ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0198 20 November 2011
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UNESCO is hiring: Managerial positions in education sector

HE Events Diary

Floods in Thailand have cost 500 lives, hit 2,600 educational institutions including universities, caused millions of dollars of damage and affected an estimated 10,000 students. Many universities have postponed the second semester and admissions exams are behind schedule. See the News section.

Yojana Sharma interviewed Bertil Andersson, president of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, as he headed off to the QS-APPLE conference in Manila. He spoke of the city-state's attractions as a higher education hub and why his university has shot up the world rankings.

Hong Kong design student Jonathan Mak's silhouette of Steve Jobs' profile went viral, but was not lauded at home. But now Asian countries are working to encourage creativity and design to help them move up the manufacturing value chain. See the Features section.

I Elaine Allen, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group which publishes surveys of online education in the US, writes in Commentary about how online higher education continues to grow in America and academics attitudes towards it are gradually changing.


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

This week YOJANA SHARMA reports on the QS-Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education conference in the Philippines, and on efforts by Asian countries to strengthen design education in order to move up the manufacturing value chain. Also in Features, SUDARTO SVARNABHUMI writes that the killing of five Al-Qaeda suspects has turned the spotlight on the possible radicalisation of Indonesian students studying in Yemen. JAMES OTIENO JOWIE describes trends in African university engagement identified at the annual conference of the African Network for Internationalisation of Education and SHARON DELL investigates shifting student politics on South Africa’s post-apartheid campuses. In Commentary, PAUL TROWLER argues that changes in academia have eroded academic tribes and territories, and I ELAINE ALLEN writes that rising enrolments in online education in America are gradually changing academics’ attitudes to this mode of teaching and learning. Finally, FRANCOIS THERIN says there is little financial incentive in Europe for private companies to move into the higher education sector.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

EUROPE: Austerity threatens autonomy, EAU warns
David Jobbins
An authoritative study of university autonomy across 26 European countries has found "worrying signs" that the economic crisis and austerity measures have led to instances of tighter controls of university budgets, "unnecessary" administrative burdens and reduced financial autonomy. Estonia and the UK rank highest on scorecards that rate tertiary systems in four areas of autonomy
Full report on the University World News site

US: Chinese drive 5% international student growth
Alison Moodie
International student enrolment at American colleges and universities has been growing steadily for the past five years, reaching a record high of 723,277 in 2010, according to a new report by the Institute of International Education. The annual Open Doors study found that the majority of international students came from China, with their number rising by 23% – the fourth consecutive year of double-digit increases.
Full report on the University World News site

THAILAND: Floods disrupt higher education
Suluck Lamubol
Thailand’s worst floods in decades are disrupting the higher education system, causing millions of dollars worth of damage to facilities and forcing universities to reschedule semester dates. It is also having knock-on effects on the higher education budget and the administration of student loans and could have wider impacts on education plans in the coming months.
Full report on the University World News site

CHILE: Opposition and students unveil reform plan
María Elena Hurtado
The sixth-month-long battle over reforms to Chile’s higher education has moved from the streets to parliament. Student representatives of the 25 universities that make up the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities have spent a week with opposition politicians hammering out a united position on the education budget for 2012, which has to be approved by the end of November.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Social sciences research role backed
Jan Petter Myklebust and Brendan O’Malley
European Union Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn has responded to calls to give more weight to social sciences and humanities in Horizon 2020, the EU's funding programme for research and innovation.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Huge surplus or massive shortfall?
Geoff Maslen
Australia’s public universities have rejected federal government claims that they generated a huge ‘profit’ last year, arguing that the accounting methods used distort the real situation. Far from making an AUD2 billion (US$2 billion) surplus, more than half the universities made a significant loss.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Expand university access, World Bank urges
Francis Kokutsi
The World Bank has urged African governments to expand access to post-secondary education and ensure that it serves as a ladder for Africans to climb out of poverty. Obiageli Ezekwesili, the bank’s vice-president for Africa, made the call at a conference in Ghana’s capital Accra.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: No campus conflict despite warning
Makkie Marseilles
The senate of the Technical University of Athens warned ahead of the 17 November anniversary of the 1973 uprising against the junta that it was not in a position to avert serious incidents. But while protests erupted in the capital, with 7,000 police deployed in the area the university appears to have escaped conflict.
Full report on the University World News site

UAE: Festival of Thinkers explores new models
Leigh Thomas
Current education models around the world are not meeting the challenge of inspiring and developing innovators, higher education leaders and other opinion-formers heard at the Festival of Thinkers conference in the United Arab Emirates last week.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Higher profile for German sought
Michael Gardner
Germany is aiming to raise the profile of German as an academic language in a multilingual environment. At a three-day conference run by the German Academic Exchange Service, the Institut für Deutsche Sprache and the Goethe Institute, President Christian Wulff stressed the importance of promoting multilingualism and establishing German as a foreign language.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Paralysing lecturer strike suspended, for now
Gilbert Nganga
Lecturers in public universities in Kenya have suspended their paralysing nine-day strike for two weeks to pave the way for negotiations with the government. The tussle has triggered a debate over who should pick up the wage bill.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: VCs, union protest move to end screening test
Tunde Fatunde
Once again Nigeria’s national assembly and some officials of the examination agency, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, have made moves to dismantle the screening tests carried out by universities around the country. They argue that any test additional to the one conducted by the admissions board itself is unnecessary – even illegal – and places a financial burden on parents.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: World’s largest gathering of Africa experts
Jacquie Withers
More than 1,000 scholars and researchers from around the globe converged on Washington DC on Thursday for what the US African Studies Association said was the world’s largest gatherings of experts on Africa.
Full report on the University World News site

QS-MAPLE conference

The seventh QS-APPLE (Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education) conference was held from 16-18 November at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, the Philippines. It attracted delegates from more than 30 countries and some 100 speakers to discuss issues ranging from internationalisation and the global higher education market to building world-class universities. University World News reports.

GLOBAL: ‘World-class’ universities can harm others
Yojana Sharma
Building ‘world-class’ universities can have a negative impact on the rest of a country’s higher education system if equity and other issues are not taken into account, a senior Asian Development Bank official warned Asian university leaders meeting in Manila.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA: How to soar up the world university rankings
Bertil Andersson, president of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, is one of several non-Singaporean university leaders in the city-state. YOJANA SHARMA spoke to him as he headed for the QS-APPLE conference in Manila, on Singapore’s attractions as a higher education hub, its willingness to import the best from the West, and whether Asian institutions might eventually overtake the West.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Design education for future economic growth
Yojana Sharma
Just days after the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in October, Hong Kong design student Jonathan Mak’s silhouette of Jobs' profile in the bite of the Apple logo went viral internationally. His simple tribute was fęted and published worldwide. But in Hong Kong it caused barely a ripple.
Full report on the University World News site

YEMEN: Students from Indonesia being radicalised?
Sudarto Svarnabhumi
The killing of five Al-Qaeda suspects including an Indonesian in southern Yemen this month has turned the spotlight on Indonesian students studying abroad in Yemen, and the possibility that students could become radicalised during their time there.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Universities rethink internationalisation
James Otieno Jowi*
The African Network for Internationalisation of Education, ANIE, held its third annual conference recently in Abuja, Nigeria. Among the trends identified were growing collaboration between African universities, which is driving far greater mobility of students and staff across the continent, and increased use of information and communication technologies
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: New dynamics in student politics
Sharon Dell
A convincing win for the opposition-aligned Democratic Alliance Student Organisation in recent student representative council elections at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University suggests that South African students may be tired of having their interests overshadowed by intra-party politics in a more complex post-apartheid political environment.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Rethinking academic tribes and territories
Do established disciplines behave in a territorial way that defines how academics work and what they research? PAUL TROWLER argues that this was certainly the case in the past, but changes such as increasing interdisciplinarity and more intensive ways of working mean that it is less and less the case.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Online education growth dwarfs overall enrolment
The latest survey of online education in the US shows that enrolment increased by 10% in the last year, compared to a 2% rise in overall higher education enrolment. A growing number of academics now say online courses are as good as or better than face-to-face classes, writes I ELAINE ALLEN. Today, nearly a third of all students take at least one course online.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: No need to fear higher education investors
British newspapers are awash with rumours that private equity companies could be interested in taking over a university. But there is little financial incentive on the European continent for private companies to move into the higher education sector, argues FRANCOIS THERIN.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports worldwide
Noemi Bouet*
In Turkey, 57 members of the Academy of Sciences have resigned in protest against a government decree that will end the academy’s autonomy. In Bahrain, university students are under attack by the authorities, with hundreds being tried for pro-democracy activities and six recently receiving 15-year sentences and hefty fines in a court case widely criticised as unfair. Papuan students in Indonesia are being targeted by the authorities for what human rights groups describe as generalised intimidation and threats. And in Azerbhaijan, a top scientist has been demoted for questioning the legality of the detention of youth activist Baxtiyar Haciyev, amid moves against the Azerbaijani intelligentsia.
Full report on the University World News site


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GLOBAL: Call for more Muslim-owned universities
Muslim ownership and management of private universities and colleges in Muslim-majority countries and Muslim-minority communities need to be strengthened to cater for the increasing demand for higher education arising from growth in Muslim populations, reports Malaysia’s official agency Bernama.
More on the University World News site

CHILE: Universities fail transparency law standards
According to a study recently released by Chile’s Consejo para la Transparencia, the Council for Transparency, state universities are not living up to agreements outlined in the transparency law, reports I Love Chile.
More on the University World News site

IRELAND: Labour accused of cheating students
Pre-election pledges by the Labour Party about reversing student registration charges and not reintroducing formal fees amounted to “cheating students to win votes”, the Dáil (parliament) was told, writes Marie O’Halloran for The Irish Times.
More on the University World News site

UK: Professors lambasted for failure to mentor
A lack of leadership and the failure to support and mentor junior colleagues have been highlighted in a major study of the professoriate, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education. Of 1,200 academic staff from lower grades who responded to a survey commissioned by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, more than half (53%) said they did not receive sufficient help or advice from professorial staff.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities forced to reveal animal test details
Universities will be forced to reveal details of controversial research, including testing on monkeys, after a tribunal ruling made it harder for them to claim exemption from freedom of information requests, writes Jonathan Brown for The Independent.
More on the University World News site

US: Berkeley reveals plan for centre in China
The University of California, Berkeley, announced last week that it plans to open a large research and teaching facility in Shanghai as part of a broader plan to bolster its presence in China, writes David Barboza for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Universities refocus on Malaysian market
Canada is doing all it can to return to the glory days as one of Malaysia’s top education providers. Canadian High Commissioner to Malaysia Randolph Mank said many Canadian universities were focusing on the Malaysian market to regain lost ground, writes Paul Gabriel for The Star.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: University to open two offices in India
The University of British Columbia is opening two offices in India as part of its efforts to gain a foothold in one of the world's most rapidly growing higher education markets. The initiative was announced last week in Bangalore by Premier Christy Clark, who was leading a British Colombia government trade mission to India, reports The Vancouver Sun.
More on the University World News site

UAE: Foreign campuses link under college system
Winning its bid to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Doha, the Gulf emirate of Qatar showed the rising power of the Middle East. Its landmark football stadium will cool summer temperatures of around 40 degrees with solar panel-powered air-conditioning as the international teams play to crowded stands, writes Stephen Hoare for The Independent.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: UNESCO to help review education policy
Malaysia and UNESCO last week signed a memorandum of understanding to review the country’s education policy at all levels, from pre-school to higher education, reports the official agency Bernama.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Higher education participation hits 7.8%
Higher Education Commission Chairman Javaid R Laghari has said that in 2008 the participate rate in higher education in Pakistan was 2.5%, but after commission initiatives it has reached 7.8% and the government has a vision to increase the figure to 15% by 2020, reports The International News.
More on the University World News site

UK: University ‘consumer culture’ warning
The new chairman of a group of leading research universities has warned against treating students as “consumers purchasing degree certificates”, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Contest for ‘prodigy’ places in universities
A thin but fit figure at 5 foot 10, he looked no different from other college students. His shyness and unguarded manner, however, gave him away. Zhang Xinyang, from Panjin in Liaoning province, entered college at just 10 years of age, a record in China. Now 16, he is pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at Beihang University in Beijing, write Wang Yan and Chen Jia for China Daily.
More on the University World News site

HONG KONG: Mugabe jets in for daughter’s graduation
Zimbabwe’s budget presentation in parliament was moved from last Thursday to next week Wednesday after President Robert Mugabe decided his daughter Bona Mugabe’s graduation at the City University in Hong Kong was more important, reports Nehanda Radio.
More on the University World News site

TANZANIA: IDs offer hope for student debt recovery
Hopes in Tanzania for the recovery of more than US$397 million in outstanding debt from thousands of defaulting higher education students loans lies mainly with the introduction of national identity documents early next year, writes James Mwakisyala for East African Business Week.
More on the University World News site

US: Atheist students protest exclusion by Duquesne
Holding signs that said ‘We don't bite’ and ‘Support reason’, about 20 students from three universities gathered last week to protest Duquesne University’s refusal to recognise a proposed secular student group, write Kaitlynn Riely and Ann Rodgers for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
More on the University World News site
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