ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0195 30 October 2011
Support University World News - Click here to donate

UNESCO is hiring: Managerial positions in education sector

UWN Special Report - Private Higher Education November 13

HE Events Diary

Funding cuts to higher education and accompanying tuition fee rises in the US have placed a growing cost burden on students and sparked protests, such as at Berkeley. See the Special Report on student finance.

Brazil has announced that it will award 75,000 grants in the next three years to science students wanting to study abroad, under the Science Without Frontiers programme. See the News section.

In Commentary, Martin Grabert describes how Germany's Excellence Initiative has boosted research in the country's top universities and also benefited the higher education system.

A milestone has been achieved in the development of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, with the coating of the instrument's mirror in a thin layer of gold. 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

A special report this week looks at news and issues around student finance. It includes commentaries by STEVE CHATMAN of Berkeley on how financial aid has alleviated the impacts of the wealth gap on student satisfaction in the US, and by student leader ALLAN PALL on Europe’s proposed loan scheme to encourage greater student mobility. In Features, SUVENDRINI KAKUCHI reports on the Campus Asia project aimed at harmonising higher education and encouraging student exchange between Japan, China and South Korea. And in Commentary, ELSPETH JONES outlines 10 key indicators of a university that has achieved comprehensive internationalisation, while MARTIN GRABERT describes how Germany’s Excellence Initiative has quickly achieved positive results for elite universities and the higher education system.

Special Report on student finance

Student finance has been in the news, with tuition fees rising and more governments shifting the burden of higher education costs from the public to the student purse. In India massification is driving exponential growth in the loan market, and in the United States and elsewhere student debt and loan defaults are rising rapidly. The European Commission is floating a loan scheme to help fund student mobility. This special report provides a snapshot of developments and challenges in student finance in selected countries around the world.

US: Mixed victory for students under Obama loan plan
Eileen Travers
Marching along the shaded valley beneath skyscr apers housing major bank headquarters in midtown Manhattan, some students in the Occupy Wall Street movement said United States President Barack Obama’s new loan plan was too little too late, with real savings totaling no more than $10 a month per low-income borrower.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Aid prevents big wealth gap impact on students
Research into student experience and income in America shows that the effect of family income on student satisfaction is limited due to the financial aid programmes that support them. However, students are cutting back across the board and it is important to keep analysing the impact, particularly if aid programmes are reduced, says STEVE CHATMAN of the Center for Studies in Higher Education at Berkeley.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Soaring demand doubles student loan numbers
Alya Mishra
While the middle classes in India have traditionally pursued higher education for their children, rising aspirations among the lower-middle class and poor have led to soaring demand for student loans, despite families having to put assets on the line. The number of students applying for loans has more than doubled in five years.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Do loans create an indebted generation?
The European Commission has published an agenda for modernising higher education, which includes a proposal for a loan scheme to encourage greater mobility for students. But will this create an indebted generation and fuel inter-generational tension? asks ALLAN PALL, chair of the European Students’ Union.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Fund rescues non-fee-paying graduates
Sharon Dell
A R200-million (US$25.5 million) fund to provide loans to nearly 20,000 graduates whose degree and diploma certificates have been withheld by educational institutions because of outstanding fees, is among a clutch of recent initiatives by the South African government to boost the efficiency of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and broaden its reach.
Full report on the University World News site

THAILAND: Defaults prompt new student loan criteria
Suluck Lamubol
As the number of students defaulting on the government’s low-interest student loan scheme increases, Thailand’s education minister has proposed making government loans contingent on an applicant’s future income and employment prospects. But critics say this could turn education into a commodity and could widen social inequalities.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Students pay for the privilege
Geoff Maslen
More than 1.2 million students are enrolled in Australian higher education institutions this year and almost every one of them pays for the privilege, including the 335,000 foreign students who must meet the full cost of their courses.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

BRAZIL: Science students offered study-abroad grants
Tom Hennigan
In the latest move in a campaign to boost its economy’s scientific base, Brazil is offering 75,000 grants by the end of 2014 to science students keen to study abroad. The goal of the Science Without Frontiers programme is to increase the number of Brazilian pre- and post-doctoral students in leading foreign institutions. In return, the government says it will work to create similar opportunities for foreign students in Brazilian institutions.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Minister says universities may merge
Jan Petter Myklebust
Sweden's coalition government is to tackle a sharp drop in student numbers by allocating more funding to universities where there is a strong demand for places, forcing less popular institutions to seek mergers to survive, Education Minister Jan Björklund has warned.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Australia in from Commonwealth funding cold
David Jobbins
Australia is to resume funding for Commonwealth university scholarships and the Commonwealth of Learning, the pioneering distance learning agency with a focus on the developing world, seven years after it pulled the plug in an economy drive.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Scholarships effective in supporting democracy
Jacquie Withers
Two evaluation reports from the UK’s Commonwealth Scholarship Commission were launched last week ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia – one based on a survey of more than 2,000 former scholars and fellows around the Commonwealth, and the other focusing on 15 Commonwealth countries in Asia.
Full report on the University World News site

LEBANON: Quality assurance agency to be created
Wagdy Sawahel
Lebanon plans to establish a national quality assurance agency to strengthen the competitiveness of its sole state university and numerous private universities. The aim is to develop a higher education system of international quality.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Protests continue over academic freedom curb
Alya Mishra
Students and teachers at Delhi University went on marches last week to protest against the removal of a celebrated essay by the late scholar and linguist AK Ramanujan on the Hindu epic, the Ramayana.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAWI: Presidential reversal reinstates lecturers
Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has reinstated four lecturers who were suspended as a result of industrial action over erosion of academic freedoms, and said higher education liberties were guaranteed in the African nation. Many campuses have been closed for much of the year due to unresolved lecturer protests over what has been seen as an increasingly autocratic climate in the country.
Full report on the University World News site

MOZAMBIQUE: University u-turn on ‘Bologna’ degrees
Munyaradzi Makoni
Fifteen faculties of Mozambique’s Eduardo Mondlane University will change from a three-year back to a four-year bachelor degree programme in the 2012 academic year, reversing the adoption of the Bologna process degree structure. The switch is aimed at producing better-trained, labour-marketable graduates.
Full report on the University World News site

ZAMBIA: Three new universities, job creation planned
Zambia’s newly elected President Michael Sata has outlined plans to review the higher education sector as well as establish three new universities, to fulfil his election manifesto. Job creation for higher education graduates would also be prioritised.
Full report on the University World News site


ASIA: Building bridges through higher education
Suvendrini Kakuchi
Western countries are by far the most favoured destinations for students from East Asia seeking higher education abroad, and reversing that trend will not be easy. But an ambitious plan to usher in exchanges between universities in Japan, China and South Korea is under way under the auspices of the three governments.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Internationalisation – Aid, trade, pervade
Discussing definitions of internationalisation in higher education shows that we have not advanced enough, says ELSPETH JONES. If we are still having a debate, we are not devoting ourselves sufficiently to doing internationalisation. She outlines 10 key indicators of a university that has achieved ‘comprehensive’ or ‘integrated’ internationalisation.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Germany’s Excellence Initiative reaps rewards
Germany’s Excellence Initiative has brought visible benefits and quickly, says MARTIN GRABERT. Concentrating support where it can have the most impact through a bottom-up two-tiered approach has achieved results for elite universities and has also had wider benefits for the higher education system.
Full report on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: A 100,000-year-old workshop
An ochre-rich mixture that was possibly used for decoration, painting and skin protection 100,000 years ago has been discovered stored in two abalone shells at Blombos Cave, 300 kilometres east of Cape Town. The discovery represents an important benchmark in the evolution of complex human thought.
Full report on the University World News site

UK-AUSTRALIA: Energy-converting protein
British and Australian researchers have made a world-first discovery that will provide the most accurate understanding to date of the structure and function of the most important energy-converting protein, critical to the functioning of all organs and a cause of disease when malfunctioning.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Mirror coating of NASA telescope
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, has reached a major milestone in its development: the mirrors that will fly aboard the telescope have been completely coated with a microscopically thin layer of gold, selected for its ability to properly reflect infrared light from the mirrors into the observatory’s science instruments.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRIA: Dissipation to engineer quantum states
Theoretical physicists at the University of Innsbruck have formulated a new concept to engineer exotic so-called topological states of matter in quantum mechanical many-body systems. They linked concepts of quantum optics and condensed matter physics to show a way to build a quantum computer immune from perturbations.
Full report on the University World News site


University World News has a new Facebook group: Even if you were one of the 2,800 members of the original Facebook community you will need to rejoin, or become a fan once again via this page. That way, you will be able to see our regular updates, post on our wall and communicate with us and other University World News fans. Please take a few minutes to rejoin and to inform your friends about our new Facebook page. You can also follow University World News on Twitter @uniworldnews


HONG KONG: An open door to foreign students
Well-positioned in world university rankings, Hong Kong has an open-door policy towards international students. The Hong Kong government has invested HK$1 billion (US$128 million) in a bursary fund, with the interest to be used to fund scholarships for international students, writes Stephen Hoare for The Independent.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Universities put revenue before standards
The state of Victoria’s ombudsman has uncovered worrying evidence that universities have been putting the need for student fee revenue ahead of the ability of students to complete their courses, apparently enrolling students with too-poor English skills, writes Andrew Trounsen for The Australian. But universities have rejected the criticism.
More on the University World News site

CHINA-AFRICA: Universities to boost collaboration
The 2011 UNESCO-China-Africa University Leaders Meeting was held last week in Paris at the headquarters of the United Nations agency, aimed at boosting collaboration between Chinese and African universities, reports the Xinhua news agency.
More on the University World News site

US: High cost of community college dropouts
A new national study reports that federal, state, and local governments in the US invested nearly $4 billion in full-time community college students who subsequently dropped out after their first year, writes Rita Giordano for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
More on the University World News site

US: Real higher education costs now clearer
How much will college really cost? For American families, the answer may soon become clearer. Starting on 29 October, any college or university participating in federal student aid programmes must have a net-price calculator on its website, writes Emily Glazer for the Wall Street Journal.
More on the University World News site

UK: Education spending ‘falling fastest since 1950s’
Public spending on education in the UK is falling at the fastest rate since the 1950s, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The independent financial researchers say spending will fall by 13% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.
More on the University World News site

UK: Drop in soft subject applications
Softer university subjects such as communication studies and creative arts have seen a drop in applications of up to 40% as students seek value for England’s controversial £9,000 (US$14,400) tuition fee, according to figures released last week, writes Victoria Ward for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

UK: 'Free' Oxbridge masters degrees under fire
It is as traditional as punting, elite clubs and one-to-one tutorials with dusty dons, but the ‘complimentary’ masters degrees awarded to Oxford and Cambridge graduates is under fire, writes Julie Henry for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: ‘Privatised enclaves’ rise in universities
Study programmes funded by non-public sources in Israeli universities have doubled during the past six years. The number of such programmes has risen from 26 to 51 in a trend that is at variance with a decision reached in 2007 by Israel’s Council for Higher Education to withhold recognition of new study programmes, writes Asaf Shtull-Trauring for Haaretz.
More on the University World News site

US: Political science ‘too slow to change’ – Report
Political science is being held back as a discipline by its failure to sufficiently engage in issues of race and inequality, and by the homogeneity of its faculty members, according to a report released last week by the American Political Science Association, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Universities need to step up – Toope
The world is becoming a more competitive place than ever as far as universities are concerned and Canadian institutions, working with real funding shortages, need to focus on their teaching mission to remain in the game, according to Stephen Toope, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, writes Karen Seidman for The Gazette.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: University head apologises to aboriginals
In an unusual move, the president of a Canadian university has issued a formal apology to aboriginals across the country for his institution’s failure to speak out against the “national shame” of residential schools, writes Louise Brown for The Star.
More on the University World News site
Copyright University World News 2007-2011