Sunday, 18 October 2009

University World News 0097 - 18th October 2009

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

US: Only three science Nobels were actually American
John Richard Schrock*
"USA! USA! We're number one!" From press reports last week, you would assume that eight of the nine science Nobel Prizes were swept by United States scientists - another affirmation that the American system of K-12 public education was still the best in the world, at least eight-ninths of the time. Well, count again. The press stretched the facts in making all but one of them seem American when in truth all but three received their early school education elsewhere.
Full report on the University World News site:

ISRAEL: Clamp-down on foreign academics
Helena Flusfeder
Israeli authorities' refusal to let some foreign academics enter the West Bank has had a huge impact on the development of Palestinian institutions, said a British academic recently denied entry to the West Bank and forced to cancel a lecture at Birzeit University.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Millions more for research?
Geoff Maslen
Impoverished researchers are hoping to receive a massive injection of federal money following a government decision to accept key recommendations from an inquiry into Australian research and research training. In a 22-page document released late last month, the government endorsed many of the 38 recommendations arising from a House of Representatives investigation into research in universities and institutes across Australia.
Full report on the University World News site:

SWEDEN: Plan to introduce fees creates problems
Jan Petter Myklebust
In its budget for 2010, the Swedish government has proposed introducing fees for foreign students from 2011. The Education Ministry is preparing a bill that will be presented to Parliament while universities and government officials are working out how to handle the change. A variety of complicated issues related to policy formulation, implementation and follow-up have been raised.
Full report on the University World News site:

GERMANY: Rectors demand more funding
Michael Gardner
Margret Wintermantel, President of Germany's Rectors' Conference or HRK, has urged the new Christian Democrat-Free Democrat coalition to continue the previous administration's efforts to support higher education. Her organisation is pressing for further implementation of the 'Higher Education Pact', a package of measures agreed between the federal and state governments to boost university revenues between 2007 and 2020.
Full report on the University World News site:

HUNGARY: Nation's R&D in chaos
Zsolt Balla
In September 2008, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the EU's flagship initiative to boost Europe's competitiveness on the highly globalised battlefield of development and innovation, held its first meeting at its new headquarters in Budapest in Hungary. Since then preparations to host the agency have been far from smooth.
Full report on the University World News site:

MEDITERRANEAN: Digital education plan approved
Wagdy Sawahel
The five countries of the Arab Maghreb Union - Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania - and five European countries, France, Spain, Italy, Malta and Portugal, have agreed to cooperate to promote digital education in universities, research institutes and schools to try and bridge the 'digital gap' between Europeans and Maghreb residents.
Full report on the University World News site:

EGYPT: Controversial ban on niqab in dorms
Ashraf Khaled
Egypt's Minister of Higher Education Hani Helal has drawn angry protests and lawsuits for banning the niqab or full face veil in women-only dormitories of pubic universities in this conservative, predominantly Muslim country. "I took this decision in order to protect female students," Helal said, adding that 17 men were arrested last year disguised as face-veiled women inside women's dorms.
Full report on the University World News site:

NIGERIA: Farming alternative to unemployment
Tunde Fatunde
Economic and financial meltdown has opened up opportunities for graduates to practise organised farming as a solution to unemployment. The University of Agriculture in western Nigeria has embarked on a five-year Graduate Farming Employment Scheme, GRAFES, aimed at attracting graduates into commercial agriculture.
Full report on the University World News site:

ALGERIA: A postgraduate's lot is not a happy one
Postgraduate education in Algeria is often below the standards expected by students who are subjected to a multiplicity of problems including lack of equipment and books, overcrowding, exclusion from study trips, and effects of corruption and nepotism, claims La Tribune of Algiers in a series of articles.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: World's first Human Rights Moot Court
Munyaradzi Makoni
The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 is being celebrated by the staging of the first World Human Rights Moot Court at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in December. The competition is open to students from all of the world's institutions of higher learning, but is aimed at undergraduate law students.
Full report on the University World News site:


EUROPE: Newcomers to quality assurance register
Seventeen quality assurance agencies have now been listed on the European Quality Assurance Register, EAQR for Higher Education. In addition to nine agencies that had already been placed on the register, applications from a further eight agencies were accepted earlier this month.
Full report on the University World News site:

UK: Digitised newspapers go online
Unique insight into international news has been made available for the first time after two million digitised pages of 19th century British newspapers were put online. Researchers, academics and genealogists, regardless of their location, can explore newspaper pages from 49 national and regional UK titles.
Full report on the University World News site:

MALAWI: Entrance quotas back - again
The government intends to reintroduce a controversial university entrance quota system that was outlawed last year, Minister of Education, Science and Technology George Chapomba has confirmed.
Full report on the University World News site:

TUNISIA: Five-year strategy for higher education
Wagdy Sawahel
Tunisia has announced a five-year higher education, science and technology strategic plan aimed at promoting scientific research and technology-based industry. The plan covering 2009 to 2014 was presented on 11 October by President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at the launch of the campaign for presidential and legislative elections to be held this month.
Full report on the University World News site:


PERU: Human rights academic receives death threats
Daniel Sawney and Jonathan Travis*
Dr Salomon Lerner Febres, a leading academic and President of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights at the Catholic University of Peru, has received death threats, according to Human Rights Watch.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site:


GLOBAL: Brito to head Unesco science
Linda Nordling
Lidia Brito, Mozambique's former Science Minister, will be the next head of the science policy division at Unesco, has revealed. Brito is expected to take up the post in Paris in December. She replaces Mustafa El Tayeb who has led the organisation's science policy work since 1996.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA: New study of HIV prevention
An international study aimed at establishing if it is possible to reduce a woman's risk of acquiring HIV using a vaginal gel or an oral tablet containing an antiretroviral drug, has been launched at the University of Zimbabwe. A statement from the Macrobicide Trials Network said 5,000 women would be enrolled for the research in South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Full report on the University World News site:

EU: Single European fleet of research vessels
Work has begun on an EU-funded initiative to link Europe's research vessels into a single fleet. Dubbed Eurofleets, the four-year project has been allocated EUR7.2 million (US$10.75 million) under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for research.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Spanish flu remedy kills swine flu virus
Wagdy Sawahel
To overcome a shortage of Tamiflu - the World Health Organization's drug of choice for treating people infected with the H1N1swine flu virus - and the controversial swine flu vaccine, Chinese and Egyptian scientists have turned to a herbal remedy used to combat the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
Full report on the University World News:

UK-CHINA: Flying dinosaur "missing link" discovered
British and Chinese researchers last week announced the discovery of a missing link in the evolution of flying dinosaurs - an animal that not only bridges the gap between long-tailed and short-tailed flying reptiles but also reinforces a controversial evolutionary theory.
Full report on the University World News:


US: Online education's outrageous fortune?
Sarah King Head
Imagine training to become a Certified Professional Midwife online. You can at Aviva Institute of Duluth, Minnesota. Opportunities like this may seem promising, especially in the context of economic uncertainty or when full-time, on-campus study is not an option. But should traditional brick-and-mortar universities be concerned?
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA: Maths institute AIMS for NextEinstein
Munyaradzi Makoni
There is no question Africa desperately needs development. Science and technology are powerful forces for progress in a global society and the global economy and, if the continent is to benefit fully from these forces, it needs to build a strong indigenous capacity in both. This is exactly what the African Institute of Mathematical Science has been striving for - and achieving - for the past six years.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Virtual simulation in classroom
Leah Germain
For many healthcare educators, finding new and innovative ways to relay information to their students has become an essential way to stay current in the classroom. In many of these scenarios, technology is the key that links the teacher with their student and bridges the gap of understanding. But some nursing universities and colleges are taking technology in the classroom to a whole other level. The development of virtual reality training using virtual worlds such as the current market leader, Second Life, is attracting interest from the healthcare education community.
Full report on the University World News site:


NORTH AMERICA: Are tenured faculty slackers?
James Soto Antony and Ruby Hayden*
The word tenure, when used as a search term on, results in more than ratings for professors. It also showcases pervasive ideas regarding this historical method of ensuring academic freedom.First published in Academic Matters
Full article on the University World News site:

US: New book probes PhD programmes in the humanities
A new book from Princeton University Press, Educating Scholars: Doctoral education in the humanities, finds that not all is well with doctoral programmes in the United States. "The content of graduate programmes has undergone major changes, while high rates of student attrition, long times to degree and financial burdens prevail," according to the abstract.
More on the University World News site:


GLOBAL: It isn't capitalism
From Steve Forster:
In regard to the article, GLOBAL: The global crisis of capitalism, I lost track of how many times the word "capitalism" was used but each one was jarring because each one was inaccurate.
Read the full letter on the University World News site:

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

EUROPE: Italian competition discriminatory, says commission
The European Commission is taking legal action against Italy because one of its provinces organised a competition for university students to access low rent apartments based on what it claims are two discriminatory conditions: being an Italian national and having resided in the province for the preceding five years.
Full report on the University World News site:

US: Six scams that target students
Operating on the theory that it takes a thief to steal from a thief, a group of internet scammers has been targeting students who illegally download music, books, and video, writes Kim Clark for US News & World Report.
More on the University World News site:


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IRAQ: Government suspends university after protests
Iraq's prime minister suspended classes and banned political activities at one of Baghdad's top universities following student protests on campus, a government spokesman said last week, writes Sameer N Yacoub for Associated Press. Iraq also banned the student union at Mustansiriyah University, raising questions over Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's commitment to free speech.
More on the University World News site:

UK: Overseas students prop up university finances
Overseas students are propping up UK universities' finances, with some paying fees of more than £20,000 (US$32,500) a year, data compiled for The Guardian revealed last week, writes Jessica Shepherd.
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INDIA: Student visas to the US drop by 25%
The number of visas issued by the US to students from India has dropped by 25% in the past year, writes Ishani Dutta Gupta for The Times of India. Experts felt the decline in numbers of Indian students choosing to study in the US was because of a fall in financial aid offered by institutions rather than visa structures.
More on the University World News site:

US: Real-world research wins economics Nobel
The Nobel Prize in economics was awarded last Monday to two scholars whose research shed new light on how groups of people cooperate, honouring work that is grounded in the real world over more abstract mathematical models, writes Neil Irwin for The Washington Post.
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US: Organised against labour
In the last few years, a conservative legal organisation has filed complaints and extensive information requests to at least 11 colleges and universities with regard to labour centres that conduct research about and offer programmes for unions, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. The American Association of University Professors, which has tracked the complaints, has issued a statement charging that they are an attempt to violate the academic freedom of the academics who work in these programmes.
More on the University World News site:

YEMEN: Minister threatens to close private universities
Yemen's private universities only have preliminary licences and these could be withdrawn if institutions fail to comply with legal requirements, Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Saleh Ali Ba Surrah warned last weekend, writes Abdul-Aziz Oudah for the Yemen Observer.
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PAKISTAN: World Bank loan to improve higher education
The World Bank last month approved two projects totalling US$300 million to help the government of Pakistan strengthen social safety nets and improve higher education, the Bank said in a press statement.
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TAIWAN: Education Ministry to subsidise top research
Taiwan's Education Minister Wu Ching-chi said last week that the country's second five-year NT$50 billion (US$1.6 billion) programme to upgrade the nation's universities into top academic research centres, will focus on subsidising top-notch, single-field academic research, reports Taiwan News.
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US-AFRICA: Utah colleges help Mali university
Talatou Abdoulaye came to Utah for an advanced college degree but had no idea the classes would be so different from the ones offered in his home country of Mali, writes Wendy Leonard for Deseret News. The one and only university in the West African country serves 70,000 students with little more than 700 faculty members and does very little to encourage creativity, Abdoulaye said last week during a ceremony commemorating a new partnership involving four Utah colleges and universities and the University of Bamako in Mali.
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US: Slain student memorialised by Yale
The Yale University graduate student who was found murdered a month ago on what was to be her wedding day was remember last Monday as a "model student" at a memorial service for the university community, reports Pat Eaton-Robb for Associated Press.
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CHINA: More women students from Africa promised
China's universities will enrol more African women students, raising the proportion sponsored by the Chinese government from the current 26.5% to more than 30%, the official Xinhua news agency reports.
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