ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0188 11 September 2011
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HE Events Diary

Students in Libya spoke to University World News about their role in the rebellion, its effects on universities and their hopes for the future. See the Features section. Credit: AP

The University of Cambridge remains in top position in the 2011 QS World University Rankings. See the News report.

China is predicted to outstrip US higher education in the global university league tables in the future. However, Australia could teach both countries some lessons about policy efforts to drive more quality research, writes Sean Gallagher in Commentary.

Open educational resources have the potential to increase access to education while cutting costs and improving quality. Sir John Daniel writes in Commentary that international guidelines for OER in higher education have been drafted, and comments are being invited.


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, SERAJ ELALEM in Libya speaks to students about their role in the rebellion and its effects on universities, and says the higher education sector is looking forward to a freer future. JAN PETTER MYKLEBUST writes that Denmark’s state auditor is questioning the government’s policy of doubling the intake of PhD students. On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, AMEEN AMJAD KHAN remembers that fateful days and talks to Muslim academics about how it changed relations between the West and the Islamic world, and ALISON MOODIE interviews Berkeley political scientist Steven Weber about the impacts of the terror attacks on academia in America. In Commentary, SEAN GALLAGHER argues that the US and China could learn lessons from Australia on policies to drive more quality research, and SIR JOHN DANIEL invites comments on draft international guidelines for open educational resources in higher education.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

SOUTH KOREA: Private institutions ‘named and shamed’
Han-Suk Kim
Some 43 poorly managed private universities, colleges and vocational institutions have been named and shamed by South Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for not meeting criteria for being well run. They will no longer be eligible for state subsidies, as part of the government’s attempts to restructure and improve the higher education sector.
Full report on the University World News site

NETHERLANDS: Dawn raids over ‘illegal’ tuition fees
Jan Petter Myklebust and Brendan O’Malley
The Netherlands Competition Authority NMa carried out dawn raids on the University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam on Wednesday to establish whether they have conspired to ‘harmonise’ the price of tuition fees for second degrees, in breach of competition law.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Cambridge still top in QS university ranking
David Jobbins
The University of Cambridge has retained the leading place in the 2011 QS World University Rankings after displacing Harvard University in 2010. But Oxford University, which was fifth last year, dropped a place as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology continued its move up the rankings to third place. MIT was in ninth place in 2009, and fifth last year.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Minister to shake up research
Jan Petter Myklebust
Jan Bjørklund, Sweden's Minister for Education and Science and Vice-Prime Minister, is to chair the government's 21-member science advisory board as part of a strategy to strengthen research. A white paper on research is to be drafted next year.
Full report on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Strike threat over private medical school
Dinesh De Alwis
Doctors in Sri Lanka have threatened strike action in an escalating row over government recognition of the country’s first private medical college near Colombo, established as a branch of a Russian university. The action could have repercussions for other private colleges planning to set up in the country, as talks are ongoing with institutions in China and India.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Student cultists arrested for trafficking
Tunde Fatunde
Security agents have arrested student cultists involved in sporadic shooting between rival gangs. The incident took place near the campus of Enugu State University of Technology in eastern Nigeria. At the cultists’ forest hideout agents confiscated firearms, ammunition and film footage of kidnapped female students being forced to have s ex with one another.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: State to set 'quota' for women professors
Michael Gardner
North Rhine-Westphalia's state government intends to introduce new legislation to encourage the promotion of more women to professorships. The state is currently below the federal German average.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: New funding to boost technical colleges
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya has set aside an extra US$60 million this year to construct physical infrastructure and buy modern equipment for technical colleges, to give the institutions the capacity to admit thousands of young people seeking tertiary education.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: University sackings after dissection illness
Mimi Leung
In an unusual move, the dean of a veterinary school and a Communist Party secretary have been sacked from their posts at Northeast Agricultural University after students were infected by a serious disease from dissecting goats in a laboratory.
Full report on the University World News site

GULF STATES: Women’s studies finds a champion
Wagdy Sawahel
The United Arab Emirates will formally launch a gender and women's studies consortium at an international gathering next March. Its aim is to encourage teaching and research on the subject and promote its integration into the general curriculum. Meanwhile, a new research report on maximising women’s participation in the workforce presents findings of significant consequence for the Gulf states.
Full report on the University World News site


CANADA: Colleges see surge in Indian applicants
Sarah King Head
Canadian colleges opened their doors last week to accommodate a huge surge of new students coming from the Indian subcontinent. The Association of Canadian Community Colleges is projecting about 12,000 Indian students.
Full report on the University World News site

IBEROAMERICA: Portal of journals goes online
María Elena Hurtado
A portal that boasts nearly a million scientific articles journals from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal will now be available online for free. The service, which will provide access to full texts, was launched at the Autonomous University of Mexico on Tuesday.
Full report on the University World News site

ALGERIA: Research platform to improve journal access
Algeria’s Ministry of Higher Education and Research and Thomson Reuters on Thursday announced a three-year partnership that will deliver the information company’s Web of KnowledgeSM research platform to academics at more than 60 institutions countrywide.
Full report on the University World News site


LIBYA: Students speak about the rebellion, the future
Seraj Elalem
With the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the higher education sector in Libya can look forward to a freer future, where universities have more control over their curricula and hopefully better funding. It would be a fitting result to the armed rebellion, which was widely supported by academics and students, some of whom picked up a gun to fight.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: Questions raised over PhD expansion
Jan Petter Myklebust
Denmark’s state auditor is pressing the government to justify its policy of doubling the intake of PhD students at a cost of EUR700 million (US$1 billion), when a shortfall of Danish masters students means a large proportion of places will go to international students who tend to leave the country after completing their doctorates.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Civilisations have grown apart since 9/11
In a world where the Muslim perspective on the 9/11 tragedy barely gets a hearing AMEEN AMJAD KHAN, University World News’ Pakistan correspondent, reflects on his own memories of that day 10 years ago and talks to academics in the Muslim world on the decade since the event. Some believe the 9/11 attacks on America might not have led to a ‘clash of civilisations’ but certainly a growing distance between them.
Full report on the University World News site

US: 9/11 wind has swept over research agendas
Alison Moodie
In the 10 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks shook America and the world, the impacts on academia have been felt in a number of different ways, from changing focuses for teaching to new debates and an avalanche of funding for security-related research. The attacks “created a wind that’s swept over lots of people’s research agendas,” said Steven Weber, a political science professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Research lessons for China and the US
China is predicted to outstrip US higher education in the global university league tables in the future. But both the US and China could learn some valuable lessons from Australia about policy efforts to drive more quality research, says SEAN GALLAGHER.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: New guidelines for open educational resources
Open educational resources (OER) can increase access to education while cutting costs and improving quality. That is why, argues SIR JOHN DANIEL, they offer the potential to enable the greatest increase in access to education that the world has ever seen. The Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO have drafted international guidelines for OER in higher education, and are inviting comments on them.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports worldwide
Noemi Bouet*
Chinese constitutional scholar and activist Yao Lifa has been freed but is suffering from multiple injuries after spending almost a month in detention. In Iran, religious scholar Ahmad Ghabel is suffering declining health in Vakilabad prison, where he is serving a sentence for insulting the country’s supreme leader. Ashkan Zahabian, a student activist jailed in northern Iran, has started a hunger strike to protest against the conditions of his detention and confusion around his case. The family of Abdolreza Soudbakhsh, a professor at Tehran University and medical doctor who was murdered by unidentified men in September 2010, has claimed that his killing was linked to his work with r ape and torture victims.
Full report on the University World News site


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COLOMBIA: Protests against higher education reforms
Thousands of lecturers and students took to the streets of several of Colombia’s major cities last Wednesday “in defence of public education”, according to Columbia Reports. The demonstrators rejected a proposal by the government of President Juan Manuel Santos to reform higher education.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Fees for English students is legal – EU
The Scottish government’s decision to allow universities to charge English students up to £9,000 (US$14,000) a year in fees while Scots study free of charge will not be challenged by the European Union, it has emerged. Three English students are currently taking legal action against the Scottish government amid claims that charges for tuition fees breach their human rights, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Foreign students break rules more often
University students break the rules for a host of reasons – some make a bad decision under pressure at 3am, others insist they were just helping a classmate. But at some Canadian schools, an alarming number of the accused share one characteristic: they came from abroad to study, reports the Globe and Mail.
More on the University World News site

EU: Female research dropouts threaten targets
A leading European official has warned that a failure to retain female researchers remains a major barrier to recruiting an extra one million researchers by 2020, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Identifying number of universities needed
The Malaysian government is conducting a study to find out the total number of universities – public and private – needed by the country in order to produce the desired number of graduates. Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said the purpose of the study was to maintain the quality of Malaysian universities and strengthen the higher education sector, writes Husna Yusop for The Sun Daily.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Top business school opens London branch
One of China's top business schools, the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), opened an office in London last week. The institution is mainland China’s first ‘homegrown’ business school to establish an overseas branch, reports Xinhuanet.
More on the University World News site

US: Students respond to same-race instructors
Non-white students at community colleges in America are more likely to stay in classes and to earn higher grades if they have instructors of their race or ethnicity, according to a study released last week by the National Bureau for Economic Research. But the same is true for white students, meaning that hiring more minority instructors may result in decreased performance by white students, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Push to boost aboriginal staff numbers
Increasing the number of aboriginal academic staff is a “pragmatic” way to boost knowledge of indigenous culture and knowledge in the sector, said Larissa Behrendt, chair of the federal government’s review of indigenous access and participation in higher education, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian.
More on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: University rejects call to sack academic
Auckland University is rejecting calls for it to sack academic Margaret Mutu over her call for ‘white’ immigration to New Zealand to be limited, reports 3News. The Maori studies department head caused a stir last weekend when she called for a restriction on the number of white migrants from South Africa, England and the United States as they brought “an attitude of white supremacy” with them.
More on the University World News site

ETHIOPIA: Agency shuts private colleges over quality
The Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA) of Ethiopia announced last week that it had banned five private higher education institutions because of quality concerns, writes Yonas Abiye for
More on the University World News site

SWAZILAND: Security forces clash with students
Security forces and protesters have clashed in two towns during a week of planned protests demanding an end to Swaziland’s absolute monarchy, writes Phathizwe-Chief Zulu for the Mail & Guardian.
More on the University World News site

NORTHERN IRELAND: Freeze on university tuition fees
Tuition fees for Northern Ireland students are to be frozen. Higher Education Minister Stephen Farry said fees would rise only in line with inflation and that the budgets of universities would be protected, reports the BBC.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities enticed to consider fees cut
The English government’s Office for Fair Access has submitted fresh guidance to vice-chancellors telling them to impose fees of £7,500 (US$11,973) or less to claim a share of 20,000 free places for 2012, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

UK: Fees rise will mean fewer entrants – study
The introduction of higher tuition fees in England next year will result in a drop of 7.5% in the university enrolment rate for men and of nearly 5% for women, according to a study published by the London School of Economics, writes Jeevan Vasagar for the Guardian. National Union of Students President Liam Burns said: “This is a stark warning from a respected source, and the government should heed it.”
More on the University World News site

UK: Job figures cast doubt on science degrees
Only about half of all science graduates find work that requires their scientific knowledge, a study has shown, casting doubt on the government’s drive to encourage teenagers to study the subject at university, writes Jessica Shepherd for the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

US: Carnegie Mellon receives $265 million gift
A Mount Lebanon businessman is giving Carnegie Mellon University a gift larger than the one Andrew Carnegie used to create the research university, writes Debra Erdley for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Business-academia links on the rise
Collaborations between business and academia have risen sharply in the past year, according to new research, reports the BBC.
More on the University World News site
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