ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0048 28 February 2010
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A female yellow fever mosquito; carrier of the Dengue fever virus. See our Science Scene story. Photo: James Gathany.
If you can recognise her, it is thanks to your genes. See our Science Scene story.
A journal of undergraduate research from the University of California. See our news story on the importance of research for undergraduates.

University World News was the official media partner to the Unesco World Conference on higher education, held in Paris from 5-8 July 2009.


AFRICA: News from across the continent

NIGERIA: Minister proposes monitoring students abroad
Tunde Fatunde
Nigeria’s Minister of Youth Development has proposed that the government monitor the religious and social activities of students abroad. The controversial plan is a response to the attempted bombing of an American aircraft by a Nigerian student last December and the nation’s inclusion on a US list of high security risk countries.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: OpenContent: Sharing teaching and learning
Alison Moodie
The University of Cape Town has launched an OpenContent Directory that allows academics to share teaching and learning materials and makes a body of knowledge accessible to all. It will contribute South African resources to the global Knowledge Commons, Vice-chancellor Dr Max Price said, and is the first step towards Open UCT – a broader initiative that will make a vast range of resources, including research and community work, available online.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: University’s funds looted, intakes frozen
The University of Zimbabwe is battling to recover nearly US$5 million in research funds looted from its foreign currency account by the central bank during the country’s economic crisis. Meanwhile, the institution has frozen intakes in some departments as the brain drain takes its toll – and the nationwide lecturer strike at public universities continues.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCOPHONE AFRICA: Database of diplomas launched
CAMES , the 18-member African and Madagascan Council for Higher Education, has launched a database of recognised qualifications in francophone Africa. With a couple of clicks to locate country and institution, the database gives information about diplomas, their relevant department or faculty, any available options, and how many years higher study they should require.
Full report on the University World News site

NORTH AFRICA: Boost for Maghreb university cooperation
Wagdy Sawahel
The five members of the Arab Maghreb Union – Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania – have agreed to create a website for all universities and research centers in the region and to re-activate a union of Maghrebi universities.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Academy for young scientists
Wagdy Sawahel
Egypt plans to set up an academy of science for young researchers, to support top up-and-coming scientists and encourage them to play a pivotal role in developing future strategies that use science and technology for socio-economic development.
Full report on the University World News site

TUNISIA: President’s plans stress economic priorities
Jane Marshall
Tunisian higher education must conform to international standards and adapt to the demands of the labour market and knowledge economy, under the presidential plan ‘Together let’s meet the challenges’ that covers the period 2009-14, reported La Presse of Tunis.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: The poor as providers of innovative solutions
Anil K Gupta*
Economically disadvantaged people can trigger frugal, creative and re-combinable innovations that can stimulate the creation of new pedagogies, products and processes. The model I talk about is ‘sink’ to ‘source’. Such people are not ‘sink’ – passive recipients of our advice, or clients of corporate social responsibility. Given a chance they can be providers of solutions that may need further value-added in some cases. Why is it that the designers of pedagogies and curricula the world over neglect the need for learning from knowledge-rich, economically poor people? Why are there so few papers on innovations by workers in the organised and unorganised sectors compared to managerial innovations?
Full report on the University World News site
Presented at the Innovation for Development symposium, Wits University

SOUTHERN AFRICA: A regional tertiary collaboration model
Sharon Dell
Five years since its establishment the Southern African Regional Universities’ Association, Sarua, has made considerable headway in establishing itself as a credible platform for leadership ‘conversations’ and a model for collaboration in the region’s tertiary sector.
Full report on the University World News site


AFRICA: Diarrhoea vaccine reduces deaths
Munyaradzi Makoni
Hopes in Africa of a decline in infant deaths from diarrhoea have been raised by a study that found a 61.2% reduction in deaths among babies given the RotarixTM vaccine. The research results were cited as one of the reasons why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have committed US$10 billion over the next 10 years to vaccines.
Full report on the University World News site

ZAMBIA: Participation rate still only 6%
Only 6% of Zambians access higher education after completing school in a country with a population of nearly 11 million, a higher education body has said
Full report on the University World News site

DR CONGO: Professors who exposed frauds sacked
Two professors at the University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who alerted the law about embezzlement of funds, are facing the sack on the orders of the Minister of Higher and University Education.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

INDONESIA: Level university entrance playing field
David Jardine
Confusion over higher education entrance requirements continues across Indonesia. In response, the Ministry of National Education plans to review this year’s arrangements for conducting entrance examinations.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: The Donostia declaration
Jan Petter Myklebust
A meeting of science ministers from across Europe met in San Sebastian in Spain earlier this month and agreed unanimously to release the ‘Donostia Declaration’. This was a 300-word statement endorsing the role that science must play in assisting Europe to recover from its worst economic crisis in recent decades.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Turning science into commerce
Europe produces more research papers than the US or Japan but needs an influx of venture capital to turn inventions into commercial success, according to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU commissioner for research, innovation and science.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Importance of research for undergraduates
Sarah King Head
A survey of the University of California’s 170,000 students underlines the importance of offering research projects for undergraduates at research universities.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: High Court rejects university’s IP appeal
Geoff Maslen
A decision by the High Court of Australia earlier this month has dispelled assumptions by universities that they, as with private companies, automatically own the intellectual property rights to discoveries or inventions of their staff.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Tuition fees for foreigners – and scholarships
The government has outlined its plans to introduce tuition and application fees for students from non-EU-EEA countries from the 2011-12 academic year. It also announced that the fees would be supplemented by new scholarship schemes, one of which will be available to students from countries where Sweden is already involved with long-term development projects.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: New charges present new challenges
Jan Petter Myklebust
The decision to introduce tuition fees for foreign students has met strong objections by Swedish student unions and a massive e-mail response to Local – Sweden’s News in English. But for two of the universities enrolling most foreign students, the government’s decision means an immediate income loss in the millions.
Full report on the University World News site


SUDAN: Police surround funeral of beaten student
Daniel Sawney and Jonathan Travis*
Reuters reports that the funeral of a Darfuri student who was allegedly beaten to death by Sudanese authorities became the scene of a tense confrontation when armed police surrounded the house where the student’s body waited to go to the cemetery.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Establishing academic standards
Gavin Moodie*
The privatisation of higher education in many countries has increased the financial incentive for institutions to compromise standards to maintain their viability. It has also led to the increased influence of institutions and their managers over lecturers and their academic decisions which were previously more strongly influenced by disciplinary norms and the expectations of the ‘invisible college’.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Training locals to deal with food issues
Stephan Weidt
Researchers at the University of Hohenheim’s Food Security Center (FSC) are developing food security strategies. Hohenheim is among five winners of the Exceed – Excellence for Development – competition.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Why branch campuses may be unsustainable
Philip G Altbach
Branch campuses are sprouting around the world, like mushrooms after a heavy rain. According to the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, the number of branch campuses increased by 43% to a total of 162 between 2006 and 2009. Many of the growing mushrooms may only hold a limited lifespan and a few might be poisonous.
Full report on the University World News site
Article from International Higher Education

US: The future of the internet IV
The latest in a series of expert studies, The Future of the Internet IV, has revealed “fascinating new perspectives on the way the internet is affecting human intelligence and the ways that information is being shared and rendered”, according to the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The web-based survey obtained opinions from nearly 900 internet stakeholders including prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers and technology developers.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: Recognising faces – it’s genetic
New research from University College London indicates that the ability to recognise people’s faces is genetically based.
Full report on the University World News site

US-UK: Flightless mosquitoes control dengue fever
A breed of mosquito in which the females cannot fly has been developed as a means of combating dengue fever – a mosquito-borne disease for which there is no vaccine or treatment.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Generating energy from grass'
A five-year research project has discovered a way of generating green energy from a humble everyday grass.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Cold comfort for Northeastern
The advertisement touting the university’s co-op programme was ready to go. It featured a lone king penguin in ice-covered Antarctica – “The only continent where you won’t find a Northeastern University student…yet,” it proclaimed, writes Tracy Jan for The Boston Globe. But the campaign was killed by its very prescience. Northeastern officials recently learned that a student is heading to the South Pole in April for a six-month research stint, and withdrew the ad.
More on the University World News site


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INDIA: Committed to overhauling education, says PM
From investing more in primary education to allowing foreign universities to open campuses in India, the central government is working to bring about a paradigm shift in educational infrastructure to further inclusive growth in the country, President Pratibha Patil said on Monday, reports India Edunews. She said change would be based on the “three pillars of expansion, inclusion and excellence.”
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: State, universities join forces to fight brain drain
The Israeli state has come up with a plan to diminish the ‘brain drain’, writes Meirav Arlosoroff for Haartez. It has proposed establishing a new fund to provide the jobs needed to keep the country’s best and brightest academics from moving overseas, or to bring them back home. The fund, to be managed by the Council for Higher Education, will invest in centres of research excellence that provide positions for repatriated scientists and engineers.
More on the University World News site

LIBERIA: Ex-fighters drop studies as money runs out
Nearly 1,000 former fighters have dropped out of Liberian universities because the cash-strapped government stopped paying their fees as promised, ex-fighters’ representatives said, threatening a society trying to recover from a bloody civil war. Jonathan Paye-Layleh writes for the Associated Press that Education minister Joseph Korto said the government cannot pay tuition for some 1,600 ex-combatants because of unspecified “budgetary constraints”.
More on the University World News site

UK: University managers outpace academics
The number of managers at UK universities has risen more than three times as fast as the number of academics since 2003, according to Financial Times research, reports David Turner. A 33% increase in managers is the most rapid of any job type in Britain’s university sector. It compares with a more steady rise of just under 10% in ‘academic professionals’, according to analysis of data from an official agency.
More on the University World News site

UK: Academy cuts threaten future of subject centres
The fruit of decades of effort to improve university teaching is under threat at the very time it is needed most as a result of cuts to the higher education budget, it was claimed this week, writes Rebecca Attwood for Times Higher Education. Funding chiefs confirmed that the £30 million (US$46 million) a year Higher Education Academy, the UK’s body for university teaching, is facing a reduction in core funding of about a third over the next two to three years.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Government denies links to Google attacks
China has denied government links to cyber attacks against the search giant Google, saying such accusations were “irresponsible and calculating”, China Daily reports. The official Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang saying that “China resolutely opposes the groundless accusations from Google” and accusations that two Chinese universities had carried out the cyber attacks did not hold water.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Hacking inquiry puts elite in new light
With its sterling reputation and its scientific bent, Shanghai Jiaotong University has the feel of an Ivy League institution, writes David Barboza for The New York Times. The university has alliances with elite American institutions and it is so rich in science and engineering talent that Microsoft and Intel have moved into a research park directly adjacent to the school. But Jiaotong, whose sprawling campus has more than 33,000 students, is facing an unpleasant question: is it a base for sophisticated computer hackers?
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Colleges told to cut ties with Oxfam
China’s education ministry has ordered colleges to cut ties with Oxfam and prevent it from recruiting on campuses, accusing its Hong Kong branch of a hidden political agenda, The Guardian reports.
More on the University World News site

US: Amy Bishop – a murder suspect’s worth to science
Amy Bishop, neuroscientist, inventor, murder suspect, has become bigger than life, a symbol for those who think that genius is close to madness, or that women cannot get ahead in science, or that tenure systems in universities are brutalising – or even that progress against fatal diseases is so important that someone like Bishop should be set free to pursue cures – writes Gina Kolata for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

BANGLADESH: Private university law to ensure standards
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said last week that the government had formulated a private university law in a bid to ensure discipline, progress, standards and good management in Bangladesh’s private institutions, reports The Daily Star. He said that while some of the country’s 53 private universities performed well, many did not succeed.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: More graduates seeking masters degrees
A sharply increasing number of graduates from universities and colleges are taking entrance examinations in February or March in order to study at graduate schools for masters degrees, reports The China Post. Analysts said the economic downturn, which has squeezed job opportunities, is a major factor driving the growth in postgraduate applicants.
More on the University World News site

UAE: University remedial English to end
Remedial courses taken by most first-year Emirati university students because high schools fail to prepare them for higher education are to end, write Kathryn Lewis and Daniel Bardsley for The National. The bold move is contained in the long-anticipated Ministry of Education Strategy 2010-2020, which was published last week on the website of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-president of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: HP opens Singapore research hub
Two years ago, Hewlett-Packard embarked on an ambitious overhaul of its storied research labs, responsible for some of the most momentous computing innovation of the last 40 years, writes Aaron Ricadela for Business Week. Now, HP Labs Director Prith Banerjee is turning his attention to the company’s half-dozen international labs, aiming to generate cutting-edge development from scientific outposts in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Higher education collaboration with Iran
Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mashallah Shakiri on Wednesday called on the chairman of the Higher Education Commission, Dr Javaid R Laghari, to discuss the prospects of cooperation between the two countries in the higher education sector, reports the Associated Press of Pakistan.
More on the University World News site
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