Sunday, 12 April 2009

University World News 0071 - 13th April 2009

SPECIAL REPORT: Uncertain times for graduates

Graduate joblessness is deepening the world over. The global economic crisis has prompted the slashing of jobs and freezes on hiring and, in most countries, new graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to land employment.

In the developing world – including China, Arab countries and Africa – the economic downturn has exacerbated already high graduate unemployment resulting from the rapid expansion of higher education and a mismatch between the skills universities produce and the needs of markets, among other factors. The Chinese government is hoping investment in the economy will create jobs for graduates, and it is also encouraging postgraduate study and diverting graduates to rural areas in need of high-level skills – but these are not long-term solutions.

In the wealthy world, new graduates who once juggled offers are finding it more and more difficult to find work. Graduate employment is falling in the United States, although patchily as some states have been hit by the financial crisis harder than others and many postgraduates hoping to become academics are struggling to find posts. In France the government has devised a rash of plans to relieve rising joblessness among young people including graduates, while in Canada the economic crisis is forcing MBA graduates to lower their income expectations.

In this special report, University World News journalists look at the growing problem of graduate unemployment across the globe.

US: Job prospects plummet John Richard Schrock
After five years of annual increases in employment, hiring of college graduates is expected to fall by 22% in 2009 compared with 2008, according to a survey of businesses by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. More than 20% of employers surveyed have stopped hiring this spring while the number of firms expecting to hire fewer new graduates doubled and the number who were uncertain of future hiring plans jumped from one in four to nearly half.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Government tries to head off jobless unrest
Jane Marshall
Youth unemployment is soaring in France and new graduates are not spared – although predictably they are being hit less hard than young people with fewer or no qualifications. Aware of rising youth unrest, President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised training programmes and plans to subsidise employers who hire young people. He has also set up a commission to recommend policies to support youth, including on job creation, which is due to report this month.
Full report on the University World News site

ARAB STATES: Unemployment figures frightening
Wagdy Sawahel
Unemployment in the Arab world has reached 14% and the number of jobless is estimated to be 17 million, many of them university graduates, according to Arab Labour Organisation figures for 2008. Arab governments have warned that belts will have to be tightened during the global economic crises to cope with an influx of job-seekers and the return of some Arab expatriates.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Unemployment on the rise
Mucun Zhou and Jing Lin
Ministry of Education statistics indicate more than 6 million students will graduate in China this year, whereas in 2002 the total number comprised only 1.45 million. But the employment rate for graduates last year was less than 70% and the rising number seeking jobs is challenging the government at a time when the current economic crisis will surely exacerbate the problem. It is likely close to 2 million graduates will not find work – many of whom are postgraduates, even doctoral graduates.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Jobs go as recession deepens
Geoff Maslen
Although Australia has been protected more than many other nations from the global financial maelstrom, figures released last Thursday revealed that joblessness was on the rise and graduates seeking work or in employment would not be immune. Even before the impact of the world recession began to be really felt, almost three in five Australian graduate employers said what was happening to the financial markets was affecting their hiring decisions.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Pay expectations of MBA graduates plunge
Philip Fine
On her site where she matches up MBA graduates and employers, Maggie Austring has job-seeking candidates fill out a field on their on-line applications to identify what annual gross salary they expect. When she launched the site last May, she put in a $30,000 (US$24,000) category, never actually thinking anyone would fill in that low a number on the salary field. Austring has not only seen people checking off $30,000, she has now seen a rise in that category and wonders aloud what would have happened had she put in a $20,000 option. The downturn in the economy has tempered the salary expectations of MBA holders who are seeking jobs.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Call to hire more foreign graduates
The Association of International Educators, or NAFSA, has called on the American Congress to change existing laws and increase opportunities for foreign graduates to obtain permanent residency. The association said the changes should include removal or adjustment of unrealistic caps on temporary and permanent employment-based visa categories, including green cards.
Full report on the University World News site


NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report


EUROPE: EUA releases Prague declaration
The European University Association released a declaration last week proposing ways Europe’s governments could tackle the rising economic and financial crisis. The declaration arises from an EUA meeting in Prague last month and sets out a long-term agenda for European universities over the next decade.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Graduates on the move
Geoff Maslen
Graduates from China are enrolling in American universities in greater numbers than ever before with a 16% increase on 2008 figures. Likewise, applications to US graduate institutions from Middle East students have rocketed upwards by 20% in the past year. But it is not clear if these rises are a result of the global financial downturn and graduates are looking to America as a source of employment because applications from India and South Korea have fallen after small gains in 2008.
Full report on the University World News site

RUSSIA – ‘No plans to take over as rector’ – Fursenko
Nick Holdsworth
Education Minister Andrei Fursenko has dismissed rumours that he plans to step down and take over as rector of Moscow State University. In a wide ranging interview with respected daily broadsheet Kommersant, Fursenko says the job should go to a better qualified – and younger – candidate. The current incumbent, Viktor Sadovnichy, is technically obliged to step down when he reaches 75 later this year
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Calls for higher education reforms
Michael Gardner
One of Germany’s leading universities has been merged with a former nuclear research institute. Baden-W├╝rttemberg’s Council of Ministers adopted a law last Tuesday creating the foundations for the new Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), combining the University of Karlsruhe with the Research Centre Karlsruhe.
Full report on the University World News site

ACADEMIC FREEDOM

UNESCO: World conference on higher education
John Akker
The Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR) has been working with its partner organisation, Scholars at Risk, to produce a platform for the Unesco World Conference on Higher Education in Paris from 5-8 July. We call for your help in urging the organisers and participants to offer their support for academic freedom and higher education values.
Full report on this and other Academic Freedom stories on the University World News site

BUSINESS

EUROPE: Nanotechnology policy clash looms
Keith Nuthall
Policy differences over the development of nanotechnology in Europe are becoming crystal clear, with a European Union-funded study confirming the gulf in opinion between industry and its researchers, environmentalists with their allied scientists and governments over this hottest scientific topic.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA-MIDDLE EAST: Boost for Asian nanotechnology
Wagdy Sawahel
The 10 Middle Eastern and central Asian member states of the Iran-based Economic Cooperation Organisation have approved the establishment of an ECO Nanotechnology Network in Iran.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Yale taps global market for diplomacy students
Emma Jackson
Yale University, the top Ivy League college in Connecticut, has received a US$50 million donation to create a Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. The institute will focus on the lucrative overseas student market and offer to teach valuable graduate skills for diplomatic services and international organisations.
Full report on the University World News site

FEATURE

FRANCE: Spies and the Jardin des Plantes
Jane Marshall
Claude-Marie Vadrot, a part-time lecturer at a Paris university, planned to take his students to the Jardin des Plantes for an outdoor lecture on biodiversity and plant protection. As part of the capital’s Natural History Museum not only was the public garden relevant to his subject, his choice of location was also a gesture of solidarity with striking colleagues. But when he arrived at the gates he was refused entry by security guards – the beginning of an incident that he says has made him “very worried at the revelation of an alarming shift in our society”.
Full report on the University World News site

HE RESEARCH AND COMMENTARY

US: Do we need technology workers?
An interesting set of articles by six US academics was featured last week in the continuing series on immigration being published by The New York Times blog, Room for Debate. Last week the series examined the issue of skilled foreign-born workers, many of whom are in the US on temporary guest-worker visas. For high-tech industries, particularly, foreign-born workers on temporary visas are an important labour pool. Many of these workers arrived in the US as students and stay on through the H-1B programme.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Virginia reviews diversity rule
The Board of Visitors at Virginia Tech announced last week that it would review the university’s tenure and diversity policies after claims by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education that academic freedom was under threat.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Bong hits better than tequila shots
College leaders have undertaken countless campaigns to reduce binge drinking on their campuses, but a developing grassroots movement calls for an herbal remedy, writes Jack Stripling for Inside Higher Ed. SAFER, a non-profit organisation that supports the reform of marijuana laws, is calling on college presidents to join its cause, arguing that students would be safer taking bong hits than tequila shots.
More on the University World News site


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WORLD ROUND-UP

ITALY: Students die, university damaged in quake
At least eight students have died from the collapse of a dormitory at the University of L’Aquila in central Italy, following a powerful earthquake that struck last Monday, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. The quake caused more than 250 deaths, thousands of injuries and the destruction of much of the city and its university. But the two main science buildings did not collapse, rescue worker Gianluca Ferrini – who is also a geologist at the university – told Chemical & Engineering News.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Top technological universities form alliance
Seven of the world’s top technological universities gathered in Singapore last week to create an alliance to enhance academic exchanges and make better use of technologies to meet global challenges, reports China View.
More on the University World News site

UAE: Arabia and the knowledge gap
Think big. Think global. Spare no expense. That could be the motto for an ambitious effort by the United Arab Emirates to close the knowledge gap with the West and eventually restore Arab learning to its former glory, writes Bernd Debusmann for The Great Debate, a Reuters blog. Headlines from Dubai, the second-largest and most flamboyant of the seven emirates that make up the country, have been dominated by the bursting of a spectacular property bubble and an exodus of foreigners who lost their jobs as the global recession slowed down the economy. One thing that is not slowing – an education drive without parallel in the Arab world.
More on the University World News site

US: Scrutiny and standards for branch campuses
The growing trend of North American colleges creating branches abroad threatens to erode the quality of higher education and to undercut the rights of faculty members, according to a statement issued last week by the American Association of University Professors and the Canadian Association of University Teachers, writes Scott Jaschik in Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

US: Campus still split after jury sides with professor
A judge has yet to decide whether Ward L Churchill, the controversial former University of Colorado professor, will get his job back. But on the campus in Boulder, Colorado, some have already made up their minds, writes Dan Frosch in The New York Times. A Denver jury recently determined that Churchill had been wrongfully dismissed because of his political views, though he was awarded only $1 in damages.
More on the University World News site

UK: Full universities will turn away thousands
Up to 50,000 sixth-formers will be denied places at university this year because of a surge in applications combined with a freeze in undergraduate places, writes Joanna Sugden in The Times. Vice-chancellors and the head of the admissions service warned last week of a looming crisis, with many popular courses already full. Nearly one in 10 applicants could be left without places at a time of bleak employment prospects for school-leavers.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Universities hit by lack of income
Already cash-strapped universities have suffered a calamitous AUD$800 million (US$569) loss in investment, more than twice the previous forecast, Universities Australia has warned, reports Guy Healy in The Australian. The loss imperils renewal of student services, teaching quality and universities’ hopes of aiding national recovery, UA says.
More on the University World News site

UK: Warning over A* for admissions
Top universities risk undermining confidence by using the new A* A-level grade for admissions, a minister has warned, reports BBC News. England’s Higher Education Minister David Lammy said universities might unfairly reject pupils whose schools failed to predict accurately they may get an A*. The A* grade will be awarded for the first time in 2010 for marks over 90%.
More on the University World News site

EGYPT: Cairo university in US ‘spy’ furore
A series of newspaper articles published in the past week by one of Cairo’s most popular daily newspapers has given rise to suspicions that the American University in Cairo, or AUC, one of Egypt’s most prestigious universities, is acting as a proxy for the US Department of Defense, writes Matt Bradley for The National.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Cancel admissions of diplomats, government says
The Indian government has asked all universities and higher education institutions to cancel the admissions of all foreign diplomats who are pursuing higher education studies, reports the Daily Times. “Any foreign diplomat wishing to pursue higher studies in any university must give up diplomatic visa and instead obtain student visa,” said a notification issued by the University Grants Commission last week.
More on the University World News site

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