You can study abroad, except where you can’t: Uzbekistan restricts students from some Kyrgyz and Tajik universities

After a minor uproar over Uzbekistan's February 2020 announcement that its students abroad should return home, the country's latest announcement about where its citizens may (and may not) study abroad was unlikely to go unnoticed - even as regional travel remains restricted as a result of Covid-19. A total of 16 universities - 8 each …

Continue reading You can study abroad, except where you can’t: Uzbekistan restricts students from some Kyrgyz and Tajik universities

Going, going, gone: Kazakhstan’s Innovation University is shut down

A swathe of regulations, rankings, mergers, acquistions, and threats of closure for poor quality universities typify the Kazakh government's drive in recent years to increase and assure quality in its higher education system. The latest target of the quality movement is Innovation University, which had its operating licence removed in late January 2020 after two …

Continue reading Going, going, gone: Kazakhstan’s Innovation University is shut down

Nazarbayev University Number 2?

No stranger to creating new universities, Kazakhstan's longstanding (and thus far only) president Nursultan Nazarbayev has already set up or led initiatives since founding KIMEP University in 1992. Now, building on the investment and early successes of the eponymous Nazarbayev University - which the president apparently did not ask to be named after himself - …

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I’d close some universities if I could – Kazakh Ambassador to Canada

The number of higher education institutions in Kazakhstan - a country with a population of 17 million - rocketed up from 55 in 1991 to a peak of 182 just a decade later. Many of these were very small institutes, privately run and focussed on teaching. A number of these naturally fell away in the subsequent years, but …

Continue reading I’d close some universities if I could – Kazakh Ambassador to Canada

Kazakh universities to go it alone: the end of the state-issued diploma in Kazakhstan

In yet another move to distance itself from its communist past, the Kazakh Minister for Education and Science Yerlan Sagadiyev recently announced [ru] that the era of state-issued diplomas (degree certificates) would soon be coming to an end. Announced in parliament when everyone else was distracted (bored to tears?) by the recent Kazakhstani national elections, the announcement means that from …

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Beaten up for asking questions at university in Tajikistan

There's a sad and disturbing story from Tajik news agency Asia Plus today about the recent beating of a university student by classmates [ru] at the Russian-Tajik Slavonic University (RTSU). The student, who comes from the Penjikent region of northern Tajikistan, was hospitalized, so severe was the beating by three fellow students who come from the capital …

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University closures in Russia – will Central Asia follow?

Although this blog focusses on Central Asia, every now and then something happens in the broader sphere of influence on Central Asia that merits being featured. As part of its drive to enhancing the quality of university education in Russia, University World News this week reports on news that the federal government has recently decided that fully 40% of all …

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African Universities and the Global Rankings

Interesting post, but there’s always the possibility to interpret what I am sure is well-meaning advice with a post-imperial hat on and ask: why shouldn’t African universities aim for the best? Universities in some formerly developing South East Asian countries (I’m thinking of particularly South Korea and Singapore) didn’t sit down in the latter years of the last millennium and decide to take the “slowly-slowly” approach. No, they aimed straight for the top. Ambition and drive to be the best does not equate to league table ranking (and nor should it, which I do think is a good point made in the article Paul has quoted) but it shouldn’t be undermined or forgotten.

So as well as adding these considerations, I also think the article is interesting comparative reading for Central Asian HEIs. I’d argue that Kazakhstan has got the quality message right and has the money to pump into creating quality (see my various posts about Nazarbayev University). As for the other Central Asian nations, should they start with ensuring quality or driving for greater recognition? Thoughts welcome!

Registrarism

Should African universities be concerned with the global league tables?

Inside Higher Ed has a really good piece on African universities and the impact of the international rankings. Essentially the challenge for Africa is that the global league tables use metrics which simply don’t favour the continent’s institutions:

Any observer of higher education in Africa would immediately realize that African universities, with the exception of a handful, stand no chance of appearing under the THE Rankings; or for that matter under other global university rankings such that the Shanghai Jiao Tong Ranking or the QS World University Rankings, which equally use criteria with a heavy bias on research, publications in international refereed journals and citations. African universities have to cope with huge student enrolment with limited financial and physical resources. They are short of academic staff, a large proportion of whom do not have a PhD. Not surprisingly, their research…

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