Sunday, 26 June 2011

University World News 0177 - 26th June 2011

This week's highlights

In Features, ANDREJS RAUVARGERS tells ARD JONGSMA that the big absentee in all international rankings is teaching quality, and predicts more trip-advisor style student peer-to-peer reviews will fill the gap in future. In Commentary, FRANCIS ERNOUF argues that foreign universities sending exchange students to China are lending credence to a regime that spies on and represses its own students. In our Talloires Network 2011 coverage, ARD JONGSMA reports on how Pakistan's students help the response to earthquakes and floods in their study time. DAVID WATSON, ELIZABETH BABCOCK, ROBERT HOLLISTER and SUSAN STROUD call on governments to make civic engagement compulsory for students. REBECCA WARDEN reports on a remarkable secular women's university in Islamist Sudan that is funded by and geared to serving the community.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Launch of coalition to protect education
Brendan O'Malley
On the same day that three students were killed by raids by security forces on university dormitories in Damascus a global coalition of UN, education and human rights agencies was launched to defend schools and universities against the growing threat of violent political and military attacks.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA: Universities 'must halt land grab investments'
Alison Moodie
At least two of America's most prestigious universities are involved in dubious land acquisitions in African countries that could force small farmers off their ancestral land and turn valuable soil into industrial-scale farmland, according to a recent report by a California think-tank. Its director has called on universities to take a stand against such exploitation.
Full report on the University World News site:

PAKISTAN: Universities budget slashed again
Ameen Amjad Khan
The federal government has slashed the higher education budget for the third year running, prompting claims that it is trying to roll back the ambitious plans of the Musharraf years which drew international praise.
Full report on the University World News site:

INDIA: Only students who score 100% need apply
Alya Mishra
The requirement of a perfect score - 100 % - to get admission into one of India's leading colleges for commerce has highlighted the severe shortage of good quality higher education institutions in the country.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Scientists face more death threats
Geoff Maslen
More than 200 scientists converged on Parliament House on Monday to issue a 'Respect for Science' call as new death threats were made against some of their leaders involved in climate change research.
Full report on the University World News site:

SOUTH KOREA: Tuition fees cut after protests
Han-Suk Kim
In an unprecedented climb down the ruling Grand National party announced on Thursday it would cut tuition fees by 30% by 2014 in an attempt to stave off growing protests.
Full report on the University World News site:

EUROPE: Mystery of untapped funds
Alan Osborn
Unlike America, Europe has no clear and firm tradition of using philanthropic funds to finance higher education, least of all in the research area, which could suggest significant untapped potential, says a new report. Giving in Evidence - Fundraising from philanthropy in European universities finds that philanthropic fundraising is not, on the whole, taken seriously in European universities and asks, why is this and can it be changed?
Full report on the University World News site.:

CANADA: Forging ties with Indian universities
Sarah King Head
A meeting last week of more than 40 university presidents and vice-chancellors from Canada and India is expected to stimulate further research and innovation opportunities between the two countries.
Full report on the University World News site:

GERMANY: Skills shortage 'could stall boom'
Michael Gardner
Industry has again warned that shortages in technology-oriented subjects threaten Germany's economic boom. The lack of spec ialists in maths, informatics, natural sciences and engineering appears to have reached a 10-year high in May.
Full report on the University World News site:


EUROPE: New name for EU 'FP8'
Ard Jongsma
After seven Framework Programmes with a purpose that is hard to understand without the usually omitted additional phrase "for research, technological development", the European Commission has sought to clarify the name of its support programme for European research and technology.
Full report on the University World News site:

Talloires Network 2011 conference

Some 200 university leaders from around the world met in Madrid for the
second conference of the Talloires Network, a global association of institutions committed to strengthening the civil roles and social responsibilities of higher education. "Building the Engaged University, Moving beyond the ivory tower", was held from 14-16 June at the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain. University World News was the official media partner to the conference. We published initial reports from the conference in last week's edition and this week have further coverage.

GLOBAL: Universities for justice and unity

Ard Jongsma Universities' neutrality and their aspired role as the conscience of society can be compromised when they become drivers of political change. At its Leaders Conference in Madrid, the Talloires Network explored whether universities can and should be an active partner in political transition and democratisation.
Full report on the University World News site:

PAKISTAN: A different twist to learning by doing
Ard Jongsma
Scientists and engineers from universities around the world play a major role in disaster prevention in many different ways. But when disaster strikes not all universities may feel obliged to extend a helping hand, have their students and academics roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty assisting the needy.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Chile taps talent among the poor
Rebecca Warden
After 30 years' studying the eternal question of how to broaden access and participation in higher education without dropping standards, Chilean academic Francisco Gil has come to what seems a disarmingly simple conclusion: "Academic talent is equally distributed across all of the social strata."
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: How to measure citizenship outcomes
Rebecca Warden
A full house of curious academics gathered to hear Carlos Mijares describe how Tecnológico de Monterrey (TM) in Mexico is going about measuring the outcomes of citizenship education among students.
Full report on the University World News site:

SUDAN: University channels female power to community
Rebecca Warden
Imagine a university whose students are all women, which is secular and which has placed working with the community at the very heart of its mission - and is located in an Islamist North African country. Ahfad University for Women (AUW) would seem unusual in any country, but its location in Omdurman near Khartoum in Sudan, a country better known for long, drawn-out civil war and a controversial Islamist regime than for playing home to progressive institutions of higher education, makes it extraordinary.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: If you want to be loved, get a dog - McKenna
Rebecca Warden
Margaret McKenna is the living embodiment of the idea that if you want to get things done, this will probably involve stepping outside your professional comfort zone.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: How governments can support civic universities
Government agencies should look at promoting initiatives which encourage deeper civic engagement by universities, such as requiring students to complete a set amount of voluntary service and providing incentives for faculty to get involved, say DAVID WATSON, ELIZABETH BABCOCK, ROBERT HOLLISTER and SUSAN STROUD.
Full report on the University World News site:

GLOBAL: Leadership challenges for the civic university
The Civic University can break down barriers between universities and cities, but it creates new leadership challenges for universities, argue JOHN GODDARD and PAUL VALLANCE. They outline what these are and some ways around them.
Full report on the University World News site:


GLOBAL: Ranking the rankings
Ard Jongsma
Are rankings useless, as the media were quick to conclude from the European University Association's first study on them, released last week? Its author, Adrejs Ruahvargers, warns against seeking a quick answer to a complicated question.
Full report on the University World News site:

SOUTH KOREA: Student stress fuels suicides as standards rise
Karryn Miller
A spate of suicides among South Korean students has fuelled fears that the country's higher education system is too tough, with pressures increasing as universities seek to compete with institutions overseas.
Full report on the University World News site:

AFRICA: Where low technology solutions have value
Obi Emekekwue
Rather than focusing exclusively on high-level technologies, Free State-based Central University of Technology in South Africa also uses low-level technologies to deliver appropriate solutions to meet regional challenges, Thandwa Mthembu, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the university, said on Monday in New York.
Full report on the University World News site:


CHINA: Foreign students face 'indoctrination camp'
International students are being kept apart from Chinese students and under strict surveillance, but the foreign universities that arrange the exchanges ignore the issue, argues FRANCIS ERNOUF.
Full report on the University World News site:


GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports worldwide
An Iranian student activist and prisoner of conscience remains in solitary confinement after 37 days in prison with interrogation completed. Charges against a Colombian academic arrested two yeas ago, accused of links with left-wing guerrillas, have been dropped, and he has been released. A student pilot in Iran has been jailed for a year over Facebook activities, including interviews with international media and publicising political activity. A constitutional law scholar in China has gone missing, believed detained in relation to high numbers of independent candidates running in local elections.
Full report on the University World News site:


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UK: Fee hikes could bring back polytechnics
Colleges charging less than £6,000 (US$9,600) a year in tuition fees will be free to recruit more students under government proposals that could lead to a new generation of polytechnic-style institutions teaching vocational skills writes Jeevan Vasagar for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Teaching quality under pressure
Spiralling class sizes, overcrowding, tutorials replaced by seminars, few avenues for feedback and interaction, a shift to online and peer-assessment as a cost saving measure - the dire state of teaching in Australian universities emerges from just a cursory glance at submissions to the base funding review, writes Julie Hare for The Australian.
More on the University World News site:

TURKEY: Fears for academic freedom
University professors have accused the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan of blocking academic freedom at the nation's institutions of higher education. They said Erdogan, re-elected on 12 June, has ordered the Interior Ministry and security forces to raid universities suspected of un-Islamic behaviour, reports The World Tribune.
More on the University World News site:

CANADA: Plagiarist steps down as dean
The dean of the University of Alberta's medical school has resigned after weathering a week-long firestorm for plagiarising parts of a speech to graduates. But some students aren't happy Dr Philip Baker is being allowed to stay on campus as a professor pending further review by the school, writes Chris Purdy for The Canadian Press.
More on the University World News site:

MALAYSIA: Scholarships offered to African students
The RM12 million (US$3.95 million) scholarships offered by the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology to all African countries have been hailed as a potential catalyst for more students from the continent to gain access to education abroad, write Massita Ahmad and Nurulhuda Che Das for Bernama.
More on the University World News site:

SOUTH AFRICA: Students keen to learn African language
Multilingualism advocates say there is considerable evidence that university students and academics are keen to learn an African language as part of their courses, writes Dianne Hawker for the Independent Online.
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KENYA: Lecturers block double intake plans
Plans by public universities to conduct a double intake are likely to suffer a blow after lecturers vowed to block the move, writes Oliver Musembi for The Nation.
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US: Yale launches new anti-Semitism programme
After summarily closing the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA) earlier this month, Yale University has announced the creation of the Yale Programme for the Study of Anti-Semitism, a programme devoted to "serious scholarly discourse and research" on anti-Semitism and its manifestations, writes Jordana Horn for The Jerusalem Post.
More on the University World News site:

SCOTLAND: Academic says graduate tax must follow
A leading education thinker has proposed Scotland follows England's example and introduce a graduate tax, writes Fiona Macleod for The Scotsman. Frances Cairncross, rector of Exeter College, Cambridge and former economics journalist, says it would provide an answer to Scotland's funding gap.
More on the University World News site:

MALAYSIA: Call for clarity on blacklisted institutions
The higher education ministry is seeking more information from the home ministry on the more than 20 private institutions of higher learning blacklisted for misuse of foreign student passes, reports Bernama.
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AUSTRALIA: Universities turn to philanthropists
Philanthropy is becoming big business for Australian universities as they seek to prop up income from government and student fees, writes Yuko Narushima for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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KENYA: Colleges to be elevated to universities
The Vision 2030 directorate has called for a well-planned elevation of tertiary colleges to universities, even as orders for elevation of Narok, Kisii and Dedan Kimathi colleges to fully fledged universities by Commission for Higher Education (CHE) seemed certain, writes Benjamin Muindi for The Nation.
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EGYPT: Professors to hold sit-in
A coalition of faculty members at Egyptian public universities decided last week to hold a nation-wide on-campus open sit-in starting 3 July, to push for the resignation of interim Minister of Higher Education, Amr Salama, for ignoring the coalitions' demands, writes Heba Fahmy for Daily News Egypt.
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AUSTRALIA: Concern over reliance on foreign fees
The reliance on international students to keep universities afloat has been given an emphatic thumbs down in a survey of the general public about attitudes towards higher education, writes Jill Rowbotham for The Australian.
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WALES: University of Wales 'let Wales down'
Education Minister Leighton Andrews says the University of Wales has let down higher education in Wales and brought the nation "into disrepute", writes Ciaran Jenkins for The BBC.
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PAKISTAN-IRAQ: Call for joint education ventures
Iraq and Pakistan will have joint ventures for promoting higher education and research activities, to further strengthen the cordial ties between both the countries, reports the Associated Press of Pakistan.
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CHINA: Southeast Asian universities flock to expo
Southeast Asian universities have been showing unique enthusiasm in this year's Beijing International Education Expo, reports Xinhuanet.
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PERU: University protests leave three dead
Three people died and at least 20 others were wounded in clashes in the southwestern Peruvian region of Huancavelica during a general strike against the creation of a new university using the facilities of an existing institution, reports the Latin American Herald Tribune.
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SOUTH AFRICA: Students removed from credit bureaus
All students who were blacklisted for owing money to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme have been taken off the credit bureaus' records, writes Marianne Merten for Business Report.
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CANADA: Academia rallies over Bangladeshi attack
A savage attack in Bangladesh that blinded a University of British Columbia graduate student has bolstered support for efforts to open the doors to Canadian higher education wider in South Asia, write James Bradshaw, Jill Mahoney and Stephanie Nolen for The Globe and Mail.
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US: Hunt is on for overseas college students
The bang of a ceremonial gong opens festivities in a cavernous downtown office building in Jakarta, where representatives from 56 US colleges stand ready to peddle their wares, writes Mary Beth Marklein for USA Today.
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