CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0237.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: Higher Education Act; Higher Education; Zambia; Universities
Online: 13 January 2023 (06:33:31 CET)
The higher education act of 2013 with its amendment act of 2021 was enacted to guide and regulate the provision of higher education in Zambia. This conceptual paper sought to assess the impact of this act in the higher education sector. It was qualitative in design and data was collected using content analysis. In this regard, literature regarding the Zambia higher education act and higher education provisions were scrutinised. The findings show that the higher education act has resulted in the creation of the higher education authority (HEA) which has brought sanity to the higher education sector by compelling all higher education institutions to be registering themselves and programmes with HEA. Further, the HEA has developed a policy for the promotion of academic staff in the higher education sector. However, the higher education act (the amended act of 2021) has negatively impacted the higher education sector. The amended act outlawed the spirit of accountability in the running of universities by removing stakeholders such as unions from sitting on the university council. Further, the act has reduced the number of councillors to sit on the council to run public universities from 16 to 8, thereby limiting the diversity of membership to the council. Furthermore, the higher education act has opened higher education institutions' affiliations to even private universities with little or no capacity, thereby further compromising the quality of higher. The Act has also increased the cost of running universities by introducing additional administrative structures in universities. Based on the above findings, the paper recommends that the Act be amended to remove the retrogressive clauses highlighted in this paper.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0598.v1
Online: 23 November 2020 (20:15:40 CET)
Objectives: To determine the effects of caffeine consumption on the sleep habits and lifestyle of medical students. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU) and Hamdard College of Medicine. On 422 undergraduate students aged 18-25 years, through random sampling. The duration of the study was from January 2019 to June 2019. The data was collected through self-administered questionnaire which included data regarding sleep habits and lifestyle of medical students. Results: Majority (81.6%) of the students consumed caffeine while only (18.4%) did not. One third of the participants (31.8%) reported caffeine consumption increased their academic performance and (57.3%) reported that it does not. More than half of the participants (63.3%) who consumed caffeine slept during class, whereas (47.2%) never had difficulty in falling asleep during the night. Conclusion: This research concluded that caffeine does have some role on sleep habits of medical students as they tend to have less sleep hours, experience day time dysfunction, average quality of sleep, and falling asleep during class. It has been concluded that caffeine has no effect on eating habits of medical students however, it does increase the screening time, keeping them active.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0289.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: research professors; assessment; model of competencies; transformation of universities.
Online: 15 January 2021 (12:43:42 CET)
Research professors develop scientific products that impact and benefit society, but their competencies in doing so are rarely evaluated. Therefore, employing a mixed two-stage sequential design, this study developed a self-assessment model of research professors’ competencies with four domains, seven competencies, and 30 competency elements. Next, we conducted descriptive statistical analysis of those elements. In the first year, 320 respondents rated themselves on four levels: initial, basic, autonomous, and consolidated. In the assessment model’s second year, we compared 30 respondents’ results with those of their initial self-assessment. The main developmental challenge was Originality and Innovation, which remained at the initial level. Both Training of Researchers and Transformation of Society were at the basic level, and Digital Competency was at the autonomous level. Both Teaching Competence and Ethics and Citizenship attained the consolidated level. This information helps establish priorities for accelerating researchers’ training and the quality of their research.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0357.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: Reproducibility, quality, research integrity, universities, methods, science policy, rigor
Online: 16 October 2018 (11:33:46 CEST)
In recent years, biomedical research has faced increased scrutiny over issues related to reproducibility and quality in scientific findings(1-3). In response to this scrutiny, funding institutions and journals have implemented top-down policies for grant and manuscript review. While a positive step forward, the long-term merit of these policies is questionable given their emphasis on completing a check-list of items instead of a fundamental re-assessment of how scientific investigation is conducted. Moreover, the top-down style of management used to institute these policies can be argued as being ineffective in engaging the scientific workforce to act upon these issues. To meet current and future biomedical needs, new investigative methods that emphasize collective-thinking, teamwork, shared knowledge and cultivate change from the bottom-up are warranted. Here, a perspective on a new approach to biomedical investigation within the individual laboratory that emphasizes collaboration and quality is discussed.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0457.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; serological markers (IgM/IgG); Prevalence; private universities; Cameroon
Online: 25 January 2023 (11:27:36 CET)
Background: COVID-19 remains a rapidly evolving and deadly pandemic worldwide. This necessitates the continuous assessment of existing diagnostic tools for robust, up-to-date and cost-effective pandemic response strategy. We sought to determine the infection rate (PCR-positivity) and degree of spread (IgM/IgG) of SARS-CoV-2 in three university settings in Cameroon Method: Study volunteers were recruited from November 2020 to July 2021 among COVID-19 non-vaccinated students in three Universities from two regions of Cameroon (West and Centre). Molecular testing was performed by RT-qPCR on nasopharyngeal swabs and IgM/IgG antibodies in plasma were detected using the Abbott Panbio IgM/IgG rapid diagnostic test (RDT) at the Virology Laboratory of CREMER/IMPM/MINRESI. The molecular and serological profiles were compared and, p<0.05 considered statistically significant. Results: Amongst the 291 participants enrolled (mean age 22.59±10.43 years), 19.59% (57/291) were symptomatic and 80.41 %(234/2691) asymptomatic. Overall COVID-19 PCR-positivity rate was 21.31% (62/291), distributed as follows: 25.25% from UdM-Bangangte; 27.27% from ISSBA-Yaounde and 5% from IUEs/INSAM-Yaounde. Women were more affected than men (28.76% [44/153] vs. 13.04% [18/138], p<0.0007) and they significantly expressed more IgM+/IgG+ (15.69% [24/153] vs. 7.25% [10/138], p<0.01). Participants from Bangangté, the nomadic, and the “non-contact cases” mainly presented an active infection compared to those from Yaoundé (p= 0.05; p=0.05 and p=0.01 respectively). Overall IgG seropositivity (IgM-/IgG+ and IgM+/IgG+) was 24.4% (71/291). A proportion of 26.92% (7/26) presenting COVID-19 IgM+/IgG- had negative PCR versus 73.08% (19/26) with positive PCR, p<0.0001. Furthermore, 17.65% (6/34) with COVID-19 IgM+/IgG+ had negative PCR as compared to 82.35% positive PCR (28/34), p<0.0001. Lastly, 7.22% (14/194) with IgM-/IgG- had a positive PCR. Conclusion: This study calls for a rapid preparedness and response strategy in higher institutes in case of any future pathogen with pandemic or epidemic potentials. The observed disparity between IgG/IgM and viral profile supports prioritizing assays targeting the virus (nucleic acid or antigen) for diagnosis and antibody screening for sero-surveys
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0576.v1
Subject: Keywords: Permeable pavements; potable water savings; universities; public buildings; stormwater harvesting; sustainability
Online: 31 August 2021 (15:54:45 CEST)
Permeable pavements have been the subject of numerous studies in recent decades. The possibility of dissipating stormwater more smoothly and generating numerous benefits to the environment and users makes the use of permeable pavements an excellent possibility of integration into sustainable and resilient water management systems in cities. In Brazil, numerous studies on the quantity and quality of infiltrated water, permeability of the coating, clogging, environmental burden, feasibility, among other characteristics, have been researched. Within this theme, the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) has contributed with ten papers in the research of permeable pavements in the last six years, which address various topics about the effectiveness and applicability of permeable pavements. This paper reviews the studies conducted at UFSC on permeable pavements and discusses the different results within the main issues found. In general, the selected documents addressed seven themes in the studies: potential for potable water savings, clogging, quantity and quality of the water infiltrated into the pavement, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and its variants, and hydraulic and structural design details. More specifically, many selected papers assess the potential use of stormwater harvested through permeable pavements in non-potable uses of buildings. The possibility of aligning the benefits of green infrastructure with the rational use of water expands the advantages of the system and can help prevent future water scarcity, as well as reduce the environmental impacts of paving.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0053.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: Scientific Productivity; Universities; Private Companies; USA; European Union; China; Innivation; Reseach; Societal
Online: 2 March 2021 (09:24:47 CET)
The purpose is to verify trends of scientific production from 2010 to 2020, considering the best universities of the United States, China, the European Union (EU) and private companies. The top 30 universities in 2020 in China, the EU, and the US and private companies were selected from the SCImago institutions ranking (SIR). The positions in 2020, 2015, 2010 in SIR and three sub-indicators were analyzed by means of non-parametric statistics, taking into consideration the effect of time and group on rankings. American and European Union universities have lost positions to Chinese universities and even more to private companies, which have improved. In 2020, private companies have surpassed all other groups considering Innovation as sub-indicator. The loss of leadership of European and partly American universities mainly concerns research linked to the production of patents. This can lead to future risks of monopoly that may elude public control and cause a possible loss of importance of research not linked to innovation.
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: corporate sustainability reporting; environmental accounting and reporting; public universities; sustainability reporting; CSR
Online: 23 March 2020 (01:10:51 CET)
Corporate sustainability reporting, also known as Triple-bottom-line reporting, involves reporting nonfinancial and financial information to a broader set of stakeholders than just shareholders and seek to fortify an organization’s ability to manage key risks. The current case is that, the quality, rigor, and utility of sustainability reporting remains contentious with concerns about the suitability of the criteria or standards used to prepare the reports. Despite the rapid increase in the number of companies around the world adopting Global Reporting Initiative standards, little is known about the extent of practice of corporate sustainability reporting in public universities in Kenya. The study selected five universities that had their 2017-18 audited financial reports available online for the readers, which served as the main source of secondary data. The guidelines on corporate sustainability reporting was derived from literature review, which provided key indicators upon which the data from each university was evaluated. It was observed that almost all the institutions recognize the critical role of both internal and external independent audit of financial statements. In conclusion, financial reporting sustainability is guided by strict compliance to the factors of sustainability.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0314.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: Interleukin-6; primary knee osteoarthritis; Visual analogue scale; Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index; WOMAC; Kellegren-Lawrence score
Online: 18 January 2023 (01:58:20 CET)
Background: Osteoarthritis is the most common degenerative joint disease resulting in pain and altered joint function. Objective: We investigated the possible association between serum interleukin-6 and symptoms of knee osteoarthritis with regard to pain, stiffness, physical function, assessed by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). We also examined the connections between serum interleukin-6 and radiographic severity in primary knee osteoarthritis patients. Methods: In this case-control study, fifty primary knee osteoarthritis patients and fifty age and sex matched controls were randomly recruited. Serum interleukin-6 levels were immunoassayed in patients’ and controls’ serum. Patients’ knee pain, stiffness and physical function were assessed by the respective subscales of the WOMAC Index. Standing anteroposterior radiographs of the knee joint were performed and graded with the Kellegren-Lawrence grade. Results: The mean serum IL-6 level was significantly higher in osteoarthritis patients (110.22 ± 46.98pg/ml) than controls (46.04 ± 12.34 pg/ml) (p=0.001). The WOMAC Index in patients ranged from 0 – 95 and the Kellegren-Lawrence score mean was 2.7 ± 0.76. There was a significant correlation between serum IL-6 levels and pain (r=0.595 p=0.001), physical function score (r=0.666, p=0.001)), and the radiographic score (r=0.799, p=0.001). Regression analysis showed that IL-6 level had a greater impact on both the WOMAC Index (p=0.005) and the Kellegren-Lawrence score (p=0.01). Conclusion: Serum IL-6 level is increased in primary knee osteoarthritis patients. Also, serum interlukin-6 is significantly related to osteoarthritis symptoms and radiographic severity.