30 September 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Letters
GLOBAL
Richard Mawditt OBE on UNESCO, OECD commitment to HE
As one of your more mature readers I welcome Philip Altbach’s commentary of 30 June on the demise of UNESCO’s and OECD’s commitment to higher education policy matters and debate. His well-chosen words in firing carefully aimed bullets I sincerely hope will be a wake-up call to those two important agencies that have, as Philip says, “largely left the field of higher education, creating a considerable vacuum”.
AUSTRALIA
Everything must be useful – History’s most boring idea
I am looking at the lead story in Issue 275, titled “G8 must recognise role of universities in recovery”. I have a first-class honours degree in English literature from the University of Western Australia. They are not easy to get.
GLOBAL
Profit motive is threatening higher education
We were pleased to see the recent article by Richard Hall titled "The profit motive is threatening higher education" published on 18 November 2012. Our team of editors at CollegeTimes witnesses the corrupt and destructive influence of money on the higher education system on a daily basis.
GLOBAL
Higher education message from UNESCO not mixed
Georges Haddad, director of Education Research and Prospective in UNESCO's Education Sector, writes in response to the article by Erin Millar, published in University World News on 18 November 2012 and titled "UNESCO sends mixed messages about higher education".
GLOBAL
University World News celebrates five years
University World News turns five years old today. The e-newspaper owned and produced by a global network of journalists has achieved success in reaching ever-more academics and higher education professionals – 40,000 in 150 countries now – and has earned a reputation for quality journalism and for being truly international.
Unintended consequences of growth
In the drive for greater tertiary attendance we have netted negative unintended consequences—dropouts, underemployment and a heavy debt burden for both the individual and taxpayers. The question is determining the ability, and I might add the disposition, to benefit. In egalitarian societies, open admission institutions appear to have exceeded their ability to identify students who have the potential ability and disposition to benefit. In the normal distribution the yield from the left tail exceeds the right. Admitting students lacking the potential ability and disposition to benefit is a disservice to those students. It is the institution and not the student at fault.

William Patrick Leonard
U-SAY
From Michel Rose,
Paris-based journalist


Thanks for your story in the excellent University World News newsletter, which I read every Sunday. I wanted to let you know my utter confusion as to this new '4ICU' ranking which seems even more biased and useless than other rankings. My observations concern the position of French institutions in this ranking system.
AUSTRALIA: Indian student market has collapsed
From Arun Bhutani
VIETNAM
VIETNAM: Student assessment of lecturers a waste
From Professor TK Raja
SOUTH AFRICA
SOUTH AFRICA: Developing nuclear energy skills
From Professor James Larkin

With regard to Alison Moodie's piece "Universities prepare for a nuclear future", I should like to correct the impression that the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (Niasa) is a research body. Rather, it is an industry organisation established to champion the cause of nuclear power here in South Africa.
AUSTRALIA
AUSTRALIA: Staff distinction is nonsense
From Professor Marcia Devlin*

Having started my career in the higher education sector as a professional staff member, and as a current member of the Association of Tertiary Education Management that Maree Conway and Giles Pickford contribute to, I agree with Maree and Giles in their comments in the last two editions of University World News that the distinction between different staff in universities is nonsense.
AUSTRALIA
AUSTRALIA: Abandon feudal relationships
From Giles Pickford

Maree Conway is right in her comment on Professor Marcia Devlin's article: the energy and creativity of professional staff are vital to the university. Thirty years ago, they used to be called the menial staff, then the downstairs staff, then the general staff, and now the most demeaning of all names, the non-academic staff - defined by what they are not.
FRANCE
FRANCE: No impact on joblessness
From John Mullen

I refer to last week's article on student job prospects in France. It seems to me that such a measure will have no effect whatsoever on unemployment; if nine out of 10 engineering students get a job quickly, and only seven out of 10 economics students, that does not mean that if far more young people take engineering companies will hire more people!
U-SAY
From Maree Conway*

I refer to Professor Marcia Devlin's article last week and would offer a few comments: One, nowhere in this article is there a reference to the majority of staff in institutions - the professional staff - and how their roles and functions may change over the next 20 years.
GLOBAL: It isn't capitalism
From Steve H. Foerster:

In regard to the article, GLOBAL: The global crisis of capitalism, I lost track of how many times the word "capitalism" was used but each one was jarring because each one was inaccurate.
U-SAY
From Niklas Traneus
I refer to last week's news story: SWEDEN: Fees for foreign students possible from 2010, University World News, 27 September 2009.
U-SAY
In response to Elayne Clift's commentary on online teaching: US: I'll never teach online again, the University of Sydney's Mary-Helen Ward says things are not as bad as might appear:
U-SAY
From Cameron Nichol
I refer to the article, US: I'll never teach online again, by Elayne Clift and her statement that online teaching is not for her.
U-SAY
From Zainub Qadir

With reference to the article ISLAMIC STATES: Network to improve quality assurance, Hassanuddeen Abd Aziz, head of the Quality Assurance Unit said that out of 1,700 universities in the Islamic World, only Istanbul University of Turkey was included in the top 500 in the last academic ranking of world universities.
U-SAY
UNESCO FORUM

From Professor Leodegardo M Pruna

I appreciate and laud Professor Mala Singh for her report on the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, which outlined issues and concerns in higher education and research as analysed during a 10-year period. It is recognised that there exists a large gap in research and education undertakings between developed, developing and less developed countries. This gap results from the disparities in income, from where support and inputs to development in education and research come.
U-SAY
Our report: US: No job if you only have an online degree by John Richard Schock continues to attract comment. Here is the latest:
U-SAY
CORRECTION: In responses to an article by Dr John Richard Schrock last week, we incorrectly stated that Stuart Hamilton was chief executive of Universities Australia, the vice-chancellors' national organisation. Mr Hamilton is, in fact, Chief Executive of Open Universities Australia which provides distance education and online courses to students around the world. We apologise to Mr Hamilton and both organisations for the error.
U-SAY
Last week's report, No jobs for online degrees, by Dr John Richard Schrock drew a strong reaction. We publish two of the responses in this edition, along with Dr Schrock's reply while a selection of others can be seen as comments with the web story.
U-SAY
Editor's note: We asked one of our readers, Giles Pickford, why he decided to donate $10 a week to University World News for a year. This was his reply:
U-SAY
From Jean-Pierre Nioche
Congratulation on your article, FRANCE: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité - but not yet. I am afraid, though, that the French concepts of "égalité" and "Grandes Ecoles" are not well understood.