ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0171 15 May 2011
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University World News - Medical Education Special Report

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A Special Report this week looks at the internationalisation of medical education, which is expanding and transforming worldwide. Credit: Wikimedia

Japan's government says 229 universities were affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011, and last week announced a budget for reconstructing them. See the News section.

Thai history professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul turned himself into the police last week to be charged with criticising the monarchy, in a case academics say is politically-motivated. See the Features section. Credit: Straits Times


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

This week’s edition kicks off with a special report on the internationalisation of medical education. In Features, YOJANA SHARMA traces developments in the high-profile case of Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a history professor in Thailand who turned himself in to the police last week to face charges of criticising the monarchy. In Commentary, CAROLINE MACREADY and CLIVE TUCKER write that universities wishing to attract international students will in future need to understand better what they want and demonstrate how the institution can provide it. MARY LANDON DARDEN writes that financial pressures are forcing UK universities to seek out global opportunities, such as the University of Warwick’s bid for a New York campus, and CARL E JAMES argues that universities in Canada need to ensure that their diversity policies are built on hard data and achieve results.


SPECIAL: The internationalisation of medical education

Medical education is undergoing unprecedented change and expansion in many countries, not just to tackle modern, cross-border health problems but also to increase training and research on global health. In a special report edited by YOJANA SHARMA, our correspondents look at the internationalisation of medical education, including through cross-border tie-ups and partnerships, and point to other changes taking place.

In an opening comment MADALENA PATRICIO says internationalisation is an important opportunity to revamp medical education. Reports from South East Asia and India show that rapid health care expansion and a need for more high quality doctors have led to international collaborations. In the Middle East there has been a proliferation of ‘medical cities’ but they are struggling to recruit international researchers, and in the Caribbean ‘offshore’ medical schools that provide doctors to the US are coming under pressure. South Africa sends medical students to Cuba to alleviate doctor shortages in rural areas, and in Australia four in 10 doctors are foreign but many struggle to obtain registration. Finally, in France medical studies are transforming, following their integration into the Bologna process and radical new reforms.

GLOBAL: Internationalisation and medical education
Madalena Patricio*
Internationalisation has become an important force in higher education. It is also a powerful challenge and opportunity for medical schools as they emphasise an international approach, which implies mobility of teachers and students and a curriculum that builds on exchanges between two or more countries.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: World-class medicine pursuit drives collaboration
Yojana Sharma
A need to train more doctors and modernise medical education in South East Asian countries to world standards has led to tie-ups with top medical schools in the West. Governments in the richer Asian countries also want to upgrade research on the region’s diseases to better cater for their people’s health while Western institutions want to build international biomedical research networks.
Full report on the University World News site

MIDDLE EAST: Medical cities seek foreign academics
Wagdy Sawahel
Medical cities are mushrooming in the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia and other states planning major expansion of medical education to upgrade treatment, improve clinical training of doctors and maximise the region’s share of the booming medical tourism market. But with a shortage of faculty and researchers, countries may have to work together to develop quality medical professionals.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Medical education gets international flavour
Alya Mishra
India’s medical education is acquiring an international flavor, even before the country prepares to open the sector to foreign medical institutions wanting to set up to train more doctors. India’s own medical institutions are not only tying up with foreign universities, they are also exploring opportunities to set up campuses abroad and increase their international presence.
Full report on the University World News site

CARIBBEAN: Medical schools battle to retain US access
Alecia D McKenzie
The Caribbean islands are home to around 50 private medical schools, often catering to Americans who cannot get a place in a US school. But the future of the Caribbean schools is being imperiled by new restrictions on foreign medical students entering clinical training in the US and a new regulation that only graduates from accredited schools will gain a medical licence.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Cuba helps to train rural doctors
Sharon Dell
South Africa’s high-profile programme involving the training of medical students in Cuba is part of an urgent national drive to increase the number of doctors being produced by the skills-short country. The government is also pushing universities to boost the number of home-grown medical graduates.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Overseas doctors fill large gaps
Geoff Maslen
A political decision in the 1990s not to open more medical schools has forced Australia to recruit its doctors from other nations and today, more than four in every 10 were trained overseas. But most doctors were educated in non-English speaking countries with different cultures and many face problems obtaining medical registration. A parliamentary committee is investigating how registration can be improved.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Medical reform aims to fight ‘human wastage’
Jane Marshall
French medical studies are undergoing radical changes, not only because of their integration into the Bologna process but also as a result of a reform which is introducing a common first year for trainee doctors, dental surgeons, pharmacists and midwives under the renamed ‘health studies’.
Full report on the University World News site


NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

JAPAN: Funds allocated for university reconstruction
Suvendrini Kakuchi
Japan’s Ministry of Education has released a list of 229 universities affected by the earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeast areas of the country on 11 March, badly damaging buildings and research and classroom facilities. Many of these will be rebuilt after the government last week passed a budget for reconstructing facilities.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Need to balance Europe-Asia student flows
Yojana Sharma
Education ministers from more than 40 European and Asian countries met in Copenhagen last week to discuss how to balance the flow of students between the two continents – a movement heavily biased towards Asian students studying in Europe.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Ministers unveil foreign student strategy
Jane Marshall
The French government is seeking to attract more foreign students, especially those from developing countries with “high potential”, and to increase the proportion of postgraduates from abroad.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Sigh of relief at budget outcome
Geoff Maslen
Facing a multi-billion dollar black hole in its budget strategy and the prospect of oblivion at the next election, Australia’s minority Labor government nevertheless brought some joy to the nation’s vice-chancellors and their academics when it handed down its annual budget on Tuesday.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: PM vetoes cash for university places plan
Brendan O’Malley
UK Universities Minister David Willetts has backtracked on a proposal to allow wealthy students to buy places at over-subscribed universities in England by paying higher fees up-front. The opposition claimed it was the fastest policy U-turn in history.
Full article on the University World News site

EGYPT: Insecurity haunts universities ahead of exams
Ashraf Khaled
As Egyptian authorities try hard to re-establish stability in the country more than three months after former president Hosni Mubarak was swept out of office in a popular revolt, universities are concerned that lack of security will threaten examinations. Students at state and private universities are due to sit year-end exams later this month.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Six shortlisted for EUR2 billion ICT research
Jan Petter Myklebust and Brendan O’Malley
Six ‘grand challenge’ flagship research projects have been shortlisted in the European Commission’s EUR2 billion Future and Emerging Technologies Programme, announced by Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for the European Digital Agenda and Vice-President for the commission, in Budapest last week.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: New efforts to attract global academic talent
Alya Mishra
As part of its strategy to entice talent into higher education and research, the Indian government is targeting top-level people of Indian origin working in the West and making it easier for them find out about job opportunities in the country.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: New student leader for continent
Brendan O’Malley
Members of the European Students’ Union, the umbrella organisation representing 45 national unions of students from 39 European countries, have elected Allan Päll, 25, from Estonia as their new Chair.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: University funding could go down, research up
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya could cut subsidies to public universities for the coming financial year, which begins in July, potentially putting at risk several projects meant to boost access to higher education. But spending on research and innovation is to more than double.
Full report on the University World News site


THAILAND: Academic charged in political case
Yojana Sharma
Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a professor of history at Bangkok’s Thammasat University, turned himself in to the police on Wednesday to hear official charges of lèse majéste after weeks of threats that the charges would be laid. Critics said the case could mark a watershed in using the law against critics of the regime, as it is being seen as clearly politically motivated.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Who goes where and why for education?
In the past, universities wishing to attract international students have focused on deciding their unique selling point and promoting it, say CAROLINE MACREADY and CLIVE TUCKER. Their research shows that student mobility is in good health, although mobility patterns are changing, and suggests that in the future it will be more important to understand what international students want and to demonstrate that the institution can provide it.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: University entrepreneurism emerging in UK
The University of Warwick’s bid for a New York campus is the latest in a series of changes in globalised education. Financial pressures in the UK are forcing universities to seek more entrepreneurial ways of playing to their strengths, including branching out and capitalising on potential global opportunities as their American counterparts have done, argues MARY LANDON DARDEN.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Paradoxes of ‘visible minorities’ in job ads
Canadian universities seem to welcome a diverse faculty, but in grouping all ‘visible minorities’ together they are ignoring the fact that different minorities face different issues. As universities become more globalised, racial diversity among faculty will become more important. Universities will need to ensure that their diversity policy is built on hard data and achieves results, argues CARL E JAMES.
Full report on the University World News site


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GERMANY: Plagiarism report slams Guttenberg
The chances of former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg returning quickly to German politics seemed effectively buried last Wednesday after his alma mater said his thesis was full of other people’s work that he had deliberately copied, reports The Local.
More on the University World News site

CONGO: Rebels attack university minister
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of University and Higher Education has survived an attack by Rwandan rebels that left two people dead, writes Michael J Kavanag for Bloomberg.
More on the University World News site

US: Texas set to allow handguns in universities
The holders of concealed handgun licences are set to be allowed to carry weapons into public college buildings and classrooms in Texas, after Republicans in the state senate approved the measure as part of a universities spending bill, reports the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

US: Texas universities pressured by think-tank
The influence of a conservative movement that would apply a greater business orientation to Texas higher education came into stark relief last week, when the chancellor of one of the state’s university systems unexpectedly resigned and the other seemed to push back against regents who have embraced what some call a heavy-handed ideological agenda, writes Jack Stripling for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

US: Kushner’s honour restored by board vote
The trustees board of City University of New York brought to an end an embarrassing row over freedom of expression by voting unanimously to award an honorary degree to the award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, write Ed Pilkington and Ewen MacAskill for the Guardian.
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SPAIN: Corruption ‘widespread in universities’
A Spanish university has denied that disciplinary proceedings against one of its professors are a response to a book he wrote alleging corruption at the institution. José Penalva, professor of education at the University of Murcia, has been accused of absenteeism and could face dismissal, writes Paul Jump for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Probe into university visa scam
Scotland’s Immigration Minister Damian Green admitted last week that there might be widespread abuses of a visa scheme that provides foreign students with the chance to enrol at UK institutions, after irregularities were found at a university, writes Kate Devlin for The Herald.
More on the University World News site

UK: LSE ‘may reject maximum tuition fees’
The London School of Economics could become the first elite university in England to set tuition fees below the maximum level. In a boost to the coalition government, it emerged that the institution is considering charging £8,000 (US$13,000) a year for a degree – £1,000 lower than all other top universities, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

UK: Student loans firm faces record complaints
The number of students and graduates complaining about the handling of their loans has soared in recent years, amid growing concern that the cost of higher education is fuelling discontent in universities across the country, writes Brian Brady for The Independent on Sunday.
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INDIA: Fee increase proposed for central universities
The era of exceptionally low fees at central universities in India could soon be over, if the government accepts the alternative funding system suggested by the Human Resource Development Ministry-appointed Madhava Menon Committee, writes Urmi A Goswami for The Economic Times.
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CHINA: Ministry issues list excluding new college
While many of China’s universities are advertising to attract attention from college candidates ahead of the annual college entrance examination in June, one university is noticeably absent from a list of colleges approved to recruit students, reports
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SAUDI ARABIA: University education gets 25-year plan
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has approved a 25-year plan for the development of university education in Saudi Arabia, Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqari announced last week. He said the plan, which has taken into consideration Shariah teachings, the country’s future vision and national development plans, was prepared in line with global best practices in higher education, reports PK Abdul Ghafour for Arab News.
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IRAN: Curricula aligned with ‘Islamic principles’
Iran’s Ministry of Science says the course content of 36 university programmes has been altered for the academic year that starts this autumn, reports Radio Zamaneh. The ministry says it has a committee in charge of reviewing university curricula, according to a report by the Islamic Republic News Agency, and its work will continue beyond the 36 fields affected in this round.
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BULGARIA: Students flock to foreign universities
Some 80,000 Bulgarian students currently study abroad, primarily in the European Union, according to data presented at an education forum in Sofia last Monday, reports Novinite.
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US: Canada’s rejection of Ignatieff shocks Harvard
Boston’s chattering classes are struggling with the stunning political defeat of one of Harvard’s most popular academics at the hands of Canadian voters, painting Michael Ignatieff’s historic loss as Liberal leader as a new low in Canadian politics, writes Tamsin McMahon for the National Post.
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CANADA: University graduates turn to colleges
As the bachelor degree loses its lustre, the college system in Canada has been prepping for its close-up. One of its biggest boosters: university graduates who are treating colleges and polytechnics as de facto finishing schools, writes Tralee Pearce for the Globe and Mail.
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UGANDA: Universities raise admission points
Makerere University and the other four public universities have raised the admission points for government-sponsored students for the coming academic year, write Francis Kagolo and Cecilia Okoth for New Vision.
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