Sunday, 10 April 2011

University World News 166 - 10th April 2011

This week's highlights

In Features, ALISON MOODIE writes that nearly 600 universities have signed up so far for the United Nations Academic Impact, and WAGDY SAWAHEL looks at challenges facing higher education in South Sudan which will become a new state in July. In People, PHILIP FINE remembers Ottilia Chareka, an extraordinary Canadian academic who died last month. In Commentary, HANS DE WIT describes nine misconceptions about internationalisation in higher education, JOHN DOUGLASS, RICHARD EDELSTEIN and CECILE HOARAEU report on the sometimes surprising findings of research into where international students choose to study in California, and JANE HEMSLEY-BROWN argues that freeing up the higher education market in England will increase social divisions.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

BRAZIL: US, Europe pursue higher education ties
Tom Hennigan
Brazil and America are set to revive ties in education and research following a meeting last month between Barack Obama and his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff. The presidents ordered a ministerial-level review of existing bilateral programmes covering higher education exchanges and called for a plan to deepen cooperation. Last week a European commissioner also paid a high-level visit to Brazil to strengthen policy cooperation in higher education, academic exchange and strategic ties with the South American giant.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: English proficiency ranking of 44 countries
Yojana Sharma
With countries such as Britain and Australia tightening up on the level of English language skills for international student visas, students in some countries are having to invest a great deal more than others in improving language proficiency.
Full report on the University World News site:

UK: Curb fee hikes or lose places, Cable warns
Brendan O'Malley
Universities that seek to charge the highest possible fees and can't fill places as a result will risk having those places withdrawn permanently, UK Business Secretary Vince Cable warned on Wednesday. Instead they should find ways to offer good value for money, he told a meeting of vice-chancellors and principles.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: MIT tops global engineering ranking
Karen MacGregor
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the top university in the world in engineering and computer sciences, according to the first QS World University Rankings by Subject, published on Tuesday. The next best-performing universities are Stanford and Cambridge.
Full report on the University World News site:

PAKISTAN: University protests against HEC disbanding
Ameen Amjad Khan
Protests by university students and academics erupted last week against the decision by Pakistan's federal government to devolve responsibilities of the Higher Education Commission to provinces, signalling the death throes of the autonomous regulatory body.
Full report on the University World News site:

MALAWI: Academic freedom protests close campuses
Malawian authorities have indefinitely closed two campuses following protests by students and lecturers aimed at pushing for the restoration of academic freedom. The action has seen three academics fired and 17 students arrested.
Full report on the University World News site:

EGYPT: Uncertain future for first research university
Ashraf Khaled
Since long-standing president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a popular revolt in February, Egypt has been gripped by waves of protests ranging from demands for better wages to the removal of university administrators deemed loyal to the former regime. Now students and academics at Nile University, Egypt's first research university set up in 2007, have taken to the street - but this time, to protect an institution accused of corruption from closure.
Full report on the University World News site:

CHINA: Muslim students offered jobs to avoid uprising
Yojana Sharma
Muslim students in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have been promised jobs and university internships in a bid to prevent 'contagion' from uprisings in the Middle East.
Full report on the University World News site:

GERMANY: Baden-Württemberg set to scrap fees
Michael Gardner
Following a Green-Social Democrat victory in elections to the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg, fees will probably be scrapped as early as the next winter semester, leaving two of Germany's 16 federal states, Bavaria and Lower Saxony, with fees. University leaders are looking to the state government to make up the shortfall.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: French-speaking universities collaborate
Munyaradzi Makoni
The French language has become a common driver for technological innovation among French-speaking technology universities. Developed world universities have teamed up with Francophone universities, mostly in Africa, in a network for excellence in engineering sciences that officially starts operating this month.
Full report on the University World News site:

KENYA: Declining quality drives students overseas
Gilbert Nganga
Perceived poor quality of university education in Kenya could be pushing students out of the country. A recent survey by Synovate, a consumer research firm, revealed that most Kenyans would prefer to study abroad, where they believe universities guarantee quality learning and are prestigious.
Full report on the University World News site:


ALGERIA: Bologna "source of student unrest"
University students in Algeria continued their unlimited strike as the new term started last week. The secretary general of the left-wing Parti des Travailleurs, claimed the introduction of Bologna process-style reforms was at the root of the crisis.
Full report on the University World News site:


GLOBAL: Universities sign up for UN Academic Impact
Alison Moodie
For the last six years the United Nations has been pursuing a novel idea: gathering academic research globally into a practical framework. Last November, the idea finally came to fruition when Secretary General Ban Ki Moon launched the UN Academic Impact in New York. So far, nearly 600 universities have signed up to participate, making the initiative one of the fastest-growing cooperative measures of its kind.
Full report on the University World News site:

SOUTH SUDAN: Reforming universities in a new state
Wagdy Sawahel
In an effort to build the emerging independent state of South Sudan on a solid foundation, the government has launched a roadmap in which reforming the country's higher education sector features prominently. Due to open for classes in mid-May, universities in what is one of the world's least developed nations face a host of challenges.
Full report on the University World News site:


OBITUARY: Generous professor counted herself lucky
Philip Fine
Zimbabwean-born Ottilia Chareka was a rising academic star in Canada, a researcher with a passion for political engagement, a mentor who expected a lot from her students and a role model who helped find new teachers among underrepresented populations.
Full report on the University World News site:

HERANA - Universities and development in Africa

AFRICA: Higher education and democratic citizenship
Formal education in Africa has provided 'democratic dividends', enabling people to make greater use of the news media, obtain information and understanding about politics and thus become more cognitively engaged and critical, according to research. But it is high school, and not higher education, that pays the greatest dividend.
Full report on the University World News site:


EUROPE: Misconceptions about internationalisation
Internationalisation in higher education has become mainstream, but there is still a lack of clarity about what this involves. HANS DE WIT describes what he sees as the nine misconceptions about internationalisation.
Full report on the University World News site:

US: Where do international students choose to study?
There is growing world demand from international students, particularly for enrolment in a high-profile state like California with an array of prestigious universities and brand name higher education institutions, write JOHN DOUGLASS, RICHARD EDELSTEIN and CECILE HOARAEU. At the same time, there is a thirst by public universities and colleges to draw in additional revenue, particularly in the light of dwindling government support. But research shows some surprising statistics on where international students choose to study.
Full report on the University World News site:

UK: Higher education market - conflicting messages
Freeing up the market in higher education could increase social inequality, argues JANE HEMSLEY-BROWN. Universities know that higher fee charges equate to better quality education and if this is combined with restrictions on international student numbers, and therefore international fees, it will only increase social divisions.
Full report on the University World News site:


UNIVERSE: Fifty years since first human in space
"Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marvelled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty - not destroy it!" said Yuri Gagarin. Tuesday is the 50th anniversary of the first man in space: on 12 April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to leave Earth and float above the planet. It was a day that saw not only the Vostok 1 spacecraft and its cosmonaut go into orbit but also ramped up the space race between the US and USSR.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Fat men less likely to suffer dementia
New results from a decade-long epidemiological study offer some encouraging news for overweight older men: they are less likely to develop dementia. Men with a body mass index in the overweight category and with high measurements of fat deposits around the waist were less prone to develop dementia compared with their normal weighted peers.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Foreign species not so dominant
Many of the world's ecosystems are dominated by introduced plant species that result in loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function. A common but rarely tested assumption is that these plants are more abundant in introduced rather than their native communities because ecological or evolutionary-based shifts in populations underlie invasion success.
Full report on the University World News site:

BRAZIL: Fossil find has South African links
A fossil of a herbivorous 'reptile' found recently in Brazil has close links to a species discovered at Williston in South Africa's Northern Cape province in 1999. The latest find indicates how the South American and African continents were once part of Gondwana, the southernmost of the two supercontinents.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Paper-based water filter for emergencies
Wagdy Sawahel
Cheap, portable paper-based filters, coated with silver nanoparticles, could be used to produce clean drinking water during disasters such as floods, tsunamis and earthquakes, according to Canadian researchers.
Full report on the University World News site :


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POLAND: University reform law contested
Poland's higher education system will undergo significant changes if a bill signed into law on 5 April by President Bronisław Komorowski remains on the statute books. The bill is due to enter into force in October but its constitutionality has been called into question, writes Katrarzyna Piasecka for the Warsaw Business Journal.
Full report on the University World News site :

US: Universities monitoring radiation from Japan
The amount of radioactive material reaching the West Coast of the US from Japan's crippled nuclear reactors is dropping off sharply but the information does not come from government agencies. The most complete picture of the isotopes wafting across the Pacific is from university scientists, writes Sandi Doughton in the Seattle Times.
Full report on the University World News site :

TURKEY: Investigation into national exam 'scam'
Turkish prosecutors are investigating allegations of possible cheating and favouritism in the annual university entrance exam sat by 1.7 million students on 27 March. Suspicions were raised this week after a lawyer discovered a formula for correct answers for multiple-choice maths questions on one exam, Suzan Fraser reported for the Associated Press.
Full report on the University World News site :

US: Budget cuts hit universities nationwide
Drastic budget cuts to higher education are forcing public university officials to take unprecedented measures. Proposed solutions across the country range from raising tuition fees by 30% in Pennsylvania to eliminating tenure programmes for professors in North Carolina. Colleges will not find out exactly how much they need to cut until the summer, when state legislatures finalise the budget, reports Elizabeth Johnson for the Daily Tar Heel.
Full report on the University World News site :

US: Public university presidents' pay
Presidents of public universities collected a small raise in pay last year amid budget squeezes at most US universities. As many state legislatures debate double-digit percentage cuts in higher-education funding, presidential pay could become a sensitive subject, writes Kevin Helliker in The Wall Street Journal, commenting on the survey of university presidents pay released by The Chronicle of Higher Education last week.
Full report on the University World News site :

INDIA: Plan to increase vocational education
Vocational students should account for 50% of all tertiary enrolment by 2020 compared to less than 5% now, as the neglected vocational education sector will receive a boost in India's next five-year plan starting in April 2012, writes Basant Kumar Mohanty for The Telegraph.
Full report on the University World News site :

CANADA: China accreditation restored after Tibet row
The University of Calgary is back on China's list of accredited universities more than a year after being removed in the wake of the Dalai Lama's September 2009 visit to the university to receive an honorary doctorate, Clara Ho reports in the Calgary Herald.
Full report on the University World News site :

LATIN AMERICA: Alliance pushes increased university access
The Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (Alba), brainchild of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and Cuba's former president Fidel Castro, is expanding its alternative vision of higher education across Latin America. It has supported moves for reform in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, provoking violent street demonstrations and fierce opposition from the university sector, writes Meesha Nehru in Times Higher Education.
Full report on the University World News site :

POLAND: Highest private-sector enrolment in Europe
Poland has the highest private sector university enrolment in Europe, with more than a third of students educated outside the state system. However, with a dip in the Polish birthrate shrinking the number of potential students, competition between the private and state sectors is expected to get sharper, writes Jeevan Vasagar for The Guardian.
Full report on the University World News site :

CZECH REPUBLIC: Huge growth in private students
The number of students at private colleges and universities in the Czech Republic has increased almost 30-fold in the past 10 years, the Czech Statistical Office and the Institute of Education Information said in remarks picked up by the Czech news agency CTK.
Full report on the University World News site :

MALAYSIA: Private colleges struck off
Malaysia's higher education ministry cancelled the setting up of 59 private colleges and deregistered 28 others between 2009 and 2010 over quality issues, the official news agency Bernama reported. Deputy Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the ministry found that the institutions were unable to provide quality programmes, premises, management, teaching staff, or learning and teaching facilities.
Full report on the University World News site :

VIETNAM-INDONESIA: US to enhance education ties
A trade mission led by the US Department of Commerce's Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez and comprising representatives from around 60 US universities and colleges began a trip to two of the fastest-growing markets in Asia, Vietnam and Indonesia, from 2-9 April, the official Saigon Giai Phong newspaper reported.
Full report on the University World News site :

US: College consortia to recruit overseas students
Universities and colleges are forming state-by-state consortia to put themselves on the map for foreign students. Nearly half of all US states now have international education associations to promote both public and private colleges in areas not traditional magnets for overseas students, writes Karin Fischer in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Full report on the University World News site :

GULF: Western institutions 'risk failing'
Western universities in Gulf countries are at risk of failing because of a difficulty in recruiting students and a reliance on outside funding. "There are disturbing stories that suggest that many of the less prestigious institutions are under considerable financial stress," said John Willoughby, an economist at the American University in Washington, James Calderwood reports in The National.
Full report on the University World News site :

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