ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0152 19 December 2010
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HE Events Diary

Higher Education Marketing

Martin Ince, chair of the academic advisory board of the QS World University Rankings, argues in the Commentary section that no rankings provide all the answers.

Higher education in many countries has not suffered as much as expected from the global financial crisis, according to a Unesco report. See the Special Report section.

Student protests in Sri Lanka, including over private higher education, are hampering reform, writes Nalaka Gunawardene in the Commentary section.


University World News is taking a short break over the New Year. Our last edition of the weekly newspaper in 2010 is on 19 December and the first edition of 2011 is on 9 January. Breaking News stories will be published on the website .


This week’s highlights

In a Special Report for this year’s final edition, edited by PHILIP FINE, we look back at higher education in 2010, including how the sector was covered in the pages of University World News. In Features LILY PHILLIPOSE reports on a new myth-busting study of private universities in Germany, and MIKE IVES writes that China’s ethnic minorities education policy is not working optimally, prompting some to call for a reassessment. In Commentary MARTIN INCE, chair of the academic advisory board of the QS World University Rankings, argues that while rankings are useful to students, academics, institutions and governments, none of them can tell you all you need to know about a complex body like a university. And NALAKA GUNAWARDENE writes that ideologically-driven bickering between higher education stakeholders in Sri Lanka is holding up much-needed reform.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Australia and South Africa pay top salaries
Geoff Maslen
It might come as a surprise to academics in South Africa but the purchasing power of their salaries, on average, is now higher than that of their counterparts in Canada, the UK and New Zealand, according to a survey of 46 Commonwealth universities. However South African academics earn 6% less than those in Australia – the top-ranked country when cost of living is taken into account.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Intellectual capital ‘ranking’ of 40 countries
Yojana Sharma
Innovation and knowledge are fast becoming new measures of international economic growth competitiveness with universities at the core. But measuring ‘knowledge capital’ or the more intangible intellectual capital as a contributor to national prosperity is still a new field. In a new book a Swedish academic has ranked nations in terms of intellectual capital, and Finland, Sweden and Switzerland came out on top.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Review of foreign student decline
Geoff Maslen
The federal government has been forced to respond to growing alarm among universities and colleges at the collapsing number of applications from foreign students by setting up a review to investigate ways of countering the ongoing decline.
Full report on the University World News site

HONG KONG: Joint research funding with China urged
Linda Yeung
An official review of higher education in Hong Kong has recommended that permission be granted for cross-border use of research funds between the city and mainland China, which could see a ban on such use lifted for the first time in decades.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Scots to make England’s ‘fees refugees’ pay more
Brendan O’Malley
Scottish universities will charge more for tuition fees to students from the rest of the UK, in order to top up funds for universities, Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, announced on Friday. But students from Scotland will continue to enjoy free tuition.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Universities must help find talent overseas
Honey Singh Virdee and Yojana Sharma
Universities and professors will join the ministry of education to support Malaysia’s much-vaunted ‘Talent Corporation’, officially launched this month by Prime Minister Najib Razak to woo skilled workers to the country, particularly in the science and research sectors.
Full report on the University World News site

UKRAINE: Universities ‘face new Iron Curtain’
Jan Petter Myklebust
The president of one of Eastern Europe’s oldest universities has written an open letter to the president of Ukraine to warn that draft legislation on higher education will reintroduce “authoritarian and centralised governmental control of higher education”, degrade science and learning and erect a new ‘Iron Curtain’ between Ukrainian and European institutions.
Full story on the University World News site

US: Town and gown working together
Sarah King Head
The university’s history of being an ivory tower removed from the hurly-burly of the city has certainly changed over the years, as many universities play increasingly important roles in the economic recovery of post-industrial cities. Last week, the symbiotic relationship hoped for by universities and their urban communities was the topic of discussion at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ 1,964th meeting in New York City.
Full report on the University World News site

US-ISLAMIC STATES: Global Initiative through S&T
Wagdy Sawahel
The US and 57 Islamic states across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia have launched the Global Initiative through Science and Technology, GIST, to advance scientific, academic and technological collaboration between America and the Muslim world.
Full report on the University World News site

ARAB STATES: New e-infrastructure to bolster science
Wagdy Sawahel
A pan-Arab network dedicated to extending and strengthening e-infrastructures for research and education and boosting scientific research cooperation was launched last week.
Full report on the University World News site

SPECIAL REPORT: Higher education in 2010

GLOBAL: 2010 – A year of shortages and partnerships
The UK’s tripling of a tuition fee cap made a significant impact globally in 2010, especially in light of the world now having to deal with the bill for all those stimulus injections by so many governments. Where there are funding shortfall stories, there can usually be found stories on how some countries try to make up for the lack of funds. Foreign enrolment is the go-to category for that. This year saw, in particular, a significant continued rise by Chinese students flocking to the US and other Western countries, but it also saw the West forging numerous partnerships with Chinese, Indian and African countries, as well as the rise of Asia as a university ranking powerhouse. Many vice-chancellors also racked up some regional air miles, with key partnerships being cemented among geographical groupings of countries.

With cash-strapped governments trying to decide where they’ll put their funding, there are some victims: disciplines that fall under the social sciences are seeing less support; some key professions, such as nuclear engineering, are not seeing adequate numbers and even some important survey data are making a country like Canada fumble for answers in a year where shortages seemed to be an overriding theme. For this year’s final edition of University World News, PHILIP FINE gathered articles from our correspondents that point to some significant trends in the world of universities.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Higher education and the financial crisis
Geoff Maslen
Higher education in many countries around the world has not suffered significantly as a result of the global financial crisis, says a Unesco report. But while universities may have escaped, the report also warns that a 1% decline in economic growth rates of developing countries will push an additional 20 million people into poverty and that up to two million more children will die over the next five years who would not have perished had the crisis not occurred.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: Academics look East as region seeks talent
Yojana Sharma
With the growth rate in higher education enrolments among the highest in the world, expanding universities in the Asia-Pacific region have been stepping up their search for academic talent. This year a number of Asian countries launched or scaled up their overseas talent hunts, made easier by education cutbacks in the West.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Worrying end to a troubling year
Geoff Maslen
It has not been the best of years for Australia’s universities. Not exactly annus horribilis but pretty close, especially as 2010 nears its end and especially for the nation’s biggest university, Monash.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: 2010 – A year for international initiatives
Karen MacGregor
For higher education in Africa, 2010 was notable for a flurry of international initiatives, within the continent and between it and other world regions. The year began, though, with the unfortunate ending of the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, an innovative decade-long funding collaboration involving major US foundations.
Full report on the University World News site


GERMANY-EGYPT: Joint urban management programme
Michael Gardner
Germany and Egypt have launched a joint masters course in ecological urban management and energy-efficient construction. The course, sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), is aimed at students from Germany as well as countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
Full report on University World News web site

AFRICA: Green revolution needs tertiary education
Munyaradzi Makoni
Driving a sustainable green revolution in Africa will need high-level human capital, drawn from its own scientists. But the production of scientists urgently requires functional, relevant and consistent tertiary education institutions, says a recent policy briefing by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA.
Full report on the University World News site

GHANA: Sharp divisions in student leadership
Francis Kokutse
Sharp divisions have emerged within the ranks of the National Union of Ghana Students, NUGS. One faction claimed it had passed a vote of no confidence in the President, Anthony Abotsi-Afriyie, who is contesting the decision. Earlier, two senior officers were dismissed.
Full report on the University World News site




GERMANY: Private universities – not-so Ivy League
Lily Philipose*
“We may be swimming against the current,” says Stephan Jansen, President of Zeppelin University, one of Germany’s top private schools. “But we are comfortable in our lane.” Zeppelin University programmes bridge the disciplines of business, politics and culture. Regardless of their area of spec ialisation, its students – 753 this academic year – study all three fields, learning how they interconnect. Zeppelin is one of a rare breed, says a new study on Germany’s private universities.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Time to reassess minority education policy?
Mike Ives
China offers remedial courses and admissions perks for ethnic minority students but there have been few improvements in the lot of minorities and some are calling for a reassessment of the minorities education policy.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: No rankings provide all the answers
Martin Ince*
According to the OECD, there are 150 million university students in the world, and 3.3 million of them are studying outside their home country. This means there is growing demand for information about universities on a global scale. One approach to this challenge is university ranking.
Full report on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Squabbling while higher education burns
Nalaka Gunawardene*
Sri Lanka’s university system is overburdened, outdated and badly in need of reform. But politicians, academics and students just can’t agree on how to do it. The recent wave of student protests has focused on one element of a wider package of proposed reforms: inviting private universities into a country where publicly-funded universities currently dominate.
Full report on the University World News site


BAHRAIN: Lawyers walk-out over torture of activists
Roisin Joyce and Noemi Bouet*
Defense lawyers of 25 detained opposition and human rights activists, including the professor and blogger Dr Abeljalil Al-Singace, staged a walk-out of their clients’ trial in Bahrain following the court’s repeated refusal to allow an investigation into the alleged torture of the detainees, Reporters Without Borders revealed on 9 December.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: Rainforest collapse prompted reptile evolution
Global warming devastated tropical rainforests 300 million years ago and triggered an evolutionary burst amongst reptiles that led to the rise of dinosaurs, 100 million years later, according to scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Bristol.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Humans caused megafauna extinction
The arrival of humans was probably decisive in the extinction of the megafauna living in Western Australia 40,000 years ago but climate change and fire may have been contributing factors.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Exploring the social butterfly effect
How often humans form friendships with those similar to themselves in some way is known as the ‘social butterfly effect’. A team of scientists from Royal Holloway, University of London, the University of Southampton and the Institute of Zoology at the Zoological Society of London describe the effect as the way people change their friends throughout their lives.
Full report on the University World News site


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CHINA: Army of graduates struggles for jobs
In 1998 when Jiang Zemin, then president of China, announced plans to bolster higher education, universities and colleges produced 830,000 graduates a year. Last May, that number was more than six million and rising, writes Andrew Jacobs for the New York Times.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH KOREA: Slew of foreign universities to open
A slew of universities based in Europe and the United States are set to open their South Korean campuses at the Incheon Free Economic Zone (FEZ), 40 kilometres west of Seoul, starting next year, reports the Korea Herald.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: UK visa rules may force Chinese student exodus
Tens of thousands of Chinese students in the United Kingdom could be forced out of the country if a basket of strict visa policies takes effect next year, write Chen Jia and Aid Yang for China Daily.
More on the University World News site

IRELAND: Academy relieved at ‘modest’ cuts
Universities have expressed relief following the relatively modest cuts to higher education funding announced in the Republic of Ireland’s emergency budget last week, writes Hannah Fearn for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

UAE: Universities face 2011 spending freeze
The federal government will run a Dh3 billion (US$800 million) budget deficit next year and will freeze spending by state universities, writes Kareem Shaheen for The National.
More on the University World News site

UK: Tuition fee hike open to human rights challenge
Lawyers say allowing universities to raise fees to £9,000 (US$14,071) could be open to legal challenge, as it will discriminate against students from poorer backgrounds, writes Jeevan Vasagar for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

UK: ‘Dearth of blacks at Oxford and Cambridge’
David Lammy, a former higher education minister and Labour Member of Parliament, has used figures obtained under Britain’s Freedom of Information Law to reveal a dearth of black and other minority students at either of the country’s two oldest universities, reports DD Guttenplan for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

UK: Disquiet over motives behind pension overhaul
Controversial plans to cut benefits in higher education’s £30 billion (US$46.9 billion) pension fund have prompted staff rebellions at a growing number of universities, as evidence has emerged that employers want to slash their contributions to the scheme, writes John Morgan for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Five-year moratorium on medical courses
The Malaysian government will impose a five-year moratorium on medical programmes as an immediate measure to prevent the glut in housemen from becoming worse, write Richard Lim and Loh Foon Fong for The Star.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Council formed to boost R&D
A National Science and Research Council (NSRC) will be set up in Malaysia to prepare for the creation of a national research system based on science and technology in a more conducive environment, reports the official agency Bernama.
More on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Government to attract foreign students
Along with the major overhaul in Sri Lanka’s higher education sector, with the entry of private universities by April next year, government plans to attract about 10,000 foreign students into local universities, and another 50,000 into Sri Lanka in the longer term through the proposed private universities, writes Chandani Kirinde for The Sunday Times.
More on the University World News site

GHANA: Polytechnic lecturers move to universities
The Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana, Potag, says its members have begun moving to universities to teach due to difficulties in negotiating for better conditions of service. It has called on the government to soften its stance regarding negotiating with polytechnic teachers, reports Peace FM.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: Museveni pledges support for scientists
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni last week pledged continued support to scientists to boost their efforts towards developing the country, writes Patience Ahimbisibwe for The Daily Monitor.
More on the University World News site

NIGERIA: ‘Universities must breed credible leaders’
The Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, has passed on the responsibility of curtailing public office holders from misappropriating funds to universities, which he said must reclaim their roles as the breeders of credible leaders, writes Onche Odeh for The Daily Independent.
More on the University World News site

US: For-profits rake in millions from GI Bill
For-profit universities collected about US$640 million from the Post-9/11 GI Bill in its first year, according to a new US Senate committee document, reports TPM LiveWire. The boost to for-profits came at a time when the sector was subject to criticism for poor results and for leaving many students with unmanageable debts.
More on the University World News site

UK: Publishing giant Pearson poised to offer degrees
One of the world’s largest publishers, Pearson, looks set to be given degree-awarding powers, as the government seeks to open up the university sector to more private providers, reports the BBC.
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VIET NAM: Universities play role in green thinking
Universities have actively contributed to the way people think about climate change, helping to promote green technologies and environmentally friendly lifestyles, reports Viet Nam News.
More on the University World News site
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