ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0200 04 December 2011
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Editorial Board

HE Events Diary

The European Commission is proposing spending EUR80 billion on research through its Horizon 2020 programme to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness. See the News and Commentary sections.

In Commentary, Victor Figuero-Clark writes that the student protests in Chile have stuck chords among students in other countries, and could mark the beginning of the end of the neo-liberal period in Latin America.

A survey by the UK Council for International Student Affairs has found that international students are seeing Britain as far less welcoming following visa restrictions. It warns of a damaging drop-off in foreign students choosing the UK. See the News section.

In a Special Report, South African academics write about the radical higher education proposals contained in the country's new National Development Plan.


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, AMEEN AMJAD KHAN says United States aid to higher education has assumed a greater role in its foreign policy towards Pakistan and Afghanistan. ARD JONGSMA describes the launch in Senegal of the European Commission, Association of African Universities and African Union’s first Tuning initiative involving 60 universities across Africa, and PACIFICA GODDARD says Venezuela's ‘autonomous’ public universities are claiming they are being singled out for devastating funding cuts. In a special report NICO CLOETE, NASIMA BADSHA and MALEGAPURU MAKGOBA unpack the higher education challenges and strategies highlighted in South Africa’s new national development plan. And in Commentary, VICTOR FIGUEROA-CLARK says the internationalisation of student protests in Chile shows there are many similarities between what is happening there and elsewhere. CLAIR CALLENDER explains why the UK government’s white paper on higher education will decrease social mobility, JAN PETTER MYKLEBUST investigates the European Commission’s bold plans for its next research programme, and JEHONA SERHATI bemoans lack of interest in higher education among think-tanks in post-conflict Kosovo.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

EUROPE: EU plans historic rise in research funding
Peter da Costa
The European Commission has proposed an historic adjustment to its research and innovation policies with a view to stimulating economic growth and shoring up the competitiveness of the European Union. The plans include a EUR30 billion (US$40 billion) increase in funding and a 16-fold rise in the number of higher education students being supported in their training.
Full report on University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Campus buzz at 'people's' COP17
Wanda Hennig
The University of KwaZulu-Natal's Howard College campus in Durban, South Africa, is ground zero for C17, the civil society 'People's Space' alternative to COP17-CMP7, the global climate change gathering that kicked off on Monday.
Full report on the University World News site

ISLAMIC STATES: Ministers approve universities network
Ameen Amjad Khan
A high-profile meeting of ministers of higher education and research from member countries of the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has approved setting up a higher education cooperation forum for developing nations including Islamic states during a meeting in Azerbaijan.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Job rules 'may send foreign students to Australia'
Brendan O'Malley
The UK is seen as less welcoming to international students following the imposition of visa restrictions, according to the UK Council for International Student Affairs. Significant numbers of foreign students may instead choose to study in Australia due to Britain's abolition of the Post Study Work scheme, it said.
Full report on the University World News site

RUSSIA: Duma simplifies foreign degree recognition
Eugene Vorotnikov
The Russian parliament, the State Duma, has adopted a bill which will make it easier for foreign scientists and other academics to work or study in the country by recognising the diplomas of leading foreign universities.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: PM backs tough rules for foreign students
Jane Marshall
France's Prime Minister François Fillon has defended the controversial tightening up of residence and employment rules for non-European students and graduates in the face of concerns expressed by higher education leaders.
Full report on the University World News site

NETHERLANDS: Merger of three top universities opposed
Robert Visscher
Plans for three major Dutch universities to merge are opposed by more than half of their academics and students, according to a survey published on Thursday.
Full report on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Higher education quality poor, says minister
Hiep Pham
The massification of Vietnam’s higher education sector in the last two decades has led to quality problems that do not “match the demands of society and of the nation’s development”, Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan has admitted to the National Assembly.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAWI: Commission ordered to cease inquiry
The Malawi high court has ordered a presidential commission of inquiry probing upheavals in the country’s higher education sector to halt its proceedings following an application lodged by lecturers opposing the commission’s operations.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: British Council forges university links
Ameen Amjad Khan
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission and the British Council have signed an agreement to expand university links between the two countries, with a new vision to help Pakistani universities get research out of laboratories to the service of communities and upliftment of the economy.
Full report on the University World News site


PAKISTAN: US higher education aid to improve ties
Ameen Amjad Khan
United States aid to higher education has assumed a greater role in its foreign policy towards Pakistan and Afghanistan this year, with experts saying that this form of soft diplomacy could help patch up the rocky relationship between the US and the two countries since the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and the attack on NATO headquarters in Kabul in September.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Continent-wide Tuning project launched
Ard Jongsma
At a double meeting last week in Dakar, Senegal, the European Commission, the Association of African Universities and the African Union Council launched their first Tuning initiative in Africa. Sixty universities across the continent will participate in five pilot projects.
Full report on the University World News site

VENEZUELA: Autonomous universities stripped of funds
Pacifica Goddard
Venezuela’s public universities are claiming they will receive only a fraction of the state funding they require in 2012 under a new government budget. The ‘autonomous’ universities complain that they are being singled out because they do not fall under the control of President Hugo Chavez’ leftist government.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: National Development Plan

South Africa’s National Planning Commission published its National Development Plan: Vision for 2030 last month. Higher education was barely mentioned in the previous plan, but this time it is afforded a prominent role. Here, three of the academics who shaped the new vision’s higher education input describe the research, thinking and goals behind it, which will inform higher education policy in the years to come.

SOUTH AFRICA: Radical new plan for higher education
Hidden in the text of the education section of South Africa’s new National Development Plan is an intention that is much more radical than any previous higher education policy, says NICO CLOETE. While previously higher education was regarded as an equity instrument, now for the first time it is acknowledged as a major development driver in the information-knowledge system. Knowledge production and equity are linked within a more differentiated system. Two major policy goals are to double the participation rate and expand private higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Emerging consensus on differentiation
There appears to be an emerging consensus in South Africa on the principles that should shape the future differentiation of the system, write NASIMA BADSHA and NICO CLOETE in a background paper for the new National Development Plan: Vision for 2030. There is acknowledgement that the country needs a variety of institutions to meet the different needs of students and for knowledge production and development. The key proposition is to strengthen coordination and steering of an expanded and diverse system.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Universities must build a winning nation
South Africa’s education system is pulling it back. The capacity, quality and productivity of its higher education and innovation systems need urgent attention, argues MALEGAPURU MAKGOBA. The new National Development Plan sets ambitious targets to raise the production of doctoral graduates, participation rates and graduation rates. And, most importantly for universities to be ‘fit for purpose’, it calls for the proportion of academics with PhDs to be increased from a measly 34% to 75% over the next 20 years.
Full report on the University World News site


CHILE: Student protest movement goes global
The Chilean student protests need to be understood in their recent historical context. However, the fact that they have become internationalised shows that there are many similarities between what is happening in higher education in Chile and other countries. They could also mark the beginning of the end of the neo-liberal period in Latin America, argues VICTOR FIGUEROA-CLARK.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Government reforms will decrease social mobility
The UK government’s recent white paper on higher education will decrease social mobility by focusing more on fairness than on widening participation, and by cutting entry routes into higher education for more disadvantaged students and channelling them towards lower cost, lower quality institutions, argues CLAIRE CALLENDER.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: A bold attempt to streamline research
The European Commission has adopted bold plans for its next research framework programme, Horizon 2020. But wrangling still remains to be done over the budget and some countries are still not happy to transfer research activities from the national to the European level, says JAN PETTER MYKLEBUST.
Full report on the University World News site

KOSOVO: Need for experts to tackle higher education
Post-conflict countries like Kosovo need both financial and expert support to negotiate a peaceful transition and build a sustainable civil society. One of the aims of outside experts should be to promote local capacity and identify local experts, says JEHONA SERHATI. In Kosovo, however, few national think-tanks have shown any interest in higher education. This makes devising good evidence-based policy difficult.
Full report on the University World News site


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IRELAND: Higher education at ‘breaking point’
Student places in Irish universities and other third-level colleges will have to be capped or fees will urgently have to increase to address the major funding crisis in the sector, writes Daniel McConnell for the Sunday Independent.
More on the University World News site

US: Top official calls for urgency on college costs
As Occupy movement protests helped push spiralling college costs into the national spotlight, Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged higher education officials last week to “think more creatively – and with much greater urgency” about ways to contain costs and reduce student debt, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

UK: Industrial action halts some university classes
Teaching was called off at some universities during Britain’s biggest industrial action for a generation, as support staff and academics mounted strikes over pension cuts, writes John Morgan for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

ASIA: New deal reached on degree recognition
A student who completes a three-year undergraduate course in China or Australia will be recognised as a holder of a bachelors degree in Korea under a recently revised agreement on academic recognition in Asia-Pacific countries, writes Lee Woo-young for the Korea Herald.
More on the University World News site

US-CHINA: Academic freedom ends at the classroom door
In the 25 years Johns Hopkins University and Nanjing University have run a joint campus in China, it has never published an academic journal. When American student Brendon Stewart (27) tried last year, he found out why, write Oliver Staley and Daniel Golden for Bloomberg.
More on the University World News site

INDONESIA: New audit for state universities
In an attempt to evaluate their effectiveness, Indonesia’s education and culture ministry will implement an audit of programmes at state universities next year. Deputy Education Minister Musliar Kasim told The Jakarta Post recently that the audit would determine whether programmes at state universities were really needed and efficiently implemented.
More on the University World News site

UK: LSE criticised for links with Gaddafi regime
Britain’s London School of Economics has been heavily criticised for a “chapter of failures” in its links with the former Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, reports Stuart Hughes for BBC News. A report by former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, says mistakes and errors of judgement damaged the LSE’s reputation.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Oxford denies ‘censorship' in essay row
Oxford University Press last week said that its decision to discontinue publishing and selling AK Ramanujan's essay, “Three Hundred Ramayanas”, was based on “commercial considerations”. It denied acting under pressure from right-wing protesters who had claimed that the essay hurt Hindu sensitivities, writes Hasan Suroor for The Hindu.
More on the University World News site

US: Better data may mean better pass rates – report
American colleges may be able to improve their graduation rates by gaining a better understanding of the students they enroll, according to a report released last week, writes Kaustuv Basu for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

US: More colleges offer four-year degree guarantees
More colleges in the US are offering four-year degree guarantees, where parents do not pay extra if their child’s education spills over into additional semesters, writes Emily Glazer for The Wall Street Journal.
More on the University World News site

EGYPT: Science city to spawn national research network
Egypt is to establish a network of universities and research centres that will collaborate with the country's planned US$2 billion science city, which is scheduled to open its doors to students in September 2012, writes Mohamed El-Sayed for SciDev.Net.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Top universities slated for £36,000 fees
Scotland’s Education Secretary Mike Russell has criticised the universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews for failing to show restraint after setting tuition fees at the highest level possible for UK students from outside Scotland, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
More on the University World News site

UK: University applications drop after fees hike
The number of British students applying to university has slumped by more than 15% amid a public backlash over a sharp hike in tuition fees, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph. Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service also reveals a rapid decline in demand from European students who pay the same fees as their British peers.
More on the University World News site

UK: Top classicist quits in row over university cuts
One of Britain's most respected classicists, Professor Edith Hall, has resigned as head of a leading academic department in protest against impending budget cuts. Despite winning the support of well-known classics enthusiasts such as Boris Johnson, Stephen Fry and the literary theorist Terry Eagleton, Hall said she had been pushed to “tipping point” by management, write Vanessa Thorpe and Daniel Boffey for the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

US: Push for independent board at Oregon university
The University of Oregon must push for its own governing board, said many angry professors and students rallying on campus in the wake of the firing of President Richard Lariviere, writes Bill Graves for The Oregonian.
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US: Three knocked out of New York university bid
Three of the seven elite universities vying to build a ‘genius school’ in New York City have been knocked out of the highly competitive contest, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week. The city has promised to give free land and up to US$100 million in taxpayer funds to a university or a group of universities willing to build an engineering or technology campus within the five boroughs, writes Erin Einhorn for New York Daily News.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: University intake to follow demand
University entry cut-offs for 2012 will fall, experts say, making it easier for students who have just finished year 12 to enrol in popular degrees, writes Natalie Craig for The Age. Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks are expected to fall under a new system that allows universities to decide how many places they offer, based on student demand.
More on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Deficit looms as insurance cost doubles
Canterbury University in New Zealand’s insurance premiums have more than doubled since the February earthquake and it now expects to operate with a $15 million (US$15.3 million) deficit next year. The deficit has jumped from the $10.2 million forecast less than two months ago after additional advertising and property costs, and the rise in insurance premiums, writes Tina Law for The Press.
More on the University World News site

YEMEN: Questions remain for Sana’a students
Students of Sana’a University are worried about resuming study at the headquarters of the institution, where protesters have been demanding an end to Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime, writes Malak Shaher for Yemen Times.
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SOUTH AFRICA: First Oprah Winfrey class graduates
The first graduating pupils at Oprah Winfrey's school for South African girls have finished their exams, with all of them set for university studies, reports Associated Press. Results of their final exams will only be released in January, but all 72 pupils at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls are set for further studies either in South Africa or abroad, Academy head, Anne van Zyl, said in a statement.
More on the University World News site
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