Sunday, 18 July 2010

University World News 0132 - 19th July 2010

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

MALAYSIA: No distinctions in university rankings
Geoff Maslen
A rating of 47 Malaysian universities and other higher education institutions, including seven set up by foreign universities, has classed 18 as 'excellent', 25 as 'very good' and four as 'good'. None earned a 'distinction'. Releasing the ratings last week, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the Setara ratings would be used by the Higher Education Ministry in developing "appropriate higher education policies".
Full report on the University World News site:

MYANMAR: Remembering the 1988 student generation
David Jardine
As another anniversary of the violent repression of Burma's (now Myanmar's) democratic uprising of 1988 approaches, a new book Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma's tyrant* recalls the sacrifices made then by the country's university students, the 8.8.88 generation.
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RUSSIA: Promoting higher education abroad
Eugene Vorotnikov
Faced with a declining share of the global education export market, the Russian government plans to raise the prestige of local universities by attracting foreign students and creating opportunities for their employment within the country.
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US: Responding to the 'brain drain' reversal
Sarah King Head
How can the purportedly slowing rate of H-1B visa applications from postgraduates to the US State Department since April 2010 be interpreted? A recent article in Fortune magazine suggests the reversal of the so-called "brain drain" points to a worrying trend related to perceived long-term consequences of the current economic recession and the waning appeal of the spec ialised job market in the US.
Full report on the University World News site :

SPECIAL: Features and Commentary

PAKISTAN: The party's over for universities
Pervez Hoodbhoy*
Greed is now destroying the moral fibre of Pakistan's academia. Professors across the country are clamouring to abandon even minimal requirements that could assure quality education. To benefit from many-fold increases in salaries for tenure-track positions, professors are speedily removing all barriers to their promotions. Second, they want to take on more PhD students because more students mean more money in each professor's pocket.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA: Development aid must target knowledge
Trish Gibbon*
Development aid from donor countries to Africa is usually directed to issues identified as priorities in the home country's development agenda - issues such as HIV and Aids, poverty reduction, primary health care and food security, among others - according to Peter Maassen, professor of higher education at the University of Oslo. This kind of focus is often at the expense of high-level knowledge development such as that produced within the research culture of universities.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA: Lessons in history
Keith Nuthall
Historians are working with Unesco and educationalists to try to develop a common African history syllabus, including the teaching approach and pedagogical materials. The ambitious project will initially focus on helping primary and secondary schools across the continent and, this coming year, an assessment will consider how universities in Africa could benefit from such work.
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UK: How a university scuppered next Facebook
Yojana Sharma
Universities are providing more advice to entrepreneurial students but when the student start-up FitFinder was shut down, despite attracting five million users, critics saw it as a case study on how not to nurture student entrepreneurs.
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UK: FitFinder just too distracting
Pippa Shaw*
When FitFinder was launched at University College London this year it took students by storm. Other universities clamoured to have their own version. It had five million student followers before the original version was shut down for 'distracting' students at examination time.
Full report on the University World News site:

More International news

AUSTRALIA: A 14-year wait to resume his old job
Geoff Maslen
Some 14 years since he last held the post, Simon Crean has again become Australia's Education Minister. Adding to the irony of resuming a job he lost in 1996 when the then Labor government fell to conservative leader John Howard, Crean's overloaded portfolio includes higher education. But memories of his last stint are not happy ones.
Full report on the University World News site:

GERMANY: Late approval of 'elite student' programme
Michael Gardner
The German government's new National Grants Programme for the specially gifted has been rushed through the federal council, representing the federal states. Germany's upper house accepted the new scheme on 9 July, just before going into summer recess.
Full report on the University World News site:

FRANCE: Third wave of autonomous universities
Jane Marshall
Nearly 90% of French universities will be autonomous from next January when another 24 institutions will take over management of their own affairs under the 2007 Libertés et Responsibilités des Universités (Universities' Freedoms and Responsibilities) law.
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INDIA: Vocational education upgrade
Alya Mishra
India's Education Ministry is revamping its vocational education programmes aiming to create a bank of skilled manpower for ageing developed nations over the coming decades. With the Ministry of Labour, education officials are developing a vocational education qualifications framework to end the country's dependence on informal training.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA-CANADA: Boost for Next-Einstein centres
Munyaradzi Makoni
The Canadian government has awarded C$20 million (US$19.4 million) over the next four years to five centres of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. The centres are spread across the continent and run through the AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative. They will train talented young African postgraduate researchers in mathematical sciences.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA: Continental leadership centre launched
Gilbert Nganga
Africa's drive towards improving its governance has received a shot in the arm with the launch of a continental leadership training centre in Kenya's capital Nairobi. The African Leadership Centre will teach and mentor the next generation of leaders.
Full report on the University World News site:

KENYA: Major plan to improve training institutions
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya is to spend US$56 million in donor funding to strengthen vocational and technical training countrywide, to help boost the country's skills base. The plan includes building new technical institutions and elevating some to national polytechnic status.
Full report on the University World News site:

TUNISIA: Higher education key to development plan
Wagdy Sawahel
Tunisia has adopted the 12th development plan for 2010-14, which has a focus on higher education. The aim is to transform the national economy into a model driven by innovation and knowledge, in a country ranked the most improved in technology-readiness in Africa.
Full report on the University World News site:

ZIMBABWE: Scores of 'illegal' private colleges closed
Kudzai Mashininga
Zimbabwe's government has closed 106 'illegal' private colleges countrywide, throwing thousands of students onto the streets. Higher and Tertiary Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Washington Mbizvo said the colleges did not meet acceptable standards. At the same time, a United Nations agency rated the country as the most literate in Africa.
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N IGERIA: Funding boost for tertiary institutions
Tunde Fatunde
N igeria's government has started disbursing funds to selected public tertiary institutions to help them fast-track the development of teaching, research and infrastructure including student hostels. The extra-budgetary funding for six universities, three polytechnics and three colleges of education has been described as a step in the right direction.
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EGYPT: Students angry over admission curbs
Ashraf Khaled
Hossam Safwat has just passed secondary school certificate examinations with flying colours, scoring 92%. But he is not sure he will be allowed to attend his dream college - a medical school - after Egypt's Minister of Higher Education announced that minimum admission grades for the new academic year would be based on the average of those of the past five years.
Full report on the University World News site:


GLOBAL: China and US attract world's top researchers
Geoff Maslen
Top Chinese, North American and European universities are offering access to laboratories and facilities at a size and on a scale that universities in smaller countries cannot match, says a report commissioned by the Australian government.
Full report on the University World News site:

EUROPE: -6 billion for research and innovation
European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will announce tomorrow a -6 billion (US$7.7 billion) fund for research and innovation. Geoghegan-Quinn will give details of the main fields of research and innovation to be covered and will call for proposals.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Social science expanding
Social science from Western countries continues to have the greatest global influence but the field is expanding rapidly in Asia and Latin America, particularly in China and Brazil. In Sub-Saharan Africa, social scientists from South Africa, N igeria and Kenya produce 75% of academic publications, according to Unesco's World Social Science Report 2010: Knowledge divides".

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UK-SWEDEN: Remote region co-operation
Universities in far-flung parts of England and Sweden have shared ways of building bridges with local authorities and the private sector to drive economic development.
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WEST AFRICA: Regional centre for renewable energy
Wagdy Sawahel
A regional centre to help develop renewable energy and promote workforce development in the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has opened in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde.
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GREAT LAKES: Partnership signed with AUF
The French-speaking University Agency, AUF, and the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries have signed a partnership agreement to support higher education and research in the community's three member countries - Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
Full report on the University World News site:

DR CONGO: Minister meets donors for reform funds
The Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister of Higher Education and Universities Professor Léonard Mashako Mamba has met funding agencies and other partners to present policies and reforms for which the government is seeking support, reported La Prosérité of Kinshasa.
Full report on the University World News site:

SENEGAL: Students on the rampage - again
In the latest of a number of violent demonstrations, students at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar went on the rampage this month, setting fire and causing other damage to university offices, and attacking the rector and a faculty dean with poison gas, said newspaper reports.
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Russia: Nuclear scientist released in "spy swap"
Roisin Joyce*
Dr Igor Sutyagin, a Russian nuclear scientist and former head of division at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, was released from prison on 9 July.
Full report on the University World News site:


UK: Exploring fish invasion
Bournemouth University Professor Rudy Gozlan is leading an Anglo-Chinese expedition through remote parts of China to discover the origins of a global fish invasion. Together with colleagues from the university and the Chinese Academy of Science, Gozlan will travel more than 10,000 kilometres along two major rivers - the Yellow and the Yangtze - to collect samples of a species of Topmouth gudgeon.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: World-first research on bomb attacks
Geoff Maslen
How would a city cope if it suffered a catastrophic terrorist bombing attack or a natural disaster caused by an earthquake or a cyclonic storm? Dr Tuan Ngo and a team of Melbourne University researchers believe they have the answer: with a federal government-funded, million-dollar grant, the researchers expect to provide police and emergency authorities with accurate details of the effects of a bomb blast within a city's central business district.
Full report on the University World News site:

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Like us, young continue to take risks
John Richard Schrock*
"Why can't they be like we are; Perfect in every way. What's the matter with kids today?" These lyrics from the 1963 musical "Bye, Bye Birdie" reflect the attitude of many older folks that the young generation just isn't as stalwart as we were when we walked five miles to school each day, through the snow and uphill both ways. Now a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that today's kids face a different set of risks and fears than we did.
Full report on the University World News site:

US: Illegal immigrants hold 'teach-in' to push bill
They can't get US citizenship or in-state tuition rates, so they're taking the next steps - the Capitol and White House steps, that is - write Suzanne Gamboa and Russell Contreras for Associated Press. A coalition of student immigrant advocacy groups on Wednesday launched a makeshift school in Washington DC, reminiscent of the 'teach-ins' of the 1960s, to encourage a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants through college enrolment.
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US: Academic outcomes of study abroad
In 2000, US researchers began an ambitious effort to document the academic outcomes of study abroad across the 35-institution University System of Georgia, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed. Ten years later, they've found that students who study abroad have improved academic performance on returning to their home campus, higher graduation rates and improved knowledge of cultural practices and context compared to students in control groups.
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US-INDONESIA: Obama begins rebuilding academic ties
US President Barack Obama has postponed travel to Indonesia, his childhood home, three times since taking office, the latest visit sidelined in June by the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, writes Karin Fischer for The Chronicle of Higher Education. But a "comprehensive partnership" to deepen relations between the two countries is steaming ahead, one that has as a critical tenet the expansion of higher-education ties.
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BANGLADESH: Parliament passes private university bill
Bangladesh's parliament last weekend passed a bill providing detailed rules for establishing private universities, their proper management and improving education quality, reports The Financial Express.
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CHINA: 'Elites' accused of fabricating degrees
The resumes of about 100 Chinese 'elites' have been revised on Hudong Wiki, a pilot Chinese-language encyclopedia website, after the former president of Microsoft China, Tang Jun, was accused of fabricating his academic credentials, writes Chen Jia for Xinhaunet.
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PAKISTAN: Problems in identifying fake degree holders
Pakistan's Higher Education Commission, or HEC, is experiencing difficulties in identifying parliamentary and provincial assembly politicians holding fake degrees, even after sending the degree documents for verification to universities across the country, writes Adnan Lodhi for the Daily Times.
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UK: Treasury examines possibility of graduate tax
The Treasury is examining the possibility of introducing a graduate tax for students rather than raising the tuition fee cap, writes Patrick Wintour for the Guardian. Its work is at a preliminary stage, with Lord Browne's report on how to finance higher education due in the autumn.
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UK: Nobel winners' protest halts funding change
The government has put on hold controversial plans to re-work the way England's university science research is funded, writes Hannah Richardson for BBC News. Thousands of academics, including Nobel prize winners, campaigned against them, saying they would lead to major discoveries being missed.
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SAUDI ARABIA: Research chairs boost knowledge economy
Saudi universities have established more than 200 research chairs with the support of individuals and private organizations as part of efforts to transform the Kingdom into a knowledge economy, writes PK Abdul Ghafour for Arab News.
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CANADA: Companies to help solve student housing woes
Canadian universities are turning to the private sector to solve their campus housing problems, writes Steve Ladurantaye for The Globe and Mail. They are looking at adopting an American trend that has seen dozens of schools partner with private equity firms to construct buildings that fill the need for student living and also provide investors with the types of returns generally associated with apartment complexes.
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JAPAN: Thousands delay graduation to try to find jobs
At least 79,000 senior university students are believed to have intentionally stayed in school an extra year so they have a better chance of finding a job, a Yomiuri Shimbun survey has found. Because the mass employment of new graduates by major corporations is still rooted in tradition, many senior students unsuccessful in finding work are repeating a year to engage in job-hunting activities as new graduates.
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CHINA: Students still look to Britain despite limits
A controversial plan by the British coalition government to cap the number of skilled immigrants from non-EU countries seems unlikely to stop enthusiastic Chinese from pursuing higher education in the UK, write Ma Liyao and Zhang Haizhou for Xinhuanet.
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US: California online degree rattles academics
Taking online higher education courses is, to many, like eating at McDonalds: convenient, fast and filling. You may not get filet mignon, but afterward you're just as full. Now the University of California wants to jump into online education for undergraduates, hoping to become America's first top-tier research institution to offer a degree over the internet comparable in quality to its prestigious campus programme, writes Nanette Asimov for the San Francisco Chronicle.
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US: Google finances projects to test digital library
Google Inc is giving researchers nearly a half-million dollars to test the academic value of its rapidly growing online library, writes Michael Liedtke for Associated Press. The grants announced on Wednesday will help pay for 12 humanities projects studying questions that will require sifting through thousands of books to reach meaningful conclusions.
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