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The Post-2008 Crisis and the Crisis of Higher Education in Cyprus

The Post-2008 Crisis and the Crisis of Higher Education in Cyprus

Victor Roudometof, President of the University of Cyprus’ Faculty Labor Union Historically, Cyprus lacked its own public universities; the first ...

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Portuguese Science: Chronicle of Death Foretold

Portuguese Science: Chronicle of Death Foretold

Helena Carreiras, Senior researcher, Center for Research and Studies in Sociology, ISCTE, Lisbon, Portugal The Portuguese government decided to overhaul ...

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The Crisis of Public Universities in Indonesia Today

The Crisis of Public Universities in Indonesia Today

Lucia Ratih Kusumadewi and Antonius Cahyadi, University of Indonesia The Indonesian Reforms of 1998 brought about massive social change. Ever ...

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Germans Boycott University Rankings

Germans Boycott University Rankings

Scientific Evaluation, Yes – CHE Ranking, No Methodological Problems and Political Implications of the CHE University Ranking German Sociological Association ...

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Neoliberalism and Higher Education: The Australian Case

Neoliberalism and Higher Education: The Australian Case

Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney [1] When neoliberal policies in Australia began to bite in the sphere of higher education, towards ...

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Carnage in Aleppo University in Syria

Carnage in Aleppo University in Syria

Eighty-seven people were killed and at least 150 injured in two explosions that struck Aleppo University in Northern Syria this ...

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Calls for Academic Freedom: Reflections on Palestine and Israel

Calls for Academic Freedom: Reflections on Palestine and Israel

Feras Hammami, KTH, Royal Institute of technology, Stockholm, Sweden “Israeli academic freedom is under severe attack”. This was written in a ...

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Report Finds Risky Money Managment by University of California

Report Finds Risky Money Managment by University of California

A report released last week by UC Berkeley students, reveal the staggering human costs of University of California’s interest rate ...

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 By Janusz Mucha, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow

There are many faces of the current crisis of academic systems. There are many points of view on the social functions of research and higher education. It is not possible to cover here all of these faces, aspects and points of view even in one country — in this case, Poland. Moreover, it is difficult to collect all relevant “hard data” on short notice. Therefore, what follows, is a comment based on my participant observation of the system as professor of sociology (but not as sociologist of higher education) who, since the beginnings of economic transformation (from the centrally planned and managed economy to market economy) and political transformation (from state-socialist one-party system to liberal parliamentary democracy), has worked in three public universities and in two private institutions of higher education. Now, I work in one of the largest and best public technical universities in Poland and simultaneously in a medium-sized private college about 90 kilometers from my home town. Sociology is marginal in both institutions (although in the university its role seems to be gradually increasing), so I will not devote space to the analysis of these schools.  In this paper, “college” will mean any institution of higher education, “student” will mean college student, and ”social sciences” will include humanities, but also economics and law.

In the academic year 1990/91, there were 403,000 students in Poland, the overwhelming majority in about 100 public colleges. In the academic year 2006/07, there were 1,940,000 students (nearly five times as many). More than 470,000 of them are in private colleges. In 2007/08, more than 56% of students were female. In 1991 there were two private colleges, while in 2006/07 there were nearly 320 of them. Students in private colleges pay tuition, unlike the full-time “regular” students in about 130 public colleges.  …READ MORE

By Charles Crothers, Auckland University of Technology

Given that New Zealand tertiary teaching and research institutions still provide high quality teaching and research for an increasing student body (underwritten by a generous student loans scheme and modest fee levels) and given the wider societal demand for higher education, albeit with relatively limited resources compared to those available in other jurisdictions, Universities in NZ cannot be characterised as being in crisis. They are, however, subject to increasing pressures, many pulling in contradictory directions.

Some of the structural difficulties are external: fighting for a share of the international student market both for students and staff; rising demand as the current international recession continues to bite and sends more into the ranks of those wanting higher qualifications; and a pressure to reduce state budgets shaped by a one-year old center-right government.

But other pressures are internal to the system which is dominated by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) – run by Commissioners but in effect much like a government department. Indeed a very senior visiting senior academic described the Vice-Chancellors in our system as ‘branch managers’. Over the last decade an ‘audit culture’ has been implemented, largely following UK practice. Thus:

  • individual research performance is monitored annually (by employing organizations) and 6-yearly by the ‘Performance Related Research Fund’ (PBRF), which then reassigns expenditures to universities based on the sum of  quality scores of the individual staff;
  • …READ MORE