ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0168 24 April 2011
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IREG Forum on National Rankings - 10-11 October 2011

Worldviews Conference

University World News - Medical Education Special Report

HE Events Diary

Higher Education Marketing

A surprise visit by China’s Premier Wen Jiabao to the University of Nottingham Ningbo has indicated that international universities and students are high on the country's agenda. See the News section.

The World Economic Forum and INSEAD have published the Global Information Technology Report 2010-11, edited by Soumitra Dutta and Irene Mia. See our News story.

Researchers have discovered that sunlight could be responsible for rendering Vincent van Gogh's art duller than it used to be. See the story in Science Scene.


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 describes the rise of higher education philanthropy in Asia, and GEOFF MASLEN unpacks a new report by NV Varghese of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning on challenges facing higher education in the Commonwealth. The latest in the HERANA series reports on universities and democratic citizenship in three African countries. In Commentary, JOHN GIBSON writes that small island countries have the highest proportions of tertiary educated people living abroad – and that this ‘brain drain’ can aid development – and CALVIN WAN looks at the potential of private higher education in Hong Kong to help grow the number of people doing full degrees.


GLOBAL: Canada asked to allow Bill Ayers to speak
Karen MacGregor
Martha Stewart, who spent time in prison for lying to investigators, was allowed into Canada to attend a ‘pumpkin regatta’ and a flower show. But will Canada allow Professor Bill Ayers, who has never been convicted of a felony, to talk at the Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education this June? Worldviews is asking the government to not again deny Ayers entry to Canada, so that he can talk about the responsibilities of academics to contribute to public debate.
Full report on the University World News site



NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

UK: Two in three universities to charge top fee
Brendan O’Malley
Two out of three universities in England are seeking to charge the maximum allowed £9,000 (US$14,690) a year in tuition fees, according to a BBC survey of 71 higher education institutions.
Full report on University World News site

CHINA: Premier in surprise visit to UK branch campus
Yojana Sharma
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao has paid a surprise visit to students and staff at the University of Nottingham Ningbo on China’s east coast – a highly unusual move which analysts said showed that the issue of foreign branch campuses and international students was high on the leadership agenda.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: Aarhus hosts top European talent spotters
Ard Jongsma
The second-largest city in Denmark may not earn a place in the top-100 European cities, but Århus, the self-proclaimed capital of alternative energy, has a lot to show the world of brains – and it certainly did so for the 10th annual conference of the European University Association, with talent development high on the agenda.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAWI: Academics call for reform amid repression
Leading Malawian professors have petitioned the government, proposing reform of the country’s university system. This as academic freedom has come under severe threat, with the government firing teaching staff, freezing lecturer salaries, closing campuses and endorsing police planting of informants in university classrooms.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Former universities minister cleared of fraud
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya’s Higher Education Minister William Ruto, who was suspended from cabinet last year over graft allegations, is set to return to his docket after a court cleared him of fraud charges, the government’s spokesman has said. But Ruto still faces other allegations.
Full report on the University World News site

ALGERIA: Students’ demands not yet satisfied
Jane Marshall
The Algerian government has made concessions to student demands following continuing protests including a demonstration in which tens of thousands took to the streets of Algiers despite a ban by the authorities, according to press reports. Students’ grievances mainly concern what they claim is devaluation of their degrees through reform – and the government’s partial climbdown has not convinced them all to return to their studies.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA-SA: Plagiarising academic loses job twice
Geoff Maslen
A senior African academic has lost his job for the second time after an Australian university that appointed him in January belatedly discovered he had been forced to quit his South African post the previous November following charges of serial plagiarism. The case raises questions about the secrecy surrounding disgraced academics and why other universities planning to hire them are not informed.
Full report on the University World News site

DUBAI: Scholar’s detention erodes UAE reputation
Brendan O’Malley
The suspected detention without cause of a leading international scholar will, if true, damage the United Arab Emirates’ reputation and position as a centre of knowledge, an international human rights network has warned.
Full report on University World News site

JAPAN: Researchers take the lead on nuclear safety
Suvendrini Kakuchi
Frustrated with official responses, a group of research scientists has launched a new safety research project in the wake of Japan’s devastating earthquake and worst nuclear plant accident. They want to collect and disseminate alternate findings and opinions as a service to the public.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Academics being recruited for oil-spill cleanup
Alison Moodie
On the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Barack Obama administration is launching a nationwide drive to recruit the best and brightest environmental scientists from the country’s top universities to help with the cleanup.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: New degrees attract poorer students
Michael Gardner
Students taking Germany’s new bachelor degrees appear to be more likely to come from poorer families than students in old-style, more academic pre-Bologna degrees – and nearly one in five are complaining that the workload is too much for them – a new report says.
Full report on University World News site

GLOBAL: Only two African nations make top 50 in ICT
Wagdy Sawahel
Tunisia and Mauritius are in the top 50 global leaders list in information and communication technologies. But most African countries are following a “disappointing” downward trend relative to the rest of the world, according to the latest world ICT report. Sweden tops the networked readiness rankings followed by Singapore, Finland, Switzerland and America.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: New chair for commonwealth universities body
Munyaradzi Makoni
The Association of Commonwealth Universities has appointed University of the West Indies Vice-chancellor, Professor Nigel Harris, as its new chair. He succeeds Dr Theuns Eloff, Vice-chancellor of North-West University in South Africa.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: New journal on internationalisation
Ard Jongsma
The European University Association has launched a new journal to report on developments in the European Higher Action Area and encourage further debate.
Full report on the University World News site

TUNISIA: Revolution is chance to reform universities
The Tunisian revolution in January could provide an opportunity for reform of higher education, but this would require a change of attitude by the university and business communities to make courses more practical and students more employable, according to a commentary in La Presse of Tunis.
Full report on the University World News site




ASIA: The rise of higher education philanthropy
Yojana Sharma
Universities around Asia watched with envy as Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University received a US$120 million donation from the Lee Foundation early this year – the largest amount from a private donor received by a single institution in Singapore – and when Lei Zhang from China donated US$8,888,888 (eight is a lucky number) to Yale University in the United States.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Challenges for Commonwealth higher education
Geoff Maslen
As higher education expands within the 52 Commonwealth countries, a major challenge is devising measures to ensure equity and quality, says a report by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning. The report discusses how the global knowledge economy demands more higher education but says growth in the number of universities and students also raises demands for quality assurance mechanisms.
Full report on the University World News site

HERANA – Universities and development in Africa

AFRICA: University: democratic hothouse or training ground?
Most students at only one out of three African universities are "unreservedly committed democrats", according to a soon-to-be released study. Youths in Kenya and Tanzania with no higher education are more committed to democracy than students - only in South Africa are students more passionate about democracy than their non-student peers and the public.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: ‘Brain drain’ can aid development
Last week University World News published a special report on the phenomenon of ‘brain drain’. However, can brain drain actually be advantageous? JOHN GIBSON says research he has co-authored shows it can aid development.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: Can the private sector boost participation?
The last decade has seen intensive efforts to boost the numbers of students in higher education in Hong Kong. But many students undertaking associate degrees don’t trade up to a full degree. Could increasing private sector involvement in higher education help to increase the overall numbers doing full degrees? asks CALVIN WAN in the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management.
Full report on the University World News site




EUROPE: Uncovering mystery of van Gogh’s colours
Vincent van Gogh’s art is duller than what it used to be but no one has ever been able to figure out why – until now. A European research team has discovered that sunlight is potentially responsible for triggering a chemical reaction in the yellow chrome paint used by the Dutch painter, turning it into a dull brown colour.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRIA: Quantum computer close
Quantum physicists from the University of Innsbruck have set another world record. They have achieved controlled entanglement of 14 quantum bits (qubits) and thus realised the largest quantum register that has ever been produced.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Attacking cancer by starvation
Scientists from the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast and Almac Discovery Ltd have developed a new treatment for cancer which rather than attacking tumours directly, prevents the growth of new blood vessels in tumours, starving them of oxygen and nutrients, thereby preventing their growth.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Why continents deform
Many people have looked towards a mountain range and wondered, why there? Why do the flat plains suddenly rise into steep peaks at that particular spot? Two geophysicists may have found the answer.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Controversy over lessons in romance
Beijing education authorities have released a draft teaching programme advising universities to teach psychology students about romance. The aim is “to improve the psychological quality of university students to prevent mental illness and help students grow healthy,” said Wang Dapin, a Communist Party official at the Beijing municipal authority, the official news agency Xinhua reports.
More on the University World News site


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SYRIA: Revolution on campus
Pro-government students have a launched brutal crackdown on protesting peers at Damascus University, amid nationwide unrest. Syria’s soc ialist Baath party has also attempted to smother any form of dissent on campus through a web of informers keeping a watchful eye on the university’s nearly 220,000 students, write Hugh Macleod and an unnamed reporter in Syria for Al Jazeera.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Chinese student killing hits nerve
In September of last year, Liu Qian’s parents bid their 23-year-old daughter farewell, and she set off on a 10,000-kilometre journey to attend university in Canada. This week, they made the same trip to retrieve her body, after she was killed in a horrific incident partly witnessed on a webcam by her long-time boyfriend, write Adrian Morrow and Josh Wingrove for the Globe and Mail.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: More than 1.2 million Chinese studying abroad
China has the largest number of overseas students in the world, with a record 1.27 million studying abroad at the end of 2010, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Education, the official China Daily reports. It added that Instead of staying abroad after finishing studies, more Chinese students choose to come back after graduation.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: Scores of students injured in Makerere strike
More than 70 Makerere University students were injured and seven arrested in running battles with security forces after students held a protest against increases in tuition fees on 15 April, write Abdul Kiyaga, Anita Imalingat and Karen Mukama for The Monitor. Most of the injured students had breathing problems, probably caused by tear gas sprayed by police.
More on the University World News site

JORDAN: Intelligence monitoring of students
Jordan’s government should end restrictions on free expression at universities where intelligence officers monitor students, according to Human Rights Watch. The watchdog organisation said the rights of students to free expression had been “violated by intelligence officers or by university administrations” several times since November 2010, Agence France Presse reported from Amman in an article carried by Zawya.
More on the University World News site

BAHRAIN: University sacks students, staff
The University of Bahrain has dismissed 200 students, academics and other employees for incidents connected to recent unrest. Dr Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi, the university’s President, told the state news agency BNA that the damage caused by “regretful incidents” during unrest on 13 March amounted to US$928,000, Andy Sanbidge writes for the news magazine Arabian Business.
More on the University World News site

BAHRAIN: Regime accused of harassing students in UK
The British government has called on Bahrain to respect the rights of students after reports of harassment of students protesting against the regime, Matthew Taylor writes for the Guardian. Previously the newspaper wrote that Bahrain stood accused of putting intense pressure on families of students in Britain who were photographed attending a peaceful protest in Manchester in solidarity with the country’s pro-democracy movement.
More on the University World News site

UK: University visas suspended
Glascow Caledonian University in Scotland has become the first in the UK to have its overseas student visa licence suspended, after claims that a number of nursing students were found to be working “almost full-time”, writes Kate Devlin for The Herald.
More on the University World News site

CUBA: A door ajar for US students
Thousands of American college students have been effectively locked out of Cuba since 2004, when the Bush administration tightened restrictions on travel for academic, cultural and religious purposes writes, Eric Platt for The New York Times. Cuba was then the third most popular study-abroad destination in Latin America, after Mexico and Costa Rica.
More on the University World News site

US: Dwindling research funding could be ‘positive’
The US federal budget approved by Congress in April has cut funding for the National Institutes of Health, which provides grants to university researchers, by about 1% or some US$260 million for the 2011 fiscal year. But some researchers say cutbacks could work in their favour by improving research quality, writes Matt Steyl in the Daily Tar Heel.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Decline in university applications
The number of applicants for university admission this year has fallen across Vietnam, with many of last year’s unsuccessful candidates reportedly opting for vocational schools instead of another crack at university entrance exams, reports Viet Nam News.
More on the University World News site

LAOS: China to open its first overseas campus
Soochow University, Laos, an overseas affiliate of Soochow University, Suzhou, in Jiangsu province of eastern China, is expected to officially open in 2012 and will be the first overseas university run by a higher education institution from mainland China, the official newspaper People’s Daily reports.
More on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: More female students heading abroad
Around 17% of the estimated 80,000 Saudi students studying under the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Programme are women, according to the Ministry of Higher Education, which also estimated that the number of students would increase to 140,000 in the next five years, Fatima Sidiya reports for Arab News.
More on the University World News site

POLAND: Universities respond to market demand
Polish universities are finally responding to market demand by offering courses that reflect the needs of the economy, according to a Dziennik Gazeta Prawna survey of universities, the Warsaw Business Journal reports.
More on the University World News site
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