Monday, 12 March 2012

University World News issue number 0211

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

Lecturer faces death penalty, UN reports rights abuses
Brendan O’Malley
Campaigners have issued an urgent appeal to stay the execution of a university lecturer at the same time that a UN investigation has reported widespread human rights abuses in Iran including arbitrary arrest, torture and imprisonment of students and academics.

US tops list of international patent-filing universities

Wagdy Sawahel
US universities remain the most prolific international patent filers among higher education institutions worldwide, accounting for 30 of the top 50 institutions. The US is followed by Japan and South Korea with seven institutions each, the UN World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO, reported on Monday.

Moratorium on new engineering, business colleges mooted

Alya Mishra
India’s regulatory authority for technical and engineering institutions has said it may stop accepting proposals for new technical colleges in states with surplus capacity. Scores of engineering and business management institutions have announced closures.

Undergraduates face common compulsory examination

Eugene Vorotnikov
Russia’s Ministry of Education wants to introduce a compulsory unified state examination for undergraduates. Students will have to pass before they can be awarded a bachelor degree.

Academics slam controversial new university ranking

Ameen Amjad Khan
A new university ranking by Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission, announced on 23 February, has stirred controversy in academic circles. Many critics have rejected the criteria, declaring the ranking system faulty and contradictory to international standards and practices.

Ban on joint federal-state university funding to be axed

Michael Gardner
The coalition committee of Germany’s centre-right government has announced a plan to widen the scope for higher education cooperation with the country’s state governments.

ERC defends concentration of grants in top universities

Jan Petter Myklebust
Helga Nowotny, president of the European Research Council, has strongly defended the high percentage of ERC grants that go to Europe’s top universities.

University in turmoil over student sackings

Ashraf Khaled
Dozens of students at the privately-run German University in Cairo have been protesting for more than two weeks after five of their colleagues were dismissed in what the university said was disciplinary action.
IFC – Making Global Connections

The International Finance Corporation held its fifth private higher education conference in Dubai from 6-7 March, titled “Making Global Connections”. Private education providers worldwide discussed issues such as the global skills gap and possible responses, the role of equity in private education, building and maintaining quality and supporting graduate employment. University World News was the media partner to the conference.

Striking a public-private higher education balance 
Yojana Sharma
With increasing investment in private higher education worldwide it is important to strike the right balance between public and private universities to ensure quality and equity, according to participants at last week's International Finance Corporation conference on private education.

Making higher education relevant can unleash growth
Yojana Sharma
Higher education has emerged as a major economic issue in many countries because of its importance in preparing young people for the job market. Yet it is often not seen as relevant to the needs of the economy, the International Finance Corporation conference heard in Dubai on Tuesday.

Is formal education failing Arab youth?
Dahlia Khalifa
One in four Arab youths faces the frustration of not being able to find a job, twice the global average. Education in the region is heavily public sector financed, centralised, outcomes-driven and unresponsive to market needs. There is a major role for the private sector in helping to provide quality education and create jobs.

What we can do about the Arab youth jobs crisis
Dahlia Khalifa
The numbers are stark. A third of the population in the Arab world is below the age of 15 and a further third is aged 15 to 29. Some 50 to 70 million youths are expected to enter the job market in the next decade. But formal education is not enabling youths to find jobs, and two-thirds feel they do not have the necessary skills.

Quality the big challenge for private education hubs
Leigh Thomas
Quality is the biggest challenge for United Arab Emirates (UAE) education hubs offering private tertiary education, experts said on Thursday during an International Finance Corporation conference in Dubai.
Universities Australia annual conference

Universities Australia, the peak body representing the nation's universities, held its annual conference in Canberra last week. Geoff Maslen reports.

Europe’s €80 billion plan to boost research, innovation
Geoff Maslen
With a proposed budget of €80 billion (US$105 billion), the European Commission’s new Horizon 2020 plan complemented the approach being taken in most of the EU's member states to increase investment in research and innovation as the routes to future growth, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU commissioner for research, innovation and science, said last week.

Demand-driven system boosts student numbers
Geoff Maslen
The federal government’s lifting of restrictions on enrolments that individual universities could accept had boosted student numbers this year by more than 30,000, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, told the Universities Australia conference last week.

Universities face new world of fierce competition
Geoff Maslen
Australia’s new system of higher education, where universities decide how many students they will enrol, means some will thrive with expanding enrolments and quality offerings while others will be bankrupted and fail to attract sufficient students. “No sector introduced to a market rationale is ever the same,” said Professor Glyn Davis, chair of Universities Australia and vice-chancellor of Melbourne University.

University reforms of international significance
Geoff Maslen
The demand-driven university reform introduced by the Australian government this year is significant on the world scale. This is because the reform established one feature of a genuine market: open competition for market share, albeit funded by a government voucher not commercial fees, and operating in some rather than all institutions.
Jehona Serhati
Kosovo needs to seek funds for research, whether or not its universities are teaching students the right skills to help build the country's economy and future. Currently all information is based on word of mouth and unsystematic surveys, rather than on rigorous research.


Goolam Mohamedbhai
South Africa’s National Planning Commission, in its 2011 National Development Plan: Vision for 2030, set out a series of goals for improving education, training and innovation in order to promote economic development by using the information-knowledge system as a driver. Two of those goals relate directly to doctoral education.

Little to show for postgraduate incentive funding
Karen MacGregor
Seven years ago, South Africa introduced incentive funding for postgraduates in an effort to meet an urgent national need for more high-level skills. But new research shows that only some universities have been able to respond and that the annual increase in doctoral graduates is limping along at only 3.6% a year.

Nico Cloete
South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, in an article following his attendance at a universities conference in Havana, raised some very important issues for this country’s higher education debate – which, as he suggests, is completely moribund, from bottom to top.

Flying faculty teaching – who benefits?
Karen Smith
Some transnational higher education teaching models include ‘flying faculty’, where home country academics are flown in to teach for a short period in another country and culture. It's a challenging job, but with many benefits.

Improving what we offer (international) students
Robert Coelen
Improving international students' experience will attract more and will also benefit local students. That includes changing the way we teach to ensure international students have a voice.

Exploring identity through education abroad
Andrea O’Leary
Can a short immersion study-abroad course really make a difference to students and universities? The director of one award-winning international programme says it can and the answer is through students forging strong friendships and reflecting on their identities.

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