Tuesday, 19 May 2009

University World News 0076 - 17th May 2009


A global view of the key issues confronting higher education

Reports from the Frontier is the first in a planned series of electronic books to be published by University World News. The initial volume comprises eight chapters that range from the impact of the global financial crisis on universities, declining funding, and the Bologna process, to women in higher education, international rankings and e-learning.

The 337-page e-book includes an index listing the chapters and article headings, and is available as a special offer to University World News readers. To see the contents page and to order your copy click here

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Swine flu epidemic spreads
Geoff Maslen
More than a third of foreign students studying in Mexico's universities have fled the country as teams of researchers work around the globe on the rapidly spreading virus first known as swine flu but now called the type-A H1N1 virus. China, with the world's biggest population, last week became the latest country to report that a student recently returned from the US was its first confirmed case.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Academic migration no easy ride
John Gerritsen
A range of changes await academics who move countries – different languages, different cultures, new environs. But no matter where they go in the world, there is one thing they are unlikely to escape and that’s the neoliberal audit culture that underpins university management.
Full report on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Dispute over foreign students
David Jardine
An inter-ministerial battle has broken out over the number of foreign students taking up places in the country’s university medical faculties. The row involves the Ministry of National Education and the Heath Ministry with the Health Minister claiming the number of foreign medical students disadvantages Indonesians.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Billions more for universities – but when?
Geoff Maslen
Before the government handed down its budget last week, its spin-merchants had persuaded the nation’s higher education leaders they could expect little. So when the money appeared to be gushing towards them last Tuesday they were overjoyed and only later did they realise it would be years before they saw the flood of cash – if then.
Full report on the University World News site

FINLAND: Reform law to be amended
Ian Dobson
Aspects of a new law to reform Finland’s university sector will have to be amended because they were judged as being unconstitutional. As reported in University World News, Finland's Constitutional Committee has now examined the draft Act and will require some changes before the law can go to parliament.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Sarkozy rejects retreat on university reforms
Jane Marshall
As France's strike by lecturers and researchers passed its 15th week, it looked possible that students' examinations could be postponed until September. But President Nicolas Sarkozy rejected any government retreat on the planned reforms, despite a call by university presidents for a moratorium; and the national coordination of universities reaffirmed its determination to continue the protests and reiterated that withdrawal of the reforms was "necessary to re-establish conditions for dialogue".
Full report on the University World News site

CENTRAL ASIA: Support promises life-long learning
Nick Holdsworth
Putting Central Asia’s vocational schools at the centre of life-long learning – taking them beyond traditional roles and into an innovative and more expansive future – is at the heart of a new European Training Foundation programme launched earlier this month in Turin.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: An MSc to stop building collapse?
Bill Holdsworth
Redundancies among engineers in recession-ravaged countries have been on the rise as major infrastructure projects, many related to practical ways and means to reduce the impacts of climate change, were put on hold. But a fight back is happening as national governments and technical universities across the world are seeking to improve student numbers in degree courses in the fields of environmental, energy, electronics, transport and construction engineering with all its many facets.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Politics or culture?
Makki Marseilles
Two major events monopolise the interest of large sections of the Greek academic community, politicians and the wider public this time of the year, each for their own particular reasons. They are student elections throughout the country’s higher education institutions and the Students Week at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Leaders fail education’s needs
Primarashni Gower
African leaders lack the political will to make education a priority. While the continent has resources and skills, it does not have the willpower to have education on the top of the agenda, N igeria”s University of Ilorin Vice-chancellor Professor Is-haq Oloyede said during his inauguration as the new President of the Association of African Universities.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Call to prevent sector collapse
Academics and student leaders have called on the government to implement educational and political reforms to attract much needed donor funding which could save the education sector from collapse.
Full report on the University World News site


GERMANY: Humboldt award to boost research
Michael Gardner
The first eight Alexander von Humboldt Professorships were awarded in Berlin by Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan and Humboldt Foundation President Helmut Schwarz last Thursday week. The new Humboldt Professorship, Germany’s most highly-endowed research prize, is aimed at giving excellent researchers from around the world the opportunity to work in Germany on a long-term basis.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Agricultural institutions must improve
Radical changes need to be made to curricula at agricultural institutions of higher learning in Africa, a recent survey has concluded. The survey report also calls on universities to lobby for funds to support facilities and improve practical teaching and learning.
Full report on the University World News site


US: First clues to pandemic not medical
Health authorities could get more warning of emerging pandemics from internet hits and pharmacy sales, rather than official notifications of disease from health practitioners, two researchers suggest.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Brain hard at work when daydreaming
Goofing off might give you a rest, but the same is not true of the brain – new research shows brain areas associated with complex problem solving are highly active while we daydream.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Rules proposed to save coral reefs
Connections between coral reefs are among six measures an international team of scientists has suggested governments should adopt in order to save the endangered ecosystems from destruction. They launched their proposal at the World Ocean Conference 2009 in Manado, Indonesia, last week.
Full report on the University World News site

UNILATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Over-eating alone explains obesity epidemic
The rise in obesity in the United States since the 1970s is virtually all due to increased food intake, a public health expert at Deakin University in Melbourne has revealed. Professor Boyd Swinburn worked with researchers from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the US to determine how much of the obesity epidemic was caused by excess calorie intake and how much by reductions in physical activity.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Dirt poor PhDs live below breadline
Rebecca Smith
In the last quarter of 2008, a significant group of Australians was living below the poverty line. For a single person, this meant living on less than A$415.06 a week. These people were working full-time 40 hours a week, and probably much more. They received no employer superannuation and weren't entitled to concessions or pensions. Who were they? Illegal migrant workers? Sweatshop employees unaware of their rights? No – they were some of Australia's best and brightest minds: PhD students.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Students benefit from online chat room
A. R. Mubaraka, A. Rohdeb and P. Pakulski*
The social environment prevailing within higher education institutions has seen many changes in recent years. Information technological tools such as internet chat rooms could be one of the cheapest and student-friendly tools universities could use to meet the social and psychological needs of their students.
Full report on the University World News site


Last week’s article by Dr John Richard Schrock, No jobs for online degrees, drew a strong reaction. We publish two responses in this edition, along with Dr Schrock’s reply, and others can be seen as comments with the original web story.
See the reaction on the University World News site


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SOUTH AFRICA: Universities of shame
South Africa’s universities are so rife with racism that all students must in future study a compulsory course on ‘Africanness’, reports Rowan Philip in the Sunday Times. This is one of the recommendations of a government report into discrimination in higher education launched after the emergence last year of a video of white University of the Free State students forcing black cleaners to run and drink urine.
More on the University World News site

JAPAN: MBAs on the rise, firms not convinced
In Japan, it has never been easier to find an MBA programme, say Hiroko Tahiro and Ian Rowley in Business Week. Twenty years ago, only a few universities offered business administration courses, so most aspiring students headed to the US to study. Even as business school degrees gained in popularity around the world, the number of domestic courses edged up only slowly. However, in the last five years the number of Japanese universities with business schools has more than doubled, to 55.
More on the University World News site

KOREA: Business schools go global
Under a campaign to globalise curriculums, staff, and ways of thinking by students, top universities in the country have rebuilt their programmes by modelling themselves largely on leading business schools in the US, writes Moon Lhlwan in Business News. "Globalisation is our new mission," says Jang Hasung, dean of Korea University’s business school.
More on the University World News site

UK: Bristol to get Rough Guides archive
A treasure trove of material relating to the groundbreaking Rough Guides series of travel books has been given to the University of Bristol by the series’ founder Mark Ellingham, an English graduate of the University, the university announced this week. The collection was assembled and kept by his mother, Barbara Ellingham, who died last year.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: The Japanese emperor’s fish
Can Tho University, in the Mekong Delta, recognised a scientific research project written by the Japanese Emperor Akihito on a special type of fish – a goby – which originated from the Mekong Delta. As Prince Akihito, he began his doctoral thesis in 1976 on the different types of fish in south Vietnam, writes Tien Trinh in ThanhnienNews.com.
More on the University World News site

UK: Poet withdraws from professorial race
The Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott has withdrawn from the election to become professor of poetry at Oxford University after "low tactics" were used to smear his campaign. Anonymous letters were sent to more than 100 Oxford professors detailing an allegation of s exual harassment made against the poet by a former student in 1982, writes Genevieve Roberts in The Independent.
More on the University World News site

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