ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0129 20 June 2010
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HE Events Diary

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Higher Education Marketing

Former Dutch Education Minister and President of Maastricht University has worked out a manifesto based on this new book.
Only a single lecturer sacked by Copenhagen University is prepared to be interviewed by Forskerforum. See the Interview section.
Trends from the March 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska are being repeated in the Gulf of Mexico disaster. See our HE Research and Commentary 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.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

RANKINGS 1: Thousands respond to THE survey
David Jobbins
The opinions of more than 13,000 academics will be used to build a picture of the standard of teaching and research in the world’s universities for the 2010 Times Higher Education World University Ranking. Despite an increased sample size, the findings will account for 20% of final scores, compared with 40% under the methodology used from 2004 to 2009. Meanwhile its main rival, QS, is introducing a rating system to better reflect the diversity of institutions by measuring their broader missions.
Full report on the University World News site

RANKINGS 2: Research-oriented will be favoured
Ross Williams*
The Times Higher Education magazine is to be commended for the transparent manner in which it is going about developing its new world ranking of universities in conjunction with Thomson Reuters.But, compared with the previous THE-QS rankings, the new THE methodology is likely to favour selective research-oriented institutions such as Caltech at the expense of comprehensive universities with large numbers of undergraduates.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Back to the classroom for institution heads
Alya Mishra
In an ambitious attempt to improve the quality of Indian universities, and bring them up to world-class standards, the men and women heading India’s newest higher education institutions will be returning to the classroom – to take lessons in leadership.
See our Features section for the rise of the cram school in India.
Full reports on the University World News site

GREECE: Bleak prospects for universities
Makki Marseilles
Universities and academic staff at all levels have been hard hit following the Greek government’s unprecedented (for peace-time) severe austerity measures demanded by the IMF, the Central European Bank and the European Commission in an effort to establish fiscal discipline in the country.
Full report on the University World News site

UNESCO: Controversial prize decision deferred
Jane Marshall
The Unesco executive board has postponed a decision on whether to award or abandon a controversial science prize named after and funded by the dictatorial President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: New higher education directorate
Alan Osborn
Is the European Commission going to give higher education a much higher profile? The creation of a new Brussels directorate devoted entirely to higher education has been welcomed by universities in the European Union – but they could be reading too much into the move.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Special plea for humanities
Diane Spencer
Drastic funding cuts to university and research budgets will imperil the massive contribution to the UK’s economic, social and cultural life made by the humanities and social sciences, the President of the British Academy, Professor Sir Adam Roberts, warned last week. Roberts was launching a new booklet Past, Present and Future in the House of Commons, as part of Universities Week. The academy is the country’s national institution for the humanities and social sciences.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Impact of new government funding
Vincent King*
The level of public sector borrowing and the need for funding cuts were key election issues and have rarely been out of the press over the last couple of years. With the formation of the coalition government, what does the future hold for higher education funding? There is some degree of uncertainty but what do we know?
Full report on the University World News site

US: Private college students loaded with debt
Private colleges across America have been accused of using high-pressure sales tactics to recruit vulnerable students that leave them heavily in debt and unlikely to find well-paying jobs. The online University of Phoenix’s parent company recently paid US$80 million to settle charges that it violated a federal ban to reimburse recruiters based on the number of students they recruited.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Empowering universities
Jan Petter Myklebust
With publication of A Chance for European universities by Jo Ritzen, former Dutch Education Minister and President of Maastricht University, a high-level conference in Brussels has worked out a manifesto based on the new book.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Education summit a ‘black day’
Michael Gardner
Germany’s Education and Science Union has called an education summit in Berlin a “black day for education”. The meeting between the heads of state governments and the federal government, led by Christian Democrat Chancellor Angela Merkel, failed to reach an agreement on funding additional investment in education and research.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Funding boost for public universities
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya will spend an extra US$293 million on its seven public universities during the next financial year beginning in July, potentially easing a biting admission crisis plaguing the institutions and improving a dwindling quality of learning. Subsidies to universities will nearly double, from $360 million to $640 million.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Power tussle over entrance examinations
Tunde Fatunde
Nigeria’s Committee of Vice-chancellors and the Joint Matriculation Examination Board – an entrance examination board for all tertiary institutions – are at each other’s throats again over the holding of separate university entrance exams. The national assembly wants one of the two entrance exam systems cancelled and neither group wants it to be theirs.
Full report on the University World News site

NAMIBIA: First schools for vets and pharmacists
Moses Magadza
The University of Namibia recently launched the country’s first schools of engineering and medicine and is planning two more firsts: schools of veterinary science and pharmacy are to open next year. The country suffers serious shortages of professionals in both fields.
Full report on the University World News site

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ZAMBIA: Japanese technology links universities
Talent Ng’andwe
Zambia’s two major public universities will soon have access to more research and learning materials, via a link between them using Japan’s XVD video conference technology. The e-learning programme, launched in the capital Lusaka, is the first step in a government initiative that aims to provide higher quality, more affordable education to all citizens.
Full report on the University World News site

ZAMBIA: Private development for top university
Talent Ng’andwe
Creaking under strains of limited state funding, dilapidated infrastructure and insufficient personnel, the University of Zambia has handed over land for private development by a consortium called Graduare Property Development Limited. Under a public-private partnership the company will invest US$150 million in constructing a business park, a three-star hotel, staff housing, a sports stadium and student hostels.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCOPHONE AFRICA: E-training for primary teachers
The first evaluation of an experimental distance training project for primary school French teachers in three African countries and Haiti has taken place. Ifadem, the francophone initiative for distance training of teachers, is a joint collaboration between the French-speaking University Agency, AUF, and the International Organisation for Francophonie, OIF.
Full report on the University World News site

TOGO: Protesting students reject Bologna
Police intervened this month at the University of Lomé’s faculty of arts and economic sciences where students were demonstrating against the new higher education system based on Europe’s Bologna process.
Full report on the University World News site

WEST AFRICA: Bank to fund higher education
The African Development Bank is joining forces with the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union to invest in higher education for the first time. Mohamed H’Midouche, the bank’s regional representative, told a meeting in Dakar that the bank’s funding would total FCFA30 billion (US$55.8 million).
Full report on the University World News site

SWAZILAND: Science and technology park planned
Munyaradzi Makoni
Plans to set up a science and technology park are taking shape in Swaziland in a drive to increase the country’s scientific competitiveness and create links between researchers and industry. The park, to be built outside the main industrial centre Manzini, will have research and development facilities for biotechnology and information and communication technologies.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA- SENEGAL: Virtual University successes
Set up to bridge the digital North-South divide, the African Virtual University has also proved a success in the education of women and of students living in areas of conflict, said Dr Bakary Diallo, the university’s rector.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: Time to rethink science and development
A British research group is urging the world’s most powerful nations to link their science policies more closely to development objectives. The STEPS Centre*, a research group at the University of Suss ex, has launched Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A New Manifesto, for the G8 meeting scheduled for later this month in Canada.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Malaria increases when rain forest cut
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have presented new evidence linking the incidence of malaria with the felling of tropical rainforest. The study compared malaria cases in 54 Brazilian health districts with the extent of logging in the Amazon forest. It showed that clearing tropical forest boosted the incidence of malaria by nearly 50%.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Mongooses pass on traditions
Researchers have proved that mongooses can pass on traditions, a finding they say provides insight into how complex human culture could have evolved.
Full report on the University World News site


INDIA: Students crowd the cram schools
Alya Mishra
With increasing competition for limited higher education places, cram schools have mushroomed across India. Most have prospered by promising to give students an extra edge – training them with the sole aim of cracking the university entrance test.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Diversity prevails despite extensive reforms
Jan Petter Myklebust
Extensive university reforms have taken place in Europe over the past decade and more. But while system performance improved significantly, diversity remained one of the most striking features of European higher education, according to a comprehensive report, Progress in Higher Education Reforms across Europe.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: File to factory architecture
Makki Marseilles
The construction industry has always aimed for closer cooperation – between architects and builders, academics and practitioners, theory and practice, design and materials, teaching methods and practical application. But reality usually fails to match ambition. Now an exhibition based on students’ research attempts to provide the missing links.
Full report on the University World News site


DENMARK: Beware multi-disciplinarity: ex-lecturer
Jan Petter Myklebust
Søren Nors Nielsen is the only lecturer sacked from Copenhagen University prepared to be interviewed by the Danish researchers’ union Forskerforum. Nielsen, a former faculty of pharmaceutical sciences lecturer, also agreed to speak to University World News for this report.
Full report on the University World News site


CAMBODIA: Key role for universities in healing society
Vicheth Sen*
Universities need to move beyond their traditional roles of teaching, learning and research towards another core function – linking campuses to communities. They can play a key role in organising programmes in which students have the opportunity to be engaged in civic activities. This is particularly important in countries like Cambodia, which have been damaged by severe societal breakdowns in the past.
Full report on the University World News site

US: After the oil spill
Disturbing trends from the March 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska are being repeated in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, comments Charles Wohlforth in the Los Angeles Times. After spending around half a billion dollars, scientists paid by the government to study the Exxon Valdez oil spill over the last two decades still cannot answer some of the most important questions about the damage it caused or about whether Prince William Sound will fully recover.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

FINLAND: Sport for all
Ian R Dobson*
Most of the world’s attention has been focused on the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament and, although their team is not among those competing, Finns have been involved in intellectual participation in sport by hosting last week's 13th World Sport for All Congress.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: Taking exams at the Comics Convention
Christoffer Zieler*
Why give students grades in a boring classroom when you can haul your arts class to a comics convention and turn the whole thing into a public spectacle? If you combine the sweet and the sinister you will probably end up creating something disturbing.
Full report on the University World News site

ITALY: University for slow food gastronomes
Students from around the world are flocking to a one-of-a-kind university devoted to the slow food movement, founded nearly a quarter century ago to promote “good, clean and fair” food, writes Mathieu Gorse for AFP. Nestled in the heart of the Langhe wine-producing region, near the white truffle ‘capital’ Alba, the University of Gastronomic Sciences, or UNISG, has a student body of more than 300.
More on the University World News site


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PAKISTAN: Degrees of 228 lawmakers to be verified
Pakistan’s Election Commission has sent the degrees of 228 lawmakers to the national assembly’s standing committee on education, for their onward transmission to the Higher Education Commission for verification, Dawn learned last Monday, reports Iftikhar A Khan.
More on the University World News site

IRAN: Student activism endures a year after crackdown
A handful of protests, including reportedly violent clashes at two of Tehran’s leading universities, marked the anniversary last weekend of the disputed presidential election in Iran that ignited a wave of unrest last year, convulsing the country for weeks with widespread anti-government demonstrations, writes Aisha Labi for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: University drive against terrorism
Malaysia’s government will enlist the help of universities to stop Islamic militants using campuses as recruitment centres for their violent struggle, according to the deputy premier, reports AFP. Muhyiddin Yassin said police would hold a special briefing for university administrators following the recent deportation of 10 foreigners for trying to recruit Malaysian students to wage holy war overseas.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Cuts to undergraduate foreign scholarships
Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has confirmed that undergraduate scholarships for critical courses overseas will be phased out gradually, write Minderjeet Kaur, Masami Mustaza and Roy See Wei Zhi for the New Straits Times. The government will focus on enhancing the ranking of higher learning institutions and universities, and plans to increase scholarships for postgraduate study abroad.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Full autonomy for top universities by 2015
Malaysia’s five research universities are expected to obtain full autonomy by 2015, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said on Tuesday, reports the official news agency Bernama.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities’ outside work pulls in £3 billion
While the rest of the economy was withering in the teeth of the recession, British universities increased their outside revenues from business partners and selling services to the public sector to a record £3 billion (US$4.4 billion), writes Robert Lea for The Sunday Times.
More on the University World News site

US: Jump in college enrolment highest in 40 years
America’s colleges are attracting record numbers of new students as more Hispanics finish high school and young adults opt to pursue a higher education rather than languish in a weak job market, writes Hope Yen for the Associated Press.
More on the University World News site

US: Money finally flows for spill research
Scientists say that one of the most critical needs in responding to the oil spill is a far more vigorous research effort in the Gulf of Mexico to track the impact that the oil is having, write Justin Gillis and Yeganeh June Torbati in The New York Times Green blog. But money for that purpose has been slow to arrive.
More on the University World News site

ABU DHABI: Expensive overhaul of higher education
Abu Dhabi plans to spend about 4.9 billion UAE dirhams (US$1.3 billion) a year from 2018, mostly on research and development, in an overhaul of higher education that will fill a key gap in its economic development plan, officials said late last week, reports the business information company Zawya.
More on the University World News site

CZECH: University budget cut to lower student numbers
The Czech Education Ministry will cut university budgets from the next academic year by 5% for bachelor and 10% for masters programmes to regulate the excessive number of students, Deputy Minister Vlastimil Ruzicka told journalists last on Wednesday, reports the Prague Daily Monitor.
More on the University World News site

SINGAPORE: Another shot in the arm for research
Two more research centres will be established in Singapore, focusing on areas such as electric vehicles and biomedical science, writes Lester Kok for AsiaOne. They are the two newest additions to the National Research Foundation’s Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (Create) programme, bringing the total number of centres to five.
More on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: Business schools eye desert kingdom
International business schools eager for new markets are looking to Saudi Arabia, where a still-strong economy and a big government push to boost management skills have created a pool of potential MBAs, writes Beth Gardiner for The Wall Street Journal.
More on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Plan to monitor higher education
Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa has backed a plan to liberalise university education and set up a mechanism to monitor and evaluate the quality of foreign and local higher education, an official said, reports Lanka Business Online.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Dope offences suspend university’s football
The University of Waterloo suspended its football programme for one season last week after the revelation that nine members of the team committed doping offences, while officials overseeing university sports in Canada admit a lack of resources means they are at a loss to know the full scope of performance-enhancing drug use, writes Mark Masters for The National Post.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Struggle to raise university language skills
A project launched in 2004 to halt declining English language skills among students at Pakistan’s public universities has entered a second three-year phase amid concern that low language proficiency continues to hamper higher-education reforms and is putting the latest international research out of reach for academics, writes Max de Lotbinière for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: Extra points fails to end science gender gap
The introduction in Uganda of 1.5 extra points for female applicants wanting to enrol in public universities 20 years ago has failed to bridge the gender gap in science disciplines, writes Patience Ahimbisibwe for the Daily Monitor.
More on the University World News site

US: Professor charged in brother’s 1986 shooting death
It was “obviously” a homicide case, a former prosecutor says, but authorities didn’t have the evidence to present it to a grand jury at the time, writes Bob Salsberg for the Associated Press. Amy Bishop, the biology professor charged with killing three of her colleagues at an Alabama university, has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the 1986 shooting death of her brother in Massachusetts, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.
More on the University World News site
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