ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0014  03 February 2008
HE Events Diary

Opportunities Jobs

Australia's resouces boom is good news for graduates seeking high-paid jobs, but it's forcing the nation's universities to look overseas for its postgraduate students.

In this edition we report on the impact of the ongoing violence in Kenya on the country's education system.

Which woof? Hungarian academics have developed a computer program that accurately recognises different types of dog barks. See the story in our Uni-Lateral section.


NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

RUSSIA: Moscow State buys Russia's first supercomputer
Nick Holdsworth
The American government has approved the sale to Russia of one of the world's most advanced supercomputers – the first time the export of such advanced technology has been allowed to the former Soviet Union. IBM's Blue Gene supercomputer, used by the US Department of Energy for modelling the destabilising effect of time on America's stockpile of nuclear weapons, runs at speeds so fast they are mind-boggling.
Full report on the University World News site

TURKEY: Headscarf ban lifted but jail sentence a blow
Brendan O'Malley
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has submitted a Bill that would allow female students to wear headscarves at university. But the move towards religious freedom at universities was tempered by a step backwards on academic freedom with the announcement on 28 January that a professor has been sentenced to 15 months in jail for insulting the nation's founder Kemal Ataturk.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Chaos keeps universities closed
Stephen Ndegwa
Education in Kenya has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the mayhem that erupted across the country as a result of the disputed presidential polls in the most closely contested elections in Kenyan history. From the most basic education to universities, the system has been thrown into disarray as the escalation of violence in several parts of the country has continued unabated for the last month.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Why not more free information?
Alan Osborn
A great deal of free information is available through the internet and a vast amount is of incalculable benefit. But why shouldn't there be even more? Wouldn't the spread of free software and universal access to scientific and cultural knowledge be a huge gain for everybody? The Dutch certainly think so.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Academics and students on the warpath
Makki Marseilles
Once again the drums of war are beating fast; the temperature is rising; students and academics are flexing their muscles and another fierce conflict with the government is on the horizon. The Greek government's intention to legalise liberal studies centres and upgrade them to full university status has the effect of stiffening the sinews of the academic community and driving it forward to close the breach.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: No government U-turn on ELQs
Diane Spencer
The British government will press ahead with its controversial plans to cut funding from students wanting to enrol in courses that offer equivalent or lower qualifications (ELQs) than those they already have. This is despite fierce opposition from leading academics, unions and the adult education lobby. The Open University will be particularly hard hit as it will lose more than £30 million ($60million) from its teaching grant.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Free tuition to lure foreign postgraduates
Geoff Maslen
A desperate shortage of local students has forced Australian universities to offer free tuition to attract hundreds of masters, PhD and post-doctoral students from other countries. The nation's booming resources industries are luring local engineering and science graduates with salaries of up to $100,000 (US$88,000) a year compared with the usual $20,000 as a postgraduate on a research scholarship.
Full report on the University World News site


GREECE: Study centres devalue university degrees
Makki Marseilles
Greek universities fear the EU's latest directive will open the floodgates to sub-standard foreign competition and devalue university degrees in the process by treating liberal study centres as equal to universities. For British universities already offering programmes via the centres, there may be rich pickings.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Innovator saved the sight of thousands
Hugh Taylor*
Gerard William Crock: Pioneer ophthalmologist
14 September 1929 – 23 December 2007
Gerard Crock, Australia's first professor of ophthalmology, helped bring this specialty into the age of microsurgery. His skills as a surgeon and the inventions of his team at Melbourne University saved the sight of thousands. Coupled with his enthusiasm, his work could make it hard for observers to understand why everyone did not want to become an ophthalmologist.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

HUNGARY: Computers better than humans at recognising barks
Monica Dobie
A Hungarian university has shown that computer programmes and algorithms can accurately classify different types of dog barks and, in some instances, better than trained dog lovers, according to new research published in the journal Animal Cognition.
Full report on the University World News site

RUSSIA: Gypsy cab preyed on students
Helen Womack
Russians may be less inclined to flag down passing cars for rides after a student who hailed a gypsy cab ended up being kidnapped by the driver, and chained by him and his accomplices in a pit beneath a garage. The incident happened in Moscow on the eve of St. Tatyana's Day, the traditional student feast day. The unnamed 20-year-old woman, a student of the prestigious State Institute of International Affairs, spent two days last month tethered like a beast instead of partying like an animal.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Harvard Educational Review probes equity and access
While college education has long been considered the primary engine of social mobility in the US, there are racial, ethnic and class disparities in higher education – and in the new millennium hikes in tuition fees, decreased funding for students and growing disparities in US society appear to be further limiting access and success for the economically and socially disadvantaged, argue the editors of the Harvard Educational Review. Its Winter 2007 issue presents a Symposium on Equity and Access in Higher Education to “call attention to the need for ongoing and creative efforts to provide equal college opportunities to all members of society, and to ensure that higher education institutions fulfil their common mission of serving the needs of students, communities and society”.
More on the University World News site

UK: More action on sustainable development, says HEFCE
Institutions need to do more to maximise their role in improving the environment, preserving natural resources and making an economic and social impact, according to a review of sustainable development in the sector released by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Among its findings are that two-thirds of institutions are engaged in sustainable development-related research, but that the level of involvement is uneven and the place of sustainable development in the curriculum is varied, as is environmental performance across the higher education estate.
More on the University World News site

US: Report identifies six key emerging HE technologies
The just published 2008 edition of The Horizon Report has identified six key emerging technologies “likely to have considerable impact on teaching, learning and creative expression within higher education”. They are grassroots video, collaboration webs, mobile broadband, data mashups, collective intelligence and social operating systems. The 2008 edition is the fifth annual report produced by the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project, and co-published (for free distribution) with the non-profit EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.
More on the University World News site


FRANCE: UNESCO develops research monitoring tool
UNESCO is preparing a tool to evaluate how research is generated, disseminated, received and used in developing countries, reports SciDevNet. The aim is to provide a detailed picture of research systems in low-income and middle-income countries, allowing policy-makers to evaluate and compare their country's research performance with others of a similar profile. A template of indicators was presented at a symposium for research policy experts in Paris in January, and a final version will be launched in May.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH KOREA: Ministry delays announcing law school list
The Education Ministry has postponed announcing a list of 25 universities selected to open American-style law schools, amid fierce protest by schools that were not chosen, reports Yonhap News. Some institutions are planning a class action suit against the ministry after a leaked internal report showed that they were not among the selected institutions. A new post-graduate law school system is being created to meet the rising demand for lawyers ahead of the opening of Korea's legal market.
More on the University World News site

US: New conflict of interest allegations
Three senior admissions officials of prominent American universities sit on an advisory board of a Japanese company that helps applicants in Japan get into top MBA programmes in the United States – including programmes at their universities – reports Inside Higher Ed. The officials confirmed their involvement and that they receive a free annual trip to meetings in Japan for their services, which are boasted about on the Japanese company’s website.
More on the University World News site

US: University enrolment and application numbers soar
Overall enrolment has reached its highest level ever on the 64 campuses of the State University of New York system, and representation of minority students also attained an all-time high, reports Newsday. In California, the Union-Tribune writes that every public university is fielding a record number of undergraduate applications – at the same time as many schools are reducing spots for incoming students – upping competition for places.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Ontario campuses get $200-million facelift
The Ontario government has handed out $200-million to the province's colleges and universities to help repair aging buildings, increase energy efficiency and improve security on campus, reports the Globe and Mail. Ontario's 18 publicly funded universities hold a huge portfolio of real estate that includes 918 buildings, not counting residences, with an average age of more than 30 years.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Season for anti-fee protests begins
The season of student protests over higher education costs has just begun, with fees hiked by an estimated average of 8%. There have been demonstrations at three universities by students angry about high registration and tuition costs, and refusals to register students still owing fees from last year, report Business Day and Independent Online.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Universities urged to release exam results by August
The University Grants Commission has written to all universities in India, urging them to announce examination results by August, in a move that it is hoped will facilitate student mobility across the country, reports the Financial Express.
More on the University World News site
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