ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0164 27 March 2011
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Berkeley Institutes for HE Leaders from Around the World

Worldviews Conference

HE Events Diary

Higher Education Marketing

Civil conflict in Cote d'Ivoire has led to the closure of universities. See the News section. Credit: Reuters Africa

The University of Johannesburg has taken a vote to break ties with the Ben-Gurion University. See the News section.

A remark by a leading curator that rural children should not be encouraged to go to university revealed the growing influence of the blogosphere in China. See the Features section. Credit: Newsweek

The first findings of a multinational global ocean expedition have been released following the arrival of the research vessel, the Hespérides, in Australia. See the Features 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, YOJANA SHARMA examines the growing influence of the blogosphere in China, GEOFF MASLEN reports on the first findings of a global ocean expedition, JANE MARSHALL looks at new projects undertaken by the global French-speaking University Agency in its 50th anniversary year, and SHARON DELL writes that research networks are vital for Southern African countries trying to compete in the knowledge society. In Business and Innovation, MANDY GARNER describes a new alliance between two French and British business schools aimed at forging a global presence. In Commentary, THOMAS ESTERMANN argues that funders need to resort less to co-funding of projects if European universities are to be financially sustainable, SU-MEI THOMPSON and LISA MOORE unpack reasons behind the lack of women university leaders, and KAI JIANG and XUENI MA describe the changing landscape and policies of international education in China.




GLOBAL: Media fellowships for Worldviews conference
The Worldviews international conference on media and higher education, to be held in Toronto in June, is offering five media fellowships for journalists to attend. Journalists who cover higher education issues in mainstream or niche media are invited to apply.
Full report on the University World News site



NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

COTE D’IVOIRE: Campuses closed by conflict, sanctions
Tunde Fatunde
Students have been dragged into the violent power struggle between Cote d’Ivoire’s rival leaders. Fierce ongoing fighting has escalated and sparked a mass exodus of up to a million people from the commercial capital Abidjan. Academic activities have been severely disrupted at all tertiary institutions, and they have closed.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Continuing student protests rock universities
Ashraf Khaled
From Cairo to Aswan, higher education institutions in Egypt have been hit by a series of sit-ins staged by students protesting against the presence of university leaders and administrators associated with the fallen government of Hosni Mubarak.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Evaluation reveals main beneficiaries of FP7
Jan Petter Myklebust
The European Commission has published an interim evaluation of the Seventh Framework Programme, FP7. It lists the 50 top-performing research organisations, including universities, which together received a whopping EUR3.1 billion (US$4.4 billion) – a quarter of all the funding awarded to more than 14,000 research groups.
Full report on the University World News site

JAPAN: Drawing on research to counter radiation panic
Suvendrini Kakuchi
The Japanese government is reaching out to academics to combat growing public agitation over the detection of higher levels of radioactive contamination from damaged nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant after the massive 11 March earthquake and tsunami.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Government eases crackdown on student visas
David Jobbins
British Home Secretary Theresa May is striving to present new visa rules for students from outside the European Economic Area as a tough stand on immigration without sending a message that UK universities are “closed for business” in the competitive international student market. Her Tuesday announcement of tougher restrictions was balanced with support for universities seeking to recruit the best international talent.
Full story on University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: University severs ties with Ben-Gurion
Munyaradzi Makoni
Academics at the University of Johannesburg voted on Wednesday to end ties with Ben-Gurion University, after a six-month period granted to the Israeli institution to meet conditions for continued research collaboration, including the inclusion of Palestinian partners. The university stressed that it did not subscribe to an academic boycott of Israel.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Reforms to attract more international students
Alya Mishra
India is planning reforms to make the experience of studying at the country’s institutions more enjoyable, as it aims to increase the number of international students.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Positive budget for higher education defeated
Sarah King Head
Although welcomed as positive for Canadian higher education, the budget bill delivered by Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government on Tuesday did not survive long. Instead, its rejection promises to become the centrepiece of a federal election platform.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Donations to universities defy economic downturn
Ard Jongsma
Philanthropic donations to UK universities have increased significantly since the start of a matched funding scheme in 2008, a study published last week has found. An expert believes this indicates a “culture shift” in favour of higher education philanthropy.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Industry complains of skills shortage
Michael Gardner
German industry has warned of the need to tackle a shortage of staff in mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and engineering, to stop economic momentum from stalling. Industry federations have put the swelling skills shortfall at 117,000 people in the four fields, abbreviated in German as MINT.
Full report on the University World News site

US-AFGHANISTAN: Joining forces for university reform
Wagdy Sawahel
In an effort to help Afghanistan implement its higher education strategic plan, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has signed a one-year agreement with the University of Massachusetts Center for International Education to reform Afghani universities.
Full report on the University World News site




WEST AFRICA: ADB pays for Bologna harmonisation
The African Development Bank has released 24 billion FCFA (US$52 million) towards harmonisation of higher education reforms based on the Bologna structure in the eight countries belonging to the West African Economic and Monetary Union, reported the Agence de Presse Sénégalaise of Dakar.
Full report on the University World News site

MADAGASCAR: Union threatens strike if terms not met
University presidents have fixed mid-April for the beginning of the 2010-11 academic year, which has been delayed by a strike by the lecturers’ and researchers’ union SECES, that ended in January. But with the resignation of Madagascar’s government, the wary union has let it be known that if its demands are not met, there will be no return to work, reported L’Express de Madagascar.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Rural students comment highlights role of blogs
Yojana Sharma
When Wang Ping, a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said rural children should not be encouraged to go to university, her remarks were picked up by China’s growing blogosphere, attracting a large amount of comment that would never have appeared in the country’s tightly controlled newspapers.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: First findings of unique ocean expedition
Geoff Maslen
The first findings of a multinational global ocean expedition have been released following the arrival of a research vessel in Fremantle. Researchers on board a Spanish Navy research vessel, the Hespérides, announced after docking at the Western Australian port that the Indian Ocean had the ability to absorb three times as much atmospheric nitrogen as the Atlantic Ocean and, as a result, could play a crucial climate role as a huge carbon sink.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: AUF launches digital projects in 50th year
Jane Marshall
While celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, the French-speaking University Agency, continues to launch new projects and partnerships. The latest include an international online journal spec ialising in ICTs that provides an outlet for young scientists to publish their research; a link to a vast digital library for students in developing countries; and an application for an interactive encyclopaedia focused on Africa.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Regional research networks vital
Sharon Dell
Effective regional research networks are vital if Southern African Development Community countries are to stand any chance of competing in a globalised world in which the currency is knowledge, argued Southern African Regional Universities’ Association CEO Piyushi Kotecha at a recent workshop. While only a few nations have functional networks or reasonable bandwidth for research, there have been exciting improvements in connectivity.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: An international business school alliance
Burgundy School of Business and Oxford Brookes University Business School last week officially launched an alliance that they hope will be a model of international cooperation and lead eventually to the creation of a European business school to rival their global counterparts, writes MANDY GARNER.
Full report on the University World News site

HERANA – Universities and development in Africa

AFRICA: Exploring the ‘academic core’ of universities
Lack of research funding and low knowledge production – both in PhD graduates and peer-reviewed publication – are the most serious challenges facing African universities as they work to strengthen their ‘academic core’ and make a sustainable contribution to development, a major study of higher education in eight African countries has revealed.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: The challenge of financial sustainability
To be financially sustainable European universities face a number of challenges. They need to diversify their funding, but the current emphasis on co-funding makes it difficult for them to cover the full costs of programmes. Funders need to resort less to co-funding requirements and replace them wherever possible by funding on a full cost basis, argues THOMAS ESTERMANN.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: Why there are not more women university leaders
The lack of women at high levels in universities is due to a number of factors, write SU-MEI THOMPSON and LISA MOORE. They include the fact that women tend to head more into teaching than research and the need to factor in family-friendly ways of achieving full tenure. These and other factors need to be addressed by both institutions and individuals as they affect everyone working in academia.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Overseas education – Changes and policies
China has become the world’s biggest exporter of students, and it is also working on programmes and measures to attract more foreign students to study in its universities. In an article that first appeared in International Higher Education, KAI JIANG and XUENI MA outline recent international education initiatives and argue that universities will need to work more closely with government in the future.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Vaccines need shot in the arm
Pricilla Crighton*
In 1998, the respected British medical journal The Lancet published a study linking the measles mumps rubella vaccine, known as MMR, to regressive autism in children. The Wakefield report has now been denounced as fraudulent after investigations by British journalist Brian Deer revealed that the data used in the study was falsified and neither the research records nor parental recollection matched the published Lancet study.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Hormone boosts sperm activity
Teams of researchers in the US and Germany have separately discovered why human male sperm approaching a female egg switch from a smooth swimming motion to a frantic flicking to push through the thick jelly-like coating around the egg. For the past decade, scientists suspected the female hormone progesterone released by the egg prompted the tail to change its movement but exactly how this occurred had remained a mystery – until now.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: A plant’s eye view of shade avoidance
The world of a plant can be a stressful place. Many plants constantly compete with their neighbours for light by elongating to try and get out of their shade and in crops this elongation can dramatically reduce the yield so is a major limiting factor in how densely a farmer can plant a crop.
Full report on the University World News site


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UK: Lecturers strike over pay and pensions
Tens of thousands of university lecturers are staging a mass walkout over their pay and pensions, writes Jessica Shepherd for the Guardian. The strike by staff at up to 500 universities and colleges comes after a wave of action over the past two weeks.
More on the University World News site

VENEZUELA: Students threaten to resume hunger strike
Venezuelan students last week threatened to resume their hunger strike if President Hugo Chavez did not take visible steps to support public universities within 24 hours, reports United Press International.
More on the University World News site

DENMARK: Top university faces increased supervision
Denmark’s science minister wants to increase supervision of the University of Copenhagen after the first report into the university’s role in the alleged misconduct of a neuroscientist, reports the Copenhagen Post.
More on the University World News site

US: Incentives to raise college graduation rates
In what amounts to a ‘race to the top’ for higher education, the Barack Obama administration is offering competitive grants and a new ‘tool kit’ to help states increase their college completion rates, writes Tamar Lewin for the New York Times.
More on the University World News site

US: State bill to protect campus critics of evolution
An Arlington lawmaker has filed a bill aimed at protecting Texas college professors and students from discrimination because they question evolution, writes Aman Batheja for the Star-Telegram.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Research head orders focus on market drivers
There’s radical change at the National Research Council, Canada’s biggest science institute, as the new president orders all staff to direct research toward boosting economic development and technology, with less time for pure science, writes Tom Spears for the Ottawa Citizen.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: New website gives access to academics
Australians will have direct access to the thoughts of some of the country’s brightest minds through a new independent news and information website, The Conversation, reports The Herald Sun.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Women shy away from management test
In most management colleges in India, the number of boys nearly always overshadows the number of girls. This is also the case in the global entrance exam GMAT, which sees a small percentage of Indian women trying their luck, writes Hemali Chhapia for The Times of India.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Higher education survey to launch soon
Faced with inadequate information, India’s Human Resource Development Ministry will, for the first time in more than 60 years, launch a massive survey on the state of higher education in the country, writes Akshaya Mukul for The Times of India. The collection of data is to begin shortly.
More on the University World News site

WALES: Report proposes new universities body
Universities in Wales have shown an “unwillingness to embrace change” and a more radical solution is needed, according to the McCormick Review into higher education governance. The report said there was limited evidence that the sector had shared in the Welsh assembly government’s sense of urgency, writes Gareth Evans for the Western Mail.
More on the University World News site

UK: Oxford moves to defy government over admissions
The government is on a collision course with some of Oxford University’s most prominent dons over demands that they “dramatically increase” the intake of disadvantaged pupils from the state sector, writes Daniel Boffey for The Observer.
More on the University World News site

UK: First university announces less-than-maximum fees
Bishop Grosseteste University College has become the first university in England to announce planned tuition fees for 2012 below the £9,000 (US$14,511) maximum, reports the BBC. The Lincoln institution said it would charge £7,500 for most courses, subject to approval by the fair access office.
More on the University World News site

UK: The rise of dual profession lecturers
The number of lecturers choosing to combine part-time teaching with a second job in a related field is on the up, writes Debbie Andalo for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Southern Sudan seeks help for higher education
Southern Sudan has asked Kenya to help develop its higher education sector. The world’s youngest nation is facing a serious shortage of professors and other professionals, writes Oliver Musembi for The Nation.
More on the University World News site

NEPAL: Government prepares to set up open university
With the Open University Nepal Initiative’s new offices on the premises of the Ministry of Education, the government is gearing up to establish the much-awaited open university, writes Rudra Pangeni for the Himalayan Times.
More on the University World News site
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