ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0137 29 August 2010
Support University World News - Click here to donate

LH Martin Institute

University of Nottingham

HE Events Diary

Opportunities Jobs

Higher Education Marketing

Floods in Pakistan drown out a fake degrees scandal. See the News section.
A 400 page, 10 chapter publication from Unesco the social sciences and the role which they play in society. See our Special Report.
The Second Life avatar of the University of Western Australia's School of Physics manager Jay Jay Jegathesan, with avatar quadrapop Lane, at the university's campus in Second Life. See the Business section.


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.


This week's highlights

The state of the social sciences around the world comes under the spotlight this week in a series of articles on the World Social Sciences Report 2010 by GEOFF MASLEN, who also ponders the implications for universities of the Australian election. In the Commentary section, JOHN HIGGINS reports on an academic freedom lecture by Oxford historian Professor Robin Briggs and MICHINARI HAMAGUCHI, President of Nagoya University, describes Japan’s plans to attract foreign students and internationalise 13 top universities.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

TAIWAN: Way clear for Chinese students next year
Yojana Sharma
Students from Mainland China will not arrive at Taiwanese universities before 2011 even though hotly disputed legislation allowing the admission of mainland Chinese finally cleared Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan, on 19 August.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Flood drowns out fake degrees scandal
Zofeen T Ebrahim
As Pakistan’s Election Commission began its first hearings into parliamentarians’ fake degrees last week some feared the scandal had been pushed out of the limelight by the devastating floods. Nonetheless, the degree debacle is straining the credibility of the country’s higher education and election systems.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Students face sharp cost increases
Jane Marshall
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has cancelled an austerity measure that would have penalised parents who subsidise their student children’s accommodation. He made the announcement after warnings from two leading organisations representing students’ interests that students were facing sharp increases in costs both as they enrolled for the 2010-11 academic year and during the course of their studies.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFICA: Minister backs media-gagging proposals
Alison Moodie
Two proposed media laws aimed at gagging South Africa’s press have drawn both support and ire from the country’s higher education leaders. Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande has backed a planned media tribunal, while a vice-chancellor has slammed the proposed legislation as trampling on academic freedom.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: UK attracts more Indian students than the US
Alya Mishra
Despite visa restrictions the United Kingdom remains the top foreign destination for Indian students. According to data available for 2010, almost twice the number of Indian students who applied to study higher education abroad chose colleges in the UK over the United States.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Support for undocumented immigrant students
Sarah King Head
Backing for America’s bipartisan Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act has grown steadily since its introduction to Congress in 2001. Most recently, though, it has received renewed support from the labour movement, an action applauded by the United States Students’ Association earlier this month.
Full report on the University World News site

IRELAND: Hackers overload central applications site
John Walshe
An investigation is getting underway into a series of malicious attacks on the Central Applications Office website. The CAO processes applications and offers of places for all universities, institutes of technology, colleges of education and other third level institutions in Ireland.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: Students plan autumn ‘austerity’ protests
Jan Petter Myklebust
Danish universities are likely to be hit hard by austerity measures for 2011-13 announced by the government and opposition parties – and students are preparing for more protests in the autumn. Internationalisation and proposals for creation of a world-class university are just politicians’ hot air, Copenhagen University Rector Ralf Hemmingsen said.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Universities to admit extra students
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya’s public universities, long plagued by an admissions crisis, will this year admit 4,000 extra students to clear a backlog that has for decades forced students to wait for up to two years after high school to enter public higher education.
Full report on the University World News site


“Never before have there been so many social scientists in the world – many more than the 200,000 population of Margaret Mead’s famous Samoa. Never before have the social sciences been so influential,” writes Gudmund Hernes, President of the International Social Science Council, in the preface to the World Social Science Report 2010: Knowledge divides. Published by Unesco, the 400-page report has 10 chapters covering a wide range of issues confronting the social sciences and their role in countries across all continents.

In a foreword Irina Bokova, Unesco Director-General, says the report is the first “thorough overview of this important field in more than a decade” and is the result of the work of hundreds of professional social scientists. Bokova says Unesco, “with its emphasis on the management of social transformation”, is concerned that the social sciences should be put to use to improve human well-being and to respond to global challenges.

The following articles by GEOFF MASLEN are drawn from various chapters in the report.

GLOBAL: Worlds apart but on same map?
In spite of the impact social scientists have had around the world, Gudmund Hernes says humans face crises that tax their understanding and their capacity to cope. The President of the International Social Science Council describes the influence of social science as a “mixed blessing” and says social scientists’ foresight has been poor at key junctures in recent times.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Social sciences brain drain or gain?
Social scientists migrate from the main academic centres to the periphery to teach, export their skills or do research and gather data. In the opposite direction, talented young social scientists tend to leave a peripheral position to go to academic centres to be trained or work with the most eminent scholars, says Laurent Jeanpierre, a professor of political science at the University of Paris-8 Saint-Denis.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA-PACIFIC: Social science transcends boundaries
In his discussion of social sciences and the Asia-Pacific region in the World Social Science Report 2010, John Beaton says the main issues are employment, social mobility and equity, security and safety, education, population, health, globalisation, adaptation to climate change and the governance required to manage these matters.
Full report on the University World News site

ARAB REGION: Academic freedom curtailed
The social sciences in the Arab region are shaped by severe socio-political, economic and environmental challenges, instability and by diverse and divergent research policies, agendas and funding programmes at the national and regional levels, say Seteney Shami and Moushira Elgeziri.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Social science under-resourced but resilient
The social sciences in Sub-Saharan Africa are seriously under-resourced but resilient, says Johann Mouton, Director of the Centre for Research on Science and Technology and head of the African Doctoral Academy at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Charting the decline of social sciences
The all-round expansion that characterised African higher education in general, and the social sciences in particular, during the 1960s was interrupted at the end of the 1970s as African countries began to slide into a prolonged economic crisis, says Dr Adebayo Olukoshi, Director of the UN African Institute for Economic Development and Planning.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Why academics do not publish
Kenya is a good illustration of the effect on scholarly output of lack of resources and capacity in higher education, say the editors of the World Social Science Report 2010 in a discussion of why Kenyan academics do not publish in international refereed journals.
Full report on the University World News site

NORTH AMERICA: Social research too inward-looking
The most distinctive feature of North American social science, besides its size, is the extent of the investment made in time, facilities, training and incentives for research since the Second World War, says Craig Calhoun, President of the US Social Science Research Council and a social sciences professor at New York University.
Full report on the University World News site

LATIN AMERICA: Rise of the social sciences
Universities are crucial actors in the evolution of the social sciences in Latin America, say Hebe Vessuri, head of the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research’s Center on Science Studies, and Maria Sonsiré López who also works at the centre in Caracas. This can only be understood by taking into account the changing relationship between public universities and the state, and the conflicts and social movements involving universities.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Social science and rankings
The number of social science publications in international journals is much lower than those for the natural sciences and medicine. So the natural sciences and the medical fields dominate university rankings while the strength of universities’ social sciences scarcely contributes to their position, says Anthony FJ van Raan, a professor of science studies and Director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: Challenging ruling mantras of higher education
John Higgins*
There is a special kind of British humour that is very good at locating the absurd in everyday life. It draws our attention to much of what we take for granted just by tone of voice or the raising of an eyebrow. Either of these can be enough to effectively place scare quotes around a cliché; or draw our critical attention to something, and make us laugh at the sudden absurdity of what once seemed authoritative.
Full report on the University World News site

JAPAN: Top universities sharpen international focus
Michinari Hamaguchi*
Japanese society is undergoing transformative changes amidst a wave of IT growth and globalisation. Even the ‘once-in-a-century’ recession of two years ago seems merely a ripple in this massive swell. The world is fused together with a unifying economic system and the speed of change has accelerated dramatically.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Universities face political uncertainty
Geoff Maslen
The most boring federal election in living memory turned into a cliff-hanger last weekend with the nation’s vice-chancellors not alone in waiting anxiously on the outcome. For the first time in 70 years, the nation faces a hung parliament and a first-time government seems likely to lose office – and with it the higher education policies that offered universities funding certainty for the next three years.
Full report on the University World News site


IRAN: Detention of student union leaders
Roisin Joyce*
Two members of the Central Council of Advar-e Tahkim Vahdat, a representative body of Islamic student associations in Iran, have been detained by Iranian security forces, Advar News reported on 22 August.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site


EUROPE: Universities heighten virtual reality
Cayley Dobie
Researchers from nine European universities are developing more interactive virtual reality technology that goes beyond simple sight and sound and takes users into a world where digital movements and surroundings can actually be felt.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Strangers help university succeed, virtually
Cayley Dobie
An Australian university has been inspired to develop its virtual world services, by unknown digital ‘avatars’ operated by computer users outside its walls. The University of Western Australia calls these helpers ‘angels’ and they have assisted it to develop a presence on virtual world Second Life.
Full report on the University World News site


The Facebook group of University World News is the fastest growing in higher education worldwide. More than 2,300 readers have joined. Sign up to the University World News Facebook group to meet and communicate directly with academics and researchers informed by the world’s first truly global higher education publication. Click on the link below to visit and join the group.
Visit the University World News group on Facebook


IRAN: New crackdown on universities
The Iranian government has said it will restrict the number of students admitted to humanities programmes at universities, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty’s Radio Farda reports. The announcement was made on 25 August by Abolfazl Hassani, director of the government’s Office of Development of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Professors protest ‘political pressures’
Israeli professors representing the faculties of all of Israel’s seven research universities have publicly denounced “political pressures brought to bear on universities recently, which are tantamount to blatant interference in academic freedom”, writes Matthew Kalman for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Phd quantity surpasses quality
With a rapid increase in the number of Chinese graduates enrolling in PhD programmes in the past decade, it seems the quality of education doctoral students receive is falling short, writes He Dan for the official agency Xinhua.
More on the University World News site

ASIA: Regional universities agree on network deal
Eleven universities in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam signed an agreement last week during a University Presidents’ Conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to develop a collaborative network in the region, reports Viet Nam News.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Latin American students wooed
During the past six years, Australia has had rapid success in recruiting students from a relatively new market: Latin America, writes Janaki Kremmer for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Since 2004, enrolment of students from the region has risen from 7,000 to 34,000.
More on the University World News site

UK: Students fuel rise in immigration
Official statistics show that a surge in the number of foreign students studying in the UK helped drive up net migration by 20% last year, reports Channel 4 News.
More on the University World News site

UK: Study questions science-economic growth link
An academic believes he has found evidence to refute the argument that increased university provision of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects is needed to aid the economy, writes John Morgan for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Retirement age for professors rises to 70
Professors will now stay longer in universities after Nigeria’s federal government pushed back the national mandatory retirement age from 65 to 70, reports Next. Non-academic staff also received a further five years after the government increased their retirement age to 65.
More on the University World News site

MOZAMBIQUE: New regulations for higher education
The Mozambican government has approved new regulations on the licensing and functioning of higher education institutions which collectively deal with more than 70,000 students, reports
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Universities score poorly on student rights
Seventy percent of universities included in a nationwide student rights evaluation received failing scores, reflecting a general disregard for student rights in Taiwan, reports the The China Post.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Whites-only fund fights to stay white
A high court ruling which made an educational fund for poor white girls available to girls from all races was disputed in the Supreme Court of Appeal, reports the South African Press Association.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: State sets sights on first vocational university
The Maharashtra state government is considering setting up a vocational university that would be the first of its kind in the country, said minister for higher and technical education Rajesh Tope, reports The Times of India.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Rented textbook option gains ground
Students at Carleton University in Ottawa will have the option of renting their textbooks from the beginning of the upcoming semester, reports CBC News. The school’s bookstore is one of six across Canada trying out Rent-A-Text, which has been a successful programme in the United States, where it has helped to reduce student study costs.
More on the University World News site
Copyright University World News 2007-2010