ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0119 11 April 2010
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Young women playing football for a Danish study, which found that the sport has mental as well as physical benefits for all. See our Science Scene story. (Photo: Mikal Schlosser)
Meanwhile, video-games are holding boys back. See our news story. (Photo: Srdjan Srdjanov)
The University of Cape Town is becoming world-class. See our feature.


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


NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

FRANCE: Climatology row raises a storm
Jane Marshall
Minister for Higher Education and Research Valérie Pécresse has ordered the French Academy of Sciences to organise a debate on climate change “as soon as possible” after more than 400 climatologists demanded she disown attacks made by sceptical scientists – including one of her predecessors.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Women gain in science while video games hold back boys
John Richard Schrock*
The number of women taking courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM subjects, has been increasing since 1966, according to a new report. But another study, on boys’ academic responses to new video games, establishes a cause-and-effect relationship that could partly explain the decline in male academic achievement.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Ensuring survival of a 150-year old system
Sarah King Head
The university system and its board of regents in the state of Georgia has been sued for failing to fund black colleges and universities to the same degree as the other 34 institutions. A group called the Legal Defense Coalition for the Preservation of Public Historically Black Colleges and Universities filed the lawsuit on 1 April. It claimed there had been violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 14th Amendment of the American Constitution.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Foreign graduate applications up for fifth year
The number of applications from prospective international students to American graduate schools has increased for the fifth consecutive year. In a report released last week, the Council of Graduate Schools says the 7% growth in 2010 is the largest since a 9% gain three years ago.
Full report on the University World News site

UKRAINE: Radical reforms will not follow elections
Eugene Vorotnikov
Ukraine’s higher education system will not undergo any radical reform following the recent election of a new president and government. But some changes are likely to be implemented, including modification of a controversial testing system.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Foreign enrolments continue to rise
Geoff Maslen
Despite the increasing value of the Australian dollar compared with other currencies, and widespread reporting across Asia of attacks on Indian students, the nation’s universities continue to attract more foreign fee-paying students.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Dispute over selecting vice-chancellors
Alya Mishra
Indian government attempts to introduce greater transparency in appointing university vice-chancellors, amid revelations that many private universities appointed family members to administrative posts, have not gone down well with the academic community.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA-INDIA: Consolidating educational links
Australia’s Education Minister Julia Gillard and India’s Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal signed a Joint Ministerial Statement last Thursday aimed at strengthening educational ties between the two nations.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: OECD urges sweeping higher education reform
Ashraf Khaled
Egypt’s higher education system is not serving the country’s current needs well, and without far-reaching reform this will hamper economic and social progress, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and World Bank.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Academy defends academic freedom
Munyaradzi Makoni
The Academy of Sciences of South Africa has defended academic freedom it believes is under threat from intrusive government regulations, the “apparently excessive influence” of private sector sponsorships of universities and perceived limitations on free speech within universities. The academy represents the country’s outstanding scientists.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Single examination for 6.4 million
Tunde Fatunde
Nigeria has introduced a single entrance examination for all tertiary institutions – universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. It is the first time the government has sought to harmonise entry examinations that will take place next Saturday with 6.4 million registered candidates.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Boost to knowledge transfer partnership
Dave Daido
Kenya’s National Council for Science and Technology and the British Council are to work together to expand the Africa Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme. The aim is to provide opportunities for businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of higher education knowledge, technology and expertise.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Lecturers strike while students face crackdown
A special correspondent
Lecturers at the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe’s main science university, have gone on strike over unpaid allowances. Meanwhile, the state has renewed its crackdown on students resulting in countrywide arrests, court appearances, abductions, disciplinary hearings and expulsions over demonstrations staged on 29 March in protest against continuing deterioration of higher education standards.
Full report on the University World News site




RUSSIA: Millions for research and development
Eugene Vorotnikov
Leading universities will receive up to 90 billion rubles (US$3 billion) to support R&D activities over the next three years. Announcing the grant, Minister of Education and Science Andrei Fursenko said the funds would improve the scientific potential of universities and attract foreign scientists, including Russians currently working abroad.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: ADEA launches research prize
The Association for the Development of Education in Africa will launch a new prize to promote excellence in educational research in African universities and research institutes and networks, and among the African diaspora working and studying throughout the world, reported Sudonline of Dakar, Senegal.
Full report on the University World News site

BURKINA FASO: Local government centre opens
A new international centre for training local authority officials and elected councillors of 15 West and Central African countries has been inaugurated in Ouagadougou, reported Sidwaya of Ouagadougou.
Full report on the University World News site

GABON: Bullies sanctioned, not expelled
Students at the Université des Sciences et Technique of Massuku who bullied freshers have avoided dismissal from the university, reported Gabonews of Libreville.
Full report on the University World News site

ALGERIA: Mauritania and Mozambique collaborate
Mauritania and Mozambique hope that Algeria will increase the number of grant quotas it makes each year for their students and widen its collaboration with them in higher education and research, reported La Tribune of Algiers.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Academic banned from travelling
Jonathan Travis*
A prominent Chinese academic who was to speak at an academic conference in the United States has been barred from leaving China. Professor Cui Weiping, a poet and professor at the Beijing Film Academy, had planned to lecture at Harvard University and attend a conference sponsored by the Association for Asian Studies. But the director of her school said she had been forbidden to travel.
More academic freedom reports on the University World News site


US: Mid-pyramid predators good for vegetation
A new study shows that birds, bats and other insect-eating predators have a positive effect on the plants they live among.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Scientists consider poverty
The role of science in the fight against poverty was the focus for 200 international experts who met in Spain last week. The Science Against Poverty conference was organised by the Spanish government as part of its presidency of the European Union.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: Football is good for you
It’s known as the beautiful game but new research indicates that football should perhaps also be called the healthy game. Scientists have found that men worry less when playing football than when running, while women benefit socially and are more likely to continue with the sport.
Full report on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: Less HIV in universities than nationally
Sharon Dell
At 3.4%, HIV prevalence among students at South African universities is well below the national average, suggesting that prevention strategies aimed at the sector are finding their mark. But there’s no cause for complacency, according to interpretations of a study by the Higher Education HIV and Aids Programme (HEAids) on HIV prevalence and knowledge, attitude, behaviour and practice. There are still signs of risky behaviour on campuses.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Town – an ‘Afropolitan’ university
Alison Moodie
In the past decade the University of Cape Town, UCT, has established itself as Africa’s top university. High global rankings, large numbers of international students and significant growth in research output has helped cement its reputation. Now, said Vice-chancellor Dr Max Price, “we’re positioning ourselves as a significant global player”. The aim is to make Cape Town an interface between academic activities in Africa and the rest of the world.
* An earlier version of this article contained some minor errors that have been corrected in this version.
Full report on the University World News site


AFRICA: Science must tackle local language barriers
Charles Dhewa*
Africans have a rich cultural heritage and a wealth of traditional knowledge on topics ranging from agriculture and forestry to medicines and medical practices, all of which could make valuable contributions to modern science – but only if science can be translated into local languages.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Academics identify ideal research-teaching nexus
Research and teaching are supposed to be closely related in universities. Among academics the belief in a symbiotic relationship is strong. However, it is unclear what form this relationship can take. In an article in the latest edition of Higher Education Research & Development, several authors present categories and dimensions to clarify this relationship. The aim of the project was to understand what academics’ ideal research-teaching nexus would look like.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

KENYA: University sued over missing cat
Dave Daido
The University of Nairobi in Kenya has been sued after a male cat in its possession for treatment vanished. The cat’s owner, Tawhida Yakub, filed a suit against the university seeking compensation. Yakubsaid she had taken Fifi to the College of Veterinary Science at the Kabete campus in Nairobi in December for treatment of wounds and castration – but he subsequently disappeared without trace.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Spreading the TED message
TED is a small non-profit, US-based organisation that is rather fond of capital letters and says it is “devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading”. It was begun in 1984 as a conference “bringing together people from three worlds, Technology, Entertainment, Design”, hence TED.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Graduate school survival guide
While most doctoral programmes have some sort of orientation, the focus on such matters as required courses, time to degree and dissertation goals may diminish opportunities to consider really important matters – such as how to wander into a colloquium at which food is served, timing your entrance so you don’t need to listen to the talk – writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. Adam Ruben wants to help.
More on the University World News site


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CANADA: Chinese spies stole secret documents online
Researchers at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Canada, have provided a detailed account of how a Chinese spy operation it called the ‘Shadow Network’ systematically hacked into personal computers in government offices on several continents, CyberMedia News reports.
More on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Universities, students in dark over funding
Universities and students across Indonesia find themselves confused over their immediate financial futures after the Constitutional Court last week annulled the 2008 Education Legal Entity Law that made universities autonomous and responsible for their own funding, write Putri Prameshwari and Dimas Siregar for the Jakarta Globe.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Only academics should be university heads
The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations has called on the Higher Education Commission to appoint only serving academics fulfilling the requirements of a professor as vice-chancellors or rectors in public sector universities, writes Rasheed Khalid for The News. Academics do not want universities headed by military of civil officials.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Social justice through higher education
India has initiated action to ensure social justice among its citizen through higher education, by increasing student intakes in universities and colleges to 30% by 2020, reports the Assam Tribune. The current gross enrolment ratio in higher education is 12.4%, said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, last week.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Aid to attract international students
Taiwan’s government will this year give more than NT$62 million (US$2 million) to universities as part of an expansion project to recruit more international students, with Ming Chuan University to receive the highest amount, reports The China Post. In all 20 universities will receive financial aid from the Ministry of Education for the 2010 academic year.
More on the University World News site

US: University law clinics face a backlash
Law school students across the US are facing growing attacks in the courts and legislatures as legal clinics at universities increasingly take on powerful interests that few other non-profit groups have the resources to challenge, writes Ian Urbina for The New York Times. Earlier this month, lawmakers in Maryland debated a measure to cut money for the University of Maryland’s law clinic if it does not provide details to the legislature about its clients, finances and cases.
More on the University World News site

US: Universities tap fees for unintended projects
While California universities have faced round after round of crippling budget cuts and protests against increased fees have flared on campuses, administrators have tapped funds meant for classrooms and students to cover some extraordinary costs – losses on ill-timed real estate deals, loans to high-ranking officials and an ambitious construction project – writes Jack Dolan for The Los Angeles Times.
More on the University World News site

US: Studying at one university is outdated
Is the “bundled” model of higher education outdated? asks Steve Kolowich in Inside Higher Ed. Some higher-education futurists think so. Choosing the academic programme at a single university, they say, is a relic of a time before online education made it possible for a student in Oregon to take courses at a university in Florida. Since the online-education boom, the notion that students could cobble together a curriculum that includes courses designed and delivered by a variety of institutions has gained traction in some circles.
More on the University World News site

US: Community colleges like attention, need money
Politicians and policy-makers are lavishing unprecedented attention on community colleges, promoting them as engines to train workers in the recession and boost America’s college graduation rates, writes Eric Gorski for Associated Press. Grappling with soaring enrolment and plummeting state support, community colleges are grateful for the higher profile but disappointed that money has yet to materialise to help them keep up with demand.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Beware the second rate
The way students will be admitted, universities funded and research organised and rewarded is changing following the government’s adoption of the Bradley review, writes Professor Paul Johnson, Vice-chancellor of La Trobe University, in The Australian. Last year Education Minister Julia Gillard announced a series of important policies.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Case built for mega-telescope contract
Driving the dirt road to the Karoo Array Telescope site, the FM radio searches in vain for a frequency it can catch, scanning the dial bottom to top and back again, writes Joshua Howat Berger for AFP. This very quiet corner of South Africa’s sparsely populated Northern Cape province seems an unlikely place to build such an instrument, but its silence is precisely what makes the Karoo an attractive site for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project.
More on the University World News site

UAE: Students who fail ‘should pay for college’
Failed students are clogging the federal university system for up to eight years, denying places to young women who are desperate to study, the head of the National Human Resource Development and Employment Authority (Tanmia) said in Abu Dhabi last week. Now the body in charge of employing Emiratis wants students who do not work hard enough to be made to pay for their education, writes Kareem Shaheen for The National.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Closer ties with the EU
Bilateral ties between Malaysia and the EU are set to improve with the launch of the RM2.5 million (US$0.8 million) Malaysia-European Union Link (MYEULINK) initiative, writes Richard Lim for The Star. Funded by the EU with support from the Higher Education Ministry, the three-year project encourages cooperation and dialogue in higher education, while keeping decision-makers in Malaysia informed on a range of EU policy initiatives.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Call for more HE-business collaboration
The Malaysian government is calling for more constructive collaboration between the private sector and institutions of higher learning in the country, especially in commercialising the latter’s research and development findings, the Bernama news agency reports.
More on the University World News site
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