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November 29, 2011, 10:22 pm
“Do you have a Facebook account?” That may not sound like a political question, but it was one of the first questions a university committee in Bahrain asked students following the pro-democracy protests there last February. As in many interrogations, those asking the questions already knew some of the answers. The investigators had screen shots of anti-government comments on the students’ Facebook accounts and any other information the investigators could glean about the students’ online activity.
Simply pressing the “like” button on a pro-democracy Facebook page could be grounds for dismissal, says one student who is still waiting to get back into Bahrain Polytechnic, where the committee summoned students for questioning. She believes that fellow students who were pro-government and were classified as “friends” in her private Facebook account turned her in.
November 8, 2011, 6:54 pm
The companies, such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems, say they are putting education first, and then letting technology follow, often using a few universities as laboratories to see what technologies might be needed, and in which environments. The more cynical view of this, of course, is that the companies have a subtle sales pitch and are building relationships first in the hope that long-term business will result. The truth is probably a mixture of both.
“Too often technology companies are just seen as vendors,” said James Garner Ptaszynski, senior director for higher-education strategy in Microsoft’s “world wide public sector” division. “We are information workers, and universities should take advantage of that.”…
November 3, 2011, 2:45 pm
Doha, Qatar—In 2001, to the distress of his family, Aref F. Husseini resigned from his jobs as a senior engineer with Intel and as an adjunct professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He bought a bag and filled it with some tools and electronic components—pliers, a soldering iron, transistors, and the breadboards used as bases for electrical circuits. He began to visit schools to teach science and engineering in a most practical way.
Those early efforts have grown into a nonprofit organization, Al Nayzak, that encourages the development of scientists, engineers, and inventors and tries to turn their ideas into products and businesses. Al Nayzak, “The Meteor,” provides supplementary education and mentoring to Palestinian youths, following them from fourth grade through their university years. None of the organization’s students have their bachelor’s degrees yet, but…
November 2, 2011, 7:46 pm
Doha, Qatar—At about 11 p.m. in a hotel lobby here on Monday, not too long after I had gotten off the 12-hour flight from Washington, a slender, intense, gray-haired man with a Russian accent approached me. He had my room number written on a scrap of paper in his hand. His name was Vasiliy Bogin, and he is the founder of the New Humanitarian School, in Moscow.
Mr. Bogin was one of three panelists scheduled to be in a session titled “Simple Ideas, Big Results” that I moderated Wednesday at the third annual World Innovation Summit for Education, which seeks to be a Davos for the education world. The conference takes the unusual approach of mixing those interested in primary and secondary schools with those interested in higher education. Due to the financial clout of its backer, the…
October 25, 2011, 7:54 pm
Segovia, Spain—This city is layered with history—a Roman aqueduct downtown, a 12th-century castle, and a Gothic cathedral. In a dry Spanish autumn, the ancient architecture sits among brown hills dotted with golden trees.
An appropriate setting, perhaps, for a higher-education laboratory that wants to build on the past, in part to find the future of the liberal arts.
IE University borrows elements from the Anglo-Saxon higher-education world, puts them in a European context, and then stirs in students from a broad mix of countries.
The university, which began operations in 2008, has its undergraduate base in Segovia but shares a Madrid campus with its older sibling, IE Business School, started in 1973. While the business school is not well-known among many American academics, it is well-ranked in the global marketplace and, as a result, sought after by students.
October 21, 2011, 6:44 pm
Has the fundamental meaning of the word “student” changed? At a small conference in Madrid that attracted participants from countries ranging from Brazil to Russia, that was the most interesting question to emerge.
International conferences on higher education usually struggle to say something new, and the handful of journalists who cover them struggle even more to extract sense from the scattershot of sessions. But at the conference on Reinventing Higher Education, at IE University, which The Chronicle had a hand in organizing, the changing role of students popped out as a clear theme.
Lisa Anderson, president of the American University in Cairo, picked up the topic in her keynote speech, after noting why universities were not central to the Arab Spring. While that had to do partly with the irrelevance of Arab universities themselves, she said, it also relates to a change in where…
October 19, 2011, 8:13 pm
Teaching students about citizenship might seem like a hackneyed concept.
But try leading a university in a country where the citizens are rediscovering what having a democratic political life means.
How does a nation hold an election? How is a campaign run? How can a policy debate be organized?
Lisa Anderson, president of the American University in Cairo, has tried to answer those questions and more in the tumultuous 10 months since the popular protests began that led to the end of the regime of Hosni Mubarak. She was the keynote speaker Monday evening at a meeting in Madrid, “Reinventing Higher Education,” that The Chronicle played a role in organizing, along with IE University. I interviewed Ms. Anderson in a video that can be viewed here.
In the past 30 years, Egyptians have had little practical training in leadership. The Mubarak regime banned student governments in 1979,…
October 17, 2011, 7:51 pm
Madrid—Malini Sen oversees a weekly education supplement of The Times of India that goes out in 22 regional editions to 3.2 million subscribers. Like other editors around the world, she is scrambling to figure out how to deliver the news and other reader services in online forums, on social media, and on mobile phones. (India has close to a billion mobile phone users.) In Ms. Sen’s case, those readers are often parents and students.
Geoffroy Gérard, associate communications director for IE University, in Spain, brought Ms. Sen and me together here in Madrid for an evening of tapas and conversation. Most academics know the old saw that what goes on in the conference corridors is more important than what goes on in the sessions. That may be even truer at international meetings, where jet-lagged audiences tend to drift off into postlunch naps in darkened rooms. So in this case, even…