Saturday, 21 April 2012

University World News issue 0217

European ministers come under pressure to expand student mobility funding

In a scoop this week, Brendan O’Malley and Jan Petter Myklebust unpack a new report by the Bologna Follow-Up Group warning that Europe risks missing its goal of at least 20% of graduates studying abroad, with only four countries exceeding 5% in inward student mobility and outward mobility averaging less than 2%. See the Features section. In World Blog, Curt Rice explains why scientific publishing is unfair and in need of reform.
In Commentary, Madeleine F Green says universities need to be clear and honest about their internationalisation activities and why they are doing them, and Philip G Altbach and Jamil Salmi argue that international advisory groups, which are becoming popular among world-class universities, can add value and prestige.
N Jayaram, in the latest in a series of articles from the new book Paying the Professoriate, writes that improved pay scales and quality measures in India have made professors middle-class – but part-time and private sector academics have not benefited.
Also in India Alya Mishra looks at reforms in the state of Karnataka aimed at strengthening university autonomy, quality and research, that could provide a model for other parts of the country. And Tunde Fatunde reports on an international conference in Nigeria that investigated the under-studied 17-centuries-long trans-Sarahan slave trade.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

EU and World Bank push for research revolution
Brendan O'Malley
Three significant blows were struck this week for the international cause of achieving open access to scientific research – by the European Commission, the World Bank and the Wellcome Trust.

Community colleges deny access to 400,000 students
Alison Moodie
Community colleges across America are denying access to hundreds of thousands of students, threatening the nation’s economic future, according to the first report from the Center for the Future of Higher Education, the research arm of a new faculty coalition.

Austerity-era budget winners and losers revealed
David Jobbins
A study of the impact of austerity-driven policies on universities in 13 countries across Europe shows a divergence between clear winners and losers, with southern European countries generally but not exclusively faring worst. Finland is leading the pack of countries expanding university education budgets while the most savage impacts are being felt in Italy and Portugal.

Increase intake to meet higher education demand – UGC
Alya Mishra
With India facing major challenges in setting up new universities from scratch, existing universities may have to increase student intakes to meet growing demand for higher education and the urgent need for more skilled human resources. Some universities may have to double student enrolment in the next five years.

Students may join political parties, but not on campus
Honey Singh Virdee and Yojana Sharma
Bills to amend longstanding laws banning students from joining political parties were tabled in Malaysia’s parliament last week, with student groups and opposition parties saying that restrictive university laws should be repealed, not amended.

Ministry reins in false claims by private institutions
Adele Yung
Singapore’s Council for Private Education last week published new ground rules on responsible and truthful advertising by private education institutions, to rein in misleading or false claims and provide better protection for students turning to the growing private higher education sector.

Science and innovation could cut youth unemployment

High levels of youth unemployment across Africa could be reduced if innovation and entrepreneurship were included in university curricula, participants in a major all-Africa conference on science, technology and innovation heard in Kenya this month.

Two countries may share the world’s biggest telescope
Geoff Maslen
The battle between South Africa and Australia to win a US$2.1 billion prize – the giant Square Kilometre Array radio telescope – may be resolved by splitting its operations between the two countries. According to a report in Nature last week, the SKA management board is seeking to determine whether the telescope could be divided between the two proposed sites.

New president sacks police chief over academic freedom

Malawi’s new President Joyce Banda has sacked the police chief who was at the centre of academic freedom protests last year. And she has instituted an inquest into the death of a student leader who was critical of the government of the late president, Bingu wa Mutharika.

Sociologist Manuel Castells wins 2012 Holberg Prize

Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells has won this year’s Holberg International Memorial Prize – the ‘Nobel prize’ for the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology. A professor at the University of Southern California and other top institutions around the world, Castells earned the award for four decades of compelling analyses of power.

Teenagers flown in to advise on higher education 
Paul Rigg
The private for-profit IE University in Spain has turned to 16- to 18-year-olds from 11 countries for advice on the future of higher education. The teenagers – from countries as diverse as America, Colombia, Germany, India, Peru, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, Wales and Zimbabwe – flew to Madrid to give their views.

Government to fund new centre for Jewish studies
Michael Gardner
Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, or BMBF, is to provide funding for a new Jewish studies centre in Berlin. Several institutions in the Berlin area are supporting the centre, which launched last autumn.


Brendan O’Malley and Jan Petter Myklebust
Ministers from 47 European countries will be warned that they risk missing their target of at least 20% of graduates studying or training abroad, when they assess progress towards the Bologna goals in Bucharest later this month. They will be asked to sign a pledge to expand mobility funding and enable portability of grants, loans and scholarships provided by European Higher Education Area countries.

State university reform could improve quality, autonomy
Alya Mishra
By separating the academic and administrative functions of the university from its affiliated colleges, the state of Karnataka in southern India has attempted to give two of its oldest universities a new lease on life, with emphasis on autonomy, research and minimal political interference in university governance.

Scholars focus on the Arab trans-Saharan slave trade
Tunde Fatunde
Scholars from universities in and outside Africa gathered in the Nigerian city of Calabar recently to examine the role of Arab merchants in the trans-Saharan slave trade, which lasted for 17 centuries. For various reasons, the trans-Saharan slave trade – unlike trans-Atlantic slavery – is under-studied.


Curt Rice
Does science publishing need reforming? Although journals aim to publish the best quality research, the processes of selecting which research gets reviewed – and who does the reviewing – are not transparent and could mean that research by groups such as women gets overlooked.


Madeleine F Green
Universities need to be honest about internationalisation activities and why they are doing them. Unless institutions make the effort to be clear about the drivers and to measure the impacts of internationalisation, they will be deluded or uninformed about their success.

International advisors – An asset or an added expense?
Philip G Altbach and Jamil Salmi
International advisory groups are becoming increasingly popular with world-class universities. But do they add anything of value? Having the perspectives of outside experts can bring useful insights and the experience of top academics, industry spec ialists and others can add prestige.

Good news for permanent academics in public institutions
N Jayaram
India has introduced new pay scales and quality measures in higher education to retain the best staff, and professors are now happily middle-class. But these do not apply to private institutions or part-time staff and there are still problems recruiting enough academics to teach in public institutions.

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