ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0159 20 February 2011
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Lack of access to the economy and to free universities is fueling protests in the Middle East, according to Stephen P Heyneman.

Anti-government demonstrations in Iran have led to the death of two students, Sanee Zhaleh, whose funeral is depicted and Mohammed Mokhtari.

A battle between liberal ideas and religious orthodoxy is being waged at the famous Darul Uloom Deobrand University in India, following the Muslim seminary's appointment of a 'modern' vice-chancellor.


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

Commenting on unfolding events in the Middle East, STEPHEN P HEYNEMAN argues that its is not lack of access to government jobs but to the general economy and to free universities that has caused frustration. In Features, YOJANA SHARMA investigates the sudden withdrawal from Bangladesh and other poor countries of free access to expensive medical literature, SHURIAH NIAZI describes a clash between liberal ideas and religious orthodoxy at South Asia’s largest Muslim seminary, and WANG FANGQING reports on Shanghai’s efforts to attract branch campuses of Ivy League universities. In Commentary DLAWER ALA’ALEEN, higher education and research minister in the Kurdistan Regional Government, describes why the region needs a higher education revolution, and MIKE COLE and PETER McLAREN argue that Venezuela’s reforms are an attempt to radically widen participation and democratise universities.

MIDDLE EAST: Higher education in the turmoil

MIDDLE EAST: Are jobless graduates causing protests?
In the Middle East, comments STEPHEN P HEYNEMAN, it is not the lack of access to government jobs that has caused frustration, but lack of access to the general economy plus lack of freedom to attend a free university. Governments have expanded higher education, but have not allowed universities to act as real universities, and the result has been a mentality of backwardness.
Full report on the University World News site

IRAN: Students killed, arrested in Egypt-style protests
Yojana Sharma
Two students were killed last week in a major eruption of anti-government demonstrations in Iran inspired by events in Egypt and Tunisia. The funeral of one of the students sparked further clashes in Tehran amid reports of unrest in other university towns.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Popular calls for sweeping university reforms
Wagdy Sawahel
Following the political tsunami of change that resulted in the 11 February resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power, academics and researchers are calling for sweeping reforms of higher education policies and work conditions.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Higher education becomes more costly
Geoff Maslen
University students are having to meet more of the cost of their higher education in countries with existing mass higher education systems and “ageing demographics” – and the trend towards reduced public spending on universities looks set to continue. A new report, released last week, says governments facing budget-balancing exercises, such as Britain and some US states including California, are already imposing cuts.
Full report on the University World News site

PUERTO RICO: University head quits amid fee protests
Alison Moodie
The president of the University of Puerto Rico has resigned amid the worst student riots in 30 years, calling into doubt the future of the island’s largest and most venerable institution.
Full report on the University World News site

BELARUS: Europeans press for academic freedom
Jan Petter Myklebust
Higher education ministers from eight European countries have written to their counterpart in Minsk demanding academic freedom for students and lecturers. There have been beatings, detentions and expulsions from universities of students and academics in response to protests over the presidential election result of 19 December 2010.
Full article on University World News site

HUNGARY: Outcry over probe into philosophers
Jan Petter Myklebust
Members of the international academic community have sprung to the defence of several Hungarian philosophers who are under police investigation in Budapest in relation to alleged misuse of research grants. The academics under investigation include Ágnes Heller, regarded as a founder of the Budapest school of philosophy.
Full report on University World News site

COTE D’IVOIRE: Student militia prop up Gbagbo regime
Tunde Fatunde
A state-sponsored student militia in Cote d‘Ivoire has committed a series of human rights abuses recorded by United Nations and rights organisations. Supposedly outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo is accused of using state resources for a decade to transform a student organisation at the University of Abidjan into his own armed militia.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Fall in foreign applications hits courses
Jan Petter Myklebust
A dramatic fall in the number of non-European foreign students paying their application fee could result in course closures at Swedish universities. Only 5,600 of the 20,100 students applying from outside the European Union and European Economic Area paid their fee by this year’s deadline. The applications of the remaining 14,500 will not proceed.
Full report on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Universities must make graduates employable
Santhush Fernando
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Higher Education has brought in new measures from this year to make public universities responsible for ensuring their graduates can be ‘guaranteed’ to get jobs anywhere in the world.
Full report on the University World News site

MALDIVES: First national university inaugurated
Santhush Fernando
The Indian Ocean tourist haven of Maldives on Tuesday opened a new chapter in higher education with the upgrading of the Maldives College of Higher Education to the status of Maldives National University.
Full report on the University World News site

NAMIBIA: Calls mount for national research commission
Utaara Hoveka
Namibia’s Ministry of Education has been urged to speed up the process of establishing a national commission on research, science and technology, and a research fund, as prescribed by the Research, Science and Technology Act of 2004. The country’s first academy of sciences is also in the pipeline.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: HINARI and the dream of free journal access
Yojana Sharma*
HINARI, the WHO-administered Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative, is a collaboration between the WHO and commercial publishers which grants researchers in poor countries free access to expensive medical literature. But the sudden withdrawal last month of some of its flagship publishers from Bangladesh and several other countries raised questions about to what extent HINARI is a development aid scheme and to what extent a commercial project.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Liberals vs reformists at top Islamic university
Shuriah Niazi
In a dispute that could have repercussions at other large Islamic universities and seminaries in the Muslim world, a clash between liberal ideas and religious orthodoxy has engulfed India’s Darul Uloom Deoband University – South Asia’s largest Muslim seminary, which sought to appoint a ‘modern’ vice-chancellor.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Shanghai reaches out to America’s Ivy League
Wang Fangqing
China’s largest city, Shanghai, has been successfully pushing for western universities to establish branches serving Chinese as well as foreign students. These ambitions stretch to America’s elite Ivy League.
Full report on the University World News site


KURDISTAN: A higher education revolution that cannot fail
Kurdistan was cut off from the international academic world for decades and has outlined a bold plan to put it on track to compete with the rest of the world. Here professor DLAWER ALA’ALEEN, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, describes why the region needs a revolution in its higher education system and how it will be implemented.
Full report on the University World News site

VENEZUELA: Revolution under attack
Venezuela’s education reforms are not undemocratic. They are an attempt to radically widen participation in the higher education system and have already resulted in a dramatic increase in the numbers of Venezuelans attending university, argue MIKE COLE and PETER McLAREN.
Full report on the University World News site




GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports from around the world
Roisin Joyce*
A student leader has been abducted by authorities in the province of Balochistan in south-west Pakistan. In Belarus an associate professor has been fired after attending a mass protest over December’s disputed presidential election, and in Turkey a sociologist has been tried and acquitted of charges for which she had already been twice acquitted. In South Africa, the Council on Higher Education has suppressed a university audit following complaints by the vice-chancellor that it was “biased”, and in Malawi lecturers went on strike after a colleague was interrogated by a local police chief over an example he gave in a political science class.
Full report on the University World News site


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US: Libyans students allege government coercion
In an apparent effort to control the public narrative in the wake of rare protests that have spread throughout Libya, the country’s government is threatening to withdraw scholarship funding from citizens studying in the United States unless they attend pro-government rallies in Washington this weekend, reports Evan Hill for Al Jazeera.
More on the University World News site

MOROCCO: Graduates struggle to find jobs
At the top of a four-storey cafe down a back road in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, Rachid Chaoui keeps the array of zips and buckles on his snug-fitting jacket done up to the neck to ward off the winter cold. He sips mint tea and ignores the football match playing on a large flatscreen television set. He is not happy, writes Giles Tremlett for the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Universities chase rankings – study
A recent study shows that moving up in the rankings lists is a general ambition of China’s universities, and that rankings affects their strategic planning, reports Pang Qi for Global Times. The study, conducted by Liu Niancai, dean of the Graduate School of Education in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, researched 16 Chinese and international rankings.
More on the University World News site

US: Obama budget sustains Pell grants but cuts perks
In a 2012 budget blueprint that administration officials portrayed as austere and Republicans derided as profligate, President Barack Obama kept his promise to privilege spending on education and research – though not without some potential pain for programmes important to colleges and students, writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

UK: Minister issues warning over fees
Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has warned that there will be more cuts to higher education if too many universities opt to charge maximum tuition fees, reports Angela Harrison for the BBC.
More on the University World News site

UK: New visa system gives priority to academics
Academics are to be prioritised in the government’s shake-up of the visa system. Under Home Office proposals, the points system for Tier 2 (skilled work) visas will be overhauled to prioritise PhD-level occupations with domestic shortages, including research and higher education teaching positions, writes Paul Jump for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

WALES: Basic fees to be lower than England
Basic university tuition fees will be £2,000 (US$3,234) lower in Wales than in England, it has been announced. Education Minister Leighton Andrews has opted for a basic fee level of £4,000 in Wales, rather than the £6,000 which will apply over the border, reports the BBC.
More on the University World News site

UAE: Sorbonne officially opens in Abu Dhabi
More than a year after classes began, the University of Paris Sorbonne’s Abu Dhabi campus on Al Reem Island was opened officially last week, with the help of the French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who was making his first visit to the region, writes Caline Malek for The National.
More on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: Ministry plans online university
The Higher Education Ministry last week announced a plan to establish an electronic university, reports PK Abdul Gafour for Arab News. “We have been trying to establish an electronic university for the last one-and-a-half years to provide bachelor and masters degrees,” said Muhammad Al-Ouhali, Deputy Minister for Education Affairs.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: US promises to cooperate over sham university
The US has promised to cooperate with India to resolve the issue of Indian students affected by a sham US university. But America said it was hard to say what was possible, pending a full probe, reports the Indo-Asian News Service.
More on the University World News site

MAURITIUS: Indian universities aid ‘knowledge hub’ bid
Private Indian universities setting up campuses in Mauritius are helping the island nation off the African coast to realise its vision of transforming into a knowledge hub, reports Sify.
More on the University World News site

INDIA-AFRICA: Higher education ties take shape
India’s pledge to help set up a string of higher education and vocational training institutions in Africa, as part of an initiative to bolster the country’s role on the continent, is finally taking shape, with the first site expected to open its doors in less than a year, writes Vir Singh for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Doctor’s report pulled over plagiarism concern
When a medical ethics report co-authored by a top Canadian doctor was published, it was hailed as “required reading” for all health-care providers and medical students. Now, people can’t distance themselves from the report fast enough, writes Margaret Munro for
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Lecturers press for anti-leftist probe
Faculty members at Bar-Ilan University last week urged the Council for Higher Education to examine claims by two of its lecturers that they were denied promotion because of their leftist political activities and opinions, writes Or Kashti for Haaretz.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Arts education under threat – experts
With very little attention given to arts education in Indian universities, the country’s classical art forms could end up as the biggest casualty, reports Sify. Even while India boasts of a magnificent variety of classical dance forms, they are under threat from a Western dance invasion as children take to salsa, hip hop and other dances “that look like mass drill on stage”, said one of the participants at the National Conference on Relevance of Fine Art Education in the 21st Century held in Agra.
More on the University World News site
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