ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0187 4 September 2011
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HE Events Diary

Various Egyptian universities are preparing to elect their leaders for the first time. However, a News report notes some academics are threatening to strike over alleged broken promises to replace all university presidents and deans.

Barbara Kudrycka, the Polish Minister for Higher Education, would like to see a widening of the Erasmus student and staff exchange programme to non-EU neighbouring countries, writes a News report.

A new study finds that penguins regularly dive for up to 12 minutes by carefully managing their oxygen reserves. They fuel the dive aerobically initially and supplement the remainder with anaerobic metabolism. See Science Scene.


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, MAKKI MARSEILLES reports on growing opposition in universities to radical higher education reforms just approved by parliament. A new British Council report says would-be international students are turning to the internet and social media over printed prospectuses to select destination universities, writes GEOFF MASLEN, and JACQUIE WITHERS outlines a new study in Canada’s Ontario province revealing growing pressure on families to afford higher education. In Commentary, AMY EWEN reviews World Bank reports on higher education over the decades, and how they have responded to global concerns. NICK BROOKER investigates India’s impending foreign education bill and its implications for international universities wanting to grasp the huge opportunities becoming available in the country, and in Australia RUTH GRESHAM and VERONICA CLAYTON say more focused programmes are needed to help integrate international students into their host communities.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

LIBYA: New regime plans to reopen universities soon
Megan Detrie
Libya’s new government, the National Transitional Council, has said it plans to restart higher education this coming month. But the country’s universities remain unsure when doors will actually reopen for students. Many universities across the country have been closed or operating shoestring services, since Libya’s rebellion started in February.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Help for Libyan students
Geoff Maslen
The federal government will provide a loan of A$1.5 million (US$1.6 million) to the Libyan People’s Bureau (embassy) in Canberra to assist more than 650 sponsored Libyan students attending Australian universities. The decision was greeted with relief by students, who were facing non-payment of tuition fees and the suspension of their monthly stipend. Last month the Libyan Embassy ran out of money, leaving the students without any financial support.
Full report on the University World News site

AFGHANISTAN: University project on track after attack
Yojana Sharma
The British Council will officially resume its work in Afghanistan this weekend after a deadly Taliban attack on 19 August that physically destroyed its Kabul compound, killing 12 people during several hours of fighting as well as obliterating almost all materials relating to its work in the country.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Partial university elections anger academics
Ashraf Khaled
As several of Egypt’s 19 public universities prepare to elect their leaders for the first time, scores of academics are threatening strike action because of what they say is the government’s failure to keep a promise to replace all university presidents and deans.
Full report on the University World News site

PERU: Vatican threatens university’s Catholic status
María Elena Hurtado
The prestigious Pontifical Catholic University of Peru risks losing its name and status if it refuses to align its statutes with a Vatican dictate. The university is challenging the order from Rome arguing that it is bound by Peruvian, not Vatican, rules.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Polish presidency seeks to expand Erasmus
Brendan O’Malley
The Polish presidency of the European Union is planning to expand the Erasmus student and staff exchange programme to non-EU countries on its eastern and southern borders.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Report charts growth of lifelong learning
David Jobbins
A study of the conditions that enable universities in Europe to develop successful lifelong learning strategies has revealed that the vital supporting legislation is present in only two-thirds of the countries surveyed.
Full report on the University World News site

MAURITIUS: Plans to become a regional knowledge hub
Guillaume Gouges
Plans to create new universities in Mauritius in the coming years highlights the government’s ambition to transform the island into a regional knowledge hub. The country aims to attract about 100,000 foreign students by 2020, and campaigns are now being conducted in India and Tanzania to promote the island as a tertiary education destination.
Full report on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Six universities to be upgraded
Dinesh De Alwis
Sri Lanka’s Higher Education Ministry last week announced the launch of a special programme to upgrade six local universities, allocating some US$6 million to improving teaching, research and infrastructure to ‘international’ levels within the next few years.
Full report on the University World News site


NIGERIA: Top university hit by floods
Munyaradzi Makoni
The University of Ibadan, one of Nigeria’s leading higher education institutions, suffered huge infrastructural damage last week after torrential rain pounded the Oyo state capital, leading to floods. An assessment by the university revealed that property worth US$65 million was lost.
Full report on the University World News site


GREECE: Protests erupt over higher education reform
Makki Marseilles
More than 80 schools and departments are reported to be under occupation by students in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Crete, Jannena and Thrace as the government faces continued opposition to its higher education reforms, despite MPs uniting to vote for them in parliament.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Foreign students opt for online search
Geoff Maslen
The number of students around the world studying at foreign higher education institutions has jumped by more than 400% over the past 30 years and is now heading towards four million a year. But a new report says the traditional use of printed university prospectuses as a means of informing these mobile students is no longer effective as students turn to internet search engines and social media such as Facebook.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Rising university costs hit Ontario families
Jacquie Withers
Households in the Canadian province of Ontario are increasingly buckling under the strain of funding higher education, according to a report published last week. This year on average households have debt equal to 150% of their disposable income, compared to 93% in 1990. And taking inflation into account, students have witnessed a 244% real tuition fee increase between 1990 and 2011.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: The changing concerns of higher education
What have the World Bank reports on higher education brought to the learning process? AMY EWEN reviews some of their core tenets, such as access and institutional autonomy, and tracks how they have responded to global concerns and how issues such as relevance and brain drain have become increasingly prominent. She also shows how higher education has come to occupy a central role in education and development policy.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Implications of the foreign education bill
India represents a huge opportunity for global higher education institutions. The government knows this and is therefore rightly seeking to pass legislation to protect the interests of Indian students from a gold rush of commercially aggressive institutions, argues NICK BOOKER. Universities that are aware of the impact of the legislation on their India strategies will be better equipped to deal with it when the time comes.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Integrating international students
Programmes aimed at integrating international students often only promote superficial links between students and the host community. RUTH GRESHAM and VERONICA CLAYTON argue that a more focused and well-resourced programme is needed, and they report on the success of a pilot project in Australia, in the latest edition of the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Obesity epidemic spreads worldwide
Worldwide action is urgently required to reverse 40 years of a rising obesity epidemic, according to a group of Australian researchers. The researchers at Deakin University’s WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention in Melbourne say obesity will continue to rise unless governments take decisive, policy-driven action.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Interventions aids children’s development
To be a successful human takes creativity, flexibility, self-control and discipline, say researchers at the University of British Columbia. Central to all these are executive functions, including mentally playing with ideas, giving a considered rather than an impulsive response and staying focused.
Full report on the University World News site

ANTARCTICA: Long dives for Emperors
Emperor penguins fishing at sea and at an experimental dive hole often spend minimal times on the surface even after dives that last far beyond their measured 5.6 minute aerobic dive limit. Researchers from the US and Japan went to the Antarctic and attached accelerometer-based data loggers to Emperor penguins diving in the two different situations to evaluate the capacity of the birds to perform such dives without any apparent prolonged recovery periods.
Full report on the University World News site


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US: Stricter UK visa rules close campus
Less than six months after the British government announced tighter restrictions on student visas, at least one university has said it is being forced to close one of its campuses as a result of the new regulations, writes Jonathan J Li for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

UK: Inform on ‘vulnerable’ Muslim students – Police
University staff including lecturers, chaplains and porters are being asked to inform the police about Muslim students who are depressed or isolated, under new guidance for countering Islamist radicalism, write Ryan Gallagher and Rajeev Syal for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Ban lifted on distance postgraduate courses
The University Grants Commission has lifted its two-year ban on masters and PhD courses through correspondence, the U-turn apparently forced by legal opinion against the move following protests from universities, writes Basant Kumar Mohanty for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Panel backs for-profit institutes
In a potential game-changer for India’s education sector, the Planning Commission has suggested that the country allow for-profit institutes of higher learning, write Prashant K Nanda and Sangeeta Singh for LiveMint.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Open access may have unequal benefits
Open access is seen by many as the publishing model that is most in keeping with the egalitarian ethos of academia. But a paper by two economists suggests that ‘gold’ open access, under which the author pays for publication and the article is made freely available, could be costly for research-intensive institutions, while benefiting those that do little research, writes Andy Wright for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Copyright board warns universities
A recent ruling from the Copyright Board of Canada suggests that unless certain universities and colleges that have opted out of the Access Copyright tariff produce information about their use of protected works, they could be subpoenaed to do so, writes Jennifer Brown for Canadian Lawyer Magazine.
More on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Fury over honorary degree for Saudi king
The University of Indonesia has come under a storm of protests for awarding an honorary doctorate to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, a leader whose commitment to human rights has been seriously questioned by labour activists, reports The Jakarta Post.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Universities ‘must give more information’
Over 76.2% of Chinese surveyed online have said university information disclosure in China is not good enough, reports the official agency Xinhua. About 1,900 people participated in the survey, which was published in China Youth Daily and conducted by the newspaper’s social investigation centre.
More on the University World News site

IRAN: Baha’is call for end to university exclusion
In an open letter to Iran’s Minister for Higher Education, the Baha'i International Community has called for an end to “the unjust and oppressive practices” that bar Baha'is and other young Iranians from university, reports the Baha’i World News Service.
More on the University World News site

US: College plagiarism is on the rise – survey
A new survey from the Pew Research Center shows plagiarism in American colleges is on the rise, writes Kayla Webley for Time. The survey, called The Digital Revolution and Higher Education, asked 1,055 college presidents from two- to four-year schools, private and public, for their thoughts on how digital technology has impacted on college.
More on the University World News site

US: California university sets top fundraising goal
In what is said to be the largest fundraising goal in American academia to date, the University of Southern California is launching a campaign to garner US$5 billion in donations by 2018, on top of $1 billion given to the institution in the last year, writes Larry Gordon for the Los Angeles Times.
More on the University World News site

HUNGARY: State-funded university places to be cut
Hungary’s government will reduce state-funded university places because the number of students benefiting from assistance is unrealistically high, writes Judit Szilák for the Budapest Times.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Tobacco firm demands university’s research
Stirling University is fighting attempts by one of the world’s largest tobacco companies to gain detailed access to its research into the smoking habits and attitudes of teenagers, writes Severin Carrell for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

SWAZILAND: University re-opens, for some
The University of Swaziland last week registered students for the first semester of the 2011-12 academic year, after a three-week delay caused by lack of funding. But some first-year students were told to wait until they had received confirmation from government that they would be sponsored, writes Winile Masinga for the Swazi Observer.
More on the University World News site

TANZANIA: Student loans board blames national psyche
The Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) says the national psyche in Tanzania is to blame for the repetitive wrangles between it and its clients. The free service mentality originating from the abandoned Ujamaa ideology was the major hindrance to an amicable mutual reverence between HESLB and students, writes Songa wa Songa for The Citizen.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Graduates to take extra courses in degrees row
Thousands of university graduates may be forced to go back to class for remedial courses after failing to secure practising certificates in a bitter dispute over the quality of degrees offered by some universities, writes George Ngigi for Business Daily.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Maths professor loses legal case over PhD
A University of Manitoba maths professor’s bid to sue the institution over a controversial PhD awarded to a student last year doesn’t add up, a Winnipeg judge has ruled. In a written decision released last week, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Deborah McCawley said Gabor Lukacs is not in a position to involve the court as a way of ending a dispute he has had with the university since 2009, writes Jason Bell for Winnipeg Free Press.
More on the University World News site

UK: Liverpool’s free university harnesses anger
Plans are currently in motion in Britain for the establishment of a Free University of Liverpool. This is ex plicitly framed as a protest against the government’s tuition fees rise, but also evidences longer-standing dissatisfaction with the current structure of higher education, writes Rachael Cloughton for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site
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