Sunday, 10 August 2008

University World News 0040 - 10th August 2008


China's universities have played little part preparing athletes for this week's sporting spectacular in Beijing. See our exclusive story on the University World News site.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

CHINA: Olympics - low-key involvement by universities
Michael Delaney
University sports are a big deal in China, followed with great fervour by students and alumni, and many universities boast excellent sporting facilities and stadiums. Yet historically there has been a great distance, even antipathy, between the state administration and university sports departments. As a result, the nation's centralised sports system means universities have largely been left out in the cold when it comes to preparing athletes for the Olympic Games.
Read the full story on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Liberalisation shelved as talks collapse
Keith Nuthall
Proposals to sweep away some restrictions preventing private universities and higher education service providers from teaching, researching and examining in foreign countries have been put on ice at the World Trade Organization.
Read the full story on the University World News site

GERMANY: Plans to create more leeway for research
Michael Gardner
Germany's federal government has adopted a five-point plan to create more autonomy for public-funded research institutions. In future, they will enjoy considerably more scope in terms of budgets, staff, networking, construction measures and procurement. The new measures will ultimately lead to a special law on academic freedom agreed to by the government last year.
Read the full story on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Student allowances an election bribe
John Gerritsen
University bosses are fuming after the ruling Labour Party admitted it was considering extending student allowances to all tertiary students. The party is polling badly with a general election due to take place before the end of the year, and Labour knows from past experience that students' finances are a vote-winner: a policy of zero interest for student loans helped it win the 2005 elections.
Read the full story on the University World News site

E-learning is one of the buzzwords of 21st century higher education, with academics around the world increasingly relying on technology to communicate with their students – and transmit their lectures. But as University World News writers report in this special on E-learning, as some designate it, although a great boon to many lacking easy access to education, technology must be used intelligently as a tool for learning and not be regarded simply as a panacea.
Read the full report on the University World News site.

BRITISH COMMONWEALTH: Big changes in small states
Nick Holdsworth
One of the world's leading distance learning organisations is pushing ahead with plans to give students in some of the poorest parts of the developing world equal access to university education. The Commonwealth of Learning - the world's only intergovernmental agency solely dedicated to promoting and delivering distance education and open learning - is working with 30 of the British Commonwealth's smaller states to create a 'virtual university'.
Read the full report on the University World News site.Read the full story on the University World News site
Read the full story on the University World News site

FRANCE: Universities lag 'digitally native' students
Jane Marshall
French universities must urgently catch up with information and communication technologies if they are to satisfy the higher education demands of the advancing generation of 'digitally native' students. Although initiatives have been established in recent years to help them develop the necessary infrastructure, only a few universities have so far made satisfactory progress. But this lag is due more to systemic and human shortcomings than to technological inadequacies.
Read the full report on the University World News site.

UK: Virtual lectures? No thanks, say students
Diane Spencer
The British government is keen to promote e-learning, as are UK universities. Yet research shows that students still prefer face-to-face learning. Next year will see the conclusion of a project which began in October 2003, run by the Joint Information Systems Committee to identify how e-learning can benefit learners, practitioners and educational institutions, and it will advise how its findings can be implemented.
Read the full report on the University World News site.

AUSTRALIA: Online studying for the remote and on-the-move
Geoff Maslen
The only troublesome incident Kerry Grace had in four years of studying online for her bachelor of business degree through Open Universities Australia (OUA) was when she was breastfeeding her first baby and had to travel to sit for an examination 90 minutes away. The university she was taking the unit with refused to allow her to bring the baby into the exam room but said she could have a babysitter outside and she could go and feed her baby if she needed to.
Read the full report on the University World News site.

SOUTH AFRICA: Universities not far behind the curve
Karen MacGregor
The use of information and communication technologies to support learning in South African universities is booming and they are "not very far behind the curve" of developed countries in e-learning, says Stephen Marquard, learning technology coordinator for the University of Cape Town. Activities are limited by low internet bandwidth and uneven access by students to computers, but there is widespread experimentation within this constrained African context and interest is keen - last month participants from 14 African countries and 24 worldwide 'attended' the third virtual conference on educational technology in Africa, e/merge 2008.
Read the full report on the University World News site.

GREECE: Struggling to keep up
Makki Marseilles
Greece is not in the forefront of e-learning but efforts are being made to keep the country from lagging too far behind other major European countries in and out of the EU as well as worldwide.
Read the full report on the University World News site.


EU: New governing board for European institute
A new 18-member governing board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was appointed on 30 July and has until the end of 2009 to identify, select and launch the first EU 'innovation hubs', expected to cover the fields of climate change, renewable energy and ICT.
Read the story on the University World News site.


ETHIOPIA: October conference on academic freedom
Jonathan Travis
The Network for Education and Academic Rights, Scholars at Risk Network, British Council Ethiopia, the Forum for Social Studies and the Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa are organising a conference and workshop in Addis Ababa to discuss academic freedom in the region.
Read the full report on the University World News site.


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CANADA: Academics train Inuit territory bureaucrats
Monica Dobie
Canada's most northerly territory, Nunavut, will have access to an advanced business management diploma programme operated by the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Read the full report on the University World News site.

NEW ZEALAND: EU agreement encourages collaboration
John Gerritsen
New Zealand's researchers will gain access to more European Union (EU) science and technology programmes, thanks to a newly-signed cooperation agreement.
Read the full report on the University World News site.

SWEDEN: Inspire workers - make them redundant
Monica Dobie
A doctoral dissertation submitted to the Swedish Business School at Örebro University has revealed that failing companies could offer the secret of success for businesses yet to face dire straits. Strangely, productivity rises when companies are facing closure.
Read the full report on the University World News site.


INDIA: A crumbling system of higher education
Geoff Maslen
India's decision in the early 1990s to open its markets and fully participate in the global economy is widely credited for the nation's spectacular rate of economic growth over the past decade or so, says Professor Fazal Rizvi. But Rizvi says many within and outside India believe this rate of growth is not sustainable unless India overhauls its crumbling system of higher education.
Read the full report on the University World News site.


CHINA: Major higher education transformation underway
As eyes turn to China and the Olympic Games, a recent study by Canada's Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) has found that major transformation of higher education in the emerging power could impact on the global economy and global education structure. The policy brief Higher Educational Transformation in China and its Global Implications highlights recent statistics showing that the number of undergraduate and graduate students in China has increased by about 30% a year since 1999, as well as earlier studies estimating that in two years there will be many more PhD engineers and scientists in China than in the US and 90% of all PhD physical scientists and engineers in the world will be Asians living in Asia, most of them Chinese.
Read the full report on the University World News site.


RUSSIA: Solzhenitsyn - a mission to save his people
Nick Holdsworth

Obituary: Alexander Solzhenitsyn 11 December 1918 - 3 August 2008

Russia went into mourning last week after the death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel prize-winning writer and dissident who devoted his life to exposing the horrors of Stalin's police state and prison system.
Read the full obituary on the University World News site.


TURKEY: Academics quit over president's rector choices
More than a dozen senior Turkish academics resigned last week in protest at President Abdullah Gul's choice of university rectors, a sign of renewed tensions between the secularist establishment and the government, reports The Peninsula in Qatar. Turkish media said several rectors who support the ruling AK Party, including those favourable to ending a ban on students wearing the Muslim headscarf on campus, had been picked over secularist professors.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

US: Scientists homes firebombed
Firebombs that struck the home and car of two University of California, Santa Cruz, scientists last weekend were part of an increasingly aggressive campaign by animal rights activists against animal researchers, officials said. The LA Times reported Santa Cruz police officials as saying that the blasts, which occurred three minutes apart, caused one of the scientists, his wife and two young children to flee their home through a second-story window.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

US: Google, Microsoft vie for universities
You can think of it as 'Schoogle', writes John Cox in That would be Google's laid-back but unflinchingly ambitious plan to woo college and university IT departments into outsourcing not just student e-mail but web-based productivity applications and calendaring to the search giant. And a growing number of schools are doing just that. Last week, Google announced that 13 new US institutions had signed up for the free, and ad-free, cloud-based services - bringing the total of 'Googlised' institutions worldwide to 2,000 since the Google Apps Education Edition programme was announced almost two years ago.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

UK: New universities could struggle to survive
Newer British universities may disappear because of global competition forcing them to spend more, a leading ratings agency has warned, reports The Guardian. Credit analysis by Standard & Poors warns of "certain universities ceasing to exist" because of increasing competition from China and India and within the UK.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

UK: Arctic map plots new 'gold rush'
Researchers at Durham University have drawn up the first ever Arctic map to show the disputed territories that states might lay claim to in the future, reports ScienceDaily. The new map design follows a series of historical and ongoing arguments about ownership, and the race for resources, in the frozen lands and seas of the Arctic. The potential for conflicts is increasing as the search for new oil, gas and minerals intensifies.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

ISRAEL: Worries about damaging brain drain
When it comes to hi-tech start-ups, Nobel laureates and computer innovation, Israel has few equals. It attracts more venture capital that any country outside the United States. But now a country whose only significant resource is its brain power finds itself losing its best and brightest, with one out of four Israeli academics working in the US because of low pay and limited research budgets at home, reports the Jerusalem Post.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

SAUDI ARABIA: Higher education to enrol 236,000 new students
Saudi Arabia's universities will enrol more than 236,000 students who passed out of secondary schools this year, according to Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqari, - around 88% of 267,122 school leavers - reports Arab News.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

SOUTH KOREA: Universities aim for 100,000 foreign students
The South Korean government plans to attract 100,000 foreign students to the country by 2010, reports Korea Times. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology the number of scholarships available to foreign students will jump to 2,450 in 2010 and 3,000 by 2012, up from 1,500 this year. Universities will receive a combined $2 million to open more English-only and Korean-language classes.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

SOUTH AFRICA: Universities must help new students more
Education Minister Naledi Pandor has urged universities to do more to help first-year students adjust to new academic learning and teaching styles they experience when they reach the tertiary level, reports the government agency Bua News. She said the failure of schools to support learners in acquiring effective competence in the language of learning and teaching was among several factors contributing to the difference between success at school and success at university.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

AUSTRALIA: Call for greater equity in university enrolments
The Federal Government has been urged to dramatically increase the number of disadvantaged students attending university, as new figures show Victoria state has some of the lowest rates of participation by poor and indigenous groups, reports The Age. In a series of submissions to the government's long-awaited review into higher education, university chiefs have called for a shake-up of funding, better access for low-income groups, and new scholarships to encourage more high school students from poorer families.
Read more on the Unviersity World News site.

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