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Aiming to strengthen Japan’s global influence and soft power through the internationalisation of higher education, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is turning the spotlight on research collaboration – in particular strengthening joint research with developing countries in Africa and Asia.
Can university leaders ensure that their institutions keep up with rapid changes in technology and shifts in local and global economies? The International Association of University Presidents session at the WISE conference in Doha last week sparked considerable debate on whether universities can survive to serve ‘emerging generations’.
Thousands of students at Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s huge Islamic seminary, have held rallies in support of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi for the second consecutive week amid accusations from the institution’s administrators that the students have been engaged in acts of violence and vandalism. Dozens of students have been arrested.
The Bangkok Criminal Court last Wednesday upheld the verdict of a lower court that had acquitted the president of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand of conducting an unfair investigation in the first ever case of the university revoking a PhD.
Free, credit-bearing online learning has become accessible for students worldwide. The Open Educational Resource university – a project of the UNESCO-Commonwealth of Learning OER Chair network – was unveiled on 1 November, promising to “revolutionise tertiary learning”.
Open Universities Australia reached a remarkable milestone last Monday when it announced that its free online learning platform Open2Study had lured 100,000 enrolments, with 53,000 students from more than 180 countries undertaking one or more of its massive open online courses, or MOOCs.
The Chinese government has responded positively to the arrival of massive open online courses – MOOCs – and is speeding up the development of its own online offerings.
More on China and MOOCs in the Features section
Phase one of the Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence initiative, being sponsored by the World Bank to the tune of US$158 million, is expected to kick off in the third week of November when the identities of universities that have been selected to host the centres will be made public.
The United States and Libya have agreed to set up a higher education task force that will work to strengthen Libya’s educational capacity, provide information about study abroad to Libyan students, and expand scholarships and exchange opportunities.
Public universities in Nigeria have been shut since 2 July by crippling industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities. The main grouse of academics is the government’s failure to fund various formal agreements aimed at revitalising the public university system.
Kenya has formally allowed universities to take over tertiary colleges in a new policy framework. But the upgraded institutions must retain their original courses, programmes and mandates, says the policy announced last Thursday by cabinet.
Ghana’s public universities are facing a boom in applications, but do not have sufficient facilities to meet growing demand that has been exacerbated by an influx of students from neighbouring countries and a double cohort leaving school this year.
A higher education grant competition has been launched as a major collaboration between the United States and United Kingdom. The Global Innovation Initiative plans to strengthen higher education research partnerships between the US, UK and selected countries – Brazil, China, India and Indonesia.