Friday, 22 January 2010

University World News 0107 - 18th January 2010

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

HAITI: Quake devastates universities, kills academics
Karen MacGregor
Universities have been destroyed and students and academics killed in the earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday. Unesco urged "academia to show solidarity" and universities elsewhere to take in Haitian students. By yesterday it was known that at least three North American academics and five students had died or were still missing in the Caribbean nation.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Foiled attack spotlights foreign students
Wagdy Sawahel
The Christmas Day attempt by a N igerian student to set off a bomb on a Northwest Airlines plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit has raised fears the incident will adversely affect foreign students, academics and researchers hoping to pursue their education in American and European universities. US President Barack Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of visa policy, including tightening regulations for N igerians - especially students and those aged between 20 and 60.
Full report on the University World News site:

INDONESIA: Cleaning up higher education
David Jardine
Indonesia's National Board for Higher Education Accreditation has announced its determination to clean up a sector riddled with bad practices. The board has set 2012 as its target for ridding universities of unaccredited undergraduate courses.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Indian murder inflames tensions
Geoff Maslen
The stabbing to death of Indian accountancy graduate Nitin Garg in Melbourne on 2 January has further inflamed tensions between India and Australia and attracted media coverage from around the world. SM Krishna, India's Foreign Minister, warned last week that continued violence against Indian students in Australia could damage relations between the two countries. Krishna called for immediate action by Australian authorities to protect Indian citizens. University World News writers comment on the implications of the continuing attacks on Indian students in the Features and Research and Commentary sections.
Full reports on the University World News site:

UK: Tories to close visa loophole
Diane Spencer
A British Conservative government would demand a £2,000 (US$3,250) bond from overseas students in a bid to tackle bogus colleges and abuses of the visa system. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said the present student visa system represented "a huge loophole in our border controls and, despite years of promises, the government has completely failed to deal with the problem".
Full report on the University World News site:

FRANCE: More autonomous universities
Jane Marshall
A second group of French universities became autonomous this month, bringing to 51 the number of institutions acquiring more freedom to manage their own affairs. The government's determination to encourage a 'results-based culture' in the sector is reflected in new funding criteria that take graduate employment rates and research assessments into account.
Full report on the University World News site:

THE NETHERLANDS: Too few women professors
Jan Petter Myklebust
Universities in the Netherlands have 271 full professors who are women - out of a total of 2,321, or less than 12%. A recent report reviews these statistics and discusses how to boost the proportion of new female professors.
Full report on the University World News site:

SOUTH AFRICA: Universities face more under-prepared students
Sharon Dell
Increased numbers of South African school-leavers eligible for university study, but with poor pass rates in mathematics and science in the 2009 national 'matriculation' examinations, mean universities will increasingly battle to provide academic support for under-prepared students.
Full report on the University World News site:

N IGERIA: Telemedicine arrives at Lagos
Tunde Fatunde
Telemedicine has finally arrived in N igeria via a pilot project recently launched at Lagos University. This interactive electronic mode of teaching, research and provision of medical services has been embraced by lecturers, students and patients. Its efficiency and cost-savings have encouraged other universities to consider partnerships with IT companies that provide telemedicine infrastructure.
Full report on the University World News site:

MALAWI: Churches try to avert university quotas
Malawian clerics have embarked on a last-minute attempt to stop a controversial university quota system from taking effect. Planned demonstrations were blocked by the police who said they were illegal, but a petition was sent to President Bingu Wa Mutharika urging him to annul the system that directs university entry to be based on place of origin and not on merit.
Full report on the University World News site:

TUNISIA: Progress in agricultural R&D
Jane Marshall
Agricultural research and development projects have been highlighted in La Presse of Tunis. The newspaper has interviewed Amor Chermiti on the activities of Inrat, the National Institute of Agronomic Research of Tunisia, of which he is Director General, and it has published reports on the Bizerte competitive research cluster and its Agri-tech business centre and the research assessment area of the Institute of Arid Regions, which became fully operative in 2009.
Full report on the University World News site:

SOUTH AFRICA: Hoax call to deport Zimbabwe graduates
Munyaradzi Makoni
A statement that appeared in the press calling for the repatriation of Zimbabwean graduates of South Africa's University of Fort Hare, has been dismissed as a hoax. But last week a dozen students who had presidential scholarships withdrawn by Zimbabwe's government for engaging in political activity, slammed the university for "allowing them to be victimised", London-based SW Radio reported.
Full report on the University World News site:


UK: VCs attack cuts to the sector
Leaders of the elite Russell Group of 20 research-intensive universities launched a scathing attack on the Labour government's cuts to the higher education budget. Writing in The Guardian Michael Arthur, chair of the group, and Wendy Piatt, its Director General, accused the government of bringing an 800-year-old world-class system to its knees.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: New website for academics and students
British parent Billy Fitzgerald noticed that his student daughter was spending too much time on Facebook and not enough on studying. So he designed a website,, that has research and social network tools as well as ezines, videos, online newspapers, horoscope and news reports.
Full report on the University World News:

DR CONGO: Teaching assistants demand back pay
Angry teaching assistants at Unikin, the University of Kinshasa, who have not been paid for the past 10 months have threatened to down tools and take to the streets in an attempt to make ministers carry out their responsibilities, reported Digital Congo of Kinshasa.
Full report on the University World News site:

SENEGAL: Students demonstrate for grant payments
Students at UCAD, the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, started the new year with violent demonstrations demanding back payment of their grants, reported
reported Wal Fadjri of Dakar.
Full report on the University World News site:


CHINA: Dissident academic jailed
Daniel Sawney and Jonathan Travis*
Chinese intellectual and dissident Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment on 25 December for his part in drafting and signing the 'Charter 08' document, which calls for significant reforms to the Chinese political system.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site:


AUSTRALIA: Indian attacks raise diplomatic problems
Dale Down
The international higher education sector in Australia has been developing rapidly in recent years and going through some interesting changes, as well as facing new challenges. Difficult financial conditions around the world and the threats of pandemics such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and swine flu have had their effects on the numbers of students undertaking tertiary studies in Australia. But perhaps the most difficult challenge to the industry in recent times has been, and continues to be, the appalling number of attacks on Indian students. Working through this issue will mean walking a very fine and diplomatically delicate line.
Full report on the University World News site:

GERMANY: Saving the world's water
Sabine Hellmann and Kristin Mosch*
Water is one of the 21st century's key development issues. Worldwide, 1.2 million people have no access to clean drinking water while around three billion have to make do without sanitary facilities or wastewater disposal.

Full report on the University World News site:


US: Human cloning - solely a medical issue?
John Richard Schrock*
Dr Panayiotis Zavos is recognised worldwide as a leading researcher and authority in the areas of male reproductive physiology, gamete physiology, male infertility and other assistive reproductive technologies. Zavos' team was the first to create human cloned embryos for reproductive purposes. In this interview, he discusses the controversial issue of cloning humans.
Full report on the University World News site:


GLOBAL: International student security
Simon Marginson*
I want to take up an issue that goes to the heart of higher education, especially research universities, around the world. It is about global mobility, especially the mobility of human subjects. It also highlights the implications of changes in higher education for the larger world: that issue is the human security of international students, by which I mean people who cross national borders for the purposes of formal study.
Full report on the University World News site:

CANADA: Why Twitter matters
Camille Rutherford*
In the past year the popularity of the micro-blogging/social network site Twitter has exploded as the media grabbed hold of this once relatively obscure site and launched it into the stratosphere by anointing it as the place to be for techies, politicians, news junkies, and Hollywood stars. First published by Academic Matters.
Full report on the University World News site:

ETHIOPIA: The dilemmas of higher education expansion
Liz Reisberg and Laura E Rumbley*
Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than three-fourths of the nation's primary economic activity involves small-scale agriculture, not only highly inefficient but extremely vulnerable to variations in climate and international market prices. To move from an agrarian to a modern economy, Ethiopia requires citizens with more education. This necessity is especially critical in a country with the 15th-largest population on the planet and a median age of barely 17 years. Accordingly, the government has expanded the higher education system while growing enrolment, both at breakneck speed. First published in International Higher Education.
Full report on the University World News site:

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Etching found at university may be a Rembrandt
Soon after becoming president of Catholic University, the Very Reverend David M O'Connell went in search of paper towels in his bathroom cabinet, writes Jenna Johnson for The Washington Post. Something on the bottom shelf caught his eye. Under a pile of junk, he found an old frame. In the frame was a tiny etching of an old man with an unruly beard and billowing hat, composed of thousands of fine lines. His eyes are tired. His head nods toward his chest. The piece is signed 'Rembrandt'.
More on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Dolphins second brightest on planet
Dolphins have been declared the world's second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as "non-human persons", writes Jonathan Leake for the London Sunday Times.
More on the University World News site:


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IRAN: Remote-controlled bomb kills nuclear physicist
A remote-controlled bomb killed a Tehran University physics professor near his home early on Tuesday in what Iranian authorities called an assassination backed by Western powers, including the US and Israel, write Farnaz Fassihi and Chip Cummins for The Wall Street Journal. The victim was identified as 50-year-old Masoud Ali Mohammadi.
More on the University World News site:

CANADA: Palm scanning for students raises fears
In a move that has prompted at least three complaints to Canada's privacy czar, a growing number of professional programmes such as medicine and business now require students to give a digital print of their finger, thumb or even veins in their palm to write the high-stakes entrance tests designed and run out of the United States, writes Louise Brown for The Star.
More on the University World News site:

CHINA: Foreign status faked to access universities
Students born, raised and educated in China are using fake foreign passports to get into top universities, which have higher entrance standards for domestic candidates, state media said last week, reports AFP. Fake foreign passports can be bought in eastern China for around 200,000 yuan (US$29,300 dollars), the Global Times said of the bogus enrolment scam.
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CHINA: Record numbers flock to postgraduate exam
China's three-day national postgraduate examination attracted 1.4 million registered applicants, a record number since 2001 and a 13% increase over 2009, the official Xinhua news agency reports. The candidates competed for 465,000 seats, which means around one in three examinees will succeed.
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US-CHINA: Chinese gift to Yale sparks outrage at home
When Zhang Lei, a Chinese fund manager who earned an MBA at Yale's School of Management, agreed to donate $8,888,888 to his American alma mater, it's a safe bet that he didn't expect it would make people angry, reports The Wall Street Journal. But the announcement of his gift - the business school's largest ever from one of its graduates - has triggered a fiery debate in China over national loyalties.
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SOUTH AFRICA: Ethnic campus clubs on the rise
Many things would surprise South African student activists of the '70s and '80s if they were to go back to the universities in which they studied, writes Dinga Sikwebu for The Sunday Times. Not only would they discover a changed landscape in terms of student composition, and the reconfiguration of institutions of higher learning, they would also be surprised at how universities are now run like businesses with strong cost-management programmes. But nothing is likely to shock them more than posters advertising meetings for Zulus, Pedis, Xhosas, Tswanas, Sothos, Vendas and Shangaans.
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UK: HIV-Aids deniers land radical journal in trouble
It has published papers on everything from ejaculation as a treatment for nasal congestion to why modern scientists are so dull, but the future of Medical Hypotheses is hanging in the balance after a host of complaints from high-profile researchers, writes By Zoƫ Corbyn for Times Higher Education.
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US: Top universities criticised over financial aid to wealthy
Many of America's top public universities are giving millions of dollars in financial aid to students from relatively wealthy families instead of to those who urgently need it, resulting in campuses that are often less diverse than those at elite private schools, a new report says, writes Jenna Johnson for The Washington Post.
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US: Circular ratings
New research raises additional questions about the 'reputational' survey that is worth 25% (more than any other factor) on the US News & World Report rankings of colleges, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. What the research found is that the reputational scores don't correlate with changes in factors such as resources or graduation rates, but correlate with the previous year's rankings. In other words, the way you get a good reputational score - and in turn a good ranking - is to already have a good ranking.
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US: Israel in the American classroom
Supporters of Israel have worried of late that much of the campus discussion about the country has taken place in rallies and counter-rallies on the quad, and not in the classroom, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. But a study released on Wednesday found significant growth in the past few years in the number of courses focused on Israel. Further, these courses are appearing in a wider range of disciplines than in the past and do not focus exclusively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the military history of Israel.
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US: When tenure means nothing
Clark Atlanta University violated the rights of 55 faculty members - 20 of them with tenure - when it eliminated their jobs without faculty consultation or due process, and without regard to whether or not they had tenure, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the American Association of University Professors. The AAUP called the dismissals, covering a quarter of the faculty, "outrageous" and "especially egregious", writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
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US: Suit settled over Kindle navigation by the blind
The National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind have settled a lawsuit against Arizona State University over its plan to deploy the Kindle DX among students, writes Jacqui Cheng for Ars Technica. The settlement involves no monetary damages, but the university agreed to use devices that are more accessible to the blind if it chooses to deploy e-book readers in the coming years. If Amazon wants to be part of that deployment, it had better up its accessibility game.
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UK-INDIA: Sibal visits to strengthen education ties
UK Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson was among the British delegation meeting the Indian Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, last week for discussions about the broad range of UK-India cooperation, reports the official The Gov Monitor.
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