[Issue 92] Media Monitoring: Extract of Press News on Higher Education in Africa

  1. The Daily Star

‘We have to run our universities keeping up with 21st century’ (Global)
Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, a noted educationist, has served as the 27th vice chancellor of Dhaka University from 2009 till 2017. A mass communication expert, he was appointed chairman of the board of directors at Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS). The Daily Star recently spoke to him on the occasion of the birth centenary of DU where he discussed issues including decline of the university’s position in international rankings, politics, teachers’ appointment and role of university administration and his expectation. The main task of a university is to turn students into trained manpower with necessary human qualities. In this context, I think DU has played its role properly. At the same time, this university has gifted this country an independent flag. This is such a big achievement that DU cannot be judged on the basis of the generalised definition of a university. But it is also true that DU along with other universities of Bangladesh is lagging behind in different indicators of world rankings. Here, we should keep in mind the lack of adequate investment for the current state of education of the country. What should be done to improve the education quality? If we compare the allocation between the front ranking universities and our universities, we will be able to understand this matter. After the Bangabandhu government, we have seen that the autocratic and military government didn’t give due importance to the education sector, which has created a gap. Time has come to fill that void. We will have to run our universities in light of the demands of the 21st century. We will have to think if we are creating new departments in coordination with the advancement of the country’s industry. We will have to think whether we are giving practical education to our students. For this, it’s imperative to keep an internship system for students in collaboration with those who are involved with the sector. The time of only theoretical education is gone. The education at universities should be completed with both practical and theoretical education. One thing we should consider is that per head expenditure of Harvard or Princeton universities is far higher compared to our universities. Despite this, our students are doing well in the equivalent competition when they go to Harvard, Princeton or Yale. How should a modern and progressive university administration work?
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2. Mail and Guardian

Summit to explore redefining the future of education (Global)
The right kind of focused education is of fundamental importance in building the versatility, adaptability and creativity of new generations of leaders and workforce talent across the spectrum of industries and sectors globally. With the world of work changing rapidly through technological advancements and the emphasis on the fourth industrial revolution in recent years, education has moved with the currents globally. The latest challenge was brought along by Covid-19, which enforced widespread societal change. Some institutions adjusted well in shifting to learning online, as they had already been working on digital models before the pandemic. Others had to adapt as quickly as possible to the demand for digital education as their traditional business models buckled under the strain. The International Finance Corporation reported early this year that about 200-million students in higher education in 188 countries had been affected by campus closures since the start of the pandemic early last year. As tertiary education institutions expand their digital content and schools are forced to move from their classroom-based models to online teaching, there is a real risk of a growing digital divide. The Future of Education Summit 2021, to be held virtually on 29 July, will tackle this specific issue in education, explore the technologies that will lead change in digital learning, and discuss several other pressing issues. While basic education has to prepare learners for higher education, higher education institutions have to ensure that they prepare their students to be work ready and meet the needs of future employers. One of the panel discussions at the summit is Closing the Skills Gap & Building Capacity: The 21st Century. With current gaps in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem), there is a move especially in the more developed countries, to a curriculum that is almost exclusively focused on Stem. On the other hand, to cope in a rapidly changing world of work, learners and students will also need soft skills required by business. A McKinsey Global Institute Report indicates that a shortage of skills will push at least 14% of the global workforce away from their current employment by 2030. Then, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report states that by 2025 50% of the world’s employees will need reskilling because they will need to adapt to the new technologies that are being developed.
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