ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0181 24 July 2011
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Stepford Universities

HE Events Diary

Famous Chinese artist and rights activist, Ai Weiwei, has accepted a professorship at the Berlin University of the Arts. See the Features section. Credit:

Steve Woodfield reviews 'Reinventing Higher Education: The promise of innovation', edited by Ben Wildavsky, Andrew P Kelly and Kevin Carey. See the Book Review section.

Rahul Choudaha writes that an incoherent regulatory framework and lack of standards in Indian higher education are risking the quality and potential of foreign partnerships. See the Commentary section.


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.


Announcement – Break and summer debate

As in previous years, University World News is taking a two-week break over the northern hemisphere summer holidays. We will continue to cover breaking news and for the first time will publish a ‘summer debate’ series, which we will send to you on 31 July and 7 August, instead of the usual newswire.

First debate, 31 July
Is too much emphasis being put on world-class universities to the detriment of issues like widening participation? With Ellen Hazelkorn of the Dublin Institute of Technology, Danny Byrne of international rankings spec ialists QS, Phil Altbach, editor of International Higher Education, and Maria Cristina Parra from the University of Zulia in Venezuela.

Second debate, 7 August
How much say should students have in how a university is run, and does the increasing focus on the student experience raise or lower quality? With Catherine Montgomery of the UK’s Northumbria University and author of Understanding the International Student Experience, and William Leonard, vice-dean of SolBridge International School of Business in Korea.

This week’s highlights

In Features, ARD JONGSMA looks at the EU’s efforts to increase mobility to and from its eastern neighbours. YOJANA SHARMA explains why China’s top students are opting to study in Hong Kong, and LINDA YEUNG reports on Chinese artist and rights activist Ai Weiwei’s decision to take up a professorship in Germany. They also probe the troubles besetting China's experimental South University of Science and Technology. ALISON MOODIE unpacks a new report, The Undereducated American, which found that the US needs an extra 20 million college educated workers by 2025. In commentary, RAHUL CHOUDAHA argues that an incoherent regulatory framework and lack of standards in Indian higher education are risking the quality and potential of foreign partnerships. HIEP PHAM says Vietnam needs to reduce bureaucracy and bias against young researchers if it wants to attract back top students who study abroad, and BIN WU and JOHN MORGAN write that China has entered a new stage in the internationalisation of higher education. Finally, STEVE WOODFIELD reviews Reinventing Higher Education, edited by Ben Wildavsky, Andrew P Kelly and Kevin Carey.


NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

PERU: Student strike unabated amid bloody conflict
María Elena Hurtado
Students from Huancavelica National University in central Peru remain on strike despite concessions by the government in a conflict that has left three people dead, hundreds injured and several regional government buildings sacked and burned to the ground.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: EC invites bids for record research funds
Jan Myklebust and Brendan O’Malley
European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has announced the biggest ever invitation to researchers and innovators to compete for nearly EUR7 billion (US$10 billion) funding. It is expected to attract 16,000 participating institutions, create up to 174,000 jobs in the short term and nearly 450,000 jobs and EUR80 billion in economic growth over 15 years.
Full report on University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Collapse in foreign student numbers
Geoff Maslen
Australia’s universities face further sharp falls in enrolments of overseas students, with many institutions already suffering the effects of a massive downturn and the loss of millions of dollars in fee revenues. A report released last week predicts a continuing decline following a government clampdown on foreign graduating students gaining permanent residency.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Investment in Tibet universities questioned
Yojana Sharma
China has pledged to raise university enrolment in the Tibet Autonomous Region to 30% over the next five years in a new focus on higher education – a move that experts and Tibetans in exile say may not benefit ethnic Tibetans, but could increase the numbers of Han Chinese moving to the region.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: ‘Model’ university criticised by advisors
Linda Yeung
A new research university set up in Shenzhen as its first ‘autonomous’ institution with an independent administration and curriculum, and billed as a model for higher education reform, has been criticised by its Hong Kong advisors for poor governance. Now Chinese government officials have assumed control of the governing board, contradicting its much-touted claims of autonomy.
More in the Features section.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Universities set for huge surge of students
Michael Gardner
Universities in Germany are expecting an enormous increase in first-year students next semester. This is due not only to studying becoming more popular in recent years, but also to double cohorts of higher secondary school-leavers and the country ending conscription.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Terrorist threats close universities
Tunde Fatunde
The fundamentalist Islamic organisation Boko Haram has unleashed violence in the north-west Nigerian university city of Maiduguri. Clashes with security forces have claimed the lives of civilians, including two lecturers. With security agents failing to contain the growing violence, higher education institutions – which have been targeted by the fundamentalists for being outposts of ‘Western civilisation’ – have been closed indefinitely.
Full story on the University World News site

SOUTH KOREA: Universities will be asked to cut fees
Yojana Sharma
South Korean universities are autonomous bodies that set their own tuition fees and the government will “request” them to lower fees that have become among the world’s highest, sparking major student protests in May and June, a vice-minister has said.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Students charged illegal fees, union finds
Jane Marshall
A third of French universities are “illegally” charging students for services that should be covered by statutory fees, claims Unef, France’s biggest student union. And students have criticised the new Minister for Higher Education and Research, Laurent Wauquiez, for his first ministerial decision – to raise their living costs.
Full report on the University World News site

UAE: Smart system to prevent degree fraud
Wagdy Sawahel
A smart chip system to prevent the use of fake university certificates has been adopted in the United Arab Emirates. More than 30 universities and educational institutions have partnered with technology company Amricon to implement the Smart Document Attestation Solution.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: Brussels pushes for more east-west mobility
Ard Jongsma
The European Union wants to increase mobility to and from its eastern neighbours. In general, the eastern neighbours agree. But a recent conference in Warsaw found that hurdles such as brain drain, visa issues, recognition and reciprocity still hamper a significant volume increase.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Top students opt for Hong Kong
Yojana Sharma
Both China and Hong Kong were agog at the news earlier this month that the top performers in China’s ferociously competitive national university entrance examination (gaokao) have opted to study at Hong Kong universities rather than China’s own prestigious institutions.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: How a ‘model’ university hit the rocks
Yojana Sharma
A bold experiment in China to set up a university free of Communist Party control appears to have run aground in its first year of operation, with experts saying the university president, although a distinguished academic, may have bitten off more than he could chew in taking on the party structure.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Dissident artist accepts German professorship
Linda Yeung
Prominent Chinese artist and rights activist Ai Weiwei, one of the designers of the ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic stadium in Beijing, is unlikely to take up the guest professorship offered by Berlin University of the Arts before next year, even though he has been released from detention in China.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Extra 20 million graduates needed by 2025
Alison Moodie
Since 1980 the United States has produced too few college graduates to meet demand in the workplace, according to a new study from the University of Georgetown, and has lost its place as the world’s most educated nation. America needs an additional 20 million college educated workers by 2025.
Full report on the University World News site


INDIA: A crisis of confidence in higher education?
India needs a more coherent regulatory framework, enforcement of its regulations and higher professional standards, or it risks jeopardising potential partnerships with foreign universities, argues RAHUL CHOUDAHA.
Full report on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Young academic talent not keen to return
Vietnam has been trying to reform its higher education system. But it needs to address a university culture that is excessively bureaucratic and is biased against younger researchers if it wants to attract back students who have studied abroad, argues HIEP PHAM.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: A new internationalisation era for Chinese
We are entering a new stage in the internationalisation of higher education for Chinese students. Western higher education providers need to focus more on strategic engagement with relevant Chinese stakeholders and issues of quality, with a particular emphasis on broad social knowledge, cross-cultural communication and the practice of engagement with society, say BIN WU and JOHN MORGAN.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Reinventing Higher Education
Reinventing Higher Education: The promise of innovation paints a picture of the structural problems facing American higher education. But it is hampered by a lack of student and international perspectives, says STEVE WOODFIELD.
Full review on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports worldwide
Noemi Bouet*
In Iran, jailed pro-democracy student activist Abdollah Momeni has been denied medical leave despite serious and worsening health problems. An Iranian postgraduate student at a US university, imprisoned for five months in Tehran for allegedly plotting conspiracy, has asked for a chance to defend himself in a fair trial. In Saudi Arabia prominent scholar Yusuf al-Ahmad has been arrested for criticising the authorities’ lack of judicial process for security detainees. Malaysian students have rallied in 25 cities around the world to support free and fair elections in the country, and in Zimbabwe charges of treason against six activists have been downgraded to inciting public violence.
Full report on the University World News site


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US-INDIA: Summit to expand higher education dialogue
India’s Minister of External Affairs Shri SM Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met in New Delhi last week for the second annual meeting of the US-India Strategic Dialogue, reports the Asian Scientist. The two countries plan to host a higher education summit in Washington DC on 13 October to find ways for their higher education communities to collaborate.
More on the University World News site

GERMANY: Cash tempts university guardians
As a textbook example of how not to manage the relationship between private industry and the academy, Deutsche Bank’s agreement with two leading German universities to sponsor their joint institute for applied mathematical research has a lot going for it, writes DD Guttenplan for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: World’s universities forge local alliances
Foreign universities are getting ready to grab a bigger slice of the education pie in China by firming up existing partnerships and forging new alliances with Chinese educational institutions, writes Wang Chao for China Daily.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Ministry cracks down on errant universities
For a long time, errant private higher education providers in Malaysia deliberately broke the rules and got away with it. Anything more than a cursory disciplinary glance from the relevant authorities – or the occasional media frenzy – would be as good as it got, and misdemeanours largely passed under the radar. No longer, writes Richard Lim for The Star.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Colleges see surge in Indian students
Canada, which has long promoted its eagerness to attract foreigners, is experiencing a surge in the number of Indian students heading there for higher education, writes Vir Singh for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Universities fail to impress Indian pupils
Australia appears to be struggling in the all-important perception stakes, with a new survey of Indian students showing that the UK and US are considered to have higher quality institutions and a better quality of life, writes Julie Hare for The Australian.
More on the University World News site

NORTH KOREA: Students must pick medicinal herbs
In addition to requiring university students to help in the construction of 100,000 houses in Pyongyang, the North Korean authorities have placed another heavy obligation on students – they must help collect medicinal herbs – writes Kang Mi Jin for the Daily NK.
More on the University World News site

UK: Postgraduate fee hike warning
UK universities are raising their fees for home and European Union postgraduate students sharply, a survey suggests, prompting warnings about access to academia and other professions, writes John Morgan for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

UK: Tough times ahead for 100,000 students
More than 100,000 students will face a double disappointment when they fail to find a place at university this summer and are hit with the prospect of trebled tuition fees when they try again in 12 months' time, writes Daniel Boffey for the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

UK: Open University sets £5,000 tuition fees
The Open University has announced tuition fees of £5,000 (US$8,801) per year for the equivalent of a full-time place for students in England from next year, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC. This will mean that the Open University, which provides degree courses by distance learning, will have among the lowest fees in England.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: English fees to price out Scots
Scots could be priced out of leading English universities including Oxford and Cambridge by the rise in fees south of the border and confusion over what financial support is on offer, writes Eddie Barnes for Scotland on Sunday.
More on the University World News site

US: Student visa quest ends in tragedy
With his new student visa, Prasanth Goinaka was on a path toward his dream: an MBA from an American university in the heart of Silicon Valley, writes Lisa M Krieger for Mercury News. That’s why his parents back in India were stunned when their 28-year-old son was killed while manning a cash register at a convenience store in Oklahoma City – 2,400 kilometres from campus.
More on the University World News site

US: Embattled psychologist resigns from Harvard
Marc D Hauser, the Harvard psychologist found responsible for eight counts of scientific misconduct by the university, has resigned, ending speculation about whether the embattled professor would return to campus this autumn, writes Tom Bartlett for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: Makerere University staff threaten strike
The Makerere University Academic Staff Association, Muasa, has warned that members will not teach at the beginning of the next academic year unless Uganda’s government pays the balance of their savings with the National Insurance Corporation, writes Patience Ahimbisibwe for the Daily Monitor.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: First private inter-university system
The Taiwan-based Buddhist monastic order Fo Guang Shan has combined its four institutions of higher learning, located in three different countries, to establish Taiwan’s first private inter-university system, reports Taiwan Today.
More on the University World News site
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