ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0124 16 May 2010
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Nearly 9,000 papers by the late Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen have been made available on the internet, a fifth of them never published before. See the Uni-lateral section. Photo: Portrait by Christian Albrecht Jensen, Wikimedia
The outdoor patio of the global lounge at the University of Hong Kong, which topped the 2010 Asian University Rankings. See the stories in our Special Report.
Former Conservative Party shadow education secretary, David Willetts, is responsible for higher education in the first British coalition government for more than half a century. See the News section.


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


SPECIAL REPORT: 2010 Asian University Rankings


The 2010 QS Asian university rankings were published on Thursday. This is the second time the British company has produced its listing of top universities across Asia and the latest list has several surprises. In the following stories, Yojana Sharma describes which universities have made it to the top and why.She also has an exclusive interview with QS Managing Director Nunzio Quacquarelli who tells her that governments should ignore such rankings which are really aimed at students and their parents.

Two critics of university rankings also give their views. Malaysian academic
Professor Morshidi Sirat, of the National Higher Education Research Institute at the Universiti Sains Malaysia, fears that for smaller universities in the developing world to blindly pursue global or regional Asia rankings could lead to a misdirection of resources that would be to the detriment of their own communities. His comments are backed by Richard Holmes, a lecturer at the Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia, who writes a blog on university rankings. Holmes says the latest QS rankings will almost certainly produce heated discussion throughout Asia.

ASIA: Hong Kong and Japan top rankings
Yojana Sharma
Universities in Hong Kong and Japan dominate the upper echelons of the QS Asian university rankings released last Thursday, with universities in Singapore and South Korea also making a strong showing in the top 20. But mainland China’s universities have not performed as well as expected in the regional comparison.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: Development ratings vs status rankings
Yojana Sharma
Securing a high position in international university rankings may be a dream for many universities in Asia but rankings that compare smaller regional universities in Asia with Harvard or Oxford are not particularly helpful or relevant, according to Malaysian academic Professor Morshidi Sirat, of the National Higher Education Research Institute at the Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: Governments should ignore rankings: Quacquarelli
Yojana Sharma
Relaxed in his offices, Nunzio Quacquarelli seems younger than his 46 years. Yet he heads a firm with global reach and more than 100 employees, many of them tucked away unobtrusively in a modern mews building in London’s Hampstead, famous for its literati. Quacquarelli is the founding partner and now Managing Director of Quacquarelli Symonds or QS which launched the annual World University Rankings in 2004 with the then Times Higher Education Supplement, at the time a Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: The new university rankings
Richard Holmes
The new Asian University Rankings, produced by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, will provoke heated discussion throughout Asia. There are several surprises: not only are there changes from last year’s Asian rankings but they are in some ways quite different from the World University Rankings even though there is an overlap of data.
Full report on the University World News site



SPECIAL REPORT: Reinventing higher education

Driving snow rather than volcanic ash greeted participants as they arrived at Segovia in Spain for a Reinventing Higher Education conference organised by the city’s IE University. The debate was considerably hotter inside IE’s magnificently converted 13th century convent however, where 50 deans, rectors and academics from universities including Zhejiang, Leeds, Stanford and Monterrey met with innovating companies such as Google to try to define the future of higher education. University World News correspondent Paul Rigg was present and filed these reports.

GLOBAL: A shared vision of the future?
Paul Rigg
"I cannot think of any other international forum which draws together leaders in education to discuss these kinds of issues," said Dr David Mills, of Oxford University's department of education. "Perhaps it may lead to a shared vision of the future."
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: The virtues of just listening
It might be expected that any dean of a university with an audience of international academics and press would take the opportunity to bang their own drum. But in his keynote speech at the Reinventing Higher Education conference at IE University, Segovia, Professor Michael Arthur, Vice-chancellor of the University of Leeds and Chairman of the Russell Group of UK Universities, immediately impressed his audience by explaining the importance of listening.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Higher education’s changing needs
If a symbol of the rapidity of change in higher education was needed, few could beat the sight of Luca Paderni of Google sitting on the same panel as the heads of the universities of Frankfurt, Guido Carli and Monterrey in Mexico at the conference Reinventing Higher Education held in Segovia, Spain.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Diversity of models in higher education
Professor Eero Kasanen, Rector of the Helsinki School of Economics, kicked off the afternoon session of the Reinventing Higher Education conference at IE University in Segovia by asking: “Why are there not more mergers of universities?”
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

UK: The new coalition world
Diane Spencer
The first British coalition government for more than half a century has resulted in a Conservative minister for universities, science and skills working under a Liberal Democrat Secretary of State. David Willetts, the former shadow education secretary, will now be responsible for higher education. Lib-Dem Vince Cable has taken over the role of Labour’s Peter Mandelson as Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills although he will not be in charge of universities.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Scientists to review UN climate panel
Karen MacGregor
A 12-member panel of top scientists from around the world began reviewing the work of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, last week. The key task of the team selected by the InterAcademy Council, an Amsterdam-based association of national science academies, is to review processes that led to the findings of the UN climate panel. Mistakes in IPCC reports have undermined public confidence in science and created confusion over climate change.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Private-public fund for higher education
Alya Mishra
India is looking to raise money from the markets through a special education finance corporation to fund a much-needed expansion of higher education. In a radical move, the Education Ministry is finalising plans to issue government bonds through a proposed National Education Finance Corporation that will lend to higher education institutions.
Full report on the University World News site

RUSSIA: Rising corruption threatens universities
Eugene Vorotnikov
The level of corruption in Russian universities is steadily growing despite the efforts of local authorities to eradicate it. According to necessarily rough estimates, bribes paid for admission to Russian universities in 2009 totalled US$1 billion. This is 40% more than in 2007, with the average bribe rocketing five times higher in just the last two years.
Full report on the University World News site

BELARUS: The odd-one-out in Europe
Eugene Vorotnikov
The Belarusian higher education system is undergoing a steep decline and reduced educational quality, according to experts. They say that although most Belarusian university graduates have a high level of knowledge, they are unable to predict, analyse and work in non-standard conditions as their European counterparts can.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: New student support measures announced
Michael Gardner
The German government intends to boost financial support for students. New measures will include regulations on existing schemes as well as the introduction of a national grants system. The plans have already been sharply criticised by the Teachers and Scientists Union, the GEW.
Full report on the University World News site

LIBYA-UK: A bold new development
Diane Spencer
The Libyan government wants to establish a ‘multiversity’ as part of the country’s plan to become an educational hub for its own students and for those from other parts of Africa. The Libyan National Economic Development Board will host a two-day seminar in Tripoli in late June with the UK’s International Unit where academics can develop the concept and discuss roles and responsibilities, finances and partnership agreements.
Full report on the University World News site


FINLAND: Students protest against fees introduction
Ian R Dobson*
A new Universities Act that came into force at the start of 2010 paved the way for discussions about university fees. Although the Finnish constitution continues to support universities free of tuition fees for domestic students and others under limited conditions, the new Act permits universities to impose fees for students outside the European Union and European Economic Area. Students are opposed to fees and made their views known in a recent protest march and demonstration.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: Neo-liberals push university privatisation
Joe Walters
The third European University Business Forum took place in Brussels earlier this month with the aim of furthering transnational discussion on the commercialisation of higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Business school involvement in innovation
Cayley Dobie
Business and management schools worldwide should be playing a larger role when it comes to innovation according to Business Schools on an Innovation Mission, a report by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB.
Full report on the University World News site

QATAR: Recording lectures for students
Cayley Dobie
Students and faculty at Qatar University can now access their courses and seminars outside of traditional classrooms with the aid of recorded lectures provided by US-based company Echo360.
Full report on the University World News site

HE Research and Commentary

US: Leadership, diversity and succession planning
University administration is the focus of Leadership, Diversity and Succession Planning in Academia, a new paper by Cristina González, a professor of education and Spanish at the University of California, Berkeley, and an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Studies in Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

US: The California ‘master plan’ for higher education
“In 1960 California developed a Master Plan for its already famed public higher education system. It was and continues to be arguably the single most influential effort to plan the future of a system of higher education in the annals of American higher education,” writes John Aubrey Douglass, a senior research fellow and deputy director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley, in a just-published paper. “Despite popular belief, however, the California Master Plan for Higher Education is more important for what it preserved than what it created.”
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

DENMARK: Updating Hans Christian Andersen
Jan Petter Myklebust
That most famous Dane, the storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, is still in the limelight 135 years after his death. In his lifetime he was loved by the masses and celebrated by royalty and nobility. His books have been translated into 150 languages. Now, nearly 9,000 of his papers have been made available on the internet – a fifth of them never before published.
Full report on the University World News site

VENEZUELA: Chavez Twitters plan to nationalise university
Leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced last Tuesday night on his Twitter account his plans to nationalise a private university, writes Javier Mines for BNO News.
More on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Prophet Muhammad cartoonist ‘head-butted’
A Swedish artist who created an international furore by depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog was assaulted as he delivered a university lecture, reports BBC News. Lars Vilks said he was head-butted by an audience member as he spoke about the limits of artistic freedom.
More on the University World News site


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UK: Universities claim millions for dropouts
UK universities have wrongfully claimed tens of millions of pounds from the taxpayer for students who have dropped out of courses, according to documents the government tried to keep secret, write Jack Grimston and Melanie Newman for The Times. In the papers, officials accuse universities of “artfully misconstruing” data in a “coordinated approach” to ensure they could claim as much as possible from the taxpayer. They found half the universities they checked were taking the extra money.
More on the University World News site

CHINA-TAIWAN: Strengthening academic ties
After a year of debate that on several occasions descended into fisticuffs, Taiwanese legislators last week opted for pragmatism over nationalism and put the finishing touches to amendments that will allow about 2,000 mainland Chinese students to enter Taiwan’s graduate and undergraduate university programmes every year, writes David Cyranoski for Nature News. The change, to be finalised this month, will open the door to a large and much-needed pool of young minds for Taiwan’s universities as early as this autumn.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Two million Chinese willing to study in Taiwan
Around two million university students in China, accounting for more than 30% of total students there, are willing to seek advanced studies in Taiwan, far exceeding the quota of 2,000 planned by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, according to findings of a survey released yesterday by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, reports The China Post.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Ministry targets 120,000 foreign students
In a bid to make Malaysia an education hub for Southeast Asia, the Higher Education Ministry has targeted 120,000 foreign students in local universities by 2015, reports the national news agency Bernama. Deputy Minister Dr Hou Kok Chung said the prospects were good as Malaysia achieved its target of 80,000 international students last year – 58,294 enrolled in private universities and 22,456 in public universities.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Overseas students down 40% last month
Overseas student applications plunged 40% last month following “abrupt and rapid” changes to Australia’s visa regime, the country’s peak education agent has warned, reports Guy Healy for The Australian. The crackdown on student visas, coupled with uncertainty caused by the continuing delay to the priority skills list, could cost Australia at least AUD600 million (US$540 million) in lost export revenue, IDP chief Tony Pollock told The Australian.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: $660 million to build vocational education
Australia’s ‘education revolution’ took on a distinctly blue-collar flavour last week with an AUD660 million (US$593 million) suite of measures aimed at expanding and improving vocational education and training, largely at the expense of extra funding for top-flight research universities, writes Luke Slattery for The Australian.
More on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Enrolment restrictions to be fast-tracked
Universities are looking to bring forward plans to restrict enrolments in response to tighter government funding and increased demand for tertiary education, reports the New Zealand Herald. Government funding criteria changed in 2008 to cover only an agreed number of students at each tertiary institution, prompting universities to cap student numbers.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Giroux, 34, youngest university president
He tweets in both official languages, writes Louise Brown for The Star. He starts his budget blogs with a dash of Ojibwa he’s picked up. And the fledgling president of Laurentian University in Canada boasts about using his own Facebook page to recruit students after a mother messaged to ask why her son should choose the Sudbury campus.
More on the University World News site

US: Colleges as potential tax targets
The US Internal Revenue Service is focusing mostly on issues related to executive compensation and payment (or non-payment) of tax on unrelated business income in more than 30 reviews it is conducting of individual colleges and universities, the agency said as it released the preliminary results of its survey of 400 institutions, writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Cabinet approves National Defence University
The cabinet on Thursday sanctioned Rs295 crore (US$65.5 million) to establish an Indian National Defence University to create synergy between existing institutes of learning in the sector and address strategic security challenges, reports The Economic Times.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: India gets its own version of TOEFL
India may soon have its own standardised English language test along the lines of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System), as the demand for English language skills rises across the country, reports India EduNews.
More on the University World News site

ASIA: Korea’s universities lag behind Hong Kong’s
The University of Hong Kong was named the best university in Asia for the second year in a study by the Chosun Ilbo and Quacquarelli Symonds of 448 universities in 11 Asian countries. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology came second and Chinese University of Hong Kong fourth, comments the Chosun Ilbo.
More on the University World News site

GHANA: Encourage academic mobility in Africa
Ghana’s Minister of Education, Alex Tettey-Enyo, has called on African universities to co-operate and consider ways that would encourage academic mobility on the continent to promote flows of talent and expertise and to attract a qualified labour force, reports the Daily Graphic.
More on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Government may invite private universities
Sri Lanka’s Minister of Higher Education, SB Dissanayake, said the government was making efforts to provide the facilities needed for students to pursue higher education, reports ColomboPage. Overseas universities should be approached to set up private institutions in the country to dissuade students from studying abroad and curb foreign exchange outflows.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Academic integrity framework on the way
An academic integrity framework will be introduced by the Malaysia’s Higher Education Ministry to strengthen the integrity of academics, particularly lecturers, reports the national news agency Bernama.
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SWITZERLAND: Students call for minimum grants
Student unions in Switzerland are calling for the nationwide introduction of minimum grants for undergraduates at the country’s 12 universities and 50 higher education colleges, reports SwissInfo.
More on the University World News site

US: University scrambled to limit Palin fallout
Newly released documents shed light on a California State University’s efforts to limit public scrutiny of its decision to book Sarah Palin for a June speaking engagement but do not disclose how much the former vice presidential candidate was to be paid, reports Robin Hindery for The Associated Press.
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