ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0136 22 August 2010
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LH Martin Institute

University of Nottingham

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HE Events Diary

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Higher Education Marketing

Richard Yelland, Head of the OECD's Education Management and Infrastructure Division, talks to University World News.
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, which is rapidly expanding higher education. See the News section.
Latest discovery of fossils pushes back biological clock.


University World News is a media partner to the OECD's Institutional Management in Higher Education conference in Paris in September 2010. The newspaper was also media partner to the Unesco World Conference on Higher Education in July 2009.


"Rankings and internationalisation" announcement

Following the release of Shanghai’s 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities, University World News this week publishes two rankings commentaries. John O’Leary, an editor of The Times Good University Guide and executive advisory board member of QS World University Ranking, writes that British and American students squeezed out of universities may start looking overseas for study – and that QS’ ranking, which captures the views of employers, is the one that matters for students. Richard Holmes, author of the University Ranking Watch blog, charts a decline in the dominance of universities from the West and Japan and states that the methodological stability of the Shanghai ranking makes it the most reliable for monitoring changes in the world of scientific research. In a related article, professors of higher education Philip G Altbach and Anthony Welch argue that under-funding of higher education and the money-making goal of internationalisation in Australia have undermined the strong reputation of its universities.

OECD higher education conference

GLOBAL: University spending key to recovery – OECD
David Jobbins
Public spending on universities should be maintained where possible as countries seek a road out of the consequences of the global financial crisis, Richard Yelland, head of the OECD’s Education Management and Infrastructure Division, told University World News this week. He said the crisis did not change universities’ responsibility to use resources efficiently – but “makes it more urgent”.
Full report on University World News web site
More in the UWN Interview section below

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

SAUDI ARABIA: Rapid growth for universities
Wagdy Sawahel
Saudi Arabia has announced plans to continue the rapid expansion of higher education as part of its ninth five-year development plan, for 2010-14. A nearly quarter billion dollar annual investment in science and technology research will help strengthen the country’s growing international position in innovation capacity.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Universities to scrap textbooks and go digital
Ashraf Khaled
To many academics and students in Egypt, Minister of Higher Education Hani Hilal is the minister of controversy. Months ago, citing security concerns, he banned female students wearing the niqab (full-face veil) from staying in low-cost dormitories or sitting exams. He triggered another uproar when he decided not to build new law schools, saying that the country already had sufficient. His latest controversial decision is to ban the use of textbooks.
Full report on the University World News site

ISRAEL: University defies right-wing boycott threat
Helena Flusfeder
The President of Ben-Gurion University of Negev has pledged to ignore threats by a right-wing political group to incite a boycott by international and other donors if staff and curriculum changes are not made. “We should never surrender to these pressures,” said Professor Rivka Carmi.
Full report on the University World News site

THAILAND: Close watch on students’ ‘political’ plays
Yojana Sharma
After censoring the news media and internet in the wake of the May crackdown, the Thai government has turned its sights on campus plays for signs of political dissent. Seemingly innocuous and entertaining amateur dramatics by students have come under scrutiny by the nervous authorities, who fear they may contain seditious ideas or affect national security.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Loan subsidy scheme fails students
Alya Mishra
India’s much-touted education loan guarantee scheme seems to have failed in the first year of implementation. Flooded by complaints from students and yet to receive claims from banks, a worried education ministry has asked the finance ministry to intervene, government sources said.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Call for ‘tribal’ vice-chancellors to be moved
Gilbert Nganga
A body formed to help curb ethnicity and boost cohesion in Kenya in the wake of a 2008 post-election crisis wants top administrators in public universities moved over tribalism. It claimed that most vice-chancellors had been appointed along tribal lines or on the basis of dominant ethnic affinities in the regions where universities were located, rather than on merit.
Full report on the University World News site

PERU-BOLIVIA: Indigenous universities gain foothold
Pacifica Goddard
The first higher education institution for Peru’s indigenous population, the Aymara, will soon become a reality. In May the Peruvian national congress’ Education Commission approved a proposal to create a national Aymara university and in a vote to take place this month the country’s ruling congress is expected to follow suit. In neighbouring Bolivia, President Evo Morales said this month that he intended to expand higher education for indigenous people.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Record scramble for university places
Diane Spencer
As A-level exam results were announced last Thursday, it was predicted that some 200,000 young people might fail to get into a UK university out of the record number of 660,000 who applied this year. UCAS, the university and college admissions service, calculated that 44% failed to get the grades they needed, but 380,000 had achieved their desired places.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA-UK: New student visa requirements restrictive
Alya Mishra
Although Britain this month ended a six-month suspension of issuing student visas in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, it has tightened student visa rules to include new language requirements. Many overseas students say this is too restrictive and could lead to genuine students opting to go elsewhere for their studies.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Programme to boost international doctorates
Michael Gardner
Germany has started a new programme to attract more excellent postgraduates from abroad. IPID – International promovieren in Deutschland – is designed to enhance the image of German doctoral training and develop new programmes with foreign partner universities.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Lund reviews foreign student admissions
Ard Jongsma
Lund University has unilaterally decided to change its admission procedures for this academic year and has resorted to manual selection among foreign students who were deprived of a place by unwanted side-effects of the new procedures. Its decision follows widespread criticism of the new Swedish student selection system reported by University World News last week.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: Efficiency cuts grant waiting times
Alan Osborn
In a victory for commonsense over bureaucracy, the European Commission has drastically cut the processing time for making a number of educational grants – without apparently compromising standards.
Full report on University World News website

CAMEROON: Fraudulent diplomas exposed
The commission in Cameroon responsible for assessing higher education qualifications issued abroad has exposed more than 300 cases of fraudulent diplomas, reported of Yaoundé.
Full report on University World News website


GLOBAL: University rankings – It’s about jobs, stupid!
John O’Leary*
International study has been one of the global phenomena of the current millennium. The numbers going abroad to university have jumped from fewer than two million in 2000 to more than three million this year. Until now, most of the traffic has been from Asia to Western universities, but there may be a new direction of travel this year, as students squeezed out of British and American universities look overseas in much larger numbers.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Shanghai rankings: Shifting research landscape
Richard Holmes*
In recent years, something like a small-scale industry has developed with commentators earnestly trying to read long-term trends into the rise and fall of various universities in the former THE-QS rankings. Such efforts have been largely futile.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: The perils of commerc ialism
Philip G Altbach and Anthony Welch*
More than two decades ago, the Australian government decided that international higher education should become an industry; since then it has become a major income producer for the nation. The higher education sector was motivated to make money from international education by government budget cuts, with revenue to be made up largely by entrepreneurial international activity.
Full report on the University World News site


ETHIOPIA: Expanding and improving higher education
Kate Ashcroft*
Ethiopia is radically expanding its higher education sector: from two federal universities to 22 in just over a decade and another 10 to open soon. Even so, the percentage of the available cohort that attends higher education is still low at about 3%, compared with a Sub-Saharan average in 2007 of 6%, according to Unesco. The huge expansion of student numbers is mainly in new regional universities and a vibrant private system.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Decline in PhD numbers a major problem
Sharon Dell
South Africa’s inability to produce enough doctoral graduates to build the ‘knowledge economy’ it aspires to, or simply to replace the existing cohort of academics in the higher education system, is a challenge widely acknowledged by government departments, their agencies and universities. But fixing the problem is a lot harder.
Full report on the University World News site

RWANDA: Building research capacity from within
Alexandrine Mugisha
The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa, CARTA, aims to foster multidisciplinary research capacity in population and public health by teaming African universities, African research institutes and northern partners. One of the latest universities to join the consortium is the National University of Rwanda, where CARTA was officially launched on 31 March this year.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Higher education in a world changed utterly
David Jobbins
Universities are at the sharp end of the global financial crisis, often facing draconian budget cuts and demands from governments to provide the workforce that will drive the route out of recession. Next month the OECD’s programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education holds its general conference in Paris, titled Higher Education in a World Changed Utterly: Doing more with less. Here, the OECD’s Richard Yelland discusses the thinking behind the conference and the issues likely to frame the discussions.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Fossil find pushes back biological clock
US scientists working in Australia may have found the oldest fossils of animal bodies, which predate other evidence of animal body forms by more than 70 million years.
Full report on the University World News site

NORWAY: Drinking wine can be good for the brain
At last, the news tipplers around the world have been waiting for – moderate drinking has been associated with good test scores. But the rider is that moderate drinking is probably an indicator of other good lifestyle habits that help people’s brains perform well.
Full report on the University World News site

US-POLAND: Original mother lived 200,000 years ago
After considering the results of 10 different genetic models, Polish and US researchers say the maternal ancestor of all living humans lived 200,000 years ago.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

FINLAND: Technology students say they work too hard
Ian R Dobson*
Some students at a super-university in Finland have claimed they have to work harder to gain the same credits as others. Aalto University is the product of a three-way merger aimed at creating a world-class university. But students from a former technical university feel that social science students have an easier ride.
Full report on University World News website


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CHINA: State aid for students up 18% last year
China spent 34.72 billion yuan (US$5.1 billion) on financial aid for college students last year, up 18.21% from the previous year, a Ministry of Education official has revealed, reports the official agency Xinhau. The aid included scholarships, stipends, loans and allowances, said Cui Bangyan, a senior ministry official in charge of financial aid for students.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Expert panel to prove university autonomy
India’s Human Resource Development Ministry has set up a high-powered committee, under legal expert NR Madhava Menon, to come with a comprehensive policy on the issue of autonomy for higher education institutions such as central universities and the elite institutes of technology and management, reports The Times of India.
More on the University World News site

US: Ups and downs in foreign graduate admissions
Admissions offers by American graduate schools to international applicants increased by 3% from 2009 to 2010, reversing a 1% decline the previous year, according to a report released last week by the Council of Graduate Schools, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. Offers to Americans, meanwhile, fell by 1% in the last year, although that figure may not be final.
More on the University World News site

US: Abandoning an digital publishing experiment
Rice University Press is being shut down next month, ending an experiment in an all-digital model of scholarly publishing, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. While university officials said they needed to make a difficult economic decision to end the operation, they acted against the recommendations of an outside review team that had urged Rice to bolster its support for the publishing operation.
More on the University World News site

POLAND: Empty university degrees
There is a revolution brewing in Polish higher education as universities grapple with wrenching demographic changes as well as trying to figure out how to train students for advanced degrees while producing top-flight research – something they currently do very badly – writes Jan Cienski for Globalpost.
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Plan to raise state funding for higher education
The Council for Higher Education last week presented a plan designed to reform Israeli higher education, write Lior Dattel and Moti Bassok for Haaretz. It calls for an additional NIS7.5 billion (US$2 billion) in state spending on higher education over the next six years, of which NIS1.35 billion will be added to the two-year state budget for 2011 and 2012.
More on the University World News site

INDIA-AFRICA: Phase-II of e-network project launched
India has launched the second phase of the pan-Africa e-network, adding 12 more countries to the New Delhi-aided long distance education and tele-medicine programme, reports India Edunews.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Paper check system created to prevent plagiarism
A university term paper checking system has been developed in China by its second largest computer producer, TsinghuaTongfang, to prevent plagiarism among college students, the Beijing-based China Youth Daily reported last week.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: New ways used to help students find roommates
Connie Wang had two stipulations as she interviewed potential roommates ahead of the school year – they must understand that she is loud, and they must also love “Glee”, the hit musical television show – writes Zosia Bielski for the Globe and Mail. “I’m extremely picky,” says the 18-year-old double major in drama and psychology.
More on the University World News site
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