ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0173 29 May 2011
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Worldviews Conference

HG Online Auction

HE Events Diary

Higher Education Marketing

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has topped the QS 2011 Asian University Rankings. See the rankings special report.

University and business leaders from 20 countries gathered in Vancouver last week to explore how best to expand education across international borders, at a forum organised by The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education. See the Features section.

Tens of thousands of academics worldwide have become bloggers. Geoff Maslen investigates, in 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

The just-published QS 2011 Asian University Rankings are investigated by RICHARD HOLMES and YOJANA SHARMA, and in Features ERIN MILLAR reports on the growing role of private institutions in global higher education and GEOFF MASLEN looks at how blogging has spread viral-like across the academic world. In Commentary, JOHN FIELDEN writes that recruiting high-calibre staff for offshore operations is a key element in protecting a university’s reputation for quality. DANIEL LEVY argues that efforts to help transform developing countries through their universities have had mixed results, but there have been laudable successes and lessons for the future, and PETER KAHN says imaginative responses are needed to take advantage of the huge gains to be had in bringing people together from different places and cultures for higher education collaboration.



The 1st international Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education, co-hosted by University World News, kicks off in Toronto on 16 June. There is still time to register and join hundreds of journalists and academics who will for three days debate the kind of media and higher education matters raised by one of the speakers, Shari Graydon, in the article below. Hurry up and register.

CANADA: Making a case for media engagement
Scholars seeking influence should consider the opportunities afforded by the mainstream news media. The voices of academic women are particularly needed, writes SHARI GRAYDON, an award-winning author who has been involved in training academics to write for the media, in the latest edition of the Canadian journal Academic Matters.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

CHINA: Access to overseas research disrupted
Yojana Sharma
Universities across China have had their access to online overseas research publications and other data blocked after the authorities clamped down on a tool used to access foreign websites.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Setback for reforms at new university
Linda Yeung
Pioneering reform efforts at China’s new Shenzhen-based South University of Science and Technology (SUST) have been thrown into doubt following a recruitment exercise for two deputy presidents by the Shenzhen municipal government. The institution, which opened just three months ago, has been hailed as a testing ground for university reform.
Full report on the University World News site

IRAN: University to continue despite raids, arrests
Yojana Sharma
Teachers and staff at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) have vowed to continue to give students deprived of the right to an education in Iran opportunities to obtain degrees, despite raids on its facilities and the arrest of at least 30 of its academics last week.
Full report on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Court to rule on student military training
Santhush Fernando
Sri Lanka’s highest court is to rule on a bitter controversy between the country’s higher education authorities and student, human rights and minority groups over a compulsory three-week Leadership and Positive Attitude Development Programme at military facilities.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Row over research quality at elite institutes
Alya Mishra
A high-level public row has broken out between two cabinet ministers over the quality of India’s premier institutions, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), and particularly their research capability, which is seen as lagging behind other countries.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Minister rounds on university reform critics
David Jobbins and Brendan O’Malley
Universities Minister David Willetts insisted last week that Britain’s universities will be stronger after higher education reforms and will remain world-class in 10 years time.
Full report on the University World News site

EAST AFRICA: Higher education harmonisation hitches
Gilbert Nganga
A fresh row has erupted over the planned harmonisation of higher education systems in the East African Community region, after member states differed over the duration of degrees.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Terrorist threat hampers research in Sahel
Yojana Sharma
Research projects vital for the Sahel region are in jeopardy across Western Africa, particularly in Mali, Mauritania and Niger, as fears about terrorist attacks increase and scientists abandon fieldwork in isolated parts of the region.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Ministers approve creation of ‘science city’
Wagdy Sawahel
Egypt will create a ‘science city’ that will include a university and an institute for science and technology as part of its post-revolution efforts to promote higher education and innovation in the country and the Arab and African regions.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY-RUSSIA: Greater collaboration planned
Michael Gardner
Germany and Russia intend to step up collaboration in education and research. The ‘German-Russian Year of Science’ launched in Moscow is to focus on a ‘Partnership of Ideas’. In higher education, the initiative places an emphasis on new blood for research.
Full report on the University World News site

International university rankings

ASIA: Japan falling, Korea and China rising
The 2011 QS Asian University Rankings are interesting for what they reveal about general trends in Asia, comments RICHARD HOLMES. They show that more Japanese universities are falling than rising while Korean and Chinese schools are generally advancing as are those in Malaysia and Indonesia, although perhaps not so rapidly. But while the rankings are interesting, they should be treated with some caution.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: Hong Kong and Japan lead regional rankings
Yojana Sharma
One of Hong Kong’s newer universities, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), has become the top university in Asia in the latest QS Asian rankings released last week. But Japan maintains one of the strongest university systems in Asia, dominating the top ranks.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: Hong Kong’s rising university star
Yojana Sharma
When a minor planet was named after Hong Kong’s University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in celebration of the institution’s 20th anniversary, it seemed a fitting tribute to a rising star. HKUST has been in the spotlight, having just topped the 2011 QS Asian University Rankings, edging out its august older rival Hong Kong University and a host of other older renowned universities in Asia.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Rankings spurred university reforms
Jan Petter Myklebust
International rankings contributed significantly to the speeding up of France’s university reforms and paved the way for the French excellence initiative starting in 2010, according to university leaders.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Growing global role for private institutions
Erin Millar
The potential role of the private for-profit sector in global higher education was highlighted at a forum in Canada last week, where 120 university and corporate leaders from more than 20 countries met to explore how best to expand higher education across international borders.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Academic bloggers everywhere
Tens of thousands of opinionated academics around the world have become internet bloggers while universities are increasingly establishing blogging sites on their web pages. Blogging has moved from being a nerdish undergraduate pastime to an accepted communication medium within the academic community.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Offshore staffing – The issues
Getting staff of the right calibre for offshore operations is a key element in protecting a university’s reputation for quality in the country concerned, writes JOHN FIELDEN. The issue is no longer one of exporting staff from the home country, but of tapping global networks and markets for the best people. University managers and human resource spec ialists need to acquire the recruitment skills of multinationals.
Full report on the University World News site

AMERICAS: Exporting progress to universities
Past attempts to help transform developing countries though their universities have had mixed results. In the Americas, says DANIEL LEVY, it could be argued that they were a failure in terms of improving the general state of higher education. But if we ask where much of the best within Latin American higher education is, and how it got there, the effort to export and import progress appears reasonably and laudably successful and may have some lessons for the future.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Collaboration across divides – A way forward
There are huge gains to be had in bringing people together from different places and cultures for higher education collaboration, and yet the challenges in doing so are also evident. PETER KAHN argues for imaginative responses that take account of the nature of collaborative working and the need for social infrastructure, and seek to engage all partners.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: More and better quality internships needed
Young people need more internships during their higher education courses and better quality ones, argues the EUROPEAN YOUTH FORUM. It outlines what needs to be done to improve young people’s chances of finding jobs at a challenging time.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports worldwide
Noemi Bouet*
Several hundred ethnic Uzbek students from Kyrgyzstan, who are studying in Rzhev in Russia, have been harassed by the authorities. Colleagues of Iranian student Omid Kokabee, who is studying for a PhD in physics at the University of Texas, are concerned that he might have been jailed while visiting Iran during the Christmas break. In Syria, a student and other detainees have been tortured and beaten by security forces in the coastal town of Banias. UK freedom of information laws have allegedly been misused to harass and intimidate climate scientists. And in Swaziland student leader Maxwell Dlamini has been held by the authorities since 11 April and a campaign has been launched to support his case.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Senate report finds waste in science research
Scientific studies in America conducted in the public interest appear to have veered off course, according to a new report that documents government-sponsored research gems such as having shrimp walk on tiny treadmills to measure the impact of sickness on crustaceans, reports Fox News.
More on the University World News site


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CHINA: University enrolment crisis looms
For decades, attending university has been the Chinese version of the ‘American Dream’, promising a rise from rags to riches for those who have studied hard and invested heavily in education. But a recent slump in the number of students enrolling to take the college entrance examinations has awakened universities to an inconvenient truth: they will soon have to contend with a decreasing number of students, write Yao Yuan, Guo Jiuhui and Liu Baosen for Xinhuanet.
More on the University World News site

US: Enrolment growth outpaces faculty growth
Growth in enrolments has outpaced growth in public university and college faculty and staff in recent years, according to a new report issued by the State Higher Education Executive Officers, writes Andrea Fuller for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

US: Chinese agents exploit student influx
Leon Lin was ecstatic when he found out he’d be leaving home in southern China to study at the University of Connecticut. As the Chinese agent whom his parents paid US$5,000 to help him get into the school told him, the university’s flagship campus at Storrs was a highly ranked institution, with 25,000 students and ready access to Boston and New York City, writes Daniel Golden for Bloomberg News.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: New plan to boost foreign student numbers
Taiwan’s Cabinet approved a four-year NT$5.68 billion (US$196 million) plan on 26 May that will boost education sector competitiveness and promote the country as a hub of advanced learning in East Asia, writes Kwangyin Liu for Taiwan Today.
More on the University World News site

KOREA: Overseas study loses its lustre
Has the great Korean experiment in early overseas education failed? An increasing number of students who left the country at a young age are returning home to continue their university studies because they find it difficult to get jobs abroad. At the same time, the number of secondary school children going abroad is also declining, reports The Chosunilbo.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities step up overseas recruiting
Access to university should be based on ability to learn, not ability to pay, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron insisted earlier this month, writes Harriet Swain for the Guardian. Denying reports that the government would allow universities to recruit above their student number limit so long as the extra students paid higher fees, he was adamant: “There is no question of people being able to buy their way into university,” he said.
More on the University World News site

UK: ‘Private sector threat is being ignored’
Ministers have been accused of ignoring a damning report highlighting the threat posed by private universities to the world-class reputation of British higher education, writes Daniel Boffey for The Observer. The coalition government is driving forward reforms to allow commercial companies to set up universities to compete with traditional institutions.
More on the University World News site

UK: Black students feel left out by ‘white cliques’
University coursework should be marked anonymously to deal with concerns that potential bias against a “foreign-sounding name” can cost students marks, a report by the National Union of Students recommends. The report also urges universities to minimise “eurocentric bias” when drawing up curricula, reports Jeevan Vasagar for the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: University chief in new tribunal case
A Scottish university principal suspended from his post in controversial circumstances has launched a second tribunal case against his employers. Professor Bernard King, Principal of Abertay University in Dundee, believes he was discriminated against because he acted as a ‘whistleblower’ on behalf of other staff, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.
More on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Universities asked to teach anti-graft
Indonesia’s national anti-graft agency last week called for more universities across the country to offer anti-corruption classes to students. Abdullah Hehamahua, a senior adviser at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), said that because graft was categorised as an extraordinary crime, there needed to be serious efforts to introduce prevention policies into university curricula, reports the Jakarta Globe.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Aptitude tests may better reflect ability
The Australian Council for Educational Research has issued a report suggesting that an emphasis on tertiary admissions scores is stopping hundreds of capable students from accessing university, writes Breanna Tucker for the Canberra Times.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Mongol students protest shepherd’s death
Ethnic Mongolians in northern China have held a rare protest in front of a government building over the death of a shepherd, reports the BBC. Crowds of students last week marched to the building in Xilinhot, a city in Inner Mongolia, rights groups said.
More on the University World News site

US: Many called, few chosen by top universities
Nicole Ederer was delighted when Columbia and Duke universities wooed her with e-mails and letters after she scored 214 out of 240 on the preliminary college entrance exam she took in her junior year. The 18-year-old high school senior said she spent about US$780 on 12 applications after mailings from top schools such as Duke. In the end she was rejected by Duke, Columbia and Cornell, and plans to attend the University of Maryland, writes Janet Lorin for Bloomberg News.
More on the University World News site

US: For-profits spend less on students – Report
For-profit colleges spend less than a third of the money on educating students than public universities do, even though for-profit schools cost nearly twice as much as public institutions, writes Chris Kirkham for the Huffington Post.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Broadband for universities by year-end
By the end of December, every major campus of every university in South Africa will have top-class broadband connectivity to the South African National Research Network (Sanren), writes Farzana Rasool for IT Web.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Student housing needs spur development
The Kenyan government policy of de-linking admission from bed capacity in universities and technical institutions is spurring rapid growth of property development in the country, writes Ngondi Mburu for Business Daily.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Government mulls university bonds
The Ministry of Human Resource Development is considering allowing educational institutions to float bond issues for fund-generation, writes Kalpana Pathak for the Business Standard.
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IRELAND: Scheme aims to re-skill jobless
The University of Limerick, University College Dublin, Dublin City University and University College Cork have all signed up to offer courses under a new programme offering higher education opportunities for those out of work, writes Jamie Smyth for the Irish Times.
More on the University World News site
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