ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0179 10 July 2011
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HE Events Diary

European Union Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has announced a proposal to increase funding for research and innovation as part of the EU's pro-jobs agenda. See the News report.

After years of worrying that recruiting African students would contribute to the continent's 'brain drain', the elite Sciences Po in Paris is to launch a Europe-Africa undergraduate programme. See the story in Features.

Bert Vandenkendelaere, outgoing leader of the European Students' Union, reflects on his year in office and on Europe's higher education challenges. See Student View.


University World News was a media partner to the Talloires Network Leadership Conference in 2011, the OECD’s Institutional Management in Higher Education Conference in 2010, and the Unesco World Conference on Higher Education in 2009.


This week’s highlights

In Features, ALECIA D McKENZIE looks at a Europe-Africa undergraduate programme to be launched by France’s elite Sciences Po. YOJANA SHARMA reports on the huge debts borne by universities in China as a result of massive student expansion over the past decade, and in Commentary QIANG ZHA argues that the East Asian model China has followed in growing higher education risks increasing social inequality. CECILE HOAREAU writes that recent reforms in France show the country has been responding to challenges kicked up by the internationalisation of higher education, despite its anti-globalisation reputation. And in Student View BERT VANDENKENDELAERE, outgoing head of the European Students’ Union, says now is the time for greater investment in the long-term future of Europe and in higher education.


NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

EUROPE: Plan for one million new research jobs
Jan Petter Myklebust
European Union Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is planning to create one million jobs in research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the next seven-year research programme. The announcement came as a new report revealed that Europe’s investment in research and innovation has been outstripped by its competitors since the mid-1990s.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: France, Germany top in higher education aid
Yojana Sharma
The world’s biggest higher education aid donors have emerged as France and Germany. France provides some US$1.36 billion and Germany around $1.05 billion a year, mostly in the form of scholarships and fellowships, according to VN Varghese, Secretary General of the International Working Group on Education, a Paris-based group of aid agencies.
Full report on the University World News site

IRAN: Ahmadinejad halts segregation, firings
Yojana Sharma and Shafigeh Shirazi
Plans to segregate male and female students in Iran’s universities have been put on hold after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intervened personally last week to oppose the move. He also insisted that no more professors should be forcibly ‘retired’ until new ministry guidelines have been approved – but purges of some professors in the humanities are already underway.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Black colleges find role with overseas partners
Alison Moodie
Historically black universities and colleges in the US have seen dwindling international growth in recent years, but an ambitious new coalition hopes to change that. The International Collaboration Group, launched in the spring, will support internationalisation efforts at 11 public institutions including York College, Central State University and Texas Southern University.
Full report on the University World News site

RUSSIA: Plan to fund 10,000 a year to study abroad
Eugene Vorotnikov
The Russian government has announced plans to fund up to 10,000 students a year to study abroad at the world’s leading universities. Most are expected to go to the United States – and efforts will be made to ensure they return.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Serbia and Kosovo strike degrees deal
Zlatko Conkas
The European University Association has welcomed an agreement between the governments of Serbia and Kosovo that will pave the way for the mutual recognition of degrees issued by their universities. The deal was stuck in Brussels on 2 July. A communiqué said Belgrade and Pristina would identify a “mutually agreed international body or third party academic institution” to certify the degrees.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Dropouts pledge secures university funding
Michael Gardner
The 37 public higher education institutions in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia have signed an agreement with the state government that secures funding up to 2015 in return for a commitment to reduce dropouts, improve access and raise teaching standards.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: QS releases final subject rankings
David Jobbins
A pattern of domination by universities in the United States and United Kingdom established in international subject rankings compiled by QS, the UK-based education network, is repeated for the final two groups of subjects. Social sciences and the arts and humanities are confirmed as the near-exclusive preserve of the developed, English speaking world, despite some strong performances by universities in the Far East.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Professional bodies reject degrees
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya’s higher education sector is battling a fresh crisis after two key professional bodies refused to recognise the degrees of hundreds of engineering and law graduates, prompting uncertainly over their futures.
Full report on the University World News site

World Conference of Science Journalists

The World Conference of Science Journalists was held in Doha, capital of Qatar, from 27 to 30 June. University World News was there.

EGYPT: Revolution turns over new leaf for universities
Munyaradzi Makoni
Higher education in Egypt is set to become a model for Africa and the Middle East as a result of the popular revolution that removed former president Hosni Mubarak and his regime from power and ushered in a new era of improvements. So said Dr Alaa Ibrahim of the American University in Cairo at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Doha.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Call to strengthen research for development
Ameen Amjad Khan
The World Conference of Science Journalists in Doha called for massive investment in university research for sustainable development in Africa. Delegates from across the world agreed that research taking place in African universities should be linked to development-related issues such as biotechnology, to tackle food security problems on the continent.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Pseudo-scientific research still rife
Ameen Amjad Khan
Pseudo-science – theories, assumptions and methods erroneously regarded as scientific – continues to be studied and ‘researched’ in many universities around the world, with billions of dollars ‘wasted’ on research into fake medical sciences, the World Conference of Science Journalists held in Qatar heard.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: Nottingham tops crime list for students
Brendan O’Malley
The Complete University Guide has published a list of the best and worst cities in the UK for the types of crime that most affect students
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Alarm over high university debts
Yojana Sharma
Universities in China continue to languish under huge debts as a result of runaway university expansion in the last decade. Despite government moves a few years ago to write off the worst debts Liu Liyun, a senior official with the National Audit Office (NAO), said last week that more than 1,100 of the country’s universities had racked up a total debt of CNY263 billion (US$40.7 billion) by the end of 2010.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Elite university launches Africa programme
Alecia D McKenzie
After years of “worrying” about Africa’s brain drain, one of France’s top universities has decided it is time to set up a special undergraduate programme for African students and others interested in the continent. The Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, known more simply as Sciences Po, will inaugurate its Europe-Africa programme in Paris this September, with an initial intake of around 40 students.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Massification has increased inequalities
China has dramatically increased the number of students taking part in higher education. But the way that it has done this, which most closely mirrors the East Asian model, risks increasing social inequality, argues QIANG ZHA.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Responding to pressures to internationalise
France has traditionally been seen as anti-globalisation, but a series of recent reforms show that it has been responding to the challenges presented by the internationalisation of higher education, if in its own style, writes CECILE HOAREAU.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Continent needs its own science indicators
Policies to stimulate African development require evidence that is difficult to obtain using existing indicators, says policy analyst WATU WAMAE. Science, technology and innovation indicators that are sensitive to the African context are needed to inform evidence-based policy that is effective in mobilising innovation for development.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: Time for higher education investment is now
BERT VANDENKENDELAERE looks back on his year as chair of the European Students’ Union and says now is the time for greater investment in the long-term future of Europe and in higher education. He calls on Europe’s 11 million students to voice opposition to political malpractice, and for faster Bologna implementation and more student-centred learning.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports worldwide
Noemi Bouet*
A Guinean student in The Gambia has been released after more than two months in prison or under house arrest, following accusations that he had been planning an uprising. In the UK an Oxford academic has been allowed, under freedom of information laws, to read formerly secret data on climate change. Ireland’s Royal College of Surgeons has come under fire for urging staff and students at its medical school in Bahrain not to become involved in politics and for failing to take a stand against the repression of doctors. And in Malaysia, a South Korean student has been arrested after attending a pro-democracy protest.
Full report on the University World News site


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CHILE: Student protests net $4 billion fund proposal
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, facing ongoing student protests, has proposed the creation of a US$4 billion fund for higher education, reports the BBC. In a televised speech, Pinera outlined measures including more grants and cheaper student loans.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Universities over-enrol in numbers game
Almost a quarter of Australia’s universities expect to be over-enrolled by more than 20% this year. And more than two-thirds began the year planning to take on extra students without any federal teaching subsidy to offset the cost, writes Bernard Lane for The Australian.
More on the University World News site

US: Promoting global science
A new partnership between the National Science Foundation and the US Agency for International Development will allow scientists from developing countries to apply and compete for support of research projects involving NSF-funded US colleagues, writes Susan R Morrissey for Chemical and Engineering News. The NSF will fund the US component of these projects, while USAID will foot the bill for the international researchers.
More on the University World News site

US: California cuts weigh heavily on colleges
The doors to the California’s newest medical school are already open, technically. A gleaming building with new labs is ready to house researchers and students. But when the state budget was approved last week, the plans to open the medical school at the University of California’s campus were shelved for at least another year, writes Jennifer Medina for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Anti-Semitism rising at universities – claim
A committee of current and former parliamentarians has concluded that incidents of anti-Semitism are growing in Canada, especially on university campuses, writes Gloria Galloway for The Globe and Mail. But critics say the work of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism was a poorly disguised attempt to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel.
More on the University World News site

SWITZERLAND: Scientists fear quick results pressure
Generations of schoolchildren have learned that Switzerland has only two raw materials: water and brainpower. But important as it is, education has never had a ministry of its own, writes Renat Kuenzi for SwissInfo. Last week, after more than 10 years of discussion, responsibility for higher education and research was switched from the interior to the economics ministry, which already looked after professional training.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Private university surveillance stepped up
Malaysia’s Higher Education Ministry is stepping up surveillance on private institutions of higher learning to ensure they adhere to regulations under Act 555, reports the official agency Bernama. Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Hou Kok Chung said this would ensure quality human capital.
More on the University World News site

BRAZIL: Vocational education expands to meet boom
In one corner at this Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology, four teenagers are learning how to use lathes, writes Andrew Downie for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Next door, a group of young adults is crowded around a desk testing electronic circuits.
More on the University World News site

US: What can universities do to keep costs down?
If the top business officers at America’s universities and colleges had their druthers, professors would have heavier teaching loads and tuition fees would keep rising, writes Stacy Teicher Khadaroo for The Christian Science Monitor.
More on the University World News site

UK: Study reveals extent of Oxbridge divide
Four schools and one sixth-form college sent more pupils to Oxford and Cambridge between them over three years than 2,000 schools and colleges across the UK, according to a new study that analyses university admissions from individual schools, writes Jeevan Vasagar for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Amity university to open in Dubai
Amity, one of India’s largest private universities, is preparing to open its doors in September, adding one more to Dubai’s array of branch campuses, writes Melanie Swan for The National. Its chancellor, Atul Chauhan, said Dubai was one of 25 countries in which the university plans to set up over the next four to five years.
More on the University World News site

EUROPE: EU funding for European Neighbourhood, Russia
The European Commission last week announced new funding to boost higher education projects and improve teaching across the European Neighbourhood and Russia, writes Eugene Eteris for the Baltic Course. It will allocate €47 million (US$67 million) under the Tempus programme.
More on the University World News site

JAPAN: Female graduates get more jobs
Among those who graduated from universities Japan this past spring, 66.4% of women found full-time employment, surpassing 57.7% of new male graduates who secured regular work, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.
More on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Academics oppose nine new universities
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has opposed a move by Nigeria’s federal government to establish nine universities, writes Jide Orintunsin for The Nation. The union said there had been no proper planning, as existing universities have not been adequately funded.
More on the University World News site

US: University arson suspect arrested in China
A decade after the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture burst into flames, the person accused of making the firebombs that started the blaze has been arrested, reports Brandi Kruse for MyNorthwest.
More on the University World News site
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