Sunday, 8 July 2012

Unversity World News - Issue No. 0229

All of Europe’s education support efforts to merge into one holistic bundle

In Features, Ard Jongsma interviews Jordi Curell, head of higher education in the European Commission’s education and training directorate, and reports that proposals to bundle all European education and training support efforts into one interconnected programme are entering a decisive stage.
Alya Mishra writes that new anti-discrimination regulations for universities in India may not be enough, given the covert nature of discrimination and the hierarchical structure of society, and journalists across all continents report on the growing switch to teaching in English among many universities in non-English countries.
In Commentary, Way Kuo contends that Hong Kong higher education needs to embrace other cultures and make the most of its geographical position if it is to attract more international students. Devi D Tewari looks at whether the American or European model of PhD examination best suits developing countries, and Philip G Altbach writes that Slovenian higher education has the potential to be world class – though there are challenges.
Finally, in World Blog, Serhiy Kvit argues that Ukraine's integration into the European Higher Education Area would raise standards and improve its university system.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

EC launches dialogue with southern neighbours

Ard Jongsma

The European Commission has launched a platform for higher education policy dialogue with countries in the south Mediterranean area, convening 80 high-level officials including ministers, the commissioner and director-generals in Brussels to discuss developments in higher education in North Africa and the near Middle East – and the European response to it.

New regulation to focus on students’ academic rights 
Alya Mishra

Aiming to improve the quality of education across all colleges and universities, India will soon come up with a regulation that will inform students about their academic rights and entitlements – including on programmes operated by foreign universities. The academic community has welcomed the announcement.

Greater access, more equal higher education are key
Alison Moodie

The United States is at risk of losing its competitive advantage in the global marketplace unless it ensures greater and more equal access to higher education, according to a survey released by the OECD.

Election pledge – ‘Abolish top university’
Han-Suk Kim
In an astonishing attack on higher education elitism, South Korea’s main opposition party has said it could dismantle the country’s most prestigious university – Seoul National University – if it comes to power in upcoming presidential elections.

More university places, better quality needed – Report
Wagdy Sawahel
The six Gulf Cooperation Council states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates must urgently develop and implement higher education policies aimed at expanding student enrolments and strengthening quality, a new report says.

Pakistan and India offer scholarship olive branch
Ameen Amjad Khan
Pakistan and India are increasingly using higher education as a foreign policy instrument, in particular to improve relations with post-Taliban Afghanistan. Pakistan announced a package of 600 fully funded scholarships for students from Afghanistan – on the same day that an Afghan minister visiting Delhi pledged to increase education links with India.

Experiment identifies possible long-sought Higgs boson
Geoff Maslen
Physicists around the world excitedly greeted the news on Wednesday that a new particle has been detected consistent with the elusive Higgs boson, the long sought-after particle believed responsible for all forces in the universe.

Blow to anti-counterfeiting trade agreement
Geoff Maslen
Rejection by the European parliament on Wednesday night of an international treaty that attempted to strengthen the enforcement of intellectual property rights could impact on the debate in other countries, according to Professor Christoph Antons, a chief investigator with the Australian Research Council.

New president delivers inaugural speech at alma mater
Ashraf Khaled
Shortly after being sworn in as Egypt’s first freely-elected civilian president, Mohamed Mursi was driven by motorcade to Cairo University, the country’s oldest secular higher education institution. Minutes later, the engineering professor showed up in the auditorium where US President Barack Obama delivered his landmark address in 2009.

Lecturer strike closes top university indefinitely
The University of Zambia has been closed indefinitely by a lecturer strike for better pay and working conditions. The academics have resolved to withhold examination results from students pending a favourable outcome for their demands.

University administrators join nationwide strike
Francis Kokutse
University administrators in Ghana have joined the latest wave of nationwide strike action that has swept the country over the past few months. Students have reacted with anger, saying that admission to universities and academic work is being affected.

Local v-c appointed – after foreigner declines
Guillaume Gorges
The University of Mauritius has finally appointed a local academic, Professor Ramesh Rughooputh, as vice-chancellor – following the abrupt resignation of his foreign predecessor, and after another foreign academic declined the post.


Ard Jongsma
Proposals to bundle all European education and training support programmes into one huge, interconnected programme for 2014-20 are entering a decisive stage, as European ministers have accepted the majority of the European Commission’s outline and the European parliament is set to discuss further details.

Are anti-discrimination laws for universities enough?
Alya Mishra
Despite affirmative action laws, cases of discrimination against disadvantaged groups at India’s elite institutions continue to surface, leading to new anti-discrimination regulations for universities. But this may not be enough, given the covert nature of discrimination and the hierarchical structure of Indian society.

English use in teaching spreads in universities worldwide
Andrew Green, Wang Fangqing, Paul Cochrane, Jonathan Dyson and Carmen Paun
The Politecnico di Milano, one of Italy's most prestigious universities, will teach and assess most of its degree and all of its postgraduate courses entirely in English from 2014. While the move proved controversial in Italy, it is far from unusual – universities worldwide have been switching wholly or partly to teaching in English for a number of reasons.


Serhiy Kvit
Ukraine's higher education system needs reform and its integration into the European Higher Education Area would aid this, boost standards and the quality of what universities offer, and counter corruption.


The challenge of internationalisation in Hong Kong
Way Kuo
Hong Kong and its universities need to internationalise more. But to do so they have to consider what they can offer the rest of the world. International students will not study in Hong Kong just because universities operate in English.

PhDs – What model works for developing countries?
Devi D Tewari
The United States PhD model is the gold standard, but the European model is less expensive and could be a more realistic initial goal for developing countries wishing to raise standards.

The challenge of reaching for world-class status
Philip G Altbach
Slovenia has the potential for academic excellence, but it faces challenges, including selecting fields and disciplines its universities can excel in and negotiating the line between serving national and international interests. If successful, however, it could serve as a model for small countries and for universities with a European style of governance and administration.


Plaque found on two million-year-old teeth
A deadly mistake made two million years ago by two of humankind’s earliest ancestors has provided the first evidence of what food they ate – from an analysis of the plaque on their teeth. The find is unprecedented in the human record outside of fossils just a few thousand years old.

Using the cane toad’s poison against itself
An effective new weapon in the fight against the spread of cane toads has been developed by researchers at the University of Sydney and the University of Queensland. Cane toads now number more than 200 million and are spreading across the continent by an average of 40 kilometres a year, with devastating impacts on native species.

Helping Asian students understand regional accents
Researchers at the University of Nottingham have developed a computer program that helps Asian students improve their understanding of accented English speech in noisy environments.

Student use of stimulants for cognitive enhancement
Pharmacological cognitive enhancement is a topic of increasing public awareness, according to German researchers. In the scientific literature on student use of drugs or caffeine as a study aid, there are high prevalence rates with caffeinated substances but remarkably lower rates for illicit or prescription stimulants such as amphetamines or methylphenidate.

No comments: