ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0157 06 February 2011
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Two tumultuous weeks of protests in Egypt have closed down universities, poured students onto the streets and seen thousands of international students evacuated from the country, especially students from Asia. Credit: The Daily Beast

A $50 million donation by Indian industrialist Ratan Tata to Harvard Business School sparked a debate in India on why US and not local universities are attracting support from philanthropists. See the Features section.

Right-wing US polemicist Ann Coulter takes aim. But she shot from the hip during a fiery but disappointing debate at the University of Western Ontario recently. See the Commentary 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 wonders why Indian philanthropists are giving to American universities rather than those back home, BRENDAN O'MALLEY reports on a study predicting a steep decline in access to higher education in Britain and JAN PETTER MYKLEBUST looks at the Danish government’s efforts to make universities more responsive to business and tackle the ‘thesis swamp’. In Commentary, ANNE CORBETT argues that restive British students could learn lessons from a decade of European student engagement. CRAIG BUTOSI relates how right-wing US polemicist Ann Coulter – with help from her audience – closed down rational-critical debate at the University of Western Ontario, and STEPHEN P HEYNEMAN suggests that acquiring information about corruption and regular surveys of students and faculty could help eradicate this scourge of higher education.

EGYPT: Universities close, students evacuated

EGYPT: Angry students, academics push for a new era
Ashraf Khaled
Having just finished his mid-year examinations at the faculty of commerce of Cairo University, Egypt’s largest public university, 21-year-old Hossam Abdel Khaleq was keen to join thousands of his fellow citizens in pushing for drastic reforms in this country of 80 million people. With all universities closed, there was plenty of time to protest.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Thousands of Asian students evacuated
Yojana Sharma
Asian countries began to evacuate their students from Egypt even as the escalating anti-government demonstrations raised fears of contagion among their own sizeable Muslim populations.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

AUSTRALIA: First research exercise a mixed bag
Geoff Maslen
Depending on who’s doing the commenting, the research performance of Australian universities is either world-ranking or pretty damn miserable. The Excellence in Research for Australia report was released last Tuesday to a distinctly mixed reception, even though the assessment was a retrospective exercise and evaluated the performance of universities from 2003 to 2008.
Full report on the University World News site

NETHERLANDS: University cuts threaten global standing
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Dutch coalition government has announced cuts of up to EUR500 million (US$681 million) a year for higher education, penalties for students and universities if they fail to complete their degree after four years, and the abolition of grants for masters students. University rectors and the mayors of university cities warned that the cuts would “push the Netherlands out of the world’s top 10 knowledge economies”.
Full report on the University World News web site

IRAN: Growing separation of genders in universities
Yojana Sharma and Shaya Raeis
Iran has stepped up gender separation in universities, with a number of universities already announcing that men and women will be taught in separate classes, and the government saying further requests by universities would be looked on positively.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Outrage over student treatment in US visa case
Alya Mishra
Indians are outraged over the treatment meted out to Indian students in the US following an immigration visa scam. US authorities confiscated the passports of students enrolled in the California-based Tri-Valley University, accused by the US Attorney’s Office of being a fake institution, and radio-tagged some of them to track their movements.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: New law on overseas university agents
Alya Mishra
A new law making it mandatory for all education agents to register with the Indian government or face fines or jail terms has been proposed in the wake of reports that some recruitment agents have misled students into joining fake universities abroad, such as the allegedly dubious California-based Tri-Valley University.
Full report on the University World News site

EAST AFRICA: Proposed regional accreditation stalled
Gilbert Nganga
Higher education ministers in the East African Community’s five member states have rejected a proposed university accreditation system in the region, dealing a blow to plans to achieve harmonisation and standardisation. The ministers argued that an overall body would interfere with countries’ sovereignty and replicate existing regulatory authorities.
Full report on the University World News site

COLOMBIA: First national university rankings unveiled
Philip Fine
The Universidad Nacional de Colombia captured top spot in Colombia’s first-ever national ranking of its universities. Seven of the top 10 spots are occupied by public institutions, while the universities that captured the first five positions are all located in the main Colombian cities of Bogotá, Medellín and Cali.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Employment agency addresses dropout rate
Michael Gardner
A reduced university dropout rate should form an important part of a strategy to tackle the threat of a shortage of skilled labour, by providing up to 600,000 more graduates, according to Germany’s federal employment agency.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Universities warn of staff shortages
John Gerritsen
Staff turnover at New Zealand’s universities could nearly double by the end of the decade as their ageing workforce retires, research for Universities New Zealand shows. The report shows that 59% of the academic workforce is 45 or older compared to 43% among professionals in general.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Cuts to higher education for flood relief
Geoff Maslen
Plans by the federal government to cut spending on higher education and allocate nearly A$6 billion (US$6 billion) to rebuild vast areas of Queensland and Victoria affected by the recent floods have been condemned by lobby groups.
Full report on the University World News site

CARIBBEAN: Neighbour helps students to rebuild Haiti
Sarah King Head
A year later and with reconstruction of the tertiary educational infrastructure on schedule, two Haitian students will be returning to Port-au-Prince with engineering degrees in hand and enthusiasm about being able to assist in rebuilding their country.
Full report on the University World News site




INDIA: Charity not beginning at home for universities
Alya Mishra
When Indian industrialist Ratan Tata last year announced a gift of US$50 million to Harvard Business School it was acknowledged as “the largest international donation in the Ivy League university’s 102 year history”. But it also sparked a debate on why US universities benefit from Indian generosity while Indian universities languish in underfunded misery.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Rising demand ‘will raise student costs’
Brendan O’Malley
The proportion of applicants failing to receive higher education in Britain is set to increase substantially over the next 10 years, pushing up the cost to the student as the government seeks to make more places available without drawing on public funds, according to analysis by the Higher Education Policy Institute, released on Thursday.
Full article on University World News web site

DENMARK: Business demands drive degrees shake-up
Jan Petter Myklebust
Danish Higher Education Minister Charlotte Sahl-Madsen is trying to make universities more responsive to the demands of business. She is also tackling the ‘thesis swamp’ that traps many Danish graduates so that they fail to complete their masters on time, and plans to encourage students to choose courses better suited to a job in the private sector and to limit the numbers taking degrees that are less in demand by employers.
Full report on University World News site




EUROPE: Finding inspiration in student unrest
A wave of student protest animated Britain’s political scene in late 2010 and highlighted wider concerns about the future of universities. There is already a decade of European experience of student engagement around similar issues where the movement can find allies and exert influence in 2011, says ANNE CORBETT.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Engaging with Coulter and the radical right
Ann Coulter, the right-wing polemicist, has been visiting Canadian universities to promote her book attacking liberal America. CRAIG BUTOSI saw her at the University of Western Ontario and left disappointed. In an article for the Canadian journal Academic Matters, he asks whether universities should facilitate conditions that allow people to speak freely, even if they also allow for the potential censoring of certain voices and giving preferential treatment to certain discourses over others?
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: The corruption of ethics in higher education
Corruption in higher education is as endemic as in other institutions. One way to cut down on it, argues STEPHEN P HEYNEMAN in the latest edition of International Higher Education, is to survey students and faculty regularly.
Full report on the University World News site




AUSTRALIA: Art and science join with a Big Bang
Swinburne University in Melbourne called it “the Big Bang, galaxy formation” when Australian icon singer Kamahl and a Bollywood orchestra starred in an unlikely soap opera on Sunday – one that drew its inspiration from the night sky. Void Love is an online soap opera about space, the result of an artistic partnership with Swinburne’s centre for astrophysics and supercomputing.
Full report on the University World News site




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CHINA: Hong Kong gears up for four-year degree
Universities in Hong Kong are counting down towards one of the most significant transformations ever attempted in the territory’s higher education sector, and the logistics are daunting: thousands of extra students, hundreds of new lecturers, realms of new curricula to write and hours of additional courses to fill, writes Liz Gooch for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

US: Evacuated students did not want to leave Egypt
Study abroad staff evacuating students from Egypt last week all noticed a trend: many students did not want to leave, writes Sam Petulla for Inside Higher Ed. Were it up to them, they would still be watching the events from dorm rooftops, talking to local activists about chasing down police and scrambling to collect souvenirs.
More on the University World News site

US: Academic defies threats after taunts by anchorman
Seventy eight-year-old leftwing academic Frances Fox Piven is the latest hate figure for Fox News host Glenn Beck and his legion of fans, writes Paul Harris for The Observer. While she has decided to shrug off the inevitable death threats that have followed, she is well aware of the problem. “I don't know if I am scared, but I am worried,” she said as she sat in a bar on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
More on the University World News site

US: Slight rise in college donations in 2010
America’s colleges and universities received charitable contributions of $28 billion in 2010, an increase of 0.5% from the previous year, according to the annual survey by the Council for Aid to Education, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: University suspends vice-chancellor
A Scottish university has taken the unusual step of suspending its highly regarded principal following a dispute over his role and the future direction of the institution, writes Andrew Denholm for The Herald Scotland.
More on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Private sector invited to fund research
The government will give income tax concessions to private sector companies that invest in research at local state universities in Sri Lanka, reports Kelum Bandara for the Daily Mirror.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Noose tightens on bogus colleges operators
People who operate bogus colleges risk three years in jail or a fine of Sh1 million (US$12,323) as the government initiates measures to weed out institutions offering fake or substandard certificates, writes Benjamin Muindi for The Nation.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Job data to determine university grading
Universities will soon be evaluated on how their graduates are employed or create employment opportunities, writes Benjamin Muindi for The Nation.
More on the University World News site

UK: University cuts ‘send wrong message on economy’
Paul Marshall, head of the 1994 Group of research universities, which includes Durham, York and St Andrews, said slashing £940 million (US$1.5 billion) from higher education funding by July 2012 will send out “exactly the wrong message” on the economy, writes Nick Collins for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

UK: Top universities announce partnership
Two leading universities have announced their intention to work more closely together to meet the challenges of the future, writes Hannah Richardson for BBC News. Both are insisting it is not a merger.
More on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Scramble for university places
Students who passed the 2010 Advanced Level public examinations face a daunting task in securing enrolment at the country’s universities this year, reports Fortious Nhambura for The Herald. About 27,000 students sat for A-Levels last year and only about a fifth of them can be accommodated at state universities.
More on the University World News site

THAILAND: Universities face admissions uncertainty
Many universities are facing crises in their direct admission systems, as many students who passed have not reported for enrolment, writes Wannapa Khaopa for The Nation. To cope with the worsening problem, the Council of University Presidents of Thailand will hold a meeting next weekend to find out the proper proportions of direct and central university admissions.
More on the University World News site

TANZANIA: Colleges unite to offer doctorates
Three colleges have teamed up to award doctoral degrees to ease the problem of lack of such training in Tanzania’s higher education institutions, writes Mkinga Mkinga for The Citizen.
More on the University World News site
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