ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0112 21 February 2010
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Masters graduates celebrating. The UK has 12% of the international postgraduate student market. See our special report article. Photo: Leicester University
The Tokamak fusion reactor operated by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Switzerland sees itself as a melting pot. See our Special Report article. Photo: CRPP-EPFL, Association Suisse-Euratom.
President Obama after the State of the Union address in which he said that “In the 21st century, one of the best antipoverty programmes is a world-class education". See our news story. White House photo by Chuck Kennedy


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


SPECIAL REPORT: Rise of the foreign doctoral student

International students now comprise a significant and growing proportion of the postgraduate population in universities around the globe. This is especially so in certain fields such as the physical sciences and engineering, and where students are undertaking masters and PhDs by research.

Many postgraduate courses, and even entire faculties, would have collapsed for want of local students had not the flood of foreigners arrived to bolster numbers and inflate university revenues. While deans and heads of department, as well as governments, generally welcome the highly able foreign graduates who often stay on as researchers, many staff are concerned by the reliance on other countries to provide them with students because their own see no future in obtaining a research degree.

To accompany these special reports, we also publish essays in our Research and Commentary and Feature sections, one by Ben Wildavsky, author of the soon-to-be published The Great Brain Race: How universities are reshaping the world, and the second by four senior US academics on the challenges of educating postgraduates.

UK: Rapid increase in overseas postgraduates
Diane Spencer
British universities have seen a rapid increase in numbers of international postgraduate students, according to a study commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute and the British Library. In 2007-08, half of masters students and 44% of doctoral students were from overseas, the majority from India and China. The UK has almost 12% market share of all international postgraduate students, second only to the US.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Maintaining foreign postgraduate enrolments
Sarah King Head
That foreign students tend to complete research masters and doctoral degrees at American universities more often and faster than their domestic counterparts has been well documented. But it is the plateauing of their enrolments at US universities and research institutions that has provoked greater comment in recent years.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Many foreigners but few PhDs
Geoff Maslen
So difficult has life become for Australian PhD and masters by research students that the numbers starting the degrees are falling and completion rates are among the lowest in the developed world. At the same time, foreign student commencements in PhD degree courses have rocketed by 125% over the past six years.
Full report on the University World News site

NZ: Fee policy attracts foreign PhD students
John Gerritsen
International enrolments in doctoral programmes have grown six-fold at New Zealand universities this decade, but domestic students still account for the majority of PhD candidates.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Universities open to foreigners
Karen MacGregor
A quarter of all doctoral graduates in South Africa are not from this country, according to the Council on Higher Education, and around one in 10 postgraduate students are foreign. Attracting students from other Southern African countries, especially postgraduates, is an ex plicit policy aimed at developing research in the region. But efforts to grow the number of research postgraduates are being thwarted by lack of supervision capacity.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Increasing numbers swell PhD ranks
The following four reports on the Nordic countries and Switzerland were prepared by University World News correspondent JAN PETTER MYKLEBUST.

NORWAY: Foreign postgraduates a must
Norway is heavily dependent on foreign students to recruit sufficient numbers for doctoral training, especially in mathematics, the natural sciences and technological studies, according to a government White Paper presented to parliament last year.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Aiming for 5,000 foreign doctorates
One in four doctorate candidates in Sweden are foreign citizens. There were 4,179 of them in 2008 in a PhD student population of 16,900 – an increase since 1999 of 62%. Of newly-recruited doctoral students in 2008, 32% or 1,040 people were foreigners, up from 19% in 1999. The annual increase was 19% between 2007 and 2008 alone, indicating a significant change in the recruitment pattern.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: Huge PhD expansion continues
In 2007, 432 new international students were recruited to undertake a PhD in Denmark’s universities – a 75% rise in eight years. As a part of the government’s globalisation strategy of allocating 0.5% of GNP or 39 billion DKK (US$7.1 billion) between 2006 and 2012, the number of new PhD students is expected to reach 2,400 this year, double the number in 2003. At the same time, total foreign enrolments are expected to rise so that foreign students will represent 25% of new enrolments.
Full report on the University World News site

SWITZERLAND: Second top with PhDs
A higher proportion of Swiss people hold PhDs than any other European country except Portugal: 2.5% of the population in the age cohort that can obtain a doctorate has the degree compared with an EU average of 1%. Today, close to 50% of doctoral students are foreign-born and Switzerland recruits more foreign citizens with a PhD to scientific positions than any other European country.
Full report on the University World News site

SWITZERLAND: Foreigners a necessity
Jacques Giovanola*
Switzerland has traditionally been a country of strong immigration. Many leading Swiss industries were founded by foreigners and immigrants. Despite the fact it is not part of the EU, Switzerland and its economic, cultural and scientific life are inextricably linked with Europe.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: More researchers in developing countries
Michael Gardner
A new study by the Montreal-based Unesco Institute for Statistics has identified a startling 56% increase in the number of researchers in developing countries between 2002 and 2007. In the same period, numbers in developed countries grew by less than 9 % although women are still under-represented in research in both, the study shows.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

US: Crafting a compromise: the Obama budget
Sarah King Head
In the context of a net freeze on ‘discretionary’ spending, higher education pundits in the US are applauding the Obama administration’s proposed 6% or $2.1 billion increase in higher education spending as part of its proposed $3.8 trillion 2011 budget. But reservations have been voiced about the sectors and programmes that have not been given a priority.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Obstacles to social mobility
It is easier to climb the social ladder and earn more than one’s parents in the Nordic countries, Australia and Canada than in France, Italy, Britain and the United States, according to a new OECD study. But weak social mobility can signal a lack of equal opportunities, constrain productivity and curb economic growth, says a report on the study.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Bishop published little in past decade
Sarah King Head
Whether the chair of biology at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Professor Gopi K Podila, had or had not supported Amy Bishop’s tenure bid, her actual chances of earning the coveted academic status were probably marginal – at best. Whether or not she knew that fact, it did not stop her allegedly murdering three of her colleagues.
Full report on the University World News site

HAITI: Francophone agency plans reconstruction
Jane Marshall
As French President Nicolas Sarkozy was visiting Haiti last Wednesday, five weeks after the devastating earthquake, the international Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie and Haiti’s University of Quisqueya held an inaugural educational video-conference relayed from Paris. The ‘distance lecture’ was a first step in an AUF plan to reconstruct the Caribbean state’s university system.
Full report on the University World News site

ISRAEL Academics oppose upgrading Ariel
Helena Flusfeder
Two hundred and fifty academics representing universities and colleges in Israel have signed a letter sent to the Council for Higher Education urging it not to recognise the college in the West Bank town of Ariel as either a university centre or a university.
Full report on the University World News site


SPAIN: Financial crisis hits universities
Spain’s economic crisis is beginning to bite, hitting top Spanish universities – including the Universidad Complutense which joined The Europaeum in 2003. The government’s austerity measures kicked in from January and, although education was to be protected, public universities are feeling the pressure as regional authorities propose substantial cuts that will hit higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: New student loan scheme
The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, signed an agreement last week with Saudi Arabia’s Riyad Bank to introduce a new student loan scheme that will finance the education of male and female university students across the country.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: First MBA survey following recession
Leah Germain
A new survey released by career and education experts QS shines a revealing light on the impact of the recession on international MBA graduates. A key finding from the QS applicant survey suggests graduates are increasingly choosing self-employment and entrepreneurship over finance, law and government for a career.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Twitter for scientists launched online
Keith Nuthall
A scientific version of popular social-networking site Twitter has been launched. Called ‘Sciencefeed’, its owners describe it as a “real time micro-blogging tool designed for scientists”.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: International business school group expands
Keith Nuthall
A prestigious international accrediting body for business schools has appointed a new chairman, as it continues to grow worldwide. Economist Andrew J Policano, dean of the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, will lead AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Educating scholars: Implications for graduate deans*
Ronald G Ehrenberg, Harriet Zuckerman, Jeffrey A Groen and Sharon M Brucker
For decades, graduate deans have been troubled by low completion rates and long times-to-degree in PhD programmes in the humanities. Now federal and state officials are talking about the need to improve completion rates in undergraduate programmes.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Welcoming academic globalisation
Ben Wildavsky*
For several years now – and not for the first time in our nation’s history – CEOs, politicians and education leaders have regularly decried the shortcomings of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in America’s elementary and secondary schools. And they have vigorously promoted a reform agenda aimed at tackling those problems. But what about our colleges and universities?
Full report on the University World News site
From The New York Academy of Sciences Magazine

US: Exploring the experiences of Latina/o students
The latest, special issue of the Harvard Educational Review highlights the needs and interests of Latina/o students enrolled in American colleges and the ever-increasing population of future Latina/o undergraduates. It draw on the tradition of consejos – words of wisdom coming from those with experience – honouring both the insights of its contributors and the interpersonal advice that was critical to the persistence of many of the Latina/o students whose stories are presented in the journal.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

NORWAY: Sacked professor back in the news
Jan Petter Myklebust
The sacked professor of medieval history at University of Oslo, Arnved Nedkvitne, is contributing to the largest media coverage for the university for a long time. Nedkvitne lost his court case against the university after demanding his professorship back and financial compensation. Now a variety of issues related to the case has hit Oslo’s newspaper headlines.
Full report on the University World News site


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US: Amy Bishop: why no red flags were waved
Neurobiologist Amy Bishop, charged with killing three faculty colleagues at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, had a squeaky-clean public record despite several brushes with the law. There’s more than one reason her record didn’t follow her, writes Patrik Jonsson for the Christian Science Monitor.
More on the University World News site

US: Chinese institutions tied to online attacks
A series of online attacks on Google and dozens of other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military, say people involved in the investigation, write John Markoff and David Barboza for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

BANGLADESH: Clamp-down on deadly campus violence
Campus politics has always been a serious business in Bangladesh, but now the death of five students at universities in less than two weeks has forced the government to step in, writes Kamrul Hasan Khan for AFP. The wave of killings began on 2 February at Dhaka University when a third-year student, Abu Bakar Siddique, died during a campus battle between rival factions of the the Chhatra League – the student wing of the ruling Awami League.
More on the University World News site

HAITI: Higher education levelled in quake
Christina Julme was scribbling notes in the back of a linguistics class at the State University of Haiti when, in an instant, everything went black, writes Marc Lacey for The New York Times. “You’re in class, your professor is talking, you’re writing notes and then you’re buried alive,” said Julme, 23, recounting how her semester came to a halt on the afternoon of 12 January when the earthquake turned her seven-story university into a towering pile of wreckage, with her deep inside.
More on the University World News site

EUROPE: Universities face budget cuts
The global economic crisis has led to budget cuts in the education sector in member states across the European Union at a time when the bloc is seeking to boost its economy by, among other things, putting education at the centre of its new economic strategy, writes Helena Spongenberg for Business Week.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Some foreign students to pay less
In a major step to attract international students from countries in the region, Indian universities are to slash the fees they charge, reports the Deccan Herald. The University Grants Commission took the decision and asked central, state and ‘deemed’ universities to lower fees for foreign students from seven countries immediately.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Foreign invested universities have slow growth
Only three foreign-invested universities have been established in Vietnam over the last 12 years, while growth in domestic universities has been huge, VietNamNet reports.
More on the University World News site

US: Slipping (further) off the pedestal
Headlines will blare the results of a new public opinion survey about higher education, which finds that Americans are increasingly convinced that higher education is essential to a successful career and life, but are growing more doubtful that college is affordable and ever more suspicious of colleges’ motives, viewing them as “just another business”, writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

US: Dilemma over academic meeting in Uganda
The American Political Science Association is among several disciplinary associations that have found themselves caught in debates over whether to hold meetings in locales that some want to boycott, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. In 2008, the association rejected calls by some to move the 2012 meeting out of New Orleans because Louisiana has adopted a stringent ban on g ay marriage. Now the association is facing yet more criticism from boycott organisers. It is holding a workshop this summer in Uganda, where the government is supporting some of the most anti-gay legislation in the world, which would carry terms of life imprisonment for g ay acts and execution in some cases.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities hit with huge fines for over-enrolling
New figures reveal for the first time the penalties the Government will impose on individual institutions for exceeding caps on the numbers of students they were allowed to recruit, writes Julie Henry for The Telegraph. One university faces a fine of more than £800,000 (US$1.3 million), while others will pay between £100,000 and £300,000 for taking additional students during the places crisis in the summer, when 160,000 candidates were turned away.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities ‘should offer courses for over-50s’
Universities must offer suitable courses for people aged 50 and above, a Universities UK report says, writes Katherine Sellgren for BBC News. The study says the ageing population in the UK “offers higher education institutions a serious challenge”.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: University to sack drunk, unproductive lecturers
Uganda’s Makerere University has established a new policy that provides for the sacking of lecturers over drunkenness, writes Francis Kagolo for The New Vision. The policy, which seeks to boost academic standards, also requires lecturers to teach for a minimum of 10 hours a week and provide evidence that they carry out research.
More on the University World News site

RWANDA: Kenyan university to open Kigali campus
One of Kenya’s private universities, Mount Kenya University, plans to open a coordination centre in the Rwandan capital Kigali, writes Grace Mugoya for The New Times. The institution currently has a partnership with Rwanda Tourism University College but has decided to open a Kigali branch.
More on the University World News site
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