ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0150 05 December 2010
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HE Events Diary

Higher Education Marketing

Amidst high profile protests the Italian parliament has passed a controversial university reform bill.

What happened to the Pan-African University? See our Features section.

Pigeonpea could be the answer to sustaining an agricultural green revolution in Africa. See our Science Scene section.


University World News was a media partner to the OECD's Institutional Management in Higher Education conference in Paris in September 2010, and to the Unesco World Conference on Higher Education in 2009.


This week’s highlights

In the Features section, ALYA MISHRA writes that incidents of corruption, misconduct, staff revolts and political appointments have raised questions about the quality of higher education leaders in India. YOJANA SHARMA investigates problems experienced and progress made in establishing the Pan-African University, and EILEEN TRAVERS looks at a leading university in Mexico’s plans to internationalise its curriculum and partner with institutions in developing countries. In Commentary, ANNE CAMPBELL describes a study she undertook into whether universities in Australia develop the generic skills and attributes in international students that their policies promise.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

ITALY: University reform bill passes amid protests
Lee Adendorff
A controversial university reform bill was passed in the Italian parliament on Tuesday despite high profile protests around the country. Tens of thousands of students occupied train stations, airports, highways and even monuments such as the leaning tower of Pisa and the Coliseum, paralysing city and inter-city traffic and at times clashing with police.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: ASEAN countries to set up ‘research clusters’
Yojana Sharma
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations will collaborate on research by setting up thematic ‘research clusters’ to tackle problems of the region, the first conference on Pioneering ASEAN Higher Education Research Clusters agreed in Bangkok.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: ASEAN may create research citation index
Yojana Sharma
Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have suggested setting up regional research journals, and have agreed in principle to explore an ASEAN citation index to increase the international visibility of research carried out by the region’s universities.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Academic shortfall threatens universities
Geoff Maslen
In the next five years, Australian universities will have to replace almost half of their academics, says a report released last week. The report notes that fewer academics are now available to do the growing amount of work yet the capacity of the academic workforce is shrinking relative to the almost linear growth in the size of the system.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Disillusionment in academe
Geoff Maslen
For many Australian academics there is a sense of a world lost, a conference of the Association of Commonwealth Universities in Melbourne was told last week. Professor Richard James said mid-career academics were under significant pressure, concerned about the sheer volume of their work, concerned about being spread too thinly, and worried about the effects of these pressures on the standards of teaching and research.
Full report on the University World News site

RUSSIA: Major new investment in higher education
Eugene Vorotnikov
The Russian government is to allocate up to 137 billion rubles (US$4.1 billion) to the development of education from 2011-15 under a new federal target programme. Most of the money is expected to be invested in higher education through introducing new technologies, improving the quality of teaching staff, and upgrading the material and technical infrastructure of the country’s largest federal universities.
Full report on University World News web site

EUROPE: ERC shelves leadership appointment
Jan Petter Myklebust
The European Research Council has shelved the appointment of a distinguished scientist to lead the organisation, 10 months after the position was announced. Instead the Director General of Research Robert-Jan Smiths, who took office at the beginning of July, will lead a task force to explore options for future leadership.
Full report on the University World News site

FINLAND: Private donations window extended
Ian R Dobson
A government scheme to support attempts to secure private donations to Finland’s universities has been extended by six months. Under the scheme, originally due to run until the end of this year, the government pays universities 250% of what they receive from private donations.
Full report on the University World News site

MIDDLE EAST: States forge ahead on renewable energy
Wagdy Sawahel
Jordan last month opened a world-class nuclear research centre to develop scientific skills and a nuclear programme for peaceful purposes, while the United Arab Emirates inaugurated the Middle East’s first graduate institute for research into clean environmental technologies.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: University closed after bomb threat
Ameen Amjad Khan
Pakistan’s National University of Modern Languages, situated in the heart of the federal capital Islamabad, was closed last week after terrorists threatened to carry out multiple bomb attacks on the institution and reduce it to rubble.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Science, agriculture to be boosted – ministers
African ministers have recommended reforms of higher education across the continent including the creation of more conducive environments for female students and partnerships between governments and universities to provide policy support and build capacity in the areas of agriculture and science, which should be better resourced.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Disgraced former Rector dies
Makki Marseilles
Emilios Metaxopoulos, former rector of Athens Pandio University, died on 20 November aged 55, just before he was due to travel to Germany to undergo liver transplant surgery. Metaxopoulos faced 25 years in jail for mismanagement of university funds.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Online Educa explores new media world
Michael Gardner
Last week some 2,200 participants from 108 countries attended Online Educa Berlin, an annual event covering information and communication technologies in education. The focus was on inclusive education, to coincide with the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, and among other things uses of new media in higher education were explored.
Full report on the University World News site


INDIA: Crisis of leadership in higher education
Alya Mishra
Some university vice-chancellors in India are the subject of investigations for corruption or misconduct. Some experience revolts by faculty and staff. Others face allegations that they were appointed because of political connections rather than qualifications for the job. Such incidents have sparked a debate on the quality of those at the helm of higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: What happened to the Pan-African University?
Yojana Sharma
Plans for a university that will stretch across Africa and be a ‘flagship institution of higher education’ will go ahead, despite political problems with two of its five planned centres, African Union commissioner and steward of the project, Jean-Pierre Ezin, has insisted.
Full report on the University World News site

MEXICO: Key centre launches international drive
Eileen Travers
The Center for Higher and Technical Education in Mexico (CETYS) recently launched a long-term plan to internationalise its curriculum and reach out to institutions in developing countries to forge multilateral approaches to common challenges in higher education. CETYS 2020 aims for the university in Baja to reach global benchmarks for quality, competitiveness, expanding the learning community and sustainability.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: What skills for international students?
The mandatory inclusion of generic skills and attributes in policy documents of Australian universities has attracted considerable debate and controversy, writes ANNE CAMPBELL of the University of Canberra in the latest edition of the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. One neglected aspect is whether generic skills and attributes defined by Western society are relevant for all students, including international students returning to their home country after graduation, and whether universities develop these skills.
Full report on the University World News site


PHILIPPINES: Students protest treatment of academics
Roisin Joyce*
Students from three universities in the Philippines demonstrated on 18 November against a show cause order brought against 37 members of faculty at the University of the Philippines faculty of law, ABS-CBN News reported.
Full report on the University World News site


UK-AFRICA: Ancient wind of life and death
The mystery of how an abundance of fossils have been preserved for nearly 500,000 years in a remote region of Africa has been solved by a team of geologists from the University of Leicester in Britain.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: PM’s science prizes
Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week announced awards worth almost US$500,000 to Australian scientists. The top award went to Dr John Shine, Director of the Garvan Institute for Medical Research in Sydney, for “GGAGG: The five letters that launched a biotechnology revolution”.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Science to sustain the green revolution
Wagdy Sawahel
Scientists have found that crop diversification using pigeonpea – shrubby legumes grown in tropical regions – mixed with soybean and peanuts could be key to sustaining an agricultural green revolution in Africa.
Full report on the University World News site


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NORTH KOREA: University events raising tensions
The Daily NK has confirmed that North Korea’s major universities have been hosting ‘loyalty resolve gatherings’ in which students vow to volunteer for military service as required by Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Eun, something which does not bode well for future provocations against the South, writes Im Jeong Jin.
More on the University World News site

SINGAPORE: New university a technology education lab
Every year automakers roll out ‘concept’ cars, which incorporate novel design elements that may become standard years from now, writes Jeffrey R Young for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Singapore has taken the rarer step of building a concept university, one meant to road-test the latest in teaching theory and academic features.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: 133% increase PhD holders in universities
The number of PhD holders among academic staff in Malaysia’s public universities had increased by 133% since 2005, said Higher Education Department Director-general Datuk Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi, reports the official agency Bernama. He said now there were 14,000 PhD holders compared to 6,000 in 2005.
More on the University World News site

US: PhD pipeline expands slightly
The number of research doctorates awarded by American universities grew slightly in 2009, with virtually all of the increase accounted for by an upturn in PhDs and other degrees granted to women, according to newly reported data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates, writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed. The study also documents the first drop in five years in the number of doctorates awarded to non-US citizens.
More on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Universities prepare for tuition fee fallout
Wandering through the falling snow in front of the renowned law faculty at Lund University, Ukrainian maritime law student Anton Kulchytskyy has nothing but praise for Swedish higher education, writes Adam Mullett for The Local. “Sweden has always been world famous for its free and high quality education,” he explains. But starting in the autumn of 2011, international students from outside Europe will face application fees and a hefty tuition bill for the privilege of pursuing a degree in Sweden.
More on the University World News site

UK: Higher tuition fees but only if you are English
The English face a university education ‘apartheid’ after Welsh students were told they would be exempt from a sharp rise in tuition fees, write Graeme Paton and Rosa Prince for The Telegraph. The Welsh Assembly government announced last week that it would heavily subsidise the degree courses of about 90,000 students each year, even if they studied at universities in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
More on the University World News site

NETHERLANDS: Students protest against funding cuts
Some 1,500 students demonstrated outside the parliamentary buildings in The Hague last Monday to protest against the government’s plans to cut student funding, reports DutchNews. Currently students can claim a grant for four years but the government is planning to reduce this to three years.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: University staff march for funding hike
Thousands of employees from about 200 universities across the country gathered in Delhi on Wednesday and marched to parliament to press the government for hike in education funds, reports IANS.
More on the University World News site

US: Paying by the ‘pound’ for journals
The library at Albany Molecular Research Inc thought its days of buying its chemistry journals in print were over, writes Steve Kolowich for Inside Higher Ed. Then the publisher of a dozen of them raised the price of digital access to certain journals by as much as 183%. Now the institution is considering switching back to print subscriptions for some of the titles published by the American Chemical Society, and perhaps nixing several of the journals from its library shelves altogether.
More on the University World News site

US: Software tries to make studying feel like Facebook
Students live on Facebook. So study tools that act like social networks should be student magnets – and maybe even have an academic benefit – write Marc Parry and Jeffrey R Young for The Chronicle of Higher Education. At least that’s the idea behind a new crop of web services sprouting up across higher education.
More on the University World News site

US: Professors give Wikipedia a facelift
The legitimacy of Wikipedia, the popular online user-edited encyclopedia, as an academic resource has long been doubted, writes Derek Schlom for The Tufts Daily, the student newspaper of Tufts University. A new pilot project created by the Wikimedia Foundation is attempting to reframe the site’s reputation within the context of academia and purge inaccuracies from a portion of the site.
More on the University World News site

UK: University leads way with free research
Scotland’s University of Glasgow, the alma mater of inventors James Watt and John Logie Baird, is making a bold attempt to get academic research commerc ialised by offering its intellectual property free of charge to British entrepreneurs, writes Jonathan Moules for the Financial Times. The move, a first for a UK university, is aimed at raising the profile of Glasgow’s research achievements and helping companies maximise their competitiveness.
More on the University World News site

UK: How many entrepreneurs are universities producing?
Entrepreneurship seems to be the British government’s favourite word, writes Lucy Tobin for The Guardian. A search of the online parliamentary database reveals 4,400 references to entrepreneurs in debate in the Houses of Lords and Commons and in Committee reports since the election in May. Where better to inspire entrepreneurship than on university campuses?
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: 237 institutions complete self-assessment
According to the Ministry of Education and Training, 237 universities and junior colleges in Vietnam, including 100 universities, have completed self-assessment, reports VietNamNet Bridge. The ministry hopes that by 2015-20, 90% to 95% of schools will have completed the self-assessment process and will transfer to a new period of being assessed and accredited by outside organisations.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: New body to coordinate artisan training
South Africa’s Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande last week launched a National Artisan Moderation Body that will coordinate artisan training countrywide for the first time since sectoral education and training authorities were established in 2000, writes Sue Blaine for Business Day. Estimates are that the country needs to produce 20,000 to 25,000 artisans a year but only trains between 8,000 and 10,000.
More on the University World News site

BANGLADESH: 32 universities get innovation fund
Thirty-two universities in Bangladesh will get grants from the Academic Innovation Fund provided by the World Bank through the University Grants Commission by next month, Mizan Rahman reports for Gulf Times. Among the universities, 29 are public and three are in the private sector, officials of the Education Ministry said.
More on the University World News site
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