ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0013  27 January 2008
HE Events Diary

Opportunities Jobs

Life long learning is the focus of this week's special report at University World News. We report on European moves to encourage more life long learning.

French Marxist sociologist and philosopher Edgar Morin was shocked to hear himself quoted by his right-wing Prime Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, recently. See the story in our People section.



On Wednesday 30 January, University World News will publish its first quarterly Special Africa Edition, which will be sent to all readers. Sponsored by the Cape Town-based Centre for Higher Education Transformation, the Special Africa Edition quarterlies will investigate issues and developments of importance to tertiary education in Africa. While the focus is on Africa, and especially South Africa, international perspectives will be included and the topics interrogated will be of relevance to many countries in the developing and developed worlds. The first edition will explore the issue of differentiation in higher education.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

UK: Is Britain the most popular study destination?
Tony Tysome
British universities are challenging their American counterparts as the world’s most popular places to study. According to a survey of more than 11,000 prospective students from 143 countries, 95% of students rated Britain as attractive or very attractive, compared with 93% who rated the US in the same way.
Full story on the University World News site
See also Diane Spencer’s feature on Britain’s rising popularity

US: Open doors to foreign students
America is losing the competition for international students because its competitors have what the US lacks: a proactive national strategy to mobilise all its assets and enable the federal bureaucracy to work to attract international students, according to a new report.
Full story on the University World News site

SOUTH KOREA: After 30 years: world’s largest Chinese dictionary
Michael Delaney
Dankook University in South Korea has announced the imminent completion of a project huge in scale and decades in the making: the world’s largest and most comprehensive Chinese dictionary. Dankook’s Institute of Oriental Studies initiated research on the dictionary in 1977, partially motivated by a desire to have a Korean work to rival the Chinese-character dictionaries produced by neighbouring countries.
Full story on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Poor school results threaten HE expansion
Karen MacGregor
South African universities are expected to expand rapidly in the next few years, boosting the participation of young people in tertiary education to more than 18%. But the institutions will battle to fill seats with students after yet another year of disastrous school-leaving examination results. Only 85,000 of 565,000 pupils, or a mere 15%, who wrote the final exams scored well enough to qualify automatically for university.
Full story on the University World News site

INDONESIA: High graduate unemployment
David Jardine
Leading universities in the world’s fourth most populous nation are making serious efforts to deal with high unemployment among their graduates. The situation facing Indonesia is typical of other developing countries.
Full story on the University World News site

EUROPE: Research concentrated on the big three
Alan Osborn
Results of the first competition for grants made by the European Research Council provide a familiar picture of research concentration in the big three EU countries – the UK, Germany and France. The ERC is a new research funding body created under the EU's 7th Framework Programme for Research.
Full story on the University World News site

GREECE: Public-private money to create new university
Makki Marseilles
The University of Peloponnese, the newest higher education institution in Greece, was founded in 2003 and has been operating ever since out of temporary accommodation. Now the university is to get brand new €100 million (US$147 million) facilities in five locations in southern Greece. The project will be completed by the newly created Public/Private Co-operation Section at the Finance Ministry, a method hitherto applied successfully only in industry but now for the first time tried in education.
Full story on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Database bites the dust
Geoff Maslen
A unique database for research on international education that began in 2003 and attracted thousands of visits from researchers around the world, has ceased being updated after federal government funding stopped last month. Although it will remain online, it seems unlikely to survive.
Full story on the University World News site

SPECIAL REPORT: Lifelong learning

EUROPE: Parliament calls for more lifelong learning opportunities
Alan Osborn
People should be encouraged to learn throughout their lives by governments increasing and improving opportunities for mature students, widening the recognition of qualifications gained later in life and stepping up investment and monitoring in the sector, says the European Parliament. But some governments are fiercely protective of their authority in this sector and argue that adult education would be better done nationally than at a European level.
Full story on the University World News site

EUROPE: EUA asked to develop lifelong learning charter
Jane Marshall
French Prime Minister François Fillon has asked the European University Association (EUA) to establish a charter for lifelong learning for Europe’s universities. The association is the principal organisation representing higher education in Europe, with 791 member institutions in 46 European countries.
Full story on the University World News site


UK: A popular destination for overseas students
Diane Spencer
Nizar Alam from Bangladesh likes Manchester, “apart from the rain”, because he found the ideal course at Manchester University: mathematical logic. “I’m interested in logical philosophy but only this institution provided exactly what I wanted,” Alam explains. Manchester’s success in attracting foreign students is symptomatic of Britain’s performance in the race to lure overseas students to these shores. Latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show a 7% rise in foreign students and a 6% increase in EU student enrolments between 2005-06 and 2006-07.
Full story on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Resolution of lecturers’ strike yields little
Helena Flusfeder
For Israel’s 4,500 senior university lecturers, it came as a surprise that their protest turned into an unprecedented three-month strike. What had started as a protest against a NIS1.2 billion (US$300 million) cut from the higher education budget ended in very real concern about the erosion in their salaries, increases they should get and how to set up a mechanism to prevent future salary erosion.
Full story on the University World News site


FRANCE: Edgar Morin: the Marxist who inspired the President
Jane Marshall
When Nicolas Sarkozy broadcast his first presidential New Year’s Eve message to the French nation last month, he promised a “new renaissance” and called for a “politics of civilisation”, respecting “diversity, justice and human rights”. Among listeners astonished to hear the right-wing president’s words was Edgar Morin, an 87-year-old Marxist sociologist and philosopher, who coined the term “politics of civilisation” more than a decade ago – to little attention at the time.
Full story on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

GREECE: University saves youngsters from drugs
Makki Marseilles
The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has found an unusual way to strengthen its links with the community at large: help youngsters addicted to drugs. Teams of experts, staff and students approach drug addicts and try to open a dialogue in the hope of persuading them to take part in the psychology department’s self-help programme. For a significant percentage, the result is eventual rehabilitation.
Full story on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Big grant funds research into burping bovines
An agricultural university in Sweden has been awarded 3.8 million kronor ($560,000) to conduct research into the environmental impact of cows' belches, reports The Local. Scientists believe that burping bovines contribute to the greenhouse effect through the production of a gas known as cattle release methane.
More on the University World News site


UK: Universities must close gender, ethnic attainment gaps
Students from most minority ethic groups in Britain are statistically less likely than others to obtain the highest degree classifications, and women perform better than men – except in achieving a first for their degrees – according to government research published last year. A new report, based on a year-long Ethnicity, Gender and Degree Attainment Project, led by the Higher Education Academy and the Equality Challenge Unit, urges institutions and agencies to take steps to close gender and ethic attainment gaps among students.
More on the University World News site

UK: ‘Tool kit’ to combat campus extremism
The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has published an updated guide on preventing ‘violent extremism’ on campuses. The 28-page booklet, titled Promoting good campus relations, fostering shared values and preventing violent extremism in universities and higher education colleges, has been slammed as “unhelpful and contradictory” by students but given a “qualified welcome” by the Equality Challenge Unit. Among other things it suggests that universities draw up watch lists of guest speakers and set up multi-faith chaplaincies instead to separate prayer rooms for different faiths.
More on the University World News site


US: International call for open resources
In 2002, a small group of foundation officials and technology experts released the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which called for journals to end subscription barriers to online content and for scholars to strive to make their research findings available online and free, reports Inside Higher Ed. While many publishers have attacked these ideas, the Budapest manifesto played a key role in a movement that is seeing notable success. Now the same groups have unveiled a new Cape Town Open Education Declaration, calling on universities and others to make more of their educational materials free online.
More on the University World News site

US: Study abroad probed at 15 colleges and universities
Study abroad programmes at 15 colleges and universities, including Harvard and Columbia, are being scrutinised by the New York attorney general's office to ensure that business deals are not cheating students, reports Associated Press. Investigators are focusing on the schools after a probe of more than a dozen companies worldwide that arrange for students to study overseas for as long as a year identified questionable practices.
More on the University World News site

US: World’s most expensive universities
The world’s most expensive universities are not haute institutions in the Swiss Alps or on the balmy shores of the Persian Gulf. Nor are they the Ivy League citadels of America’s elite like Harvard or Princeton, or ancient halls of learning like Cambridge or Oxford in the UK, reports Forbes. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, elite private universities in the United States are the costliest on the planet.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Knowledge Commission calls for HE regulator
India’s National Knowledge Commission, headed by Sam Pitroda, has called for private participation, philanthropic contributions and industry linkages to improve higher education, reports the Daily Times. Pitroda also called for increased public spending, monitored by an independent regulator.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: HE to be revamped to keep students at home
Parents in Pakistan are spending billions of rupees sending their children to universities abroad, reports The Nation. In 2007, 11,000 visas were granted to Pakistani students wishing to study in the UK alone. Now the country is revamping higher education to improve its quality and enable expansion in student numbers so that families do not need to send their children abroad in future.
More on the University World News site

KUWAIT: Universities quiet about gender segregation law
Private universities in Kuwait have not reacted strongly to a decision by Minister of Education and Higher education Nuriya Al Subaih to implement gender segregation in universities, reports Arab Times. Several institutions were already segregated.
More on the University World News site

FRANCE: Tales of student p rostitutes shock France
France's education minister has vowed to improve student financial support after a series of accounts by undergraduates working as p rostitutes, reports The Guardian. A memoir by a 19-year-old language student and a book of interviews with undergraduate s ex workers has shocked France, lifting the lid on a practice which appears to be increasingly common.
More on the University World News site

UK: Green dreams of academe
Following planes and scooping up their emissions, making buildings out of carbon, weighing rubbish and getting staff on their bikes: these are just a few of the ideas that universities are coming up with to combat climate change, according to a new Universities UK report. It all sounds wonderful, but it's hard to believe that this is the full picture, writes Bibi van der Zee in The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

UK: Funding for 60,000 more students
The government is planning to fund an additional 60,000 places for first-time students in England by 2011, reports the BBC. The annual grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England also urges closer links between universities and industry and continuing effort to widen university participation.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: University heads under fire for pay rises
University principals are under fire after a survey revealed they had received inflation-busting pay rises while complaining about government funding, reports The Scotsman. The survey found the average salary for a principal in 2006-07 was £162,000 (US$317,000), a rise of 5.2% – twice the rate of inflation.
More on the University World News site
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