Sunday, 12 September 2010

University World News 0139 - 12th September 2010

This week's highlights

In the Commentary section MICHAEL GALLAGHER, Executive Director of the
Australian Group of Eight research-intensive universities, worries that policy drift may beset the new government at a time when fundamental change is needed in higher education and research. In Features, ALYA MISHRA argues that Indian Education Minister Kapil Sibal's visit to China next week could help thaw chilly relations through cooperation in higher education, and YOJANA SHARMA reports on the growing popularity in Asia of the International Baccalaureate diploma as a route to study abroad.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Harvard toppled in new QS ranking
David Jobbins
A university from outside the United States has topped the QS World University Rankings for the first time since their appearance in 2004. The University of Cambridge tops the global ranking, edging aside Harvard which has led the table since the rankings were inaugurated. Over that time Cambridge has never been rated lower than third and was runner-up in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
Full report on University World News web site:

GLOBAL: Young graduates drive economic advantage
Yojana Sharma
Human capital, or the knowledge and skills available to developed country economies, has grown impressively in the last decade as a larger proportion of people have university degrees. But countries where the proportion of younger people with degrees is rising will be best prepared for a high-tech future, the OECD's Education at a Glance 2010 predicts.
Full report on the University World News site:

NEW ZEALAND: Quake closes three universities
John Gerritsen
Three of New Zealand's universities were closed after a large earthquake caused widespread damage to the South Island city of Christchurch. The quake happened early on the morning of Saturday 4 September and registered 7.1 on the Richter scale. It caused damage to the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University and the Christchurch campus of the University of Otago.
Full report on the University World News site:

IRAN: Probe into 'political cleansing' of professors
Yojana Sharma and Ramin Namvari
The forced retirement of eminent Iranian professors, particularly scientists, has continued apace since Iran's elections reinstated President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year. But in an indication that the removals may have gone too far, Iran's parliament last week announced it would hold an investigation into the issue.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Vice-chancellors relieved by Labor win
Geoff Maslen
"When it comes to elections there are odd results, strange results and bizarre results; Australia has just managed to achieve the surreal," wrote Professor Greg Craven last week. The vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University was commenting in the Melbourne Age newspaper on the outcome of the Australian election - nearly three weeks after the polls had closed. More in the Commentary section
Full report on the University World News site:

JAPAN-CHINA: Moving closer, say students and academics
Suvendrini Kakuchi
Sino-Japanese ties, dogged by historical colonial wounds, have grown closer thanks to increasing economic interdependency, according to responses from students and academics polled in both countries. And relations could improve further with more university contacts and exchanges.
Full report on the University World News site:

RUSSIA: Structural reform seeks to raise prestige
Eugene Vorotnikov
The Russian government is considering implementing massive structural reforms of the higher education system through the adoption of a new federal law. The reforms are based on a shift to a two-tier system of bachelors and masters programmes in line with European and world educational standards.
Full report on University World News web site:

GERMANY: Fee abolition tests minority government
Michael Gardner
The minority government of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is pushing ahead with a draft bill to abolish tuition fees by the 2011-12 winter semester despite a complex political situation. Higher Education Minister Svenja Schulze said: "I want to get rid of the fees at last and do so on a legally secure basis."
Full report on University World News web site:

CANADA: Football doping scandal takes another hit
Philip Fine
A Canadian university football player who became the first North American university athlete to test positive for the occurrence of human growth hormone has been given a stiff penalty by the body that oversees doping control and testing of university athletes.
Full report on the University World News site:

IRELAND: College slammed for 'misleading' claims
John Walshe
A Dublin college has been severely criticised for making misleading claims in its promotional material, lack of a clear vision, poor quality assurance controls and isolation from the rest of the Irish higher education community.
Full report on University World News site:

UK: Students shun expensive library services
Diane Spencer
Students prefer to use Google and YouTube rather than expensive electronic resource library systems for information searches, a study has revealed. Researchers at Middles ex University told the 17th annual conference of the Association for Learning Technology at the University of Nottingham last week that students find many university and college systems too complex, time-consuming and cumbersome for their research.
Full report on the University World News site:

EGYPT: Plan for first organ transplant college
Ashraf Khaled
With hepatitis C infecting around 20% of Egypt's 80 million population and renal failure estimated at around 14,000 cases annually, the country is planning to create a first college to qualify spec ialists in organ transplants.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA: Nineteen countries pledge to promote science
The 19 member countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa have come up with a raft of resolutions to boost science and technology, including the creation of a central fund to promote the sector.
Full report on the University World News site:


EUROPE: EU research head quits early
Alan Osborn
The unexpected resignation of Professor Andreu Mas-Colell as Secretary General of the European Research Council has caused something of a stir in EU academic circles.
Full report at University World News web site:

EUROPE: New legislation limits animal testing
Emma Jackson
The European Parliament has approved new legislation to limit the number of animals used in scientific studies within the European Union, in an effort to improve animal welfare without hindering important scientific research.
Full report at University World News web site:

SWEDEN: Boom in international applications
Jan Petter Myklebust
Applications for international master studies in Sweden have increased by 124% over 2009, while the number of applicants for international courses increased by 43%. .
Full report at University World News web site:


AUSTRALIA: Policy paralysis will be costly
Michael Gallagher*
After an unedifying election, with a vacuous flogging-to-death of fragmented pop-policy positions, we face a compromised government that will be on a re-election footing from its outset. Coherent policy ideas are not likely to emanate from that cauldron. Courageous policy, never an easy thing, will be back-burnered by the new 'followership'.
Full report on the University World News site:


INDIA: Education ties could ease tension with China
Alya Mishra
As India and China struggle to normalise an ongoing chill in relations caused by tensions over defence exchanges, Education Minister Kapil Sibal's visit to China next week could thaw the ice through bilateral cooperation in the field of education.
Full report on the University World News site:

ASIA: International bac - 'Global academic passport'
Yojana Sharma
The International Baccalaureate diploma was set up in the 1960s to provide education continuity for internationally mobile families. But new motivations for taking the IB have emerged among aspirant families in Asia, with the aim of studying in universities abroad a key factor.
Full report on the University World News site:


JORDAN: Student jailed for writing poem
Roisin Joyce and Nadia Kevlin*
A student at Irbid's University in Jordan has been accused of lèse majesté and "causing national strife" over a poem he denies writing that criticised the King, Human Rights Watch reported on 3 September 2010. Hatim Al-Shuli was arrested at his university on 25 July, after flyers of the poem under his name were distributed around campus.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site:


UK: Tighter work permits worry business schools
Maria Ahmed*
Further restrictions on post-study work permits for international students will damage British universities, according to the admissions director at a leading business school. "People apply to us from overseas not just to undertake a degree but to get the opportunity to work in this country", says Sean Rickard, admissions director at the Cranfield School of Management.
Full report on the University World News site:

UK-DUBAI: Executive MBAs partner across borders
Cayley Dobie
Students enrolled in the Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) programme at Britain's London Business School now have the opportunity to work in partnership with students attending the Dubai stream of the programme, as the school launches its first internationally integrated curriculum.
Full report on the University World News site:

IRELAND: Composting to reduce landfill waste
Cayley Dobie
Composting may be the key to solving high farming costs and plant disease, according to researchers at University College Dublin and Teagasc, the Irish agriculture and food development authority. Scientists at the two institutions have been looking at ways to use the growing number of landfills across Europe for the benefit of the agriculture sector.
Full report on the University World News site:


AUSTRALIA: University adopts iPhone app
Geoff Maslen
The second oldest university in Australia claims to be at the forefront of education technology with a new iPhone application. Nearing its 160th anniversary, the University of Melbourne says it has responded to the rise in mobile traffic to its suite of websites with the development of the 'Unimelb iPhone application' for staff and students.
Full report on the University World News site:


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ISRAEL: Higher education budget gets 30% raise
Israel's higher education budget will be increased by 30% and amount to a total of NIS7.5 billion (roughly $1.9 billion) in the coming six years, writes Yael Branovsky for YNet News.
More on the University World News site:

NETHERLANDS: Delft is centre of new Iranian activism
Delft, a dreamy university town in the Netherlands, has become a major centre for Iranian activists, writes Thomas Erdbrink for The Washington Post. Over 1,000 Iranian students, the majority fresh arrivals from Iran's best universities, are taking classes such as applied physics and aerospace engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and meeting during evenings in cafes that line the city's canals.
More on the University World News site:

BRAZIL: Top universities starting to internationalise
Brazil is not a hot spot on the international academic scene. Universities looking for institutional partners, foreign students looking to study abroad and professors searching for posts in other countries rarely consider Brazil as a first choice, writes Andrew Downie for The Chronicle of Higher Education. But circumstances are slowly changing.
More on the University World News site:

UK: One in five foreign students stays on
One international student in five remains in the UK after their initial visa has expired, writes Karen McVeigh for The Guardian. According to a recent Home Office study, almost 40,000 of those who arrived on an overseas student visa in 2004 remained in Britain last year.
More on the University World News site:

UK: Top earners to pay more for degrees
Higher earning graduates can expect to pay more for their degrees in the form of a "progressive and fair" contribution that could be introduced as early as next September, reports Jeevan Vasagar for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site:

UK: Universities called on to do more for less
Business Secretary Vince Cable has unveiled plans for a squeeze on public funding for scientific research, reports the BBC. He urged universities to do "more for less" and said taxpayers should only back research that had a commercial use or was academically outstanding.
More on the University World News site:

MEXICO: Higher education access lags behind region
The Rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico Jose Narro Robles said higher education coverage in the country is expected to reach 30%, but this is below average for Latin American nations, reports the government news agency Notimex.
More on the University World News site:

MYANMAR: Best students choose to study abroad
Most outstanding students in Myanmar have sought university education abroad over the past five years, reports the official Chinese news agency Xinhua.
More on the University World News site:

INDIA: No takers for university 'transgender quota'
An initiative of Bangalore University in India to reserve some seats for transgender candidates in postgraduate courses has no takers, reports Express Buzz. The university reserved one seat each in all postgraduate courses for transgender candidates.
More on the University World News site:

INDIA: US partnership receives final touches
Ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit in November, the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative has been finalised with both the governments pledging $5 million each that will fund university partnerships and faculty development, reports Akshaya Mukul for the Times of India.
More on the University World News site:

US-AFICA: Multi-million dollar grants for universities
The US Agency for International Development and a Washington-based group, Higher Education for Development, awarded grants of up to $1.1-million to partnerships between 11 American universities and 11 African counterparts that aim to deal with some of Africa's biggest developmental challenges, writes Kevin Kiley for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site:

CHINA: Olympic champs on university dismissal list
Olympic champions are facing possible dismissal from a university because they failed to earn enough credits for their masters degree courses, reports the Shanghai Daily.
More on the University World News site:

VIETNAM: Chinese, other language majors face the cut
The Ho Chi Minh City University of Foreign Languages and Information Technology has received only five to 10 applications for Chinese language and Chinese studies majors, reports VietNamNet Bridge.
More on the University World News site:

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