Monday, April 4, 2022

4th April 2022

Ukrainian Academicians and Students

The current Russian-Ukrainian war has caused more suffering to Ukrainians, specifically those in the higher education sector, as students and academicians have been forced to discontinue their studies to find refuge in other states. Some of the states that have embraced the Ukrainian academicians and students include German, Poland, Finland, Canada, Ireland and many more. Recently, German embraced 10,000 while Finland created 2000 study places for Ukrainian students as they cite the essence of continuity for the students and bridging cultural gaps. The two states have ensured the students’ and academicians’ continuity of scientific research and studies through wavering EU visa rules, providing free courses for Ukrainian students, and launching crisis fund for research and study.

Bridging Cultural Gaps

UNESCO relies on higher education institutions to maintain global community by ensuring international security and social inclusion is attained. UNESCO demands higher education institutions to consider principles such as human dignity, conviviality and solidarity, and the cornerstone of human coexistence in all faiths and secular ideologies. One of the approaches suggested by UNESCO entail storytelling traditions that explains how individuals from various cultures, across the globe, and different ages share personal experiences within gatherings of four or more people.

Also, Edersheim and Dobson (2022) suggested fostering cross-cultural engagement through semester online. With the evident COVID-19 pandemic, the higher education institutions embraced online studies to maintain their students’ curricula. Some of the suggested pillars to foster cross-cultural engagement through online platforms include various higher education institutions offering courses through partnerships or licensing and choosing to give students credit for it or not. The offering institutions should select a lead professor who will curate the content and then choose to present the course or allow other instructors to present the course. The second pillar entails cultural immersion where students experience onboarding experience, residential opportunities, and extracurricular programmes. The third pillar and fourth pillar involves community of learners created through shared experience and network of alumni where the current students rely on alumni experience respectively.

Russian Universities

The Russian-Ukrainian war has caused separation of the Russian community with the rest of the world. The Russian universities have been secluded in the global research community and students being denied transfer opportunities by Western universities. Presently, more Russian academicians and students that have engaged in demonstrations against the war have been arrested, detained for longer terms, some are tortured, and others presented records that could deter them from gaining jobs or joining higher education institutions. However, some academic and research institutions have vowed to engage with Russian academicians and students.  Altbach and Wit (2022) mention that Russian universities and students have protested against the war and should not be isolated by other academic institutions in various countries. In China, Shandong University and Shandong Normal University have includes communist ideology in their political education course and courses such as political corruption in Ukraine, how Nazis killed 14,000 people in Ukraine and Eastern Russia, as well as how the US started the Russian-Ukraine tragedy have been cancelled. The institutions are closely observing Russians versions of the reason for its war in Ukraine.

Other News

The industrial dispute and ongoing strikes in the UK have lessened the morale of higher education staff as more than 60% of UK academic desire to quit within five years. The staff cite a crisis of morale and less faith in UK universities, COVID increased workloads, especially, while handling international students, the staffs’ pay, and casualization. The dire to quit has derailed UK’s reputation in the global academic sector.

In Sudan, the military leader replaced 30 public university presidents in a bid to silence academic voices that have formed revolutionary forces to fight the coup.

Compiled by Anita Nabayi