ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0158 13 February 2011
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Tahir square, Cairo. In a breakthrough week for Egyptians, universities remained closed and leading Egyptian academics joined calls for sweeping change. Credit: Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters.

Jaana Puukka, project leader of the OECD's work on higher education in regional and city development, talks to Jane Marshall about the findings. The second phase of the comparative review culminated in a conference in Seville, Spain, last week. See the Features section.

Chancellor Nancy Zimpher of the State University of New York has been the inspiration behind ‘performance-based reinvestment’ adopted by SUNY. See our 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, JANE MARSHALL interviews Jaana Puukka on the findings of OECD higher education in regional and city development work, which was discussed at a conference in Seville last week. MUNYARADZI MAKONI looks at five centres of excellence in Africa supported by Germany, and ALISON MOODIE reports on efforts by the US-based quarterly International Higher Education publication to extend its global reach through Chinese, Russian and German editions. In Commentary, MITCH LEVENTHAL proposes a system by which income generated by international student fees is ploughed back into promoting greater internationalisation of US campuses, SIMON COOPER and ANNA POLETTI find flaws in the Excellence in Research for Australia initiative, and ALASTAIR DUNNING argues that digital archives need to find news ways of engaging people and demonstrating their value in an era of cutbacks.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

INDIA: Major revamp of medical education sector
Alya Mishra
India’s undergraduate medical education, or the MBBS degree, is to be revamped to cater more closely to the health needs of the country, produce more doctors and include clinical training at an earlier stage. With 330 medical colleges and an intake of 35,000 students annually, India’s medical education sector is one of the largest in the world.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: Ministry limits foreign exchange students
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Ministry of Higher Education has instructed higher education institutions that the number of foreign exchange students in Denmark must not exceed the number of Danish students going abroad. Only exchanges through reciprocal agreements between universities will be counted for budgetary awarding.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: 10,000 gifted students to get monthly top-up
Michael Gardner
The Deutschland-Stipendium (Germany Grant) has been officially launched, supporting up to 10,000 highly gifted students by the end of the year. Simultaneously, however, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has scrapped a special bonus for students from poorer backgrounds.
Full article on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Students to learn soft skills in army camps
Santhush Fernando
Sri Lanka’s universities have been embroiled in controversy over a Ministry of Higher Education announcement that some 20,000 students will receive training each year at military bases in order to learn ‘soft skills’.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Higher education devolution undermines HEC
Ameen Amjad Khan
A constitutional amendment to devolve responsibility for Pakistan’s higher education to the provinces has worried the academic community and puts in doubt the future of the Higher Education Commission, which handles a large amount of foreign aid intended for higher education and research.
Full report on the University World News site

US-CANADA: Universities see endowments recover
MJ Deschamps
A report on endowment fund returns shows a sharp increase in income for the 2010 fiscal year compared with 2009 and gives a positive signal that the recession might be easing for American and Canadian higher education institutions.
Full report on the University World News site

IRELAND: Universities face penalties for pay rises
John Walshe
The two biggest and best known Irish universities – Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin (UCD) – are embroiled in a furious row over unauthorised payments to some of their staff and have been told publicly that they face penalties through cuts in their core funding from the Exchequer.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Recession hits students in the pocket
John Gerritsen
New research shows New Zealand students have been hit hard by the global economic downturn – they have less part-time work, average incomes are down, and more of them are living at home with their parents.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Campuses reopen after six-month strikes
Tunde Fatunde
Academic activities are set to resume, amid student jubilation, at Nigerian universities where staff unions have been striking for the past six months in protest over living and working conditions. The strikes, at some of the country’s state universities, had led education regulatory bodies to prohibit them from admitting students for the 2011-12 academic session.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAWI: New law aims to regulate private universities
Malawi is gearing up to pass higher education legislation that will regulate the accreditation of private universities. This is in an attempt to ensure appropriate standards are maintained at these institutions, and also to make sure that they do not exploit students excluded from public universities due to a government quota system.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Higher education in the transition

EGYPT: Alternatives sought after universities close
Yojana Sharma and Honey Singh Virdee
Egypt has informed governments with large numbers of foreign students that at least three major Cairo universities could remain closed for up to a year, leaving students scrambling to find alternatives to complete their education.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Top scientists push for change
Ashraf Khaled
Days after the eruption of unprecedented protests against long-serving President Hosni Mubarak in late January, Nobel prize-winning US-based Egyptian scientist Ahmed Zeweil arrived in his troubled homeland to join in a pro-reform campaign. He is one of many intellectuals who joined the chorus of calls for sweeping reform.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA-MIDDLE EAST: The jobless graduate time-bomb
Wagdy Sawahel*
Unfolding events in North Africa and the Middle East have offered an important warning about the dangers of youth and graduate unemployment. First came the Tunisian time-bomb, then Egypt and Yemem. And there have been rumblings in Algeria, Libya and Morocco.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: New director for developing world academy
Munyaradzi Makoni
TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, has a new executive director. Physicist Romain Murenzi is credited with spearheading science-based programmes and development in Rwanda after years of civil war and genocide in the 1990s.
Full report on the University World News site

JORDAN: Plans for nanotechnology centre unveiled
Wagdy Sawahel
Jordan’s government and IBM Research, the US-based international research organisation, are to establish a centre for nanotechnology research at a Jordanian university.
Full report on the University World News website




GLOBAL: How universities play a regional role: OECD
Jane Marshall
Many universities need to change their attitudes and the way they operate if they are to play an effective part in helping their cities and regions promote human capital development and become more innovative and globally competitive. In particular they should widen their access to include sections of the population currently under-represented in higher education, and redefine their concept of ‘innovation’.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Centres of excellence develop future leaders
Munyaradzi Makoni
Five Centres of Excellence in Africa established more than two years ago by the German Academic Exchange Service could be part of the answer to the continent’s brain drain. There is demand for higher training by students and the centres feel they are yet to reach their full potential. This was the consensus among African and German cooperation partners at their annual networking meeting, held at the University of the Western Cape in January.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: International Higher Education spreads wings
Alison Moodie
In an increasingly globalised world, higher education is no longer the monopoly of Europe and the United States. With countries like Brazil, India and China generating innovative research and producing top academic minds, higher education news and issues have truly taken to the world stage. One American academic publication is also spreading its wings.
Full report on the University World News site




US: New funding models for international education
President Barack Obama has called for more efforts to be made to retain talented foreign graduates in US universities, but has not announced any extra funding. MITCH LEVANTHAL says new sustainable sources of funding for internationalisation are needed and proposes a system by which income generated by international student tuition revenue is ploughed back into promoting greater internationalisation of US campuses.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: The new ERA of journal ranking
Ranking scholarly journals forms a major feature of the Excellence in Research for Australia initiative. This process is not only a flawed system of measurement, but more significantly erodes the very contexts that produce ‘quality’ research. In the latest edition of Australian Universities' Review, SIMON COOPER and ANNA POLETTI argue that collegiality, networks of international research, the socio-cultural role of the academic journal as well as the way academics research in the digital era, are either ignored or negatively impacted upon by ranking exercises such as those posed by the ERA.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Digitised archives key to universities’ future
Last month the UK’s Online Learning Task Force outlined how online learning can make higher education more accessible. ALASTAIR DUNNING argues that those responsible for digitising university archives and special collections need to find new ways of engaging people and better demonstrating their value in an era of cutbacks.
Full report on the University World News site


NETHERLANDS: Visual acuity and colours
The eagle-eyed among us rally to red and the Mr Magoos are wooed by blue, says Professor Diana Derval of Dutch market research firm DervalResearch. Derval says her research shows that visual acuity determines our favourite and least favourite colours: near-sighted people tend to prefer short-wave colours such as blue whereas the far-sighted gravitate to long-wave colours such as red.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Larger groups make better decisions
A study led by researchers at the University of Sydney shows for the first time that larger social groups make faster, safer and more accurate decisions.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Organic fossil record
Contrary to conventional belief, remains of chitin-protein complex – structural materials containing protein and polysaccharide – are present in abundance in fossils of arthropods from the palaeozoic era. The findings could have major implications for scientists’ understanding of the organic fossil record.
Full report on the University World News site




INDIA: Elite institute closed by elephant
The elite Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur suffered a blackout and lockdown for more than three hours last weekend after a wild elephant entered the campus and caused panic among the students, faculty and staff, officials said, reports IANS.
More on the University World News site


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CHINA: Plagiarism professor stripped of prize
A 45-year-old former professor who has been embroiled in a plagiarism scandal for the past three years has been stripped of a top national award by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, reports China Daily-Asia News.
More on the University World News site

NORWAY: Foreign students flock to free universities
Norwegian colleges and universities are reporting an increased application rate from foreign students, as Norway has become the only country in Europe to continue offering tuition-free higher education to all, regardless of country of origin, reports News in English.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Elite universities are tested on diversity
David Lammy is still mad. In December, Lammy, a former British higher education minister, currently serving as a Labour Party Member of Parliament, released figures showing vastly different success rates for white and black applicants to the UK’s two oldest universities – Oxford and Cambridge. But have other countries done any better meeting the challenges of diversity? asks DD Guttenplan in The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

RUSSIA: US-style college exams take hold
Two years into a controversial Kremlin-backed experiment to bring post-Soviet education in line with Western practices and introduce standardised nationwide college testing, the Russian version of the American SAT has gathered a number of critics and provoked angry reactions from teachers and parents, reports Sophia Kishkovsky for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

IRELAND: Fury over about-turn on tuition fees
Angry Members of Ireland’s legislative assembly have again vowed to oppose increased university fees after a revised independent report overturned its initial conclusion that they should stay at current levels, writes Noel McAdam for the Belfast Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

TURKEY: Growth in foreign academic numbers
Little more than a decade ago, the number of foreign academics at Turkish universities would scarcely have been enough to hold a good panel discussion. Today, they could staff an entire major institution in the United States, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.
More on the University World News site

US: High enrolment strains two-year colleges
Community colleges, long regarded as the most accessible realm of higher education, are becoming more difficult to access thanks to record enrolments combined with belt-tightening by state legislatures, writes Kevin Helliker for The Wall Street Journal.
More on the University World News site

US: Charges against Muslims ignite free speech debate
When administrators at the University of California, Irvine, decided to suspend the Muslim Student Union for a quarter over the disruption of a speech last year by the Israeli ambassador to the US, most thought the latest controversy on campus had ended. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas of Orange County, however, disagreed – and filed misdemeanor criminal charges last week against the 11 student protesters, accusing them of disturbing a public meeting and engaging in a conspiracy to do so, reports The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

PUERTO RICO: Professors announce strike
The Puerto Rican Association of University Professors has staged a 24-hour strike in support of students who have clashed with police during protests over a new fee, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Fears of more fraudulent universities in US
The allegedly tainted Tri-Valley University might not be the only US educational institution to indulge in immigration fraud. Overseas education consultants from Andhra Pradesh who have details of educational institutions in the US note that there are more universities which have been violating immigration rules while admitting students, reports Nikhila Henry for The Times of India.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Higher education regulator winds down
The wait has begun for the quiet burial of the country’s apex higher education regulator. In a clear signal of the winding down of the 54-year-old behemoth, the government plans to avoid appointing a full-fledged chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) after economist Sukhdeo Thorat, reports Charu Sudan Kasturi for Hindustan Times.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Tories accused of academic witch hunt
Two University of Ottawa professors, vocal critics of the federal Conservative government, say they have become targets of a new political intimidation tactic aimed at using their private, personal information against them, write Susan Delacourt and Bruce Campion-Smith for The Star.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Recruitment of Chinese students begins
Universities and colleges in Taiwan are gearing up to attract mainland Chinese students after the ministry of education announced last week the quota allotted to each of them for the 2011 academic year, which will start in September, reports Focus Taiwan.
More on the University World News site

BRAZIL: Business moves to support academic research
When the world’s second-biggest mining company said last year that it would open three state-of-the-art research centres in Brazil, it marked the most visible development yet in the changing relationship between business and academe there, writes Andrew Downie for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

WALES: Fees headache as Oxbridge sets mark
Universities in Wales could be forced to charge £9,000 (US$14,400) in tuition fees after two of the UK’s leading institutions appeared to set the trend for higher education, writes Gareth Evans for Western Mail. A report by Cambridge University’s working group argues that it would be “fiscally irresponsible” for the elite institution to charge less than the maximum. The announcement came as a number of Oxford University academics suggested their institution will also need to raise fees to at least £8,000.
More on the University World News site

US: Public sector research produces valuable drugs
New research finds that a surprising number of valuable new drugs and vaccines approved in the United States have arisen wholly from research funded by the public sector, writes Amanda Gardner for Bloomberg Businessweek.
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