Nigerian students spend N160b in Ghana varsities

James Ogunjimi notes that many Nigerian students are choosing to study in universities outside of Nigeria and wonders what can be done to develop Nigerian higher education.

No fewer than 75,000 Nigerian students are currently studying in three Ghanaian universities incurring a total of N160billion expenditure annually, the Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Dr Wale Babalakin, has said.

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Madagascar launches online research network

Marc McIlhone of African Brains looks at the recent launch of new online research network investigating science, technology and education

According to a statement issued at a government cabinet meeting last month (30 May), the project aims to forge new links between Madagascar’s six state universities, three higher institutes of technology, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and all national research centres.

iRENALA will also connect Madagascar to a cluster of worldwide networks through GÉANT, an existing pan-European research and education network, which connects 40 million users in over 8,000 institutions worldwide.

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CNS Youth Science Challenge Draws Attention of U.S. and Russian Presidents

Masako Toki posts about students across 20 Russian and US universities to complete an online challenge to investigate solutions for managing the world’s spent nuclear fuel.

The students utilize online workshops, e-learning modules, and virtual classrooms to become familiar with unclassified information about the science and technology of nuclear weapons, nuclear reactors, the nuclear fuel cycle, and the risks posed by the key weapons materials of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. Then, students focus on options for handling spent nuclear fuel, especially plutonium. This study requires scientific prowess, critical thinking, cross-cultural understanding, and cooperation. This investigation will require students to research not only the scientific options available for spent fuel management, but also the proliferation risks that different technologies pose and alternative solutions. At the final stage, all teams will come together and present their findings and proposed solutions in the Virtual Science Fair, in a format of their choosing

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Wither Higher Education in Sri Lanka

Garvin Karunaratne provides a detailed overview of his experiences in education and other sectors in Sri Lanka, taking a look at higher education there today.  He looks at the impact of IMF and fiscal policy. He provides examples where he has worked with universities encouraging manufacturing industries and employments which later turned to importing instead.

Sri Lanka happens to be perhaps the only country in the world today to offer free Tertiary education. If University education was not free I could not have found the money to become a graduate. Even the UK., which had a free University education system till a few years ago has given up and  today a graduate has to pay over 10,000 pounds as fees alone per year.   It is my opinion that if we are to continue free University education it becomes an incumbent necessity to ensure that the University studies does contribute to the development of our country

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College Professors Fearful of Online Education Growth

Ryan Lytle reports on a recent study by Inside Higher Ed of 4564 members who mentioned more fear than excitement

The fears of college faculty are sustained by the consistent rise in popularity of online education during the past decade. The number of college students enrolled in at least one online course increased for the ninth straight year, with more than 6.1 million students taking an online course during fall 2010—a 10.1 percent increase over fall 2009, according to a separate Babson report.

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Is Sebastian Thrun’s Udacity the future of higher education?

William Bennett, U.S. secretary of education from 1985 to 1988 and director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush interviewed Sebastian Thrun about Udacity and participation in the Stanford AI MOOC, reporting on CNN.

He explains the interest in the AI content and how they have now launched 11 additional STEM courses available in the same MOOC format. They are partnering with US companies to encourage them to employ people with Udacity certificates and doing more extensive checking on in-person testing centers to verify identities and knowledge.

“I asked Thrun whether his enterprise and others like it will be the end of higher education as we know it — exclusive enclaves for a limited number of students at high tuitions? “I think it’s the beginning of higher education,” Thrun replied. “It’s the beginning of higher education for everybody.”

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Can Free Online Courses Transform the Higher Education Industry?

Knowledge@Wharton provide their take on higher education, MOOCS and change. They report on a participant of the AI Stanford course who got a job in machine learning shortly afterwards. They look back at online education initiatives in recent years and wonder if this is different

Why might Coursera or another of the new enterprises succeed where others have failed? For one, the technology has evolved. Video and audio are crisper. Desktop sharing tools and discussion boards are easier to navigate. There is greater access to Internet libraries. Course developers also have a more nuanced understanding of how people learn online and the best ways to present information in that format. Coursera, for example, slices lectures into digestible 10- or 15-minute segments and provides online quizzes as part of each section. Professors answer questions from students in online forums. This is a vast improvement from previous online education ventures that offered a less dynamic learning model where students watched canned lectures, with no interaction.

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Free online courses at Harvard and MIT

Seniors Aloud proving that there is never a time to stop learning – excited by the new opportunities presented by MOOCs.

For older adults and retirees keen on going back to school again, this news is heaven-sent. With an empty nest at home and time on their hands, this is a wonderful opportunity for them to acquire new knowledge and prevent the brain from getting rusty.

If you think that your age might pose an obstacle to learning, look at Dr Allan Stewart a former dental surgeon from Australia. Last Friday he obtained his fourth degree – Master in Clinical Science (Complementary Medicine) at the ripe old age of 97!!!  He currently holds the world record for being the oldest graduate.

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Changing Concept of University : 1946 to 2012

Ashwani Kumar looks at the history of University of Rajasthan and surrounding universities, reflecting on the changes that have taken place in the last 50 years. He notes how scholars of the university have attained positions within Indian government and it has an international reputation with fellowships from top foundations around the world. The university has split into many smaller universities

A university may have 25,000 students but does it have 25 world renowned scholars? The concept of research and teaching is gone. Most of the Universities and also Govt Institutions hardly produce any research with any impact factor as their main motive is to earn money and make new buildings increase the number of students. They don’t get any financial support but still they multiply their number of institutions.

He wonders if there can be good teaching without good research

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