Tag Archives: higher education

World’s top 100 universities 2012 based on reputation

Once again Harvard has been ranked as the number 1 university according to the latest data  put together by The Times Higher Education and Thomson Reuters which is based on their reputations. Overall, UK universities have slipped several places whilst China has showed remarkable improvements.  The University of Cape Town, for another year, is still the top listed of Universities in Africa.

Higher education can have a life-changing impact in terms of social mobility and earning capacity.

The US for another year running has the most reputable universities in the world based the global reputation ranking.

An interesting fact to observe are the subtle changes from the previous years list. While several UK institutions have fallen in rank, China has improved in their overall performance and is expanding its higher education system faster than the majority of other countries in the world.

The latest results and trends trends has not changed the overall results of the countries producing the most reputable universities.  America still has the largest number of higher quality universities, followed by the UK.

The list and data is compiled by 17,554 leading academics originating from 149 countries who have rated campuses globally according to how good they thought their research and teaching were.

Given the sky rocketing tuition fees, there is an ever increasing competitiveness amongst student applicants to fight for limited spaces at the top universities whilst the reputation of the institution continues to be a major focus for prospective students.

 

 

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Initiatives costing billions alleviates fee burden of university students

The Department of Higher Education and Training has to date established a variety of initiatives costing billions of rands to reduce the responsibility of fees from poor parents and students in South Africa.

Student loans and bursaries given by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) have already been increased substantially during the last three years and this has contributed significantly in aiding academically deserving and poor students.

“Funding the loans and bursaries has tripled from R2.375 billion in 2008 to R6 billion in 2011. Aside from that, the department has also made available R50 million for post graduate scholarships and R63 million for students with disabilities said,” said Higher Education and Training Minister, Blade Nzimande.

 

 
Replying to a letter of complaints received by the department from the South African Students Congress (SASCO) not too long ago, asking for free education, Nzimande stated he was wholly committed for the introduction of “fee-free” education for the poor growing to be a reality sooner rather than later.

Having said that, he mentioned that SASCO’s discontent with the launch of a Ministerial Working Group on Fee-Free University Education for the poor. He explained the fact that the working group was not replicating the work carried out by the NSFAS Review Committee, as SASCO’s memorandum claims.

“I would argue that the working group be actually allowed to complete its work in order to advise me on the content and scope of a policy framework within which fee free education should be implemented in South Africa,” Nzimande said.

 

Both SASCO and the department share common concerns pertaining to making improvements to the living and learning environments for students at higher education and training institutions, as well as the escalation fees at the institutions. Methods to address these issues were currently being investigated as an element of the work undertaken by the funding review committee.

Nzimande additionally reminded students that tuition fees charged by higher education institutions happen to be dependent upon individual university councils decisions and not by the ministry.

Nzimande called on SASCO to make submissions on all investigations which are presently underway in relation to Higher Education and Training in the country.

Source: BuaNews

SADC looks to ICT infrastructure to transform Higher Education in region

Upgrading and modernising the higher education system by way of ICT infrastructure and improved effectiveness of higher education planning, happen to be a few of the proposals stated in a report which was presented to Ministers of Higher Education and Training from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Delivering the report on Higher Education in the Southern African region, CEO of the Southern Africa Regional Universities Association, Piyushi Kotecha cautioned that if the region did not undergo a  substantial change, the SADC region was projected to attain a 16.3% higher education enrolment rate by 2050 – as compared to the current global gross tertiary enrolment rate of 30%.

Currently, the SADC region is showing a 6.3% enrolment rate which in reality compares poorly with tertiary enrolment in other areas around the world.

Higher education enrolment is barely managing to keep pace with  population growth, aside from Mauritius and South Africa, where tertiary enrolment increased by 20% and 15% respectively over the last 20 years, according to Kotecha.

According to the report, the SADC spent more on education than any other region in the world between 1990 to 2010. Having said that, spending was very uneven and currently SADC countries invest between 4.5% and 5% of their GDPs annually on education, which happens to be comparable to UNESCO’s recommendation of 6% of the GDP.

Another interesting point coming from the report is the fact that higher education outcomes reflected poorly on the investment in education and increased demand had not been met by a higher level of funding. The volume of academic teachers is diminishing, as a result, higher education systems in the region are elite systems.

Several other suggestions stated in the report range from the development of staff and students throughout the region, boosting the number of doctoral graduates, to the strengthening of governance, leadership and management in higher education.

Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Senator Lutho Tapela  pointed out that the country had made sizeable advances in generating opportunities for students looking to obtain higher education. Today, Zimbabwe is second when it comes to literacy rates in Africa with a population of 12 million. The country has put into practice an approach to accommodate students generated by secondary schools, however cannot be absorbed in higher learning institutions. The strategy does include long distance learning, which Tapela identified as the most appropriate with three teacher colleges providing degree programmes in maths and science by way of distance education.

With the help from the Idian government, the University of Zimbabwe has produced an outstanding education programme with over 15 colleges that could possibly in due course grow to be institutions offering degrees after being mentored by well-equipped institutions.

Bridging courses are also offered to  students who do not fulfill some higher education requirements in order to gain entrance to certain programmes. The technical and vocational training participation in higher education by the private sector is extremely important in national development, Tapela stated.

Furthermore, Zimbabwe participates in intergovernmental corporation, getting involved in exchange programmes where science teachers are been trained in Namibia and doctors in Lesotho. Aside from that,  universities and teacher colleges will be established in each province. This is within the higher education ministry’s five year strategic plan. The country is also looking into the setting up another private university and currently there are six run by church organisations.

South African Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize brought to the forefront the necessity to take a look at new means of funding education which include graduate work schemes enabling students to pay back the costs of their education via work after finishing their studies.

“We should also investigate differentiation of our higher education system to meet the variety of needs of our people, a differentiated system covering anything from research universities of technology and technical and vocational education and training colleges. Diversified programmes will go a considerable way in meeting the diverse educational aspirations of our communities,” Mkhize said.

African Development Bank representative Frank Boahene cautioned that government simply cannot accomplish everything on its own and challenged parents and the private sector {to assist|to help. If you believe that education is paramount then invest in your child’s education, he explained, adding that the private sector frequently complained that it did not get the skills it required.

The two-day meeting was focused on formulating a clear policy vision for higher education.

The SADC ministers are expected to set a policy for higher education in the region through process of discussing the status and challenges of the sector in line with the work that has been carried out by SARUA.

SARUA was created to facilitate the revitalisation and development of the leadership and institutions of higher education in the southern African region, consequently making it possible for the regional higher education sector to meaningfully act in response to the developmental challenges facing the region.

Source: BuaNews

Southern Africa faces shortage of Tertiary Institutions

 

In spite of the number of new public and private institutions which has been constructed over the past 20 years in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, the region also face a lack of higher learning institutions.

Giving an answer to the extraordinary SADC Meeting of Ministers of Higher Education, Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, pointed out the fact that the higher education system in the region was in fact not growing adequately in both size and capacity to meet up with the need for a growing population of youth.

The region does not possess a sufficient amount of academic personnel and the majority of of individuals within our systems do not currently have an adequate amount of training in both teaching and in research. Only 33% of South Africa academics possess PhD qualifications and depend primarily on them to produce research outputs and supervise Masters and Doctoral students, Mkhize explained; resulting in situation whereby countries are now struggling to produce a new generation of academics.

The meeting planned to develop a platform for all Ministers of Higher Education and Training throughout the region to reflect and share experiences regarding how they could speed up the revitalisation of higher education.

A few of the difficulties confronting the region include things like the failure to develop indigenous languages to ensure they are languages of scholarship and research; as well as not having the capacity to boost the facilities to the degree that is essential to be able to produce the right quantity and quality of graduates together with the essential skills necessary for the countries in the region.

 

Mkhize stated that to be able to tackle these challenges, financing was needed — the dilemma continued to be exactly where the money would come from.

She cautioned that in discussing funding, they should not be oblivious to the reality that they did not stretch the current pool of resources far enough in order to do more.

“Such a consideration should apply both to our individual countries and most importantly, in this meeting, to our region as a unit.”

South Africa’s financial commitment to foreign students in 2011 amounted to around R1.04 billion on students from the SADC region, and R735 761 000 for non-SADC students.

The current chairperson of the SADC Ministers of Education and Training – Vice Minister of Education of the Republic of Mozambique – , Professor Arlindo Chilundo, stated that promoting knowledge development and dissemination, specifically higher education, was the building block for attaining the regional integration and development agenda of SADC and eliminating poverty amongst the citizens of the region.

Echoing Mkhize’s sentiments, Chilunda mentioned that the SADC had a substantial concern with regards to higher education, particularly in the areas of access and participation by the population, where the region’s participation rate of 6.5% was beneath the global average of 30%.

“As a region, we will need to completely transform our strategy to higher education in a groundbreaking manner, and I am positive that this meeting will set the tone for the necessary revolutionary transformation of the landscape of our higher education.”

Chilunda added that new approaches for funding of higher education along with its infrastructure ought to be thoroughly investigated to remodel and develop higher education in the region. This would include putting in place the appropriate policies and mechanism to draw and promote the participation of the private sector and donors, in addition to making use of the growing utilization of information and communication technologies.

Source: BuaNews

SA focus on education, learning, and teaching is paying off

South Africa’s drive for universal the means to access education, as well as for improved learning and teaching, are beginning to pay off according to President Jacob Zuma.

Presenting his fourth State of the Nation address, Zuma mentioned that more than eight-million students happen to be enrolled in no-fee schools and benefiting from the government’s school feeding scheme, together with school attendance now in close proximity to 100 percent for the compulsory band of 7-15 years of age.

“A significant victory is the doubling of grade R enrollment, from 300 000 in 2003 to 705 000 in 2011,” Zuma pointed out. “We seem to be positioned to fulfill our target of 100 percent coverage for grade R by 2014.”

Having said that, he pointed out the fact that the government continued to be worried by the report of the General Household Survey in 2010 that just over 120 000 children in the 7-15 year old band were out of school.

‘In school, in class, on time’

At the same time, Zuma congratulated the teachers, learners, parents along with the communities for the hard work, which in turn saw a rise in last year’s matric pass rate, adding the fact that the government’s rigorous focus on education appeared to be bearing fruit.

“We will continue to invest in training of more teachers who can instruct in mathematics, science and African languages. Our call to teachers to be in school, in class, on time, teaching for a minimum of seven hours a day continues to be crucial to success … we thank the teacher unions for supporting this campaign.”

Higher education targets

On the subject of higher education, Zuma pointed out that the government was outperforming its targets, with approximately 14 000 school leavers being placed in workplace learning opportunities during the last year, as well as over 11 000 artisans having carried out their trade tests.

He appeared to be thrilled to see a rise in the number of learners enrolled in Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, and encouraged parents to motivate their children to enrol in these colleges, given that the country required the skills these colleges happen to be offering.

To expand the means to access tertiary education, Zuma announced that R200-million had been invested in assisting 25 000 students to repay their debts to institutions of higher learning this past year.

He additionally revealed that a total of R300-million ended up being assigned for preparatory work towards constructing new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.

Source: BuaNews