ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0194 23 October 2011
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Hong Kong PHD Fellowships

UWN Special Report - Private Higher Education November 13

HE Events Diary

There has been controversy in China over the denial of academician status to top international researcher Rao Yi, dean of life sciences at Peking University. See the Features section.

Canadian academic Martin Hand writes in the journal Academic Matters that the spread of social media has raised questions over how personal and professional relationships within universities are being reshaped.

In Commentary, Dutch academic Hans de Wit suggests that giving new labels to internationalisation could be masking real action to promote it.

Teaching assistant programmes at the University of Campinas in Brazil have been receiving a positive response and are improving student performance. 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.


This week’s highlights

In Features, ALYA MISHRA outlines major obstacles to international collaboration with universities in India, and YOJANA SHARMA reports on controversy in China over academic cronyism following the denial of ‘academician’ status to a star researcher lured from abroad. In Commentary, HANS DE WIT writes that giving new names to internationalisation risks masking real action to promote it, and MARTIN HAND argues that as social media become more ubiquitous on campus, there is little point in adopting a reactionary approach. Also, MARCELO KNOBEL and EUCLIDES MESQUITA NETO describe an innovative teaching assistant programme in Brazil that provides students with financial rewards as well as raising the performances of under-achieving students. In Student View, international students in the UK describe how they have lost large sums of money and been left in the lurch by the closure of an Indian-owned private college in London.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

CHINA: Tight curbs on indebted universities
Yojana Sharma
Local authorities in China have tightened up on debts owed by universities amid fears that big-spending institutions may default on their loans. The move could affect a number of international university collaborations where local and provincial authorities have agreed to fund major construction projects.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Universities vehemently oppose policies
Makki Marseilles
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the largest higher education institution in Greece, has launched an extraordinary campaign for the creation of a common front against problematic new legal requirements in higher education reforms as well as against the government’s economic policies. Protest across the university sector is continuing.
Full report on the University World News site

COLOMBIA: Deadlock over education reform continues
María Elena Hurtado
Colombian university student representatives decided at a meeting in Bogotá on 15-16 October to continue their strike and mass protests until the government withdraws its higher-education reform proposal from parliament. On 13 October the largest nationwide protests held for many years left one student dead and eight severely injured.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: TASMAC debacle prompts call for guarantee scheme
Yojana Sharma
The United Kingdom needs a mandatory guarantee scheme for private colleges to prevent genuine students being left out of pocket when colleges fail or close for other reasons. The main UK body representing international student interests said this following the closure of a private business school in London, leaving up to 1,000 international students high and dry.
TASMAC international students speak out in Student View
Full report on the University World News site

NETHERLANDS: Calls for quotas for foreign students
Jan Petter Myklebust and Robert Visscher
A 54% increase in foreign students in Dutch higher education over the past four years has prompted calls from political parties on the right and left for the introduction of quotas, and specifically for the allocation of places through a government lottery.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Student surge hits institutions
Michael Gardner
Extra numbers of first-year students as a result of double school-leaving cohorts and the end of military conscription are hitting higher education in Germany with a vengeance.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Rector appointments plagued by politics
Ameen Amjad Khan
The appointment of university leaders in Pakistan has become highly politicised. Many positions are being left unfilled for long periods, stalled by tugs-of-war between political parties holding sway at federal level and opposing parties in power at the provincial level.
Full report on the University World News site

SYRIA: Judge rejects appeal for release of pyschoanalyst
Jan Petter Myklebust
A Syrian judge has rejected international appeals for the release of Dr Rafah Nached, the founder of the first psychoanalysis school in Damascus, who was arrested last month at Damascus airport and is being held in solitary confinement, according to campaigners.
Full report on the University World News site

SENEGAL: Universities face election-year challenges
Mamadou Mika
The 2011-12 academic year began this month at Senegalese universities – but not without hitches. The authorities are racing against the clock in an effort to prevent February’s presidential elections derailing end-of-semester evaluations, and institutions are grappling with increased freshman numbers in the context of inadequate student residences.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Paris offers foreign students one-stop shop
Jane Marshall
Paris, Europe’s biggest university city, has once again opened special reception and advice services for foreign students arriving for the new academic year, who need help to tackle the labyrinthine bureaucracy, find a place to live and look for a job. Last year there were 56,500 international students in the French capital.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Geologist claims discovering water in desert
Ashraf Khaled
Egyptian geologist Khaled Ouda has announced the discovery of a “sea of underground water” in the vast Western desert on the Egyptian-Libyan border. Apparently inspired by the popular uprising that ousted long-standing president Hosni Mubarak earlier this year, he named some of the claimed oases after Tahrir Square, the ‘revolution’ and ‘martyrs’.
Full report on the University World News site

Reinventing higher education

Last week a conference on “Reinventing Higher Education” was held at IE University in Madrid. University World News was there.

GLOBAL: Economic crisis speeded up innovation
Paul Rigg
The economic crisis has accelerated the trends towards university and college mergers, the search for new sources of income and collaboration agreements such as shared services, according to speakers at the Reinventing Higher Education conference held at IE University in Madrid on 17-18 October.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Latin America the ‘next educational champion’
Paul Rigg
Latin America could become the world’s “next educational champion”, experts predict, given rapid economic growth in countries like Brazil, an increase in private universities, expansion of research and the massification of demand for higher education across the region.
Full report on the University World News site


INDIA: Improvements key for collaboration to work
Alya Mishra
Lady Sri Ram College in New Delhi, a top humanities institution, has student exchange programmes with overseas institutions including the National University of Singapore, La Trobe University in Australia and the London School of Economics. International collaboration projects such as the Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative would enable the college to expand and improve its exchanges. But there are obstacles.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Cronyism outrage after science title is denied
Yojana Sharma
Academic cronyism that dictates who gets research funding is blighting China’s research establishment. It has been brought to the fore in a very public manner by the denial of ‘academician’ status at the Chinese Academy of Science to a star researcher enticed from abroad, amid claims that scientists of lesser renown were given the title.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Naming internationalisation will not revive it
Is the trend to give new names to the internationalisation process taking the debate further or is it in danger of masking real action to promote full internationalisation? asks HANS DE WIT.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Social media on campus and its discontents
How do you police social media on campus? asks MARTIN HAND in the latest edition of the Canadian journal Academic Matters. As social media becomes more ubiquitous, there is little point in adopting a reactionary approach. It is better to work through problems as and when they arise.
Full report on the University World News site

BRAZIL: Teaching assistants deliver mutual benefits
Brazil’s University of Campinas has been running an innovative peer-to-peer teaching assistant programme that trains students to teach and provides them with financial rewards as well as raising the standards of under-achieving students, say MARCELO KNOBEL and EUCLIDES MESQUITA NETO.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: We feel duped by TASMAC, say Indian students
Jagdeep Singh Sadal and Suneet Patel *
I had been working in Dubai for the last few years [says Jagdeep Singh Sadal] and my company said a masters degree would give me better opportunities. From TASMAC (Training and Advanced Studies in Management and Communications) in Pune, India, I was diverted from going to Canterbury Christchurch University in the UK, which I also looked at.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports worldwide
Noemi Bouet*
In Iran, a student activist has been lashed 74 times, just hours before his release from prison after serving a one-year sentence for insulting the president. A Russian historian spec ialising in the lives of ethnic Germans during the Soviet Union era has gone on trial behind closed doors on charges of illegally revealing personal data. In the UAE, a Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University lecturer has being detained since April on charges of insulting officials, and rights groups have urged the university to support him. A former Cyprus University rector has accused the Famagusta municipality of infringing his right to free expression by cancelling a lecture on the 11 July naval base blast. In India, a row has erupted following the University of Delhi’s decision to exclude a controversial essay from its history syllabus, and in Malaysia students have protested against the suspension of a law lecturer for criticising the Sultan of Selangor.
Full report on the University World News site


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WALES: University abolished after visa scandal
The large University of Wales, with a 120-year history, has been abolished following a visa scandal, writes Julie Henry for The Telegraph. The institution will cease to exist after mounting pressure to draw a line under a series of damaging revelations. Its chairman Hugh Thomas resigned on Friday.
More on the University World News site

LIBYA: Reinventing Tripoli University
Dr Feisel Krekshi, the new dean of Tripoli University, arrived for his first day of work accompanied by 25 young men who fought their way onto campus with Kalashnikovs and homemade grenades, writes Anne Barnard for The New York Times. His job, which former rebel commanders secretly assigned to him before they drove the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s government from Tripoli, is to reinvent Libya’s most prestigious institution of higher learning, an important test case for the reshaping of the country.
More on the University World News site

UK: European student numbers soar
A record 125,000 students from European Union member states claimed places at higher education institutions in Britain last year, a rise of some 35,000 compared with a decade ago, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph. The increase was around twice as fast as the rise in admissions among British students.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: New caution for US universities overseas
It is a modern version of the quest for ‘gold, God and glory’ that drove explorers overseas in centuries past. For the last decade, American college presidents have been obsessed with expanding abroad, looking to tap new markets, spread the gospel of American higher education and leave a glamorous global legacy, writes Justin Pope for Seattle Pi. But like most empire-builders, they have found the reality on the ground more challenging than expected.
More on the University World News site

US: Congress mulls ways to stop ‘reverse brain drain’
The US Congress is debating how to overhaul the nation’s immigration system in an effort to get foreign nationals who earn advanced degrees at American universities to stay and work in the country to help the US stay globally competitive. Some are calling it a ‘reverse brain drain’, writes Meredith Buel for Voice of America.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Universities join border control
For the first time universities will learn the immigration track record of their overseas students, writes Bernard Lane for The Australian. “This will give providers a much better sense than they currently have of the integrity of the students they recruit,” said senior immigration official Kruno Kukoc.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities given 14 days to justify fees
Hundreds of thousands of students applying for university places in Britain in 2012 are facing weeks of uncertainty over the government’s attempt to persuade institutions to lower tuition fees, write Jonathan Brown, Richard Garner and Charlie Cooper for The Independent.
More on the University World News site

UK: Council issues guidelines for university gifts
Universities in the UK must make public their ethical guidelines for accepting gifts, according to new advice drawn up after the scandal over donations to the London School of Economics by the Gaddafi regime, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

US: Student case puts spotlight on affirmative action
Abigail Fisher, a white student, says she was denied admission to the University of Texas because of her race. She sued in the federal district court in Austin, causing Judge Sam Sparks to spend time trying to make sense of a 2003 supreme court decision allowing racial preferences in higher education, writes Adam Liptak for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

US: Science foundation launches virtual institute
The National Science Foundation, in part looking to moderate the effect of reduced federal funding, is investing in a pilot programme to encourage international support of American research, writes Katherine Long for Brown Daily Herald.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Arctic university hit by federal cuts
Federal cuts to a unique effort to provide higher education in Canada’s Arctic region are renewing debate about how to bring much-needed training, skills and human development to northerners, writes Bob Weber for iPolitics.
More on the University World News site

TUNISIA: Niqab ban at universities incites debate
A heated debate flared in Tunisia after a female student wearing a niqab was denied admission at Sousse University. There were protests at universities in Tunis, Sousse, Bizerte and Sfax, writes Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia.
More on the University World News site

BAHRAIN: Where a Facebook ‘like’ gets you expelled
For Eman Oun, 20, life was Bahrain Polytechnic. As a business student, she spent her days being an active member of the school’s campus community. Even though the new academic year started on 18 September, Oun is stuck at home, writes Sara Yasin for Index on Censorship.
More on the University World News site

JAPAN: Tohoku universities scramble for applicants
Tohoku region universities and junior colleges affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake are struggling to attract applicants to take entrance examinations for the upcoming academic year, reports The Yomiuri Shimbun.
More on the University World News site

PHILIPPINES: 'No permit, no exam' bill reaches senate
Philippine senator Manny Villar is sponsoring the senate version of a bill prohibiting colleges and universities from disallowing students with unpaid fees from taking examinations, earlier passed by the house of representatives, writes Jonathan de Santos for Sun Star.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Third university under administration
South Africa’s Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande gave stakeholders at Walter Sisulu University until Wednesday last week to raise any concern before he appoints an administrator and decides on measures needed to prevent the institution’s collapse, writes Karl Gernetsky for Business Day.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Student politics turns into big business
University politics is becoming big business on campuses throughout South Africa as ‘tenderpreneurs’ – people who use political connections to obtain tenders – recruit student leaders to help them go after big government-funded contracts, writes Zine George for Dispatch Online.
More on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Three in five lecturers have no PhD
At least 61% of an estimated 35,000 lecturers in Nigeria are still on the lowest rung of academics, ‘lecturer 1’, according to the National Universities’ Commission, which regulates university education in the country, writes Judd-Leonard Okafor for the Daily Trust.
More on the University World News site

US: Cornell teams with Israeli school in New York bid
Cornell University is seeking to bolster its bid to construct an engineering and applied science campus in New York City by teaming up with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, writes Joseph de Avila for The Wall Street Journal.
More on the University World News site

UK: No-frills college offers half-price degrees
A ‘no-frills’ university college offering teaching seven days a week and degrees for around half the price of traditional universities will start recruiting students next week, writes Jeevan Vasagar for the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Four agricultural colleges plan merger
A “rural university college for Scotland” is set to be created by the merger of four of the country’s further and higher education institutions. The Scottish Agricultural College looks set to merge with three ‘land-based’ colleges in a process which would affect thousands of students, reports The Scotsman.
More on the University World News site
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