Rankings: Latin America™.
“QS serves the informational need of students and parents first and foremost, and we have set out to innovate in the information we provide since our launch in 1990,” he stated. “These rankings meet a real need for information for a major part of the world’s population”.
QS Head of Research Ben Sowter pointed to increased student mobility as one of the factors driving the need for greater comparative information on the region’s universities, citing as an example the 250% growth in international students in Chile between 2000 and 2008. “There has been a dramatic change in some of the migration patterns and some of the decisions being made by international students in the region,” Sowter stated. “While much of that mobility stems from within Latin America, increasingly European students are beginning to look to the region as a potential destination.”
Sowter outlined the detailed consultation with Latin American institutions that QS undertook while finalizing the methodology for the rankings. A survey of over 110 institutions in the region identified the importance of factors such as the proportion of academics with a PhD, web presence, and research papers per faculty, which were introduced for the first time alongside more staple QS rankings criteria such as academic and employer reputation, student/faculty ratio and research citations.
“University systems in Latin America are now among the fastest changing and fastest growing in the world,” said Sowter. “We have been able to gather an unprecedented level of information to put together a much richer comparative picture of Latin American higher education than has ever been compiled before”.
QS University Rankings: Latin America™ Project Manager Liliana Casallas emphasised the wider importance of the rankings for universities in the region, and outlined the extensive consultation that ensured that data was available from all universities in the region: “This has just been a very valuable exercise for universities in data collection, integration and communication within the different departments”, Casallas stated. “For some it has been easier than for others, but this is one of the indirect benefits of participation in this type of study”.
Casallas also stressed that the rankings will expand and develop as they mature, with universities becoming more familiar with data collection processes and continual work being carried out by QS to develop new assessment criteria. “The next edition of QS will have more challenges, such as developments in the methodology, expanding and improving channels with universities for data collection, strengthening data collection in Central America in particular, increasing our operational capacity, and including new partners and sponsors”.
To follow the video conferences and dowload the presentations please click here
By Danny Byrne
Universities throughout Latin America are in a period of transition. Though precise circumstances vary by country, factors such as the growth in scientific research, massification of social demand for higher education, increased student mobility and the rise of private universities have exerted an influence across the region. These rankings aim to more closely reflect these circumstances than is possible in the overall QS World University Rankings®, as well as giving greater exposure to up-and-coming Latin American institutions.
The new QS methodology employs criteria that address region-specific issues, such as the proportion of faculty with a PhD, research productivity per capita and web presence. We have also drawn on by far the largest surveys of Latin American academics and employers ever conducted.
From an international perspective, a look at the top 200 provides further evidence of the emergence of Brazil as a future economic power alongside fellow BRIC nations Russia, India and China. Universidade de São Paulo (USP) tops the table, with Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais joining it in the top ten. There are an impressive eight Brazilian universities in the top 20, and 31 in the top 100.
Higher education has been earmarked as the engine-room to help Brazil fulfil its massive potential for economic growth, with enrolment tripling from two to six million in the last decade. However, the rankings also show the extent to which Brazil has prioritized research. A remarkable eight of the top ten for papers per faculty are Brazilian, alongside nine of the top ten for the proportion of academic with a PhD. Read more