Algeria’s youth protests
Young Algerians are leading peaceful protests against the country’s long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The protests coincided with International Women’s Day and have been largely peaceful, with a few hundred arrests. The Algerian government has brought forward the country’s ‘spring break’ holiday for universities, according to The New Arab, a move critics say is designed to halt the momentum of the young activists.
Algeria largely avoided the turmoil of the 2011 Arab uprisings. President Bouteflika has been in power since 1999 and in currently in Geneva seeking medical treatment. The North African country is one of the youngest in the world, with more than 66% of the population aged under 30.
Investing in ideas
Delegates at the Eurasia Higher Education Summit in Istanbul heard from a wide range of academic speakers on the future of student life in Europe and Asia.
One of the chief messages came from the president of the Eurasian Universities Union– Mustafa Aydin – who said that creative ideas don’t only come from elite universities, but also from small schools and villages.
“There is no set of rules that says that the only innovative ideas are going to come from MIT, Berkeley or other such universities,” he said. “Innovative ideas can come from an elementary school in a village or a university that is low in the rankings.”
“They have inherited better opportunities, it doesn’t mean that we are not capable of anything less than them.”
Meanwhile the deputy vice president at King’s College London– Tayyeb Shah – said that China was quickly catching up to the West in terms of education: “Elite Chinese universities are now capable of delivering world-class research and teaching much like universities in the west,” he said.
“Chinese universities are receiving far greater funding than any of the western universities in terms R&D spend and recruiting academic talent.”
Network of European Universities
European universities are forming alliances with one another to secure €60m in EU funding, according to Science Business. The funding is part of a European Commission plan to build a ‘Network of European Universities’.
This network will be launched in November and all students and researchers to study at multiple universities at the same time. For example, a student could undertake legal research in Budapest, study international law in Paris, and philosophy in Berlin, moving between the cities at different times over three or four years.
Each network would consist of a range of universities who have formed a partnership to attract EU funding. One is the ‘Charm European University’ – which comprises institutions from Utrecht, Dublin, Budapest, Barcelona and Montpellier.
Another network seeking funding is U!REKA, which combines institutions from Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Oslo and Ghent.