ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0156 30 January 2011
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been forced to rescind new legislation, including a university law reform. See our News section. Credit:

The number of black African graduates have quadrupled in South Africa in the past two decades. See the News section. Credit: Paul Weinberg

Paul Johnson, a former deputy director of the London School of Economics and current vice-chancellor of Melbourne's La Trobe University, explains why he last week became an Australian citizen. See the Uni-lateral section.


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


This week’s highlights

In Features, ALYA MISHRA investigates the implications of a slew of impending laws aimed at revolutionising higher education in India, and WAGDY SAWAHEL reports on rapid growth in technology acquisition in Africa, which could support a drive to promote R&D and universities. In Commentary AMANDA GOODALL argues that as organisations characterised by expert knowledge, universities need to be led by top-rated academics. In an Open Letter, professor of sociology ORLANDO ALBORNOZ articulates concern over the potentially severe impact of recent legislation on academic freedom in Venezuela, and JAMIL SALMI outlines common mistakes made in efforts to build world-class universities.

WORLDVIEWS: Media and higher education

GLOBAL: Worldviews – Media and higher education
University World News has teamed up with the US paper Inside Higher Ed and Canada’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations to host an international conference examining the complex relationship between media and higher education. The innovative event will be held in Toronto in June.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

YEMEN: Sana’a campus at centre of protests
Ahmed Mohamoud Elmi
The government has released students and other protestors held after several hundred anti-riot police and soldiers were deployed at Sana’a University – the country’s largest campus – to prevent and disperse unauthorised student protests on Sunday 23 January.
Full report on University World News site

VENEZUELA: Protesters force Chávez to rescind new law
Ricardo Flores
President Hugo Chavez has had a Christmas gift returned by protesters who appear to have forced him to rescind new legislation, including a university law reform, passed just before the holiday.
See also the Commentary section
Full report on the University World News site

IRAN: Islamic universities rating system launched
Wagdy Sawahel
The Iran-based Islamic World Science Citation Center has launched a new classification system for Islamic universities, using the criteria of research and education performance, international cooperation and scientific impact. The first phase of the system has been implemented by ranking Iran’s universities and research institutes.
Full report on the University World News site

ITALY: Drive to stamp out nepotism in universities
Lee Adendorff
The Italian cabinet has ordered the roll-out of a national accreditation scheme for academics to stamp out nepotism. Under the new scheme, commissions of five senior academics appointed in each university will accredit applicants for associate or full professorships on the basis of the quality and quantity of their academic output.
Full report on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Delayed foreign universities bill imminent
Santhush Fernando
A much-awaited bill to enable private universities, in particular foreign providers, to set up in Sri Lanka is expected to be presented to the cabinet in February.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Universities fear impact of visa and jobs curbs
Brendan O’Malley
The UK government’s plans to restrict visas and employment rights for non-EU overseas students could have a ‘catastrophic’ effect on higher education, a panel of university stakeholders has warned. Speaking at a press conference held by the group in Westminster on Wednesday, Edward Acton, Vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, accused the government of “actively shrinking” the country’s capacity to export higher education.
See also the Student View section
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Fees deter foreign applicants
Jan Petter Myklebust
Universities have experienced a severe drop in the number of international applicants for places on masters programmes and international courses compared to last year, following Sweden’s introduction of fees for students from outside the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Graduates flocking to US – a good thing?
Elysha Krupp
Canada is having difficulty retaining its PhD graduates, according to a recent report that finds 12% headed to the United States. But what some might fear is a brain drain may actually point to what one leading academic is calling a ‘brain chain’, where graduates pick up important international research skills.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Black graduates quadruple in two decades
Sharon Dell
In a country still struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid education, data reflecting a four-fold increase in the number of black African graduates from South African universities since 1991 has been hailed as an indication of a successfully transforming higher education sector.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Who wants to be a billionaire?
Yojana Sharma
China has a new university ranking – which institutions produce the largest number of billionaires and business tycoons. The annual list compiled by the China University Alumni Association, the CUAA, this month released its analysis of the education of some 2,500 yuan billionaires (worth over US$150 million) who have appeared on five rich lists at home and abroad in the last decade.
Full report on the University World News site

ZAMBIA: Building and upgrading set to widen access
Zambia has started constructing a science university. This was revealed in the 2011 education policy, which also detailed the establishment of new universities and massive construction and upgrading at institutions across the country aimed at increasing access to higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Outcry over lecturer pay increases
Kudzai Mashininga
A 130% salary hike for public university lecturers has sparked an outcry and a notice of strike action by other state employees as government prioritises academics against a background of crippling brain drain.
Full report on the University World News site




KENYA: Government shuts down bogus colleges
Gilbert Nganga
Last week Kenya shut down more than 100 unaccredited colleges, sending shock waves through the country’s academic community as the government delivered on its promise of cleaning up the higher education sector.
Full report on the University World News site

MADAGASCAR: New ICT and business institutions
IT University, a new private institution spec ialising in information technologies, has opened in Andoharanofotsy near the Madagascan capital Antananarivo. And a controversial French businessman has promised to build a business school that will educate young Madagascans free of charge.
Full report on the University World News site




INDIA: Expanding private and vocational education
Alya Mishra
With a slew of parliamentary bills in the pipeline aimed at revolutionising the higher education sector, and increasing participation from international education providers, 2011 may well turn out to be a watershed year for higher education in India – in particular making the playing field clearer for private players and increasing vocational provision.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Technology transfer trends boost universities
Wagdy Sawahel
The Ethiopia-based United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ECA, has found evidence of rapid growth in the rate of Africa’s industrial technology acquisition, which could support the current drive to promote investment in research and development and higher education through enhancing university-industry-government partnerships.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: Academics make the best university leaders
Arguments that university leaders should primarily be good managers and technocrats and do not need to be academics are not supported by research, says AMANDA GOODALL. Universities that fall for this idea are being short-changed. Where expert knowledge is the key factor characterising an organisation’s core business, it is expert knowledge that should also be key in the selection of its leader.
Full report on the University World News site

VENEZUELA: Academic freedom under threat
In an Open Letter to the global academic community and the Venezuelan government, ORLANDO ALBORNOZ from the Universidad Central de Venezuela expresses his concern about recent legislation which he fears could have a severe impact on academic freedom in his country.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Building a new world-class university
Building a world-class institution requires more than knee-jerk reactions and money, argues JAMIL SALMI, coordinator of tertiary education for the World Bank, in the latest edition of International Higher Education. He outlines the most common mistakes made by those seeking to build a university with a global reputation.
Full report on the University World News site






UK: Suss ex foreign students slate visa restrictions
Alya Mishra
The International Students’ Office at the University of Suss ex has been inundated with emails and inquiries from foreign students worried about the proposed clampdown on visas and employment rights for non-EU students.
Full article on the University World News site


ARAB STATES: Camels’ milk for treating cancer
Wagdy Sawahel
Arab researchers have developed a new medical formula from camels’ milk and urine for treating leukaemia that could also be developed to cure other types of cancer infecting the lung, liver and breast.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Fossils reveal lost underwater world
A fossil trove in south-west China has thrown new light on an ecosystem recovery after the severest mass extinction of life on earth wiped out 96% of marine species and 70% of land life.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Dinosaur-era s ex riddle solved
Killed and preserved with her egg, a fossil of a flying reptile shows for the first time how hips and crests can be used to s ex pterodactyls. Discovery of an ancient fossil, nicknamed ‘Mrs T’, has allowed scientists for the first time to determine the gender of the flying reptiles that lived alongside dinosaurs between 220 and 65 million years ago.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA-AFRICA: Joint research to improve food security
A £20 million research initiative to exploit science to improve food security in the developing countries of Africa and Asia, has been launched by UK and US research funders working with the governments of the UK and India.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: LSE leading light becomes an Aussie
Geoff Maslen
A former deputy director of the London School of Economics, Professor Paul Johnson, became an Australian citizen on Wednesday after more than three years as vice-chancellor of Melbourne’s La Trobe University. The economic historian says Australia “has become a land of opportunity in so many ways that I have no desire to return to the UK”.
Full report on the University World News site


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US: Obama throws weight behind higher education
President Barack Obama pledged support to re-establish America as the global leader in higher education in his State of the Union address last week, reports The Huffington Post. The president decried higher education budget cuts, which have become all the more common as states try to balance their coffers. “Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine,” he said.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Huge funding hike proposed to meet promises
The human resource development ministry is pitching for a near 100% hike in higher education funding under the 2011-12 union budget to meet a slew of promises it is running out of time to implement, writes Charu Sudan Kasturi for the Hindustan Times.
More on the University World News site

NETHERLANDS: Government firm on higher fees
Dutch Prime minister Mark Rutte has no plan to amend the government’s decision to cut spending on higher education, he said after a recent cabinet meeting, reports Dutch News. “I am not going to give the impression that the plans will change dramatically,” he is quoted as saying in the Telegraaf after a massive demonstration by students in The Hague.
More on the University World News site

BELARUS: Varsities fee hike defended as global trend
Universities in Belarus will be raising tuition fees in keeping with the global trend, reports Belarus News. The hike was announced by Education Minister Syarhey Maskevich in Minsk last Tuesday.
More on the University World News site

UK: Vice-chancellors’ pay hike prompts row
More than 950 university staff, including all vice-chancellors, were paid more than the British prime minister, an 8% increase on the year before, write Tom Rowley and Graeme Paton for The Daily Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

EUROPE: EC moves to cut red tape for research funding
The European Commission has taken steps to simplify EU funding for research and innovation to cut costs and attract more participants, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), reports
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Varsity tensions reflect intractable feuds
Last semester ended ominously on the campus of one of Pakistan’s largest universities, with a flurry of clashes involving armed student organisations, a professors’ strike against violence, cancelled exams and a lunchtime bombing, writes Karin Brulliard for The Washington Post.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Ministry calls for student parliaments
If the new academic calendar indicated that 2011 would be full of surprises, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin’s New Year’s address did little to change the notion. The minister’s call for universities to establish students’ parliaments highlighted the ministry’s commitment to come good on last year’s amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act, writes Richard Lim for The Star.
More on the University World News site

IRELAND: Lecturers protest bid to scrap tenure
Over 200 university and institute of technology lecturers met in Dublin last Saturday to protest against the implementation of the Croke Park agreement in tertiary institutions. The group is seeking to protect the right of academics to permanency and tenure until retirement age. They said this “bedrock on which academic freedom rests” was under threat, reports The Irish Times.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: Nation plots to reap from education export
As Uganda solidifies plans to become a regional education hub, the Uganda Exports Promotion Board (UEPB) has started discussions with 20 universities on how to package and market Uganda’s higher education for export, writes David Mugabe for New Vision.
More on the University World News site

US: Tuition bargains fade at public universities
For bargain-hunting families, state colleges and universities supported by tax money have long been a haven from the high cost of private education. But tuition bargains are fading as the nation’s public universities undergo a profound shift, accelerated by the recession. In most states, it is now tuition payments not state appropriations that cover most of the budget, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

US: For-profits step up fight against new rules
The association representing for-profit colleges is ratcheting up its campaign against the Obama administration’s new regulations on student recruiting and other actions by the colleges, adding a legal push to its already vigorous lobbying and public-relations campaigns, writes Goldie Blumenstyk for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

UK: Employers target schools in search for talent
A report published last week has found that growing numbers of top employers are targeting school leavers instead of limiting vacancies to applicants with a degree, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

JAPAN: Business and academia unite to end global slide
Japan’s top university and business leaders have announced they will come together for the first time to reverse a steady slide in the country’s global standing, writes David McNeill for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Row brews over admission to varsities
Private universities are stoking a high-voltage controversy after writing to the government seeking the dissolution of the Joint Admissions Board (JAB), calling it an illegal entity, reports The Nation.
More on the University World News site

THAILAND: Call to merge universities
Mergers in the university and tertiary research sectors may be the key to increased efficiency in education, according to a proposal introduced during a recent seminar organised by the Knowledge Network Institute of Thailand, Knit, a think-tank under the Office of the Higher Education Commission, to help spur the second decade of education reforms, reports the Bangkok Post.
More on the University World News site
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