University World News Global Edition
5 February 2012 Issue 0207 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
This 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
Brendan 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.
Han-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.
Geoff Maslen

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.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Advanced grants awarded by the European Research Council continue to be heavily skewed towards larger European nations and senior male scientists.
Brendan 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.
Jan 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.
Chrissie Long

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.
Mamadou 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.
Mamadou 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”.
Wagdy 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.
Wagdy Sawahel

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.
Ashraf Khaled

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.
World Blogs
Richard Holmes

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?
Alya Mishra

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.
Eileen Travers

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.
Dušan Lesjak

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.
Helena Nazare

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.
Arshad Ahmad

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.
William 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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World Round-up
A protest against Elsevier, the world's largest scientific journal publisher, is rapidly gaining momentum since it began as an irate blog post at the end of January. By last Tuesday evening, about 2,400 scholars had put their names to an online pledge not to publish or do any editorial work for the company's journals, including refereeing papers, writes Josh Fischman for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
They gathered to commiserate and commit to giving adjunct faculty a stronger voice. In what was part bonding session, part road map for the future, members of the New Faculty Majority, a group representing professors off the tenure track, met for its first national summit, writes Kaustuv Basu for Inside Higher Ed.
The students milling about in a leafy, outdoor cafeteria at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, bear with nonchalance the burden of being the face of the country's demographic dividend. Part of the largest and fastest-growing segment of India's 1.2 billion-strong population, these youths seem poised, with degrees in hand, to restore the country to its double-digit growth dreams, reports the Financial Times.
A new report published by the Knesset Research and Information Centre shows a 100% increase in the number of Israeli students, mostly from the Bedouin sector, studying in the Palestinian Authority, writes Tomer Velmer for YNet.
In an outspoken attack, Professor Les Ebdon said he would use the toughest possible sanctions against institutions that consistently fall short of demanding admissions targets, including a ban on charging Ł9,000 tuition [US$14,240] fees, write Graeme Paton and Tim Ross for The Telegraph.
Further education colleges are going to play a bigger role in offering degrees in England, as colleges are awarded funding for thousands of places previously held by universities, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.
"Fuzzy math", Illinois State University's president called it. “Political theatre of the worst sort,” said the University of Washington's head. US President Barack Obama's new plan to force colleges and universities to contain tuition or face losing federal dollars is raising alarm among education leaders, who worry about the threat of government overreach, reports Associated Press.
It hasn’t had much attention on the campaign trail, but President Barack Obama and Republican front-runner Mitt Romney are sharply divided over one of the most controversial issues in higher education today – the growth of for-profit colleges – writes Ben Wolfgang for The Washington Times.
Private universities that have failed to move to their own permanent campuses have been given an extended ultimatum of one year, reports The 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.
Ireland could soon have four more universities if plans by institutes of technology get the go-ahead. The political battle is now up and running among the colleges to get the badge ‘technological university’, Kim Bielenberg reports for the Irish Independent.
University principals could have their bonuses axed and salary rises severely limited under radical plans proposed by a review of the higher education sector, writes Paul Hutcheon for Herald Scotland.
In the technical world of bioinformatics, two University of Kansas computer scientists were riding high in 2009. Mahesh Visvanathan and Gerald Lushington published three articles with an international audience. They were invited to make a poster presentation at a conference in Sweden, writes Alan Bavley for The Kansas City Star.
The detection of wholesale cheating in US college applications is on the rise due to the use of Turnitin for Admissions, an anti-plagiarism database service that compares student essays to an immense archive of other writings, writes Larry Gordon for Los Angeles Times.
Claremont McKenna College, a small, prestigious California school, said last week that for the past six years it has submitted false SAT scores to publications like US News & World Report that use the data in widely followed college rankings, write Daniel E Slotnik and Richard Perez-Pena for The New York Times.
A racial dispute over the admissions policy at South Africa’s only veterinary institute has resurfaced with allegations that white students are being unfairly refused entry in favour of black students, writes Mogomotsi Magome for Independent Online.
The US Education Department is probing complaints that Harvard University and Princeton University discriminate against Asian-Americans in undergraduate admissions, writes Daniel Golden for Bloomberg.
A number of Cambridge lecturers object to the substantial gift from the Chong Hua Foundation, which is set to create a chair of Chinese development at a new Centre of Development Studies, write Alex Spillius, Peter Foster and Malcolm Moore in Shanghai for The Telegraph.
The United States will invest $19 million in Indonesian higher education over the coming years through its higher education leadership and management programme, reports The Jakarta Post.
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