|5 February 2012||Issue 0207||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
NewsletterThis week, in World Blogs, Richard Holmes looks at lessons learned from eight years of university rankings. In Commentary, Helena Nazare argues that to deal with a rapidly changing world, universities in Europe need above all to be independent, and Arshad Ahmad in Canada suggests how universities might set about improving student success rates.
William Patrick Leonard says traditional universities in the United States should not be so quick to look down their noses at for-profit institutions, and his stance is echoed in Features by Dušan Lesjak, who describes the blurring of boundaries between public and private higher education in Slovenia. Alya Mishra reports on India’s expanding National Knowledge Network, which is providing universities with access to online journals and linking them with one another and the world, and Eileen Travers unpacks the recent report on think-tanks worldwide and finds them shifting away from academia.
Karen MacGregor Global Editor
EUROPEBrendan O’Malley and Jan Petter Myklebust
European Union Research Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has warned that she will “name and shame” member states that fail to speed up reform of research. “With Europe crying out for growth, the European Research Area can't wait any longer,” she said.
SOUTH KOREAHan-Suk Kim
Only half of South Korea’s universities have met an end of January deadline to notify the authorities of their tuition fee levels for 2012, with the majority falling far short of the 15% fee reductions asked for by the government. The lower-than-expected fee reductions have prompted fears of renewed student protests.
International students graduating from Australian universities face a marked improvement in their chances of finding work in their fields of study. A new report says demand by employers for international graduates last year increased close to levels not seen since the effects of the global financial crisis began to be felt in 2008.
EUROPEJan Petter Myklebust
Advanced grants awarded by the European Research Council continue to be heavily skewed towards larger European nations and senior male scientists.
UNITED KINGDOMBrendan O’Malley
A sharp drop in applications for undergraduate places at universities England and Wales this year is being analysed to discover if it is linked to allowing tuition fees at universities in England to treble.
SWEDENJan Petter Myklebust
Applicants for international masters programmes in Sweden for 2012-13 are up 24% over last year, at 31,223. But this is significantly lower than before Sweden introduced tuition fees for students from outside the European Economic Area.
Taiwan is offering students in five Central American countries more than US$20 million in low-cost student loans. Analysts see the move to court the region, which has low higher education enrolment rates, as part of the ongoing battle between Taiwan and China over political allies in the West.
SENEGALMamadou Mika Lom
There were violent clashes between students and security forces during three days of protests at Senegal’s leading University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) last week. Anger erupted after a student was run over by a police truck and killed during unrest ahead of looming elections.
SENEGALMamadou Mika Lom
Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade has studied a raft of demands from the lecturers’ union and adjudicated in its favour. But still the crisis in higher education looks set to intensify, with the union now calling for 72-hour strikes to be extended as it accuses key government ministers of shirking their responsibilities and of “double speak”.
GULF STATESWagdy Sawahel
The Gulf states are planning to set up a network for quality assurance in higher education to reinforce the quality of education and academic accreditation in the region.
The establishment of a UNESCO chair for biosciences ethics at the University of Khartoum in Sudan should strengthen related teaching and research programmes, while the recent opening of a branch of the Arab Science and Technology Foundation in the capital is set to boost university-industry alliances.
A recent festival in Egypt, planned to promote art skills among students in the school of commerce at Cairo University and to commemorate the popular revolution, degenerated into a paint-throwing mess that triggered an outcry and investigations.
It has been eight years since the first global rankings of higher education institutions were started and there is now a plethora of different systems. But what have those eight years taught us about ranking systems?
Connection to the National Knowledge Network by fibre-optic link is providing universities in India with newfound access to online journals, and is linking outlying institutions with their constituent campuses and other universities, and academics with colleagues worldwide.
When governments want to reshape foreign policy, carve out a budget or pass a bill on g ay marriage, they regularly turn to think-tanks to provide expertise. Once the domain of academia, think-tanks have transformed into a different animal in today’s global village of information access and sharing.
In past decades higher education in Slovenia has been characterised by increasing globalisation, market-orientation and the privatisation of public and growth of private institutions. But the difference between the public and private sectors is not as obvious as one might think, with the former looking increasingly like the latter.
European higher education has undergone huge transformations in the last decade, including the economic crisis. To deal with a rapidly changing world, universities need to respond to regional economic needs while being globally competitive and promoting multidisciplinary approaches to worldwide challenges. Above all, they need to be independent.
If students are turned off and apathetic, it may not be their fault. It could be the way they are being taught, and the way we conceive of teaching as opposed to research. There are several points to bear in mind if universities want to improve student success rates.
UNITED STATESWilliam Patrick Leonard
US traditional public and non-profit private tertiary institutions have frequently criticised their for-profit competitors for failing to ‘be like us’. The latter’s business plan does not complement the former’s self-anointed purity. If for-profits pursue an operating surplus or profit for their owners, it must be at the expense of academic quality, they surmise.
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UNITED STATESThe Chronicle of Higher Education.
UNITED STATESInside Higher Ed.
UNITED KINGDOMThe Telegraph.
UNITED STATESAssociated Press.
UNITED STATESThe Washington Times.
BANGLADESHThe Daily Star. No universities will be allowed to open new courses, programmes, institutes or faculties or extend their campuses until they move to comprehensive campuses.
UNITED STATESThe Kansas City Star.
UNITED STATESLos Angeles Times.
UNITED STATESThe New York Times.
SOUTH AFRICAIndependent Online.
UNITED KINGDOMThe Telegraph.
INDONESIAThe Jakarta Post.
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