Sunday, 9 August 2009

University World News 0088 - 9th August 2009

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: 'Soft power' China creates new language centres
Geoff Maslen
The Middle Kingdom's "soft power" approach to international relations continues with the planned establishment of new Chinese national education centres at universities in Australia, Europe and the US. The University of Melbourne announced last week that the first national Chinese Teacher Training Centre would be based at its graduate school of education with others planned for Europe and the US. The university says the centre will develop Australian expertise "in the unique aspects of teaching Chinese and enhance the delivery of the teaching of Chinese in schools".
Full report on the University World News site:

UK: MPs infuriate universities
Diane Spencer
Just as the British Parliament and universities were settling into their long summer break, an all-party select committee report published last Sunday roused MPs and academics from torpor. The committee accused universities of "defensive complacency" and called for a change of culture at the top. The report, Students and Universities, has infuriated the higher education sector.
Full report on the University World News site:

UK: Student dissatisfaction grows
David Jobbins
For the first time in the five-year history of Britain's National Student Survey, the overall satisfaction of English final-year students with their university experience has fallen.
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FRANCE: New alliance to coordinate energy research
Jane Marshall
A new energy research organisation has been established to coordinate and improve efficiency in the sector nationally and to contribute to European research, announced Valérie Pécresse, Minister for Higher Education and Research, and Jean-Louis Borloo, Minister for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: The real economic return from foreign students
Geoff Maslen
In a special article placed on our webpage last Wednesday, we reported that western countries attracting hundreds of thousands of foreign students each year often claim they contribute billions to their national economies. But a paper published exclusively on our website demonstrates how inaccurate such claims can be unless the calculations take account of a range of factors, including the income students earn while working in the country where they are studying.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Tackling the India crisis
In an effort to improve ties with India following a spate of widely-reported attacks on Indian students, federal Education Minister Julia Gillard announced on Friday that the government would provide more than $8 million to fund a new Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne. The announcement came during a visit to Australia by India's Minister for External Affairs, SM Krishna, who was meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Cairns at the Pacific Islands Forum. Krishna is in Australia to hold talks with government ministers and police authorities.
Full report on the University World News site :

NEW ZEALAND: Universities help fund student job scheme
John Gerritsen*
Despite ongoing complaints about inadequate government funding, New Zealand's universities have agreed to find $4 million (US$2.66 million) to provide research-related jobs for students during the Southern Hemisphere summer.
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ZIMBABWE: Top university reopens, but no new students
The University of Zimbabwe finally reopened last week after an eight-month delay - but Vice-chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura ruled out a fresh intake of students this year. He said students who enrolled last November had not attended lectures due to the university's closure since January, and that it could not afford or cope with two groups of first-year students.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA: Women key to food security, scientists say
African women scientists have urged leaders on the continent and policy-makers in the United States to place women at the heart of efforts to tackle poverty and hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa and achieve food security. Their call was made during a visit to Kenyan research facilities by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week.
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GLOBAL: Spain-UN aid small island development
Wagdy Sawahel
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Spain have launched a joint US$2.8 million initiative to boost access to technology among the world's small islands.
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GERMANY: Kudos for the TREE project
The Berlin-based TREE project, otherwise known as the Transfer Renewable Energy & Efficiency project and run by the Renewables Academy, has won acclaim. This follows the group's recognition as an official Decade Project by a national committee jury of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The jury commended the project's innovative approach combined with its international reach.
Full report on the University World News site:


US: Scientists track malaria to its source
The origin of malaria has been unclear for years but now researchers have identified what they believe is the original source of the disease - a parasite found in chimpanzees in equatorial Africa. University of California Irvine biologist Francisco Ayala and colleagues think the deadly parasite was transmitted to humans from chimpanzees as recently as 5,000 years ago - and possibly through a single mosquito, according to genetic analyses.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Fish management starting to work
An international assessment of fish stocks around the world shows attempts to reduce over-fishing are starting to work. A two-year study by scientists examined trends in fish abundance, the proportion of fish taken out of the sea and the means that managers used to limit fishing and rebuild depleted fish stocks.
Full report on the University World News site:

EUROPE: Millions for space research
The European Commission has invited proposals for research into space science, exploration and earth observation in its latest call under the commission's Space Theme.
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GREECE: Modern Greek at Cambridge in danger
Makki Marseilles
Lack of funds may force the Modern Greek section at Cambridge University to close, despite the fact it has been providing high quality studies in the modern Greek language and literature to undergraduate, masters and PhD students for the past 70 years.
Full report on the University World News site:


AUSTRALIA: Research universities and Australia's place in world
Ian Chubb*
We must never be content with outcomes that do not include some that are comparable with the world's great universities. I would also argue that this must mean purposeful differentiation and respect for the differences that evolve. Other countries achieve what they do with structural differences and focused funding.
Full report on the University World News site:


In response to Elayne Clift's commentary on online teaching, the University of Sydney's Mary-Helen Ward says things are not as bad as might appear:

Elayne, I'm sorry your experience was so negative. But some of this could have been avoided. For example, people who teach online are no more obliged to interact with their students 24 hours a day, seven days a week then people who teach face-to-face.
Full letter on the University World News site:

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

AUSTRALIA: A cure for modern city ailments
Ben Landau and Brittany Veitch, two industrial design graduates from RMIT University in Melbourne, have launched a series of wearable couture jewellery called Bio-Accessories. The inventions mask the unpleasant sights, sounds and scents of the city in an attempt to bring some of the natural world back into city living. One creation includes a headpiece with a bird perched on a twig and a wooden mask with herbs growing in front.
Full report on the University World News site:

FRANCE: Search for remnants of French culture
A language professor from the University of Western Australia is researching remnants of French culture in ex-colonies throughout the world - in the process, sampling croissants and coffee in unlikely places.
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US: Humourist speaks out on college censorship
Dave Barry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning humour columnist and author of more than 30 books, is no stranger to critics trying to censor his writing. The nationally syndicated humourist has written some of the nation's funniest columns - and with the First Amendment on his side, he's been winning the battle for free speech for over 25 years.
Full report on the University World News site:

US: Preventing hazing on National Gordie Day
Thousands of US students will take part in a National Gordie day next month in conjunction with National Hazing Prevention Week which is sponsored by . The aim is to spread awareness about the dangers of alcohol and hazing, and commemorate the lives of the 5,000 under-age students who die every year from alcohol related incidents.
Full report on the University World News site:


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TURKEY: 52 more people charged in coup plot
A Turkish prosecutor on Wednesday indicted 52 more people on charges of plotting a coup in an expansion of a case that has pitted the pro-Islamist government against the secularist establishment, reports Reuters in The Washington Post. The suspects include university rectors and the former head of the Higher Education Council.
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THAILAND: Top seven to become research universities
Seven Thai universities that appeared in the Top 500 of the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings in 2008 have qualified to become national research universities, reports Wannapa Phetdee for The Nation. The scheme to develop Thailand's leading institutions has been approved by cabinet and the Education Ministry will spend Bhat 12 billion - a third of a billion US$ - on it.
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US: Illinois manipulated admissions, panel finds
Top officials at the University of Illinois developed a sophisticated shadow admissions process for applicants who were supported by politicians, donors and other prominent sponsors, a state commission set up to investigate irregularities at the institution concluded on Thursday, writes Susan Saulny for The New York Times.
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US: How much do colleges really teach students?
Until now, students shopping for a college couldn't get answers to some of their most important questions, such as "How much do students learn at this school?" That finally might finally be changing. A growing number of colleges are posting results of tests that gauge how much their students learn as undergraduates, writes Kim Clark for US News & World Report.
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US: New GI Bill becomes law
A much-expanded Post-9/11 GI Bill is newly law in America, writes Elizabeth Redden of Inside Higher Ed. Marking the milestone in a ceremony at George Mason University last week, President Barack Obama said: "This is not simply a debt that we are repaying to the remarkable men and women who have served - it is an investment in our own country."
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INDIA: Government plans 14 innovation universities
India's Human Resource Development Ministry plans to set up 14 "innovation universities" from 2010 to build "disciplinary focuses" and push research and development, reports Business Standard. Minister Kapil Sibal also said last week that India had set a target of at least 30% of school leavers making it to college by 2020.
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AUSTRALIA: Racism and attacks put off Indian students
Australia's elite universities are set to pay a high price for the Indian student crisis as middle-class parents, concerned for their children's safety, opt for degree courses in Britain, New Zealand, the United States and Canada, write Matt Wade and Heath Gilmore in the Sydney Morning Herald.
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PAKISTAN: UK is still top student destination
The UK remains the most sought-after destination for Pakistani students even after nine were held and later deported from Britain on suspicion of terrorism earlier this year, according to student visa consultants, reports AsianImage.
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SOUTH AFRICA: University stays open after H1N1 death
Stellenbosch University will not suspend classes or quarantine residences after one of its students died of H1N1 - South Africa's first swine flu death - reports Ruan Muller, 22, who was studying polymer science at the university, died on 28 July.
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SOUTH AFRICA: Training fund for jobless
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has said the government will create a R2.4 billion (US$301 million) fund to help train workers made unemployed by the country's first recession in 17 years, writes Nasreen Seria for Bloomberg.
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ZIMBABWE: Brain drain strategies being developed
The Zimbabwean government is working on strategies to retain skilled manpower, reports The Herald. Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan Mudenge said last week that three committees had been set up to research how to stop the flight of skilled professionals from the country.
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US: New York enrolments highest in 18 years
Summer enrolment in New York's public colleges soared to the highest level in 18 years, officials said, write Joy Resmovits and Carrie Melago for the Daily News. More than 73,000 students are taking courses at City University of New York schools this summer, up almost 3% over last year.
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