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World Round-up
UGANDA
UGANDA: Makerere mature student scheme suspended
Makerere University has suspended an assistant academic registrar and a secretary, and closed its mature student entry scheme, after an investigation discovered that it had been abused. More than 130 former students have had their degrees cancelled, reports New Vision.
UNITED KINGDOM
UK: A degree of deception
There was a time when a backstreet education meant sending off a coupon in a magazine and getting back a certificate from the University of Nowhere, writes the BBC’s Angela Saini in The Guardian. These quick-buck ‘degree mills’ have given way to a much more sophisticated and lucrative kind of operation, with fronts so elaborate and ‘professors’ so convincing that students can complete a degree course without realising they are being ripped off.
UNITED KINGDOM
UK: Students who overstay visas ‘not deported’
Foreign students who overstay their visas are not being deported as they are not regarded as a high priority by the Home Office, reports The Telegraph. As part of a recent change in the law, designed to crack down on student over-stayers, people who apply to extend their visas for study purposes can be turned down.
CHINA
CHINA: Universities transform with state and society
Chinese society has undergone major changes in the past 30 years and universities have not fought the trend, reports the Cornell Daily Sun. Due to the exponential growth in the number of universities – there are about 2,000 today – 18% of high school pupils become university students, according to Southeast University Vice President Yuepu Pu.
INDIA
INDIA: Distance learning expansion on the agenda
The National Knowledge Commission, in a letter to India’s prime minister, recommended massive expansion of the open and distance learning system to achieve gross enrolment of 15% by 2015, reports the Times of India. The Commission also raised concerns about the quality of distance learning higher education, and called for its improvement.
VIETNAM
VIETNAM: Drastic measures needed to boost quality
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Training, Nguyen Thien Nhan, said that the quality of higher education in Vietnam is low and drastic measures are needed to improve it, reports Nhan Dan. Nine key tasks have been proposed to improve quality by 2020.
CANADA
CANADA: Gap year no job disadvantage later
A new report suggests that youth who put off higher education are not at a disadvantage later on in the labour market, as long as they complete college or university once they have started it, reports Canada.com.
UNITED STATES
US: Yale to increase spending from endowment
Facing pressure from Congress and some donors to use more of its multibillion-dollar investment gains, Yale University has announced that it will increase the amount of money it spent from its endowment by nearly 40% next year, reports the New York Times. The additional money will be used for financial aid and new scientific and medical research.
UNITED KINGDOM
SCOTLAND: Access versus research at ancient universities
Scotland's ancient universities should not have to widen access at the expense of cutting-edge research and teaching traditional school leavers, according to the head of Scotland's funding council, reports The Herald. Instead, said Roger McClure, efforts to widen participation should be focussed on ‘new’ universities.
SOUTH AFRICA
SOUTH AFRICA: Poor urged to use state scholarships
Letjeka Makgathu passed her 2007 school-leaving examinations with two As out of seven subjects, yet she is worried that she cannot afford higher education this year, reports The Times. The government is urging poor but high-performing youngsters to make use of state tertiary loans and scholarships, with have funded 100,000 students in seven years.
ISRAEL
ISRAEL: Strike hits pockets of students and universities
Ravit, a 22-year-old chemistry and physics major, worked in high tech for a year and saved up money to fund her studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, reports Haaretz. She was counting on funding the rest with a summer job. But now that a lecturer strike is into its 80th day, she'll have to spend the summer in class, making up sessions missed. Many students are in a similar predicament, and universities too are suffering financial damage.
CHINA
CHINA: Four in five students want study abroad
More than 80% of university students in China want to study abroad, according to a new online survey, reports China News. The survey, conducted by the China Youth Daily and involving 2,400 students, showed that the US, Britain, France, Australia and Canada were favourite destinations for overseas study.
IRAN
IRAN: Students detained during protests
Iran detained up to 24 students after a spate of university demonstrations in Tehran, a judiciary spokesman has confirmed, reports AFP. His confirmation came after hundreds of people demonstrated at Tehran University in a major protest calling for the release of jailed students and criticising President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
TURKEY
TURKEY: New HE board head wants free speech
The new head of the Higher Education Board, Yusuf Ziya Özcan, wants universities where people can express their opinions freely with no restrictions, reports Today’s Zaman. in his first interview in the position, he added that at autonomous universities that engaged only in science would not “waste time” with issues such as the Islamic headscarf.
MALAYSIA
MALAYSIA: World Bank calls for university autonomy
Public universities in Malaysia need to have more autonomy in the move towards becoming world class, says a 2007 World Bank report. According to The Star, the report argues that a balance must be reached between higher education expansion and improving quality, and recommends relaxing the rules public universities have to conform to in their management.
NIGERIA
NIGERIA: Lecturers must earn doctorates before 2009
The National Universities Commission has warned that lecturers who fail to bag their doctorate degrees before the 2009 deadline may lose their positions, becoming graded as tutors instead, as well as their authority over academic programmes, reports This Day.
NIGERIA
NIGERIA: More private universities needed, says Minister
Minister of Education, Dr Igwe Aja-Nwachuku, has called for the licensing of more private universities to cater for an astronomical increase in the number of students seeking higher education places, reports This Day. He said that a comparative study had shown that Nigeria did not yet have the number of universities commensurate with its population.
MOZAMBIQUE
MOZAMBIQUE: Plans for quality assurance
Cabinet has approved a decree to establish a system of higher education appraisal, accreditation and quality assurance, Deputy Education Minister Luis Covane has announced. AllAfrica.com reports that the move is aimed at ensuring inspection and quality at institutions, and improving the quality of graduates.
AUSTRALIA
AUSTRALIA: Higher education groups pulls together
Leading bodies representing research, technical and ‘new generation’ universities, which became divided and ineffectual under the Howard government, have hammered out a unified front to put to Education Minister Julia Gillard, reports The Australian. It is understood that the sector wants to ‘speak with one voice’ to the new Labor government, especially as much of the policy detail of Kevin Rudd's education revolution is unwritten.
UNITED STATES
US: Yale to join Harvard in easing costs
Yale University plans to announce a student aid plan that could rival Harvard's initiative to ease costs for middle-income families, reports Bloomberg. The governing board for Yale has met to discuss an enhanced programme, in a move it says is occurring “irrespective of any other institution’s announcement”.
UNITED STATES
US: Texas freshmen need remedial help
More than half of freshmen entering colleges and universities in Texas need remedial classes, reports the Houston Chronicle. Now, for the first time, Texas is drawing up elaborate plans to tackle the problem, including directing students who do not meet the required standards to community colleges where they can receive help at a lower cost to themselves and the state.
CANADA
CANADA: Benchmarks urged for higher education
Canada's $36-billion-a-year system of post-secondary education is headed for decline unless the country pulls together to determine whether the sector is providing value for money, including a probe into why one-quarter of university graduates earn less than the average high-school graduate, reports the National Post.
CANADA
CANADA: University buildings in need of repair
The stately old buildings that give many Ontario universities their character are in need of CAN$1.6 billion in repairs and are a resource that needs to be managed more effectively, a report by the province's Auditor-General says. The Globe and Mail reports that empty classrooms, vacant laboratories and faculty with multiple offices were singled out as examples of how space on campus is being underused.
WEST INDIES: New campus for university
The University of the West Indies will commence operation of its fourth campus, from a temporary site at the Chatwick Centre in Montego Bay, in the 2008 academic year, says principal Professor Gordon Shirley. The university has three other campuses in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and in Kingston, reports the Jamaica Gleaner.
SOUTH AFRICA
SOUTH AFRICA: Poor performance rewarded with grants
Top research universities are upset about being "penalised for over-performing" by a government subsidy system designed to help former polytechnics and historically black institutions to catch up on research capacity, reports the Mail & Guardian. Academics and officials at three of the country's leading universities say they are unhappy about the Education Department's allocation this year of R174-million (US$23 million) in research development grants to several universities which did not meet their research targets in 2006.