Sunday, 27 September 2009

University World News 0094 - 27th September 2009

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

US: Economic crisis slashes US study abroad enrolments
A survey conducted by the Forum on Education Abroad and published this month has shown that one year since the onset of the current global economic crisis, fewer American students are traveling abroad to study. The meltdown has had a negative impact on the education abroad programmes of 66% of 165 organisations that participated in the survey.
Full report on the University World News site:

ICELAND: OECD recovery package urges tuition fees
David Jobbins
The OECD has reinforced its advice to Iceland to consider seriously the introduction of tuition fees at public universities as the country struggles to emerge from economic meltdown.
Full report on the University World News site:

UK: Universities wrangle over fees call from business
David Jobbins
A call from the UK's business leaders for higher tuition fees, commercial interest rates on loans and a halt to higher education expansion threatens to fracture the fragile coalition of the country's 130 vice-chancellors.
Full report on the University World News site :

SWEDEN: Fees for foreign students possible from 2010
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Swedish Government is discussing how and when to introduce tuition fees for students from outside the European Union. Application fees for international students could be charged from next year, and tuition fees of up to SEK80,000 (-8,500 or US$11,500) from 2011.
Full report on the University World News site :

GREECE: Election dispute over numbers
Makki Marseilles
The government and official opposition in Greece are outbidding each other over future spending on education in the run-up to the general election on 4 October. Party managers are engaged in a relentless battle to convince the electorate of the wisdom of their policies - but the numbers are merciless.
Full report on the University World News site :

IRELAND: No voluntary pay cut for university leaders
John Walshe
Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe has criticised Ireland's seven university heads - who earn up to EUR270,000 (nearly US$400,000) a year - for not taking a voluntary pay cut. He said he was disappointed with their response to a request first made six months ago when he urged them in a radio interview to "show the way" by volunteering to take a salary reduction.
Full report on the University World News site:

FINLAND: Tax officials capitalise on university reform
Ian Dobson*
The Finnish Parliament passed a new University Act in July, to come into force from 1 January 2010. The key aims of the reform include freeing up the system and preparing the scene for an 'entrepreneurial culture'. Most aspects of the reform have been widely supported - but no one reckoned with taxation bureaucrats from the Ministry of Finance.
Full report on the University World News site:

MALAYSIA: Knowledge hub in progress
Wagdy Sawahel
Malaysia is developing an education city that it hopes will be partially operational by 2013. Located in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia, the 129-hectare EduCity could eventually have eight universities, each with one spec ialised faculty, developed in two phases under a 10-year plan.
Full report on the University World News site:

SYRIA: University-industry alliance to be established
Wagdy Sawahel
Syria is to establish a new fund to support priority research, a university-industry alliance and an observatory for monitoring science progress, as part of its efforts to promote the development of an innovation-based economy through higher education reform.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA REPORTS

AFRICA: New initiative to strengthen research
Dave Buchere
The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) , based in Kenya, has received a grant of 420 million Kenyan shillings (US$5.65million) to strengthen research capacity in African universities. The funding under the African Institutions Initiative, from the UK's Wellcome Trust, aims to foster the development of vibrant research hubs at African universities through a collaborative doctoral training model in public health and population studies.
Full report on the University World News site:

EGYPT: Swine flu prompts shift to distance learning
Ashraf Khaled
With the new academic year set to begin on 3 October, Egyptian universities are planning a shift to distance learning in an effort to prevent the spread of the swine flu virus on campuses. Television and the internet will be used extensively to broadcast lectures to students in many of the country's 35 public and private universities, officials said.
Full report on the University World News site:

KENYA: Government acts to avert lecturer strike
Dave Buchere
Kenya's government has set aside two billion Shillings (US$26.3 million) for public lecturers' salaries in a bid to forestall a planned strike - at all of the country's seven state universities - over a delay in implementing a 15% salary increase.
Full report on the University World News site:

NIGERIA: Shift toward private universities
Tunde Fatunde
The eight-week trade union strike in N igeria's public universities has compromised the early conduct of entrance examinations for the next academic session, which starts in a few weeks. Private universities, which do not allow trade unionism, have experienced a dramatic increase in the number of candidates applying for admission. But only students from middle and upper class families who can afford the high fees are applying - including the children of staff in strike-crippled public universities.
Full report on the University World News site:

NAMIBIA: Free ICT courses for civil servants
Moses Magadza
The University of Namibia and Polytechnic of Namibia are partnering with the government to offer free computer literacy courses to civil servants, as the country gears up for greater participation in a knowledge-based global economy. With 75,000 people on its payroll the government, which is funding the initiative, is the biggest employer in this country of two million people.
Full report on the University World News site:

SOUTH AFRICA: Disruptive student protests suspended
Munyaradzi Makoni
Students at the universities of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and Pretoria in South Africa staged a series of demonstrations this month. At Wits students were opposing plans to increase fees, and at Pretoria the call was for political party representation in the students' representative council. At both universities the protests were anything but peaceful.
Full report on the University World News site :

ZAMBIA: Copperbelt expels nine student leaders
The senate of Zambia's Copperbelt University has expelled nine student leaders following violent protests that rocked the institution last month. Students there and at the University of Zambia embarked on demonstrations after the prosecuting authority indicated in July that it would not charge policemen who have shot three students since last year.
Full report on the University World News site:

NEWSBRIEFS

SENEGAL: Stormy run-up to UCAD's new academic year
Tension was high at Senegal's University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) during the run-up to the new academic year, with widespread discontent among the 1,500 lecturers - many of whom were owed payments from last year - reported Wal Fadjri of Dakar. The paper also said a freeze on staff recruitment at the university was leading to an ageing teaching body.
Full report on the University World News site :

MADAGASCAR: Universities to introduce Bologna
The Madagascan Ministry for Higher Education is preparing to start introducing the Bologna process in its universities in the new academic year, reported L'Express de Madagascar of Antananarivo. But at least one university president does not believe the schedule is realistic.
Full report on the University World News site :

BUSINESS

EUROPE: New EU funds for non-animal testing
Leah Germain
A substantial fund of EUR50 million (US$74 million) is being offered to European research teams to develop alternatives to animal testing for cosmetics and related industries.
Full report on the University World News site:

NORTHERN IRELAND: New food safety centre launched
Emma Jackson
A ground-breaking food safety centre will open at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, this month to help local agri-food industries fight for shares of global food markets by underpinning their reputation for high health standards.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA-CHINA: Research harnesses the sun
Emma Jackson
Solar panels have been notoriously expensive, but they could become more affordable because of a partnership between the Australian National University (ANU) and Chinese scientists to create efficient, inexpensive solar cells for commercial use.
Full report on University World News website:

AUSTRALIA: Polymer nanofibres find strength in carbon
Emma Jackson
Researchers at Australia's Deakin University have found a way to strengthen plastic nanofibres, using carbon nanotubes to make them up to 400% stronger than before and possibly leading to new commercial applications.
Full report on University World News website:

FEATURE

GLOBAL: International students: a $100 billion business?
Alan Ruby*
"It is good for the economy" has been one of the public policy mantras for supporting the inflow of international students since the 1980s. Sure, there were lots of other reasons. At the national level, international students were important strategically and diplomatically - fostering global engagement and cross cultural understanding, promoting freedom and democracy and easing tensions between neighbouring countries.
Full report on the University World News site:

HE RESEARCH AND COMMENTARY

GLOBAL: Improving student retention
As a key performance indicator in university quality assurance processes, the retention of students in their studies is an issue of concern worldwide. Implicit in the process of quality assurance is quality improvement. In an article titled "Improving student retention in higher education", published in the latest edition of Australian Universities' Review, authors Glenda Crosling, Margaret Heagney and Liz Thomas examine student retention from a teaching and learning perspective, in terms of approaches that have an impact on students' decisions to continue with or withdraw from their studies. Ways are discussed in which student engagement can be facilitated through teaching and learning programmes.
Full article on the University World News site:

EUROPE: Quality assurance makes significant headway
In its first report on progress in quality assurance in higher education
, the European Commission has pointed to significant developments towards greater transparency and credibility over the past few years. Progress has not only been made in the way universities deal internally with quality assurance, but also on external evaluation of institutions and programmes. Many new national quality assurance agencies have been established and there is increased awareness of European standards and guidelines on quality assurance.
More on the University World News site:

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

UK: 'Mickey Mouse' degrees face funding battle
UK university departments offering so-called 'Mickey Mouse' degrees in subjects such as surf science, golf management and winemaking may face a greater battle for public money under proposals published by funding chiefs on Wednesday, reports Reuters.
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FACEBOOK

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higher education worldwide. More than 1,100 readers have joined. Sign up to the University World News Facebook group to meet and communicate directly with academics and researchers informed by the world's first truly global higher education publication. Click on the link below to visit and join the group.
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WORLD ROUND-UP

EUROPE: EU commissioner set to quit
EU commissioner Jan Figel is expected to formally resign after he was elected leader of an opposition party in his native Slovakia, writes Martin Banks for The Parliament. He could hand in his resignation letter to commission president Jose Manuel Barroso after his election last weekend as leader of Slovakia's Christian Democratic Movement.
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AUSTRALIA: Home-grown rankings gain support
Support is growing across Australia's higher education sector for an independent national university ranking system that would be more comprehensive than the Shanghai Jiao Tong survey of world universities, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian. A national ranking would complement new performance indicators being developed by the federal government.
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TAIWAN: Chinese students to be allowed next September
Taiwan is likely to allow Chinese students to attend its universities from September 2010, a few months later than expected, Deputy Minister of Education Lin Tsong-ming said last weekend, reports the Central News Agency.
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MALAYSIA: Asian universities court students nearby
Attending a university overseas has long been an aspiration for many Chinese, writes Liz Gooch for The New York Times. "My father said: 'Why do you want to stay in China? Open your mind, look at the world,'" said Bao Qianqian, a 25-year-old woman from the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo. The predictable choices for her might have been Australia and Britain, where her two sisters have studied. But Bao decided on a destination that would keep her closer to home and cost substantially less, while giving her the chance to improve her English and converse with Chinese speakers. She chose Malaysia, where she is a third-year business student at HELP University College.
More on the University World News site:

US: Simpler student aid process opens access for poor
More low-income students would make it to college in America if changes were made to streamline the complicated financial aid process, according to a ground-breaking study released last week by researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Stanford University School of Education, University of Toronto and National Bureau of Economic Research, reports ScienceDaily.
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US: Open letter on open access
The presidents of 57 liberal arts colleges released an open letter on Tuesday endorsing the Federal Research Access Act of 2009, a bill aimed at increasing public access to academic research that is funded by the federal government, writes Steve Kolowich for Inside Higher Ed. The bill would require certain federal agencies - those that fund more than $100 million in extramural research annually - to require peer-reviewed journals that publish that research to make it available for free on the web after six months.
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SOUTH AFRICA: Universities running out of housing
Several South African universities are struggling to find sufficient residence accommodation for students and are conceding that the situation has reached crisis levels, reports Monako Dibetle for the Mail & Guardian. They are appealing to the Department of Higher Education and Training for assistance, as they believe this problem affects students' academic performance.
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SAUDI ARABIA: Elite science and technology university opens
Saudi Arabia has dug into its oil-fuelled coffers to set up a new research university, a multi-billion dollar coed venture built on the promise of scientific freedom in a region where a conservative interpretation of Islam has often been blamed for stifling innovation, reports Tarek El-Tablawy for Associated Press.
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ALBANIA: Students flocking to private universities
As students in Albania head back to universities, statistics show that more of them are choosing private institutions, reports Manjola Hala for the Southeast European Times.
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PHILIPPINES: Six law schools to be closed
The Commission on Higher Education in the Philippines has decided to close down six law schools across the country because not one of their graduates has passed the bar exams in the last 10 years, commission chairman Emmanuel Angeles said last week, reports Philip Tubeza for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
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THAILAND: Rankings or assessments?
The recent hoopla over university 'rankings' was ill-conceived because the focus should have been on self-improvement, not which university was better than another, writes Vasu Thirasak for the Bankok Post.
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Sunday, 20 September 2009

University World News 0093 - 20th September 2009

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GERMANY: Government under fire for low OECD marks
Michael Gardner
The German government has come under fire from the country's education and science union for another poor showing in the OECD's annual Education at a Glance report. The report shows concern that Germany is not turning out enough graduates, a factor that could prove crucial in efforts to recover from the present economic crisis.
Full report on the University World News site:

CANADA: Increasing student aid does little to boost graduation
Philip Fine
Increasing student grants seems to offer governments a means of attracting more students to university but it does little to help increase the numbers who graduate, according to a just-released Canadian study.
Full report on the University World News site:

FRANCE: Paris prepares for annual student invasion
Jane Marshall
As the new academic year approaches, the student support agencies of Paris are preparing for the annual influx of international students to Europe's biggest university town - where more than one in five students are from abroad.
Full report on the University World News site :

US: New growth in domestic graduate student enrolment
Sarah King Head
For the first time in four years, the growth in domestic graduate students enrolling in higher education was higher than for international students. It was also the highest growth rate since 2002. According to a new study, 4.7% more American students entered the graduate sector between 2007 and 2008, compared with a 3.3% increase in international students - reversing a trend that had seen international student enrolments growing at a greater rate than those of domestic students since 2004.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Universities hit by widespread strikes
Geoff Maslen
Australia's main higher education union called a 24-hour strike last Wednesday at 16 universities across the nation as part of a campaign to obtain improved conditions, including salary rises of up to 6%.
Full report on the University World News site:

NEW ZEALAND: Universities raise student levies
Rory MacKinnon
Restricted by government limits on their course fees, New Zealand's universities are looking to increase their income from another source - student service levies.
Full report on the University World News site:

SOUTH AFRICA: University satellite launched
Alison Moodie
South Africa's horizons in space were expanded last week with the launch of the country's second - and government's first - satellite. SumbandilaSat took off from Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz rocket. It was designed and developed by staff and students in the engineering faculty at Stellenbosch University, and among other things will be used for experiments.
Full report on the University World News site:

IRELAND: Maternity leave 'cover' for academics curtailed
John Walshe
Irish academics who go on maternity leave will not be replaced, unless there are exceptional circumstances and then only with prior approval. The restriction emerged last week as a government moratorium on appointments across the public sector began to bite in academe. Full report on the University World News site:
Full report on the University World News site:

NEWSBRIEFS

SINGAPORE: Open University aids migrant workers
David Jardine
An imaginative and heartening move by Singapore's Open University is opening educational windows of opportunity for some of the country's migrant labour force. In collaboration with the Indonesian Embassy, the OU is offering pre-degree tuition and four bachelor degree courses to Indonesian domestic workers - a female cohort that often makes the headlines in the city-state for all the wrong reasons.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Good practice guide for colleges
The federal government has published a good practice guide with details of the best performing international college providers in an effort to improve Australia's reputation for offering quality education to foreign students.
Full report on the University World News site:

ACADEMIC FREEDOM

GLOBAL: Academic Freedom: A realistic appraisal
Philip G Altbach
Everyone seems to favour academic freedom. Indeed, if university leaders or ministers of education were asked, they would claim that this privilege is universally practiced. Yet problems concerning academic freedom exist almost everywhere - created by changing academic realities, political pressures, growing commerc ialisation and marketisation of higher education, or legal pressures. Academic freedom needs to be carefully defined so that it can be defended in the global climate of complexity. A new, and probably more delimited, understanding of academic freedom is needed in the age of

US: Neve Gordon's academic freedom

It's not easy to find a country in the Middle East whose universities honour academic freedom as it is known in most Western countries, comments Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors, in Inside Higher Ed. Syria is a police state. Iran has substantially become one. Egypt's security police maintain a chilling presence on campus. The one country that maintains academic freedom is Israel, though of course not in the occupied territories. But the dynamic of debate in the Israeli academy has suddenly changed, and part of the debate is now being conducted in American venues.
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CROATIA: Conference boycott urged over 'plagiarist' chair
Jonathan Travis*
A group of academics is calling on participants to boycott a forthcoming conference in Croatia after it emerged that the chair has a proven history of scientific misconduct, the Times Higher Education has reported.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site:

SCIENCE SCENE

US: Tree and industry gases a dangerous mix
Keith Nuthall
Environmentalists love trees. After all, they pump oxygen into the atmosphere and the rain forest is hailed as the planet's lungs. But American scientists are warning that gases emitted by plants can mix with industrial pollution and create a very unhealthy aerosol - one we breathe that can make us sick.
Full report on the University World News site :

EUROPE: Young researchers must work with companies
Jan Petter Myklebust
A key EU programme for training young researchers now requires private sector involvement and also calls for recognition of training in non-academic institutions.
Full report on the University World News site:

SWEDEN: International stem-cell surgery surprise
Jan Petter Myklebust
Researchers at a conference in Sweden nearly fell off their chairs earlier this month when a Spanish scientist described stem cell-supported surgery that saw a woman's cancerous trachea removed, operated on in another country, and then restored to her.
Full report on the University World News site:

FEATURES

EUROPE: A new Lisbon by another name?
David Haworth
A revival of the European Union's much-lauded but also much-mocked "Lisbon Process" originally launched in 2000 is to be pressed forward by Sweden as president of the EU before the year's end. As before, the aims are ambitious and touch all the right buttons for economic growth in today's world - science, technology and innovation. But big changes are looming and some academics think the whole approach may be misguided.
Full report on the University World News site:

INDONESIA: Top academic supported militarism - book
David Jardine
An Australian academic's book about Indonesia's military reveals the alleged role of a leading academic and university rector in spinning history in favour of militarism and the dictatorship. Nugroho Notosusanto, one-time rector of the University of Indonesia and Minister of Education under Suharto, is the subject.
Full report on the University World News site:

HE RESEARCH AND COMMENTARY

GLOBAL: What defines an international student?
The mobility of students and academics across borders has become big business in recent years, and authorities in receiving countries have become increasingly efficient in tracking and reporting the data surrounding their education-export industries, writes Nick Clark, editor of World Education News & Reviews. Yet, the comparison of international enrolment statistics is somewhat problematic as national agencies collect data in different ways and according to different definitions. This makes statistical comparisons difficult and often inaccurate or misleading.
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UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Professor fired over s exual harassment
A professor who pointed out that his college's s exual harassment policy contained no protection for someone who was falsely accused was later fired - for s exual harassment.
Full report on the University World News site :

FACEBOOK

The Facebook group of University World News is the fastest growing in
higher education worldwide. More than 1,100 readers have joined. Sign up to the University World News Facebook group to meet and communicate directly with academics and researchers informed by the world's first truly global higher education publication. Click on the link below to visit and join the group.
Visit the University World News group on Facebook:

WORLD ROUND-UP

SOUTH KOREA: R&D spending jumped 10% last year
South Korea spent about 34.5 trillion won (US$28 billion) last year on research and development, up 10.2% from the previous year, government data showed last week, reports The Korea Herald. R&D spending now accounts for 3.37% of gross domestic product, placing South Korea sixth among 30 OECD member states.
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US: Top universities launch science news service
Concerned that journalism's economic problems are reducing Americans' understanding of science, medicine and other research, 35 of the nation's top universities - including Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley - last week announced that they will feed their own accounts of discoveries directly to top news sites on the internet, writes Paul Rogers for the Mercury News.
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INDIA: 50 foreign universities may want in
As the Indian government prepares to allow entry of foreign education providers in the higher education sector, about 50 foreign universities - mostly from the US, UK and Australia - have expressed interest in setting up campuses in the country, writes Pallavi Singh for LiveMint & The Wall Street Journal. The universities have approached the Ministry of Human Resource Development in the last three months, a senior official said.
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INDIA: Grants commission opposes reforms
Three months after the Yashpal Committee report and as the Indian government moves to create a National Commission for Higher Education and Research, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has said the Yashpal recommendations "do not appear to be in accordance with the thinking of the framers of our Constitution", reports Akshaya Mukul for The Times of India.
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UK: Higher education funding quangos under scrutiny
A review of all higher education funding agencies was formally announced last week by Lord Mandelson, the UK's First Secretary, reports Melanie Newman for Times Higher Education. In a speech at the London School of Economics, Lord Mandelson said the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is responsible for universities, would "play its part" in public-sector reform.
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ENGLAND: 50,000 students in loan delays
Up to 50,000 students in England face starting university this month without all the grants and loans they expected, writes Angela Harrison for BBC News. The Student Loans Company has struggled to cope with applications and says full payments will be made by late October. But it now says everyone who applied on time should receive at least the 'basic level' loan soon after courses start.
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SAUDI ARABIA: New high-tech university needs autonomy
Saudi Arabia is launching its first co-educational high-tech university, but unless clerical influence is removed the state education system will not move into the modern age, analysts say, writes Ulf Laessing for Reuters. King Abdullah has invited heads of state, business leaders and Nobel laureates to the impending opening of a technology university which has attracted top scientists and is meant to produce Saudi scientists and engineers.
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US: Steep hill to climb
There is widespread alignment among politicians, many policy experts and foundations that support higher education that the United States must drastically increase the proportion of Americans who enrol in and complete college - now a centrepiece of the Obama administration's agenda - writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed. Without significant intervention, a federal study released last week suggests, that common goal will be way out of reach.
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US: Virtual revolution brewing for colleges
Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which 'going to college' means packing up, getting a dorm room and listening to tenured professors, writes Zephyr Teachout for The Washington Post. Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the internet. The business model that sustained private US colleges cannot survive.
More on the University World News site :

MALAYSIA: International students must be qualified
Private universities and colleges have been asked to enrol only qualified international students to avoid being branded as diploma or degree mills, writes Richard Lim for AsiaOne. Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the country should not be a dumping ground for students who could not achieve places elsewhere, and institutions of higher learning should upgrade their academic management systems.
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EGYPT: Swine flu fear closes foreign universities
Egypt has ordered foreign universities and schools to close until 3 October over worries about swine flu, a Health Ministry official said last week, reports AFP. Egyptian universities and schools were due to re-open in the last week of September, but foreign institutions started earlier this month. The government decided to delay the academic year by a week.
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US: Student finds precious gem at Israeli dig
A 2,300-year-old gemstone delicately carved with a portrait of Alexander the Great was discovered by a University of Washington student on an archaeological dig in Israel, a professor at the school says, reports The Seattle Times.
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Sunday, 13 September 2009

University World News 0092 - 13th September 2009

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

AFRICA: Pan-African University to launch in 2010
Munyaradzi Makoni
The Pan-African University, envisaged as a continental network of institutions training postgraduate students and promoting research, is set to open its doors to the first 100 students next February at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. The centre at Stellenbosch, one of five institutions that will host the project, will focus on space sciences.
Full report on the University World News site :

UK: Stout defence of universities
Diane Spencer
Professor Steve Smith, the new president of the vice-chancellors' association Universities UK, has challenged the government to maintain a thriving, strong university sector. "Universities are essential, not optional, for future social and economic success," he told the annual conference of UUK held in Edinburgh last week. His audience included David Lammy, Labour's higher education minister.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: More degrees for quicker recovery - OECD
David Jobbins
The proportion of the population of the most-developed countries with degree-level qualifications has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, according to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development. But the US and the UK are among the developed nations with a slower rate - in the case of the US, an increase of just 1.6% a year over the period 1997-2006.
Full report on the University World News site:

GREECE: Licensing of private colleges postponed
Makki Marseilles
Just hours before the deadline set by the government for assessment of private colleges for a licence to operate in the new academic year, the process has been postponed until further notice - probably for at least three months from now.
Full report on the University World News site:

US: Obama's 2020 target attainable, says Merisotis
David Jobbins
President Obama's $12 billion plan to restore graduation rates in the US to the top of the international league table is attainable despite the fallout from the global financial crisis, the president of the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation says. Jamie Merisotis, who launched the foundation's own initiative earlier this year - to achieve a target of 60% of the US population gaining degree or equivalent qualifications by 2025 - told University World News that the goal is both vital and attainable.
Full report and interview on the University World News site:

US: The liberal lion's legacy to higher education
Sarah King Head
The death of Edward Kennedy on 25 August 2009 represents the end of an era of senatorial lions who sponsored educational reform in the US.
Full report on the University World News site:

EGYPT: Foreign universities to open amid controversy
Ashraf Khaled
With the impending launch of a Japanese university of science and technology in Egypt and a Chinese university in the pipeline, there has been heated debate over whether the country of 80 million people - 40% of whom are believed to live below the poverty line - needs more such institutions. There are currently only two foreign universities in Egypt.
Full report on the University World News site:

NIGERIA: Medical schools in crisis
Tunde Fatunde
Medical academics in Nigeria have expressed concern about falling standards in doctor training. They have complained about ineffective admission policies, inadequate facilities, low remuneration and the brain drain, among other ills - and recommended actions to tackle problems at the country's 33 medical schools and produce quality medical graduates.
Full report on the University World News site:

KENYA: Lecturer strike looms
Dave Buchere
Lecturers at public universities in Kenya have threatened to strike in an attempt to compel the government to implement a 15% salary increase negotiated in June this year. The University Academic Staff Union, or UASU, said members from four of the country's seven public universities had already voted to strike during a series of union meetings.
Full report on the University World News site:

NAMIBIA: First medical school to open next year
Moses Magadza
The senate of the University of Namibia has approved the curriculum for the country's first medical school. This means that Namibia should start training medical doctors from next year, beginning with an intake of 50 students.
Full report on the University World News site:

SWEDEN: THE KNOWLEDGE TRIANGLE

Jan Petter Myklebust reports from a conference convened by the Swedish
government to examine the interaction between education, research and innovation across Europe. The conference was titled "The Knowledge Triangle Shaping the Future of Europe".

"Valley of death" for knowledge transfer
Sweden is marking its six-month presidency of the European Union by taking the initiative on the process of university modernisation and the connection between higher education, research and innovation.
Full report on the University World News site:

European Institute of Technology on track
Leading academics and European officials reinforced the central role and strategy of the European Institute of Technology at the Gothenburg Knowledge Triangle conference convened to mark the Swedish EU presidency.
Full report on the University World News site:

Degree programmes miss career target
Many academic programmes at European universities are not adapted to the needs of the labour market, Ján Figel, the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, told the Gothenburg "Knowledge Triangle" conference.
Full report on the University World News site:

NEWSBRIEFS

EUROPE: Swiss to join Euro-programmes
A plan to give Swiss universities and students access to European Union education programmes, including Erasmus, has been proposed by the European Commission.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: OECD conference on teaching quality
A conference on quality teaching in higher education is being held by the OECD and the Istanbul Technical University on 12-13 October 2009.
Full report on the University World News site:

SOUTH AFRICA: UNESCO chair for Pretoria
Munyaradzi Makoni
University of Pretoria law dean Professor Christof Heyns has been awarded a UNESCO Chair of Education Law, the Paris-based UN agency announced last week. Heyns said he would work to tackle common legal challenges faced by education systems in Africa.
Full report on the University World News site :

GLOBAL: Human rights for historians
The 15th Annual Report of the Network of Concerned Historians, available for download on its website, contains 107 pages of news from 97 countries on issues relating to the intersection of history and human rights, particularly censorship of history and persecution of historians.
Full report on the University World News site:

BUSINESS

COLUMBIA: IFC funds for low-income students
Leah Germain
The World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) is investing US$8 million in Columbia's private higher education sector to promote affordable technical and professional education for the country's low and middle-income students. The funds will help to finance the private Columbian university, Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios (Uniminuto).
Full report on the University World News site :

GLOBAL: New genes may lead to Alzheimer's treatment
Leah Germain
A group of international scientists have pinpointed two genes associated with Alzheimer's disease, a discovery that may lead to new treatments and possible cures for this progressive and degenerative brain disorder.
Full report on the University World News site :

EUROPE: New standard for wireless technology
Alan Osborn
Technology researchers will benefit from a new research investment of -18 million (US$26 million) from the European Commission, which is designed to reinforce its support for the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard for the fourth generation of wireless telecommunications, in preference to the alternative WiMax technology.
Full report on the University World News site:

THE UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS INTERVIEW

US: Restoring American higher education
Earlier this year the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation for Education launched its Goal 2025 initiative to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by the year 2025. Shortly afterwards President Obama announced his - broadly similar - plan with a target date of 2020. In an exclusive interview with University World News, Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the foundation, explains the thinking behind the initiative and its relationship with the Obama plan.
Interview on the University World News site:

HE RESEARCH AND COMMENTARY

GLOBAL: University Rankings 2.0
Alex Usher
As the number of university rankings systems around the world has increased and spread, they have mutated; no longer are ranking systems simply clones of the original rankings such as US News and World Report. A number of different types of 'mutation' have occurred, so that there are now varieties of rankings around the world. A short paper in the latest edition of Australian Universities' Review describes these mutations and examines likely future developments in rankings as they continue to spread across the globe.
Full report on the University World News site :

GLOBAL: New book on university rankings
University rankings are a relatively new phenomenon. Although quite an established practice in the US, it is only in the last decade that attempts to analyse university performance have spread to the rest of the world and new rankings have appeared that attempt to measure university performance beyond national borders. This trend has been accompanied by growing interest in studying rankings throughout the world. University Rankings, Diversity, and the New Landscape of Higher Education, edited by Barbara M Kehm and Bjørn Stensaker, is an effort to better understand rankings and their effects on higher education
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SOUTH AFRICA: Transformation needs to be transformed
Rhoda Kadalie
I taught at the University of the Western Cape for 20 years and sat on other university committees and a university council for nine years. Over the years, I saw the results of a deteriorating basic education system, releasing to universities more and more students who were not ready for higher education. My colleagues and I simply became sick and tired of remedial teaching and the amount of time it took to make students understand the basics, let alone the substance, of the disciplines we taught. First published in Business Day
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UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

Denmark: Danish physics in free fall
Ard Jongsma
A soaking for Danish education minister Bertel Haarder was an embarrasment in more than one way when he exposed himself to the forces of gravity at the renowned Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen earlier this month.
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CANADA: Student sues over affair rumour
A former University of Manitoba science student is suing her ex-lab partner after she allegedly spread a rumour that the woman was romantically involved with her professor, writes Dean Pritchard for Sun Media. In a lawsuit filed recently, the Iranian woman claims the rumour forced her to move to Ontario to continue her studies and has jeopardised any chance she has of returning to her home country.
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FACEBOOK

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higher education worldwide. More than 1,100 readers have joined. Sign up to the University World News Facebook group to meet and communicate directly with academics and researchers informed by the world's first truly global higher education publication. Click on the link below to visit and join the group.
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WORLD ROUND-UP

IRAN: Universities punish students who disputed vote
Iranian universities have begun disciplining and suspending students who took part in street protests after the disputed presidential election in June, reformist websites reported last weekend, writes Robert F Worth for The New York Times. The new disciplinary actions came as officials reported that a presidential panel has begun an investigation of humanities curricula at universities.
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INDIA: Six education reform bills in pipeline
India's Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said last week that he will introduce six new bills, including one to replace existing education regulators with a commission, reports Sindh Today. "Our ministry has circulated the draft bill about an autonomous overarching authority for higher education. We would like to introduce it in the next parliamentary session," Sibal said while announcing his Ministry's achievements in last 100 days.
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CZECH: Scientists demand reform
Czech scientists have launched a petition demanding reform of the science sector and universities in reaction to what they call threats Czech science and education have faced under recent governments, reports Ceske Noviny. They have also demanded dismissal of the government's Council for Research and Development.
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US: Challenge, expectations sway graduation rates
Researchers studying how to improve graduation rates at US public colleges and universities have come up with a surprising and counter-intuitive finding: many students may fail to complete a bachelor degree not because the work is too hard - but because they're not challenged enough - writes Mary Beth Marklein in USA Today.
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US: Colleges are failing in graduation
If you were going to come up with a list of organisations whose failures had done the most damage to the American economy in recent years, you'd probably have to start with the Wall Street firms and regulatory agencies that brought us the financial crisis, writes David Leonhardt for The New York Times. From there, you might move on to Wall Street's fellow bailout recipients in Detroit, the once-Big Three. But I would suggest that the list should also include a less obvious nominee: public universities.
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US: New e-textbooks grade students
The earliest electronic textbooks simply offered the text of the printed book on a computer, writes Jeffrey R Young for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Today's newest models, though, come with an array of features, including software tools that automatically grade homework for professors or let students share their margin notes with friends online.
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SOUTH KOREA: 1,219 part-time lecturers dismissed
Education ministry statistics show that more than 1,200 part-time lecturers at 112 universities in South Korea have been dismissed this autumn, seemingly as a result of the Irregular Worker Law that requires employers to move part-time workers into regular positions after two years, reports The Hankyoreh. The dismissals have been met by growing calls for a system-wide solution to restore part-time university lecturers to their teaching positions.
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SOUTH KOREA: Universities hire more foreign teachers
Aiming to strengthen their global competitiveness, local universities look eager to recruit more foreign professors, reports The Korea Herald. Seoul National University has hired 19 foreign professors for this autumn semester. The figure accounts for 32% of newly recruited professors at the university, which hired eight professors (21%) in the fall semester of last year.
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AUSTRALIA: Demand for university outstrips supply
Student demand in Australia's university sector is outstripping supply as the job market tightens, with official numbers revealing that 18,500 eligible applicants missed out on a place this year, up from 12,600 last year, reports Andrew Trounson for The Australian. While the number of applicants receiving an offer rose by 1.7% to 191,068, the number of applicants jumped by 5.6% to 249,743. It is the biggest increase in applications since 2002.
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INDONESIA: Meeting to ease anti-Malay tensions
The Malaysian Students Department in Jakarta is to meet with the Indonesian students' body in a move to ease tensions in universities, reports The Star. The 5,900 Malaysian students studying in universities in Indonesia have been advised against responding to provocation after a medical student's accommodation in Jogjakarta was pelted with rocks.
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ETHIOPIA: Universities to step up HIV-Aids prevention
Presidents of universities in Ethiopia have said that prevention and control of HIV-Aids will be strengthened on campuses, reports the Walta Information Centre. At a national consultative meeting on HIV-Aids, held in Adama, Jimma University President Dr Kaba Urgessa said lecturers and students were ready to collaborate on prevention activities.
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US: The new back-to-school ritual: Quarantines
It looks like a typical college dormitory: the functional single cots, the students lazing in pajamas and sandals, the laptops and iPhones clicked to Facebook, writes Robbie Brown in The New York Times. But the Turman South dormitory at Emory University in Atlanta is what administrators call a self-isolation facility. Or, as students call it, the Swine Flu Dorm. The Leper Colony. Club Swine.
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MALAYSIA: More athletes with degrees needed - Minister
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, says that more national athletes with tertiary qualifications are needed so that the country can be represented at international events by "thinking athletes", the national news agency Bernama reports. "We want at least 30% of our national athletes to be those studying in institutions of higher learning," he said after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Sports Development.
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Sunday, 6 September 2009

University World News 0091 - 6th September 2009

SPECIAL REPORT: Dangerous research

Academics are typically seen as distant and clinical, working safely inside
their laboratories and offices. Many, however, tackle dangerous subjects that put them at risk. In this issue, we reveal some courageous academics and the dangers being thrown their way, from the perils of the Congolese countryside to the inhospitable universities of dictatorships, to jobs that involve interviewing murderers and cleaning up after a dangerous eco-activist.

While much research involves little danger, there is potential harm lurking around the university, from Big Pharma threats to religious rage against stem-cell research. Some researchers protect themselves against the dangerous pathogens they have to handle while others sometimes worry about their research being hijacked by terrorists. And, like most workplaces, some simply have to keep a safe distance from that backstabbing colleague.

Here's to the dangers in our institutions. Let's all be careful out there.

AFRICA: Up close in the Congo

Karen MacGregor Researcher Stephanie Wolters and a couple of journalists were driving along a road in the conflict-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last year when they came upon a roadblock. "The block turned out to be a dead Congolese soldier," Wolters recalled. The rag-tag rebels manning the roadblock were persuaded to let them through but it was a scary moment. Armed rebels, threatening officials, dodgy airlines and corruption are just some of the dangers researchers face in some parts of Africa.
Full report on the University World News site:

CANADA: Risky business interviewing criminals
Philip Fine
Eric Beauregard realised he had made a major miscalculation when a heavily built inmate he had invited into a prison office for an interview, had gone from bottled-up silence to full-out yelling. There was no guard, no barrier and no handcuffs, just a dangerous s exual murderer really angry with the then-doctoral student.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Researchers in dangerous times
Brendan O'Malley
In Guatemala, a leading anthropologist received death threats while excavating mass graves to look for evidence of war crimes. An academic was imprisoned by the Turkish government on 41 charges, for researching torture cases. A researcher in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was held for eight months without trial and tortured for his research on ethnic conflict. In Chad, government agents threw a grenade at a scholar who had researched and written about a past oppressive regime.
Full report on the University World News site:

CANADA: The seismic activity of one eco-activist
Leah Germain
The threat posed to research teams by some environmental activists was starkly illustrated in Canada by a potentially dangerous interference with an investigation involving explosives. A joint Canadian and American research study was nearly derailed when an activist attempted to prevent a major seismic experiment.
Full report on the University World News site:

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

US: Stemming the tide of college attrition
Sarah King Head
A key goal of the Obama administration is to produce more American college graduates by 2020. But funding is only one of the many hurdles that must be overcome if the ambitious plan is to be realised.
Full report on the University World News site:

SAUDI ARABIA: 25-year higher education plan
Wagdy Sawahel
To promote a knowledge-based economy and move from an oil economy to a worldwide centre for high-technology research, Saudi Arabia has announced a research initiative called 'Aafaq' or Horizons. The 25-year plan is intended to improve higher education opportunities for women, boost scientific research and tackle the country's shortage of scientists in critical fields.
Full report on the University World News site:

EU: A new Lisbon phoenix to take wing
David Haworth
Among many things the ambitious Swedish presidency of the European Union hopes to achieve in the next five months is a revival of the so-called 'Lisbon Process'. Some may recall that this initiative was launched in 2000 to chart the way the EU would become "the world's most dynamic, knowledge-based economy".
Full report on the University World News site:

NEW ZEALAND: Lower pay rises ahead
John Gerritsen*
New Zealand's university staff are facing the end of a run of significant pay rises amid concern that the government is taking an unprecedented, and unwelcome, interest in the tertiary education sector's pay deals.
Full report on the University World News site:

GERMANY: Competition to boost teaching quality
Michael Gardner
A competition to improve teaching quality in German higher education has attracted almost 180 proposals from institutions. 'Bologna - Zukunft der Lehre', or Bologna: Future of teaching, is funded by the Volkswagen and the Mercator foundations with each providing -5 million.
Full report on the University World News site:

SWITZERLAND: Polytechnique tops ERC grants
Jan Petter Myklebust
Even if the final results of the 2009 European Research Council starting grants selection has yet to be published, the EPFL in Lausanne in Switzerland has reported that eight such grants have been awarded to young staff members out of 219 on the ERC shortlisted candidates.
Full report on the University World News site:

NEWSBRIEF

AUSTRALIA-INDIA: Quality agencies cooperate
Australia's national quality agency, the Australian Universities Quality Agency has signed a memorandum of cooperation with its Indian counterpart, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.
Full report on the University World News site:

SCIENCE SCENE

GLOBAL: Lost? Walking in circles is natural
An international team of researchers has used volunteers, global positioning systems and flat, featureless terrain to gain the first empirical evidence of what until now has been the stuff of television and film drama.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Bid to host mega-science project
Australia has announced a number of astronomy milestones in the past month, all contributing to the nation's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array - a US$2 billion international venture billed as the biggest science project of the 21st century
Full report on the University World News site:

UK: Geoengineering: Last hope against climate change
Geoengineering techniques could be used to mitigate the impact of climate change - but they should be regarded as a last resort, the Royal Society says in a new report.
Full report on the University World News site:

FEATURES

Malaysia: Future hub of international education?
Dale Down
Malaysia will play host to an international education conference next month as part of its goal of becoming a regional hub for international higher education by 2010, with 100,000 students studying at its higher education institutions.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: World-class regional higher education
Ian Goulter*
In the wake of a prematurely concluded feasibility study to consider integrating two of Australia's regional universities, Charles Sturt and Southern Cross, I have suggested looking locally and globally to find models for the successful provision of higher education and research in regional areas that will address the sector's challenges as the education revolution is unfurled.
Full report on the University World News site :

HE RESEARCH AND COMMENTARY

FINLAND: Brave new world of higher education
Finnish universities are about to enter a period of radical change. "Brave New World: Higher education reform in Finland", an article by Timo Aarrevaara, Ian R Dobson and Camilla Elander published in the journal Higher Education Management and Policy, considers the reforms expected of a new Universities Act currently before parliament and a set of institutional mergers.
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PEOPLE

CANADA: Award-winning hypertension researcher dies
Obituary: Jacques André Samuel de Champlain, 13 March 1938 to 15 July 2009 Philip Fine During the three years he worked with famed US scientist Julius Axelrod ending in the late 1960s, Jacques de Champlain was struck by the appearance most days of a newspaper tucked under the arm of his mentor, who strolled into his lab at 9am. After a day of experiments in cell communication, the Quebec researcher would see that newspaper again under Dr Axelrod's arm at 5 pm, as he'd leave, with no workplace stress seeming to follow him. This was a man, who right after that time, in 1970, would win a Nobel Prize.
Full report on the University World News site:

UWN INTERVIEW

GLOBAL: Preparing graduates for the workplace
Forging closer links between industry and academia can help prepare graduates for the modern workplace, says Soumitra Dutta, Professor of Business and Technology and Dean of External Relations at INSEAD business school, in an interview with EurActiv.
Full report on the University World News site:

Next week, the University World News Interview will be with Jamie
Merisotis, Chief Executive of the Lumina Foundation for Education. He discusses Lumina's goal of increasing the share of Americans with high-quality degrees from 39% to 60% by 2025, in line with the Obama plan.

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Unexpected philosophers
When you think of successful university careers, you might think of presidents, provosts and deans; when you think of the wisdom to be found on campus, you're likely to think of professors sharing the fruits of their decades of research on chemistry, classics, or quantum mechanics, writes Serena Golden for Inside Higher Ed. You almost certainly won't think of the folks cleaning the bathrooms, washing the floors, and changing the trash bags. Might you be missing something?
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FACEBOOK

The Facebook group of University World News is the fastest growing in
higher education worldwide. Almost 1,100 readers have joined. Sign up to the University World News Facebook group to meet and communicate directly with academics and researchers informed by the world's first truly global higher education publication. Click on the link below to visit and join the group.
Visit the University World News group on Facebook:

WORLD ROUND-UP

IRAN: Purge of universities feared
As Iran's universities prepare to start classes this month, there is growing concern within the academic community that the government will purge political and social science departments of professors and curricula deemed "un-Islamic", according to academics and political analysts inside and outside Iran, reports Michael Slackman for The New York Times.
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FRANCE: University grants rise by up to 3%
The French government is increasing the size of the grants it gives to almost half a million university students by up to 3% to help them cope with rising costs, reports The Connexion. About 100,000 students from under-privileged backgrounds will be entitled to the 3% rise for this academic year. Another 350,000 students will see their grant grow by 1.5%.
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US: Rating colleges by contribution to the social good
Washington Monthly magazine magazine came out with its own rankings last week, naming the nation's 'best' colleges from a very different vantage point from that of US News and World Report, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times. The new ratings try to measure which colleges do the most for the social good, by improving social mobility, producing research and promoting service.
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US: H1N1 creeps onto campuses
A summer of anticipation and worst-case-scenario planning has given way to a new academic year of inevitable illness as the H1N1 flu virus appears at colleges and universities across the nation, writes Jennifer Epstein for Inside Higher Ed. As many institutions ratchet up to full capacity with students, faculty and staff returning for autumn classes, campuses from Kansas to California and just about everywhere in between are beginning to report handfuls to hundreds of cases, mostly among students.
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US: Experts point to five emerging majors
If you're not sure that majoring in English is going to pay off in the current economy, the Chronicle of Higher Education offers a few alternatives - what it calls "five emerging areas of study" as cited by academic experts, business analysts and economic forecasters. The new majors are service science, health informatics, computational science, sustainability, and public health, writes Jack Kadden in a New York Times education blog.
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UAE: Study of humanities neglected in universities
Higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates say they want to correct an "imbalance" in the types of courses students are being offered and make more humanities subjects available, write Daniel Bardsley and Hassan Hassan in The National. There should be more science and liberal arts courses, officials said, as figures showed that more than 60% of programmes at universities were in business, information technology and engineering.
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TURKMENISTAN: Reverse student travel ban
Turkmen authorities should immediately revoke a new travel ban imposed on students bound for foreign private universities, Human Rights Watch said last week. Turkmenistan should also end new, burdensome requirements for studying abroad that violate the rights to freedom of movement and to education, said the rights organisation.
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VIETNAM: Too many students take entrance exams
Educators say that some 500,000 fewer students should take university entrance exams each year, to help universities reduce expenses and save resources, reports VietNamNet. This year nearly 800,000 examinees failed to gain the minimum marks set by the Ministry of Education and Training that are required to enrol at university.
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SOUTH KOREA: Students stay at university for longer
University students in South Korea are taking longer to finish their degree as opportunities for travel open up, reports The Chosun Ilbo. According to figures from the National Statistical Office, 39.3% of university students have taken a leave of absence and the average time it takes to graduate from a four-year university is 5.3 years.
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INDIA: Doors opening for Australian universities
Despite diplomatic tensions running high this year after a number of Indian students were assaulted while studying in Australia, the nation's universities may now be invited to set up shop in India, writes Brigid Andersen for News Online. Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been in India and last week met with Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Kapil Sibal, who touted a plan for Australian universities to open campuses in India.
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GHANA: Government to support private universities
Ghana's Minister of Education, Alex Tettey-Enyo, has said the government is committed to assisting private universities in the country in the areas of academic competence and research to promote quality education, reports Peace FM.
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US: Blueberry virus strikes research centre
The bloom could be off Michigan's $124 million per year blueberry industry after two destructive viruses infected bushes in three locations, reports David N Goodman for The Associated Press. Particularly upsetting to scientists is where one of the outbreaks occurred - Michigan State University's agricultural research station in south-western Michigan. An outbreak of blueberry shock is forcing scientists to destroy plants that represent two decades and millions of dollars of research.
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