ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0199 27 November 2011
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Editorial Board

HE Events Diary

In India, a higher education qualification is increasingly influencing the marriage prospects and the dowry demands of young men and women, notes a Features article.

University students joined demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Cairo last week, outraged at violent attacks by the authorities on protestors in which some three dozen people have been killed. Solidarity marches were held at campuses around the country.

Students at the University of Sarajevo are the driving force behind new environmental initiatives. See the Features article.


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

On Friday University World News published a Special Africa Edition on HERANA, the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa. Read all about this major research initiative on the Africa website. In Features, ALYA MISHRA says good higher education qualifications in India are starting to overtake dowries in the marriage market. ERIN MILLAR reports on the Teacher Education in Sub-Sarahan Africa initiative, which is providing solutions to daunting education challenges, and BILL HOLDSWORTH outlines environmental initiatives driven by students and graduates in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Commentary, panellists at the recent WISE conference in Qatar describe their debate on the opportunities and challenges of global online education. BJORN BREMBS argues that for-profit scholarly publishing should be abolished, and JOHN AKEC reports on a heated debate in South Sudan over the need to expand access and rethink the policy of free higher education for all.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

EUROPE: Drive to double EU study-abroad numbers
Alan Osborn
The European Commission has announced a drive to double the number of students undertaking cross-border education and training throughout the 27 EU member countries in the seven-year period to 2020. Officials said this would allow up to five million people to study abroad.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Students join protests against military rule
Ashraf Khaled
Saad Abbas, a law student at Cairo University, believes it is “unethical” to attend classes while security forces crack down on pro-democracy protesters in the Egyptian capital and around the country. He and many other students joined demonstrations that have plunged Egypt into turmoil again and have deteriorated into violence.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Cutbacks in courses with poor job prospects
Yojana Sharma
China’s Ministry of Education is reining in uncontrolled expansion of universities by urging institutions around the country to reduce student intakes in courses with low levels of graduate employment. Courses will be ‘downsized’ or even cancelled if less than 60% of their graduating students in two successive years fail to find work, the ministry said.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Repressive university law to be amended – PM
Yojana Sharma and Honey Singh Virdee
A repressive law that forbids students from becoming members of political parties and restricts political activity in universities will be amended, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak announced last week. But rights groups said the government was adopting a ‘carrot and stick’ approach by tightening up in other areas related to public assembly.
Full report on the University World News site

BAHRAIN: Reinstate expelled students, says inquiry
Brendan O'Malley
An independent inquiry has concluded that hundreds of students in Bahrain were expelled from universities purely on the basis of pictures showing them standing in crowds at political demonstrations earlier this year. It has recommended that all students who have not been criminally charged with an act of violence should be reinstated.
Full report on the University World News site

LIBYA: Overseas students to be paid stipend
Geoff Maslen
Thousands of Libyan students enrolled in overseas universities now seem likely to be given access to their full monthly stipends from next January as Libyan embassies around the world start receiving money from the transitional government in Tripoli.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Three million students study abroad
Michael Gardner
Around a third of all German students are now visiting foreign countries for academic purposes. The introduction of bachelor and masters degrees appears to have changed significantly how they plan their stays abroad.
Full report on the University World News site

NETHERLANDS: World heart research expert fired
Jan Petter Myklebust
A world-renowned expert on the reduction of risks involved in heart surgery has been dismissed from Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, after “violation of academic integrity”.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: COP17 – New climate research
Sharon Dell
Two of South Africa’s top universities have launched high profile, multidisciplinary climate change research initiatives ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP17, which kicks off in Durban, South Africa, tomorrow. Together with other institutions the universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand are using the event – which brings together about 20,000 delegates representing the world’s governments, international organisations and civil society – to showcase local research and expertise on climate change and sustainability.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: ‘Meta-university’ plan to boost innovation
Alya Mishra
India plans to set up a ‘meta-university’, a countrywide network for higher education that will allow students the flexibility to design their own curriculum and combine subjects of their choice, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Universities not preparing innovation talent
Erin Millar
Canada’s push to foster innovation lacks a national strategy for producing the talented innovators who will drive the country’s knowledge-based economy, said Canadian educators attending the World Innovation Summit for Education, WISE, in Qatar earlier this month.
Full report on the University World News site

NORDIC: Chinese students deterred by fee costs
Jan Petter Myklebust
A survey of Chinese students' attitudes to study in Nordic countries if they were to be charged full tuition fees has found that the region is low on their priority lists. But this attitude might alter quickly if these students were given scholarships or grants.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Students targeted for detentions, arrests
Kudzai Mashininga
Zimbabwean students have commemorated international students’ day against a background of arrests and detentions. More than 40 students have appeared in court since September. This is according to a student rights organisation report that also highlights abuses of student rights in other countries in Southern Africa.
Full report on the University World News site


INDIA: Degrees replace dowries for educated classes
Alya Mishra
Sheleja Bajpai, 22 is pursuing a law degree from the prestigious law faculty at the University of Delhi. She has a good chance of landing a job at a respectable law firm in India after graduating, but her future has already been decided by her father Aman Bajpai.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: TESSA – Using technology for teacher training
Erin Millar
Innovative use of technology is providing simple solutions to the most daunting challenges in education, as is evidenced by a project called Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa, run by the Open University in the United Kingdom. TESSA, a consortium of 18 universities across Africa focused on improving how they train elementary school teachers, won an award at the World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar, earlier this month.
Full report on the University World News site

BOSNIA: Students seek a green future from scratch
Bill Holdsworth
Bosnia-Herzegovina is among the least energy efficient states in south-east Europe. But now former and current students at the University of Sarajevo are the driving force behind environmental initiatives that they hope will lead to new ways of learning and harnessing new technologies derived from across Europe and the rest of the world.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: The challenges of global online education
An International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) panel discussion at the WISE conference in Doha debated the need for and the challenges of online education, particularly in developing countries. Panel participants HAMID SHIRVANI, JASON SCORZA, KHALID ALKHATHLAN and FERNANDO LEÓN GARCÍA have outlined the main issues, including cultural differences and perceptions of online education as being of poorer quality. They argue that online education can help to extend higher education opportunities to a much broader section of the population.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Scholarly publishing should be free
For-profit scholarly publishing doesn’t work, says BJORN BREMBS, and we should abolish it completely. Scholars’ works should be made available for everyone to study.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH SUDAN: Call for mass expansion of universities
A conference on the future of higher education in South Sudan, which became an independent state in July, included a heated debate on expansion of higher education and priorities for the future. The conference advised the government, which published a higher education bill last week, to rethink its policy of free higher education for all, saying this was unsustainable, says JOHN AKEC.
Full report on the University World News site


LIBYA: Desert’s lost civilisation
Satellite imagery has uncovered new evidence of a lost civilisation of the Sahara in Libya’s south-western desert wastes that will help rewrite the history of the country. Using satellites and air photographs to identify the remains in one of the most inhospitable parts of the desert, a British team has discovered more than 100 fortified farms and villages with castle-like structures and several towns, most dating between AD 1-500.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Science news from the far north
ScienceNordic, a news service with science reports in six categories, in English and covering the Nordic countries, was launched early this month after two Nordic science media, one Danish and one Norwegian, joined forces.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: Bats have fastest muscles
When a bat hunts its prey, it emits sounds that are sent back as echoes when the sounds hit an object. In this way the bat forms an acoustic image of its surroundings that it can use for navigation. The ability to hunt insects with the aid of sounds has made the bat a formidable predator in the night sky.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Remnants of Gondwana revealed
In the remote waters of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, scientists have discovered two sunken islands, almost the size of Tasmania, which were once part of the supercontinent Gondwana. Scientists say the data could significantly change our understanding of the way in which India, Australia and Antarctica broke off from Gondwana.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Yale University offers new class in clubbing
For many parents, hearing that their child has discovered clubbing and alcohol at university is a terrifying prospect. But now their kids have the perfect excuse: it is for credit, reports the Daily Mail.
Full report on the University World News site


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US: Pepper spray attack galvanises student crusade
It has become something of an annual tradition on California college campuses: the state makes large cuts in public universities, they in turn raise tuition, and students respond with angry protests, writes Jennifer Medina for The New York Times. But this year, the battle is sharpening. Indeed, the Occupy movement, on campuses at least, is transforming itself into a student-led crusade against increases in tuition.
More on the University World News site

UK: Students to begin wave of occupations
Students are planning a wave of campus occupations and protests in the run-up to nationwide strikes next week. Occupations called by the student group National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) ahead of the trade union day of action on 30 November have already happened at Birmingham and Cambridge universities, writes Shiv Malik for the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

EU: European parliament backs Chilean students
The European parliament has thrown its support behind the demands of Chilean students for free higher education and condemned the excessive use of force by the country’s security apparatus in a letter to President Sebastián Piñera and Education Minister Felipe Bulnes, writes Joe Hinchliffe for The Santiago Times.
More on the University World News site

UK: University downplays new ‘climategate’ emails
The university at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ email-hacking controversy moved swiftly last week to play down the significance of a new batch of messages between global warming researchers released on the eve of a major UN climate conference, writes Michael McCarthy for The Independent.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Ministry encourages independent entrance tests
China’s Ministry of Education has promised to promote multiple measures to spot talented young people and send them for higher education, writes Chen Jia for China Daily. It has encouraged top universities to use independent examinations, besides the national one, to test students hoping to enter universities in 2012.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Racism ‘rife’ in universities, study finds
Accusations of alcoholism, jibes about skin colour and being overlooked for promotion are all forms of discrimination indigenous staff continue to face in Australian universities, a new study has found, writes Jen Rosenberg for The Sydney Morning Herald.
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Committee moots closure of politics department
In an unprecedented move, an international committee appointed by Israel’s Council for Higher Education has recommended that the politics and government department at Ben Gurion University be shut down unless it addresses some of the problems pointed out by the committee, writes Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad for Ynetnews.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities ‘oblivious’ to racism – Professor
Universities are “oblivious” to racial inequalities and are failing to act on problems because, it has been argued, they “see themselves as liberal and believe existing policies ensure fairness”, writes Matthew Reisz for the Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: St Andrews students to apologise to Obama
The Conservative Association at the University of St Andrews is to write to US President Barack Obama to apologise after an effigy of him was burned, reports the BBC. The incident is understood to have taken place on 18 November on the Fife town's East Sands beach.
More on the University World News site

RUSSIA: Foreign degree verification process scrapped
In an effort to attract more brainpower, Russia has made it easier for foreign students to enter Russian universities, reports Starting in 2012, the complex procedure of foreign diploma verification will be automatic. Those willing to get a degree in Russia will simply need to have their diplomas translated.
More on the University World News site

UK: ‘Soft’ courses axed ahead of funding cuts
Universities have axed 5,000 degree courses in preparation for cuts in state funding and the trebling of tuition fees, due to take effect in 2012, writes Kate Loveys for the Daily Mail. Figures show there are 38,147 courses on offer through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service for entry in 2012, down a staggering 12%, from 43,360.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities to pay incentives to lure students
Institutions across the country, including City University London and Leicester, Surrey and Northumbria universities, are introducing payments to attract candidates with the best exam grades, writes Julie Henry for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

UAE: Students to be offered cash-for-grades incentives
It is a problem every parent, and every teacher, has faced: how best to motivate students to work and study. In the United Arab Emirates, the government has decided to try an approach many exasperated parents have considered: cash payments for good grades, writes DD Guttenplan for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

EAST AFRICA: No move on pan-regional universities
The East African Legislative Assembly has rejected a bid to have free movement of education services through the creation of a regional body to accredit tertiary institutions within the East African community, reports the Daily Monitor. However, the debate will resume in the assembly in January 2012.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Revival of Nalanda University hits trouble
Plans to revive Nalanda University in India, one of the world's oldest seats of learning, as a totem of Asia's renaissance are facing trouble as supporters admit to little progress in fund-raising, reports AFP.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: ‘Unfit’ universities may revert to colleges
With the committee of experts appointed by the Supreme Court categorising 44 ‘deemed’ universities, 16 from Tamil Nadu, as unfit to be universities, they are likely to revert to functioning as affiliated colleges, writes B Aravind Kumar for The Hindu.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: University abolishes honours degree
Margaret Morgan had her future mapped out. She would complete her bachelor of advanced science in biology, do honours next year and follow up with a doctorate. But changes at her university, Macquarie, have forced her to reconsider her plans, write Dan Harrison and Jen Rosenberg for The Age.
More on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Google boosts universities’ connectivity
Internet giant Google is partnering with Nigerian universities to remove internet access barriers and to equip them with free communication tools, reports Business Day. Through Google Apps Supporting Programmes, a Google initiative aimed at increasing internet use in universities across Africa, the company supports institutions to use technology more effectively for research and collaboration.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: High-speed internet for technical colleges
Technical institutions in Kenya are set to benefit from high-speed internet in the next financial year in a government-led initiative. The move will help institutions share resources and improve the quality of research, writes Fredrick Obura for The Standard.
More on the University World News site

EAST AFRICA: Development bank aids universities
The African Development Bank has approved a total of US$124 million for the improvement of three centres of excellence in higher education in Uganda, Rwanda and Mali, writes David Muwanga for East African Business Week.
More on the University World News site
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