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University World News Global Edition
29 January 2012 Issue 0206 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
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____This week Serhiy Kvit writes in World Blogs that Ukraine’s draft higher education law is a blast from the past and an obstacle to integration with Europe. In Commentary Georg Krücken argues that European universities are not ‘Americanising’ but adapting to transnational trends, Qing Gu says Chinese students in the UK adapt and develop in ways that enhance their future careers, and Tom Vickers and Lena Dominelli describe the benefits to students and universities of involvement in humanitarian projects abroad.
____In Features, Yojana Sharma says academics in Hong Kong have been landing in hot water with China for opinion surveys probing public attitudes towards the mainland. In India, Alya Mishra describes a Delhi University plan to introduce interdisciplinary four-year degrees, and Naw Say Phaw Waa reports that student activists in Myanmar just released from prison are worried about their future prospects.

Karen MacGregor Global Editor
Brendan O’Malley

Given the great importance that most governments in Europe attribute to student and academic mobility in public statements, and the 1.5 million non-Europeans now studying in the region, it is remarkable how few have developed comprehensive and systematic mobility policies, a just-released study for the European Commission has found.
David Haworth

The European Union must make huge efforts to attract research talent from all over the world if its ambitious plans to launch a European Research Area in two years’ time are to be successful, a League of European Research Universities (LERU) conference in Brussels agreed last week.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Belarus’ bid to join the European Higher Education Area should be turned down, according to the high-level group following up the Bologna process.
Eileen Travers

America’s Brookings Institution was named the best think-tank in the world for a second year running, according to a University of Pennsylvania ranking report released this month. North America and Europe have 60% of the world’s think-tanks while Asia’s share has grown to 18% and Latin American and the Caribbean’s to 11%.
Alison Moodie

German media giant Bertelsmann AG is funding half of a $100 million fund called University Ventures. One of the initiative’s key targets will be Hispanic colleges in the US, which it sees as a growing market. It is part of a trend in which private capital helps traditional universities to tackle gaps in the market.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Morten Østergaard, Denmark's minister for higher education, wants to see all Danish students taking a study period abroad, gathering knowledge and experience outside the country that will enable Denmark to succeed in global competition.
Gilbert Nganga

Kenya’s government has moved to quell a financial crisis facing its student loans body with a plan to pump US$5.8 million into the fund. The additional money is expected to give the Higher Education Loans Board, HELB, a ‘war chest’ to finance thousands of new students.
Kudzai Mashininga

Lecturers at 28 public tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe have gone on strike demanding salary increases. And the new student grant system, which was supposed to be funded from diamond sales, is on shaky ground after America slapped sanctions on local prospecting companies.
Tunde Fatunde

Nigeria’s public universities were shut down for a week when trade unions called on all workers to protest against the removal of fuel subsidies. The mass strike action paralysed business nationwide, forcing the government to cave in by partially restoring the subsidy.
Wagdy Sawahel

The Syrian government has agreed to establish a centre to set national standards and tests for educational qualifications and university admission, and additional tests for examining graduates’ employability skills.
Makki Marseilles

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, has launched a ‘two languages’ service to provide information and support to people charged with the upbringing and education of children in a language other than their mother tongue.
Wagdy Sawahel

In an effort to transform the Gambia into an economic success story, the West African country’s President Yahya Jammeh has declared 2012 to be the year of science, technology and innovation. The initiative is to be led by key ministries in partnership with the University of the Gambia.
World Blogs
Serhiy Kvit

The new draft law on higher education in Ukraine is a retrogressive step and will obstruct European integration. The country needs to promote autonomy for universities and greater freedom of speech, rather than the current lack of accountability.
Yojana Sharma

Opinion surveys, a common source of research information in universities around the world, have become a political minefield for Hong Kong’s universities, with recent surveys landing academics in trouble with the authorities in Beijing.
Alya Mishra

Delhi University has announced that it will extend its degrees to four years from 2013 to make undergraduate education more broad-based and introduce more interdisciplinary education. It is a trend-setting move recommended by national planners.
Naw Say Phaw Waa

Among the 651 political prisoners released by President Thein Sein under an historic 13 January amnesty were some of Myanmar’s most popular politicians and activists including 1988-generation student leaders. There were also some 15 young student activists arrested following the 2007 ‘Saffron Revolution’.
Georg Krücken

Although the US is a forerunner of many of the transformations taking place in European higher education, it would be a mistake to view this as the ‘Americanisation’ of European universities. Nations and institutions can take on similar changes but adapt them to their own circumstances and history.
Qing Gu

What is the impact of studying abroad on students? UK research suggests the benefits are many, with students subjected to a reflexive process of change, adjustment and development through interaction with a different educational and cultural environment.
Tom Vickers and Lena Dominelli

Getting students involved in humanitarian projects overseas can provide many benefits, not just for those students who take part but also for the university as a whole.
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World Round-up
US President Barack Obama put higher education squarely in his rhetorical sights during the State of the Union address last Tuesday, calling for plans to reduce the interest rate on student loans, extend popular tax credits and shore up support for community colleges’ job training programmes, writes Libby A Nelson for Inside Higher Ed.
Over the past year, state funding for higher education in America has declined by nearly 8%. In real terms, that amounts to $6 billion less being funnelled into the nation’s public colleges and universities at a time when the demand for the degrees they provide is at an all-time high, writes Kayla Webley for Time.
A Higher Education Bill, which was to be introduced in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech, has now been delayed indefinitely and is unlikely to be published before 2015. The new legislation was designed to make it easier for private colleges, including big American education firms, to set up new universities in Britain, write Robert Winnett and Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
Teaching grants to English universities are to be cut by 18% in the next academic year, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills revealed last week, writes Vivienne Russell for Public Finance.
They’ve been a thorn in the side of the university reform movement from the start, and last year President Václav Klaus called them parasites. They’re the students speaking out against changes that would introduce tuition fees, along with a slew of other measures they say strip public universities of their autonomy, writes Emily Thompson for The Prague Post.
More than 40% of national universities in Japan are to consider following in the University of Tokyo’s footsteps by switching the start of the academic year for undergraduates from spring to autumn, a Kyodo News survey showed last week, reports The Mainichi Daily News.
Millions of tourists travel to Cambodia every year to visit the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, an influx that has helped transform a small, laid-back village into a thriving and cosmopolitan town. But the explosion of tourism has also done something less predictable. Siem Reap, which had no universities a decade ago, is now Cambodia’s second largest hub for higher education, writes Thomas Fuller for The New York Times.
Five universities in Malaysia have been given the autonomy to become innovative and competitive institutions, said Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin last week. The aspects covered by the autonomy were governance, finance, human resources, academic management and student intake, reports the official agency Bernama.
Stating that there is a major “structural weakness” in India’s higher education system with the growth of universities in the form of affiliated institutions, the University Grants Commission has proposed that autonomous colleges – those with potential for excellence and more than 3,000 students – can be converted into universities during the 12th Plan, reports Mihika Basu for Indian Express.
Any government plan to establish a new university in the southeast of Ireland makes no sense when the current system is seriously underfunded and battling for its survival, according to seven university presidents, writes Seán Flynn for The Irish Times. There are also plans for two other new technology universities.
The battle in the US over public access to federally financed research is heating up again. The basic question is this: When taxpayers help pay for scholarly research, should those taxpayers get to see the results in the form of free access to the resulting journal articles? Jennifer Howard reports for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Lawyers are seeking to overturn a high court injunction that prevents students at one of the UK's biggest universities from staging occupation-style protests, writes Jessica Shepherd for the Guardian.
The UK government has launched a new cross-department venture to encourage universities to expand internationally, writes Sam Creighton for Times Higher Education. The HE Global Integrated Advisory Service, announced by Foreign Secretary William Hague, aims to bolster the competitiveness of UK institutions in the increasingly crowded global education market.
More than 400 doctors, medical researchers and scientists have formed a powerful lobby group to pressure universities to close down alternative medicine degrees, writes Kelly Burke for Melbourne Weekly.
The Engineering Council of South Africa has embarked on a research campaign, the results of which will aid in understanding the challenges tertiary institutions face in achieving higher pass rates in engineering bachelor degrees, writes Dimakatso Motau for Engineering News.
The number of universities and colleges in Britain that offer degrees in media studies has tripled in the last decade, while the number that teach physics has slumped by almost a third, a think-tank has found, writes Jessica Shepherd for the Guardian.
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