Sunday, 21 June 2009

University World News 0081 - 21st June 2009

INDIA: Scandal leads to university review
Raghavendra Verma
India’s newly re-elected Congress Party-led government has been rocked by a higher education scandal that has forced the new Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal to take action. After a meeting with University Grants Commission officials, Sibal ordered the so-called ‘deemed university status’ awarded to 125 tertiary education institutions be reviewed, with all pending requests to assume this status be shelved.
Full report on the University World site

CANADA: Phone-calling politician under attack
Philip Fine
A Canadian granting agency will review its support for an academic conference on the Middle East following a call from a federal cabinet minister. The review decision was made after a letter-writing campaign to the politician’s office by B’Nai Brith Canada, which claimed the conference’s programme was anti-Israel. But when Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear later phoned the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council asking it to consider a second peer review of the conference’s application to verify it met the funding criterion, there were calls for his resignation.
Full report on the University World site

ITALY-LIBYA: New strategic partnership
Wagdy Sawahel
In a bid to promote knowledge-based economic development, Italy and Libya have launched a strategic partnership in higher education, science and technology. The launch occurred during the historic first visit of Libyan leader Muammar Kadhafi to Rome earlier this month.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Record funding for higher education
Michael Gardner
Despite its most severe economic crisis since World War II, Germany’s federal and state governments have sealed a funding agreement for higher education and research worth a total of €18 billion. The money is to be spent over a 10-year period and represents the largest support measure the country has seen.
Full report on the University World site

ISRAEL: Wage agreement ends Open University strike
Helena Flusfeder
Students at Israel’s Open University went back to the classroom – and to their distance learning via the internet – last week following a seven-week strike, after academic staff reached an agreement with management over employment conditions and a collective wage settlement.
Full report on the University World site

EUROPE: New ways of financing higher education
Alan Osborn
University funding in many European countries has changed markedly in recent years, largely moving from a line item budget system where public funds are allocated on the basis of certain functions – such as human resources, facilities and specific projects – to schemes where governments provide lump sums a university can use as it chooses. But where next?
Full report on the University World site

NEW ZEALAND: Tertiary study more affordable
John Gerritsen*
Years of restrictions on fee rises mean New Zealand’s tertiary education system is now more affordable for students than it was at the start of the decade, a new study shows.
Full report on the University World site

FINLAND: Radical changes for universities
Ian R Dobson*
The Finnish parliament has voted for the most radical set of reforms of the nation’s university system in several decades. Despite a couple of glitches on the way to the parliament, the new act was passed by 168 votes to 16, with the only party-wide opposition coming from Vasemmistoliitto, the Left Alliance.
Full report on the University World site


Australian medical scientist Professor John Hearn has been nominated chief executive of the Worldwide Universities Network, a partnership of 16 research-led universities from Europe, North America, South East Asia and Australia.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Universities advised on pandemic
Britain’s Higher Education Funding Council has issued guidelines for further and higher education institutions following the World Health Organisation’s decision to increase its influenza pandemic alert level to ‘6’. This means there is now evidence of increased and sustained human to human transmission of the swine flu virus across a number of global regions.
Full report on the University World News site

BENIN: Higher education in crisis
Wagdy Sawahel
Higher education in the West African nation of Benin is in crisis because of increasing demands from prospective students while internal and external resources are dwindling. An evaluation of the system, aimed at strengthening higher education, will begin this month and should be completed next February.
Full report on the University World site

EUROPE: International educators meet in Madrid
The European Association for International Education has published the programme for its 21st annual conference in Madrid from 16-23 September. Connecting Continents is expected to attract more than 3,000 international educators at the administrative and faculty levels. The conference will have more than 100 sessions, 35 workshops and several key plenary sessions.
Full report on the University World site

NEW ZEALAND: Uni-research institute merger abandoned
Cost, risk and the economic recession have combined to sink a proposed merger between a university and a government-owned research institute. New Zealand’s smallest university – land-based industry specialist Lincoln University – announced earlier this year it would seek to merge with AgResearch, a Crown research institute specialising in agricultural research.
Full report on the University World site


IRAN: Post-election violence spreads to universities
Jonathan Travis*
Violence has spread from Tehran to the outer provinces and several universities have reported clashes between students and Iranian security forces, United Press International reports. Chancellor of Shiraz University, Mohammad Hadi Sadeghi, resigned from his post last Wednesday after riot police stormed a library and fired tear gas inside. More than 100 students were reportedly arrested.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World site


GLOBAL: Invest now in R&D to profit from the crisis
Alan Osborn
The world economic crisis has already begun to affect innovation and research in the better-off countries, but this may not be all bad news says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the association of the world’s 30 leading economies.
Full report on the University World site

SWITZERLAND: International business skills course
Alan Osborn
A Swiss university is offering a course designed to train professionals for careers in international organisations and agencies.
Full report on the University World site

FRANCE: Trophies for leading management courses
Jane Marshall
International business school rankings producer SMBG-Eduniversal has announced that Dauphine University, Paris, received the greatest number of accolades at its 2009 Trophées de la Pédagogie awarded this month for France’s best masters-level management-related studies .
Full report on the University World site

NEW ZEALAND: Pregnant women disease treatment
Leah Germain
New research may lead to the early detection of preeclampsia, a condition that threatens eight million pregnant women’s livers and kidneys worldwide each year, says a study released by the University of Auckland.
Full report on the University World site


DENMARK: Great gains for Danes
Luke Slattery*
Radiating from Denmark’s handsome capital, Copenhagen, is a relaxed and civic-minded optimism that dispels all thoughts of “the brooding Dane”. This tiny nation of 5.1 million souls stands tall in the ranks of the knowledge economies but nobody seems to know how or why.
Full report on the University World site


The two articles below were first published in International Higher Education (Number 56, Summer 2009), the journal of the Boston College Center for International Higher Education in the US.

INDIA: Time for a serious higher education rethink
Santosh Mehrotra*
Barely 11% of the relevant age group were enrolled in higher education in India in 2007. The Indian state has been so under-invested in education as a whole since independence in 1947, that higher education was bound to arrive at this juncture. During the 11th-plan period (2007-2012) the objective is to increase the enrolment rate to 15%. The government of India has raised allocations for higher and technical education to five times the allocation made during the preceding five-year plan period. However, major constraints remain toward achieving this otherwise laudable objective.
Full article on the University World News site

BRAZIL: Student quotas – the policy debate
Simon Schwartzman*
The Brazilian Congress is discussing a bill requiring federal higher education institutions to introduce a 50% quota for poor, non-white applicants who are public school graduates. The bill addresses the issue that these students lack the opportunity to attend the best, mostly private, secondary schools and are disadvantaged when they sit for the entrance examinations of the top public universities in the country.
Full article on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories:

GREECE: Virtual University sails on
Makki Marseilles
No fewer than 17 universities from 14 different countries, including two from Greece, participated in the Euro-Mediterranean University’s convention Unity and Diversity of the European Identities to mark the first anniversary of the virtual university’s foundation.
Full report on the University World News site


SOUTH KOREA: Influx of students poses flu risk
With three additional cases of the H1N1 virus confirmed last week, health officials went on heightened alert for a possible influx of overseas Koreans and foreign students in the coming weeks of the summer vacation, reports the Korea Herald. The latest infection cases involving two Korean students and one Philippine woman from the US have brought the total number of people infected with the disease in the country to 56.
More on the University World News site

EMIRATES: Flu checks on students before vacation
The Higher Supervisory Committee on Combating H1N1, or swine flu, is working on a mechanism to examine Emirati students studying abroad before they return home for summer holidays, writes Abdullah Rasheed for Gulf News.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: 46 students flee Australia attacks
At least 46 Indian students have fled Australia following a rise in the number of violent attacks against the community in the past month and many others are being asked by their worried parents to return home, the editor of a Melbourne-based magazine said last week, reports The Economic Times. In Surat, DNA India reports that nearly a third of students who had been planning to study in Australia are now looking to other countries, especially the UK and US.
More on the University World News site

UK: Education and business hand in hand
Last week, the government created the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which will have responsibility for higher and further education policy. Nobody would disagree that our universities and colleges are as much about the cultural bedrock of our society as the competitiveness of the economy. So why bring them into a department whose core remit is Britain's economic development? asks Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, in The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

US: Funding squeeze pushes university presses to brink
Chancellor Michael Martin doesn't question the prestige the Louisiana State University Press brings to his school, with Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction and poetry, tomes on Southern history and culture and other noted works to its credit, writes Kevin McGill for Associated Press. What it doesn't bring in is revenue, and like cash-strapped colleges across the US, the university is getting tired of propping up its press.
More on the University World News site

US: “Unequivocal” warming will change lives
Climate change is already reshaping the United States, according to a new federal report that predicts global warming could have serious consequences for how Americans live and work, write Lauren Morello and Climatewire for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: US$400 million to build world-class universities
‘New model’, ‘high-quality’ and ‘quick access to international standard’ were phrases used by Tran Thi Ha, Director of the University Education Department in the Ministry of Education and Training, when talking about plans to build four world-class universities, reports VietNamNet Bridge.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Government promises innovation boost
South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology will focus on supporting the creation of jobs through innovation, research and development, writes Audra Mahlong for ITWeb. Director-general Phil Mjwara said support would continue for programmes that promoted innovation in small and medium enterprises, research and development in the private and public sectors, and use of space science and technology for land use and disaster monitoring.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH KOREA: Universities declare admissions reform
The presidents of four-year universities in Korea have issued a joint declaration on reforming the university admissions system by doing away with the grades-oriented admissions culture, reports JoongAng Daily. This is the first time the heads of 200 universities have presented a unified front on reform of admissions policies.
More on the University World News site

TURKEY: 1.3 million students sit for entrance exam
The Student Selection Exam (ÖSS), required for acceptance into universities throughout Turkey, was held last weekend for the final time in its current format. A total of 1,349,423 students left home early in the morning last Sunday to take the ÖSS, which began at 09h30 throughout the country as well as in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, reports Today’s Zaman.
More on the University World News site

US: Colleges with at-risk students face penalties
The increasing push by federal and state governments alike to tie financial support for colleges to their success in retaining and graduating students concerns officials at institutions with large numbers of students who are from low-income backgrounds or are the first in their families to go to college, writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

US: Failing grade on alcohol
Amid the hubbub surrounding colleges' attempts to curb excessive drinking on college campuses, one surprising finding has come to light: drinking-related deaths have actually increased, write Ben Eisen and Stephanie Lee for Inside Higher Ed. The number of alcohol-related unintentional injury deaths among college-age students between 18 and 24 rose from 1,440 in 1998 to 1,825 in 2005, according to a study released last week.
More on the University World News site

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