ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0175 12 June 2011
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HE Events Diary

University complaints that Australia's top climate scientists have received death threats, and have been relocated to ensure their safety, made headlines worldwide last week. See the News section. Credit: Care

Students in Hong Kong are uncovering exploitative practices in global brand factories in China, such as Foxconn, where a blast recently killed three workers. See the Features section. Credit: AP

South Africa's media and civil society have mobilised against a bill seriously restricting free speech and academic freedom, but universities are 'missing in action'. See the Commentary section. Credit: Right2Know


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, LINDA YEUNG profiles the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour, a group of mostly postgraduate students whose mission is to uncover exploitative practices in the China-based factories of well-known global brands. In Commentary, BOB BRECHER argues that the launch in Britain of the private New College of the Humanities undermines public education, but could galvanise a fight-back against privatisation of the public sector. JANE DUNCAN writes that a proposed Protection of Information Bill poses a major threat to academic freedom in South Africa but universities are largely ‘missing in action’ against it, and JOHN AKEC warns of an impending higher education crisis in Africa’s newest state, South Sudan.


University World News next week

Next week, University World News journalists are attending three international conferences – the Talloires Network meeting of university leaders in Madrid, our own first Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education in Toronto, and the triennial of the International Association of University Presidents in New York. Most of next Sunday’s newspaper will be dedicated to reporting on these important global conferences, and there will be no Africa Edition – although there will be plenty of coverage of African higher education in the Global Edition, which will be sent to all of our 31,000 readers in 150 countries.

GLOBAL: Community engagement emerging as a key issue
Karen MacGregor
The Cinderella mission of the modern university – community engagement – is at last emerging as a global issue for higher education. Next week in Madrid, some 200 university leaders from around the world will gather for the second Talloires Network conference to debate developments and issues around university engagement, and to share best practice.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Building bridges through education – IAUP
Yojana Sharma
“Building Bridges through Education” is the theme of this year’s International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) conference, which takes place in New York from 17-20 June. Held every three years, it is said to be the world’s largest gathering of university presidents, vice-chancellors and rectors.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

AUSTRALIA: Death threats for climate researchers
Geoff Maslen
Climate scientists at Australia’s top universities have received death threats and other menacing warnings to stop their research or suffer the consequences. In an unprecedented action, the Australian National University said last weekend that several of the scientists had been relocated to a more secure location while security in the buildings where other climate researchers worked had been tightened.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Europe’s new ranking system unveiled
Karen MacGregor
The Europe-driven global benchmarking system U-Multirank, which allows universities to create personalised rankings using an array of indicators, was unveiled in Brussels last week. It is “a new user-driven, multi-dimensional and multi-level ranking tool in higher education and research,” said its creators.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Guidelines to ease graduate unemployment
Yojana Sharma
China’s highest administrative authority, the State Council chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, has said cities should remove residency restrictions on graduates to reduce unemployment. But the improving of graduate mobility will not apply to the most sought-after cities.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Students may delay foreign universities bill
Alya Mishra
Deliberation over India’s much-delayed Foreign Universities Bill to allow international universities to set up campuses in the country may be dragged out even further after the student body of the ruling Congress party raised a series of concerns over the proposed legislation.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Bin Laden home a ‘university for peace’?
Ameen Amjad Khan
Discussions are underway in Pakistan on the future use of the late Osama Bin Laden’s mansion hideout in Abbottabad, with academics suggesting it should be converted into a university dedicated to teaching tolerance and peace.
Full report on the University World News site

LATIN AMERICA: Partnerships to boost higher education
Eileen Travers
After a consortium of 24 national and international university associations gathered in Colombia last month to launch a project to boost regional development of higher education, Latin American students entering universities this year will begin to see marked changes before they graduate, project officials say.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Jobless academics demand university posts
Ashraf Khaled
On obtaining a doctoral degree in ceramics in 2009, Hassan Mahmoud believed that his dream of becoming a lecturer at one of Egypt’s 36 universities would come true. But he has been unable to find a job, and joined dozens of other PhD-holders who recently protested outside the headquarters of the cabinet in Cairo.
Full report on the University World News site

ARAB STATES: Division over doctorates for despots
Wagdy Sawahel
Universities are divided over whether honorary degrees and titles awarded to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and other Arab rulers or their families should be withdrawn in response to violent resistance to popular uprisings calling for democratic change.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Most junior researchers have studied abroad
Michael Gardner
Most of Germany’s junior scientists and scholars have gone abroad at some stage in their education and training, according to a survey by the German higher education statistics agency. Mobility appears to be highest in the natural sciences.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Budget hike raises hope for 40,000 students
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya has set in motion a clear plan to ease its higher education admission crisis, with the Joint Admissions Board (JAB) announcing this month that institutions would admit one in three rather than one in four qualified school-leavers and the government upping funding for the sector.
Full report on the University World News site


ASIA: South Korea backs ASEAN cyber university
The South Korean government last week announced a US$1.8 million grant to Vietnam to establish the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Cyber University for e-learning by July 2012.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Students and academics against sweatshops
Linda Yeung
Every summer for the last six years Parry Leung, a doctoral student at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), has visited factories in China on a mission to uncover exploitative practices at the manufacturing plants of well-known global brands.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: The fight for the humanities begins in earnest
The launch in Britain of the private New College of the Humanities undermines not only public education but also the idea that the humanities should be open to everyone, argues BOB BRECHER. However, it could offer the perfect tool to galvanise a fight-back against the privatisation of the public higher education sector.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: The prevention of scholarship bill
If the Protection of Information Bill, proposed by South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, is enacted in its present form, academics could be jailed for possessing documents and research into key areas could become impossible. JANE DUNCAN writes that the bill represents the single biggest threat to academic freedom since democracy was achieved in 1994, and that universities are largely ‘missing in action’ against it.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH SUDAN: The role of universities in a new nation
South Sudan, which will gain independence in July, faces an imminent crisis in its higher education provision given that many of the academics in its universities are from the north of Sudan. What can be done? JOHN AKEC argues for a new vision of higher education that is fit for the 21st century.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports worldwide
Noemi Bouet*
A new rule has made it more difficult for asylum seekers in Britain to enter university, by classifying them as overseas rather than home students. In Egypt, security guards have violently dispersed students protesting outside the Ministry of Higher Education in Cairo, and in Bahrain 20-year-old poet and student Ayat al-Qarmezi is facing prison for reading a poem critical of the regime during a pro-democracy demonstration. Six Italian seismologists and a government official are facing trial over deaths linked to the earthquake that destroyed L’Aquila in April 2009.
Full report on the University World News site


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US: Universities in ‘scary’ African land deals
Some prominent American universities and pension funds, among other wealthy foreign investors, are allegedly purchasing huge tracts of land in Africa – acts that may lead to the eviction of thousands of local farmers, according to a study by the Oakland Institute, a California-based think tank, reports International Business Times.
More on the University World News site

RUSSIA: Muslim university rector shot dead
Gunmen last Tuesday killed the rector of a Muslim university in southern Russia who had been leading a government-sponsored effort to counter violence in the region by reviving the local traditions of Sufi Islam, which he said were less likely to inspire suicide bombers, writes Andrew E Kramer for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Student executed for cover-up murder
Yao Jiaxin, a university student who stabbed a young mother to death to cover up a hit-and-run accident, was executed last Tuesday in Xi’an, the capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi province, with the approval of the Supreme People's Court, reports Xinhau.
More on the University World News site

IRAN: Ministry declares Baha’i university illegal
The Baha'i Institute of Higher Education in Iran has been declared illegal by the Ministry of Science and Technology, reports Radio Ramaneh. The Iran Students’ News Agency cited the ministry’s announcement that “the online university BIHE has not received any ministry permits for operation, and all its activities are illegal”.
More on the University World News site

BANGLADESH: Private universities to be regulated
The government of Bangladesh will form a national accreditation council, aimed at improving the standard of education in private universities, reports It also remains committed to establishing a public university in every district.
More on the University World News site

IRELAND: Colleges prepare for British student influx
Irish universities could face a surge in applications from Britain next year as cash-strapped students flee soaring fees. Annual fees at many English universities will be increased to over €10,000 (US$14,496) a year. The new charges will come into effect for new entrants to college courses in 2012, writes Kim Bielenberg for The Independent.
More on the University World News site

UK: New college professor complains of abuse
Professor AC Grayling has spoken of how he has become a figure of vitriol among students and the academic establishment after announcing plans to establish a for-profit private university, writes Shiv Malik for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities accused of breeding terrorists
England’s universities have become a breeding ground for extremism and terrorist recruitment, according to a disturbing government report which identifies 40 English universities where “there may be particular risk of radicalisation or recruitment on campus”, reports James Slack for The Daily Mail.
More on the University World News site

UK: Carbon emissions rise at UK universities
Carbon emissions have risen at most of the UK’s universities over the past five years, prompting concern that institutions will fail to meet strict targets for reductions by 2020, writes Rachel Williams for the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

KOREA: Students denied quality education – survey
Korean university students are denied quality education services even though they are paying exorbitantly high tuition fees, according to an OECD survey that ranks the nation last among member countries in terms of the college education environment, reports The Chosunilbo.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Chinese postgraduate numbers underwhelming
Taiwanese graduate schools admitted only a little more than one third of the quota of enrolees in their first year of being open to mainland Chinese applicants. Only 248, or 38%, of the total 653 spots in masters and doctorate programmes allocated by Taiwanese universities were filled, according to figures released last week, reports The China Post.
More on the University World News site

UK-INDIA: Deal to treble Indian places forges ahead
A £5 million-a-year (US$8.15 million) partnership between India and the UK is to help the bid by the world’s second most populous country to treble the number of university places to 40 million, writes John Morgan for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Universities ramp up ties with India
That 2011 is the Year of India in Canada is a fact not lost on Canadian universities, many of which are ramping up efforts to play a larger part in serving India’s skyrocketing demand for higher education, writes James Bradshaw for The Globe and Mail.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Academics lead China trade drive
Scottish academics are leading a drive to sell financial expertise in one of China’s growing business centres, reports the BBC. A mission to Tianjin, east of Beijing, last week included senior representatives from six Scottish universities in a bid to win export contracts and to boost academic exchanges, research collaboration and flows of students between Scotland and China.
More on the University World News site

PHILIPPINES: Fees to be investigated
Senator Edgardo J Angara has sought an inquiry by the senate into the imposition of redundant and excessive miscellaneous fees by higher education institutions in the Philippines, which he said was a major factor contributing to rising drop-out rates, writes Mark Anthony N Manuel for the Manila Bulletin.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Board proposed for medical education
A consortium of public and private medical universities has proposed a Pakistan National Board for Postgraduate Medical Education to promote uniform postgraduate medical education in the country, writes Amer Malik for The News.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Call to scrap admissions board
Private universities are calling for the scrapping of the Joint Admissions Board, a move likely to attract protests from public universities, reports Kenfrey Kiberenge for The Standard.
More on the University World News site
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