ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0021  30 March 2008
HE Events Diary

Opportunities Jobs

This week, University World News launches its business section. Exploring the nexus between business and academia, we report on collaboration and developments that build on the best of these two sectors.

Moscow State University has expellled four student activists. But the students claim they have been targetted because of their campaign for better teaching and conditions. See the story in our news section.

Africans are mourning a Swedish educator who devoted her life to empowering the isolated and disadvantaged. See the obiturary in our People section.


A new Africa Edition and a new business section

Africa Edition

This week University World News launches a fortnightly Africa Edition, a niched regional edition of our global publication. The Africa Edition aims to generate greater coverage of universities in Africa and to improve communication between people working or interested in higher education on the continent. It will feature reporting on higher education news, issues, analysis and developments across Africa and will also include many of the stories published in the global edition. The Africa edition can be downloaded from our website but any reader who wishes to receive the emailed summary, instead of or as well as our global newspaper, should write to

Business section

'The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability,' US automobile magnate Henry Ford once opined. And by that measure, higher education should surely be the world's richest sector. But the threadbare furnishings and crumbling masonry of some seats of learning reminds us that in many countries, universities and colleges are poorly funded and their academics and researchers are badly paid. Also, in the private sector, why is it that businesses often stick to what they know and stagnate, rather than change, innovate and prosper? Maybe Henry Ford got it wrong.

University World News thinks not. While we strongly believe that academics must be free to pursue ‘blue sky’ research and seek solutions to problems without concern for commercial considerations, we also think that great learning and wealth can be generated where the best and brightest of academia meet and work with risk-taking entrepreneurs, financiers and managers. And the benefits cut both ways. Universities can not only prosper by seeing their bright ideas turned into viable business opportunities, they can also learn management techniques from the private sector, helping them run their institutions more efficiently and profitably. And businesses can use the lateral thinking skills of academics to seize and process great ideas to turn them into something tangible.

It is this nexus of business and academia that University World News' new business section will explore for stories of groundbreaking positive collaboration. Some academics have raised concerns that the power of business has skewered or narrowed curricula and research towards topics that potentially make money. And that may be true. But it is not the kind of collaboration that we are interested in. Indeed, it is not true collaboration at all. What our business pages will highlight is where higher education pushes the boundaries of knowledge and the private sector creates new forms of wealth in parallel, feeding off each other's expertise and brilliance. This will make for interesting reading; we hope academics and business leaders will keenly study our coverage. University World News’ business editor is Keith Nuthall. He can be contacted on:


GLOBAL: Business to benefit from university research
Keith Nuthall and Monica Dobie
Universities and colleges are constantly working with business and industry to undertake commercially valuable research. University World News will regularly feature a selection of these cutting edge developments in its business pages, which we hope will inspire businesses to contact researchers carrying out this beneficial work. We also want to encourage higher education institutions to work with innovative companies to create valuable new technologies and services.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Goldman Sachs offers training for 10,000 women
Brendan O'Malley
The Goldman Sachs business group is to provide 10,000 women, mainly in developing countries, with a business and management education via partnerships between universities in the United States and Europe and business schools in emerging and developing economies. The ‘10,000 Women Initiative’ was inspired by Goldman Sachs research showing the powerful effects on societies and economies of greater participation in the workforce by women. It could help ease concerns about the fact that Africa’s student population is the most internationally mobile in the world, a factor contributing to the poorest continent's brain drain.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Universities and businesses must work together
Renée Cordes
Europe's universities and companies must work together as a matter of urgency to ensure a more productive and mobile workforce, European Union Education Commissioner Ján Figel told the first European University-Business Forum in Brussels. Figel said that Europe had been too weak for too long in bringing the worlds of academia and business enterprise together to achieve successful commercial exploitation of academic excellence. "Universities here have tended to shy away from 'getting their hands dirty with business'. That is totally inappropriate in the 21st century," he said.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Researchers develop "fastest swimsuit in the world"
Monica Dobie
Researchers from the University of Nottingham's school of mechanical, materials and manufacturing engineering, in England's East Midlands, have helped develop what has been hailed as the fastest swimsuit in the world. Speedo's new LZR Racer swimsuit was made using Computational Fluid Dynamics that scanned 400 athletes' bodies to pin-point areas of high and low friction when they swim. With that information designers were able to position a special highly flexible fabric called LZR PULSE(tm) that is ultrasonically welded to the right places of the suit.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

Around 150 senior academics gathered in central London earlier this month to discuss the practice of internationalisation in Britain's universities. It was the first in a series of conferences on the theme of 'Rethinking higher education' organised by the UK Higher Education International Unit, with the consultancy i-graduate, Universities UK and supported by UK Trade and Investment, the former department of trade and industry. Delegates heard about new ‘learning tribes’, the boom in the private sector, competition for the youth market and worldwide partnerships. The following reports are by Diane Spencer:

UK: Knowledge the only currency
Lord (Digby) Jones, the ebullient Minister for Trade and Investment and former Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, delivered a rousing introduction to the 'Rethinking higher education' conference in London. Jones expressed a strong belief in the importance of universities as businesses to help promote ‘Brand Britain’. He said he had persuaded Prime Minister Gordon Brown to include five vice-chancellors in the delegation he took recently to China.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Learning tribes and the new youth market
Cast your mind back to your student days. Which tribe did you belong to? Your choices are: Seekers, Gekkos, Bonos, Kids or Surfers? Oh all right, some of those words were not currency in your day, but you will get the idea. The International Graduate Insight Group (i-graduate) found, from feedback on some 25,000 international students from more than 190 nations, that they did not conform to national stereotypes.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Booming private sector
The private higher education market is burgeoning. It is already worth an estimated $400 billion worldwide – around 17% is spent globally on the sector and about a quarter of all higher education students are in private sector institutions. Dr Neil Kemp, visiting fellow at London's Institute of Education and adviser to the Association of Independent Higher Education Providers, points to a huge increase in numbers of students being educated outside their home countries: 2.7 million or a 50% rise since 2000. By 2025, almost eight million students would be educated internationally, Kemp told the 'Rethinking higher education' conference held in London this month.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Major reshuffle at key universities
Michael Delaney
A series of appointments at high-ranking universities across China, timed to coincide with the annual meeting of parliament, has set the direction for the next generation of leaders and academics. With no major legislation planned for this year’s session of the ‘two meetings’ – the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference – the government is said to be ‘fine tuning’ its policies and personnel for the years ahead. In the academic sphere, this includes turning out the right sort of graduates. China has high and rising graduate unemployment yet still suffers from a lack of qualified managers, forcing Chinese companies to look overseas. But universities are also important politically.
Full report on the University World News site

N IGERIA: Lecturers without PhDs to lose their jobs
Tunde Fatunde
Public and private universities in N igeria were recently reminded by Professor Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, that by 2009 all lecturers must possess a doctoral degree – or lose their jobs. This directive, supported by the federal government, has generated a great deal of controversy in and outside higher education. But both supporters and opponents of the idea are unanimous about one thing – to prevent instability and uncertainty in the fragile university system, the qualifications deadline should be extended to allow affected academics to obtain their PhDs.
Full report on the University World News site

RUSSIA: Moscow State student activists expelled
Nick Holdsworth
Four student activists who have been at the forefront of a campaign for better teaching and conditions at Russia's leading university for the past year have been expelled after being told they were not up to scratch academically. The students from Moscow State University's sociology faculty claim they were singled out after lobbying against suspect academic practice and unaffordable canteen prices.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: EIT clears legislative hurdle
Alan Osborn
The proposed new European Institute of Innovation and Technology cleared another legislative hurdle this month when the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament jointly agreed a 'common position' for stabilising the institution. The next step will be appointing the governing board later this year and formal establishment of the institute. A major question is the location: Vienna, Budapest, Wroclaw and Munich have all put in bids.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Confronting brain-drain migration
The trend for students to study abroad looks set to continue and with it the strong likelihood that many will remain in the country in which they study. Success in the knowledge economy rests on the availability of highly skilled and qualified people, and the loss of the highly educated can have a deleterious effect on the social and economic development of sending countries. Although the education and migration policies of receiving countries are clearly a powerful force in determining the movement of students, sending countries also have the potential to shape international student flow, writes Cate Gribble, a researcher with the Globalism Institute at RMIT University in Melbourne, in the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management.
More on the University World News site


FRANCE: Researchers protest against Sarkozy's reforms
Jane Marshall
Researchers in France are uniting in protest against planned reforms they claim will lead to political control of public research and loss of autonomy for the nation's research organisations, such as the multi-disciplinary National Centre for Scientific Research. More than 600 directors of laboratories and members of national scientific authorities gathered in Paris earlier this month to express their fears for the future of public research.
Full report on the University World News site

BOTSWANA: Second public university to open in 2010
Special correspondent
The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), which will enrol its first students in 2010 to become the country’s second public university, has been planned over the last five years. After six months of work, a Task Force on the Establishment of the Second University in Botswana reported to the Minister of Education in May 2004. The report favoured the new university being located in Francistown, in north-east Botswana. But for political reasons the government chose Palapye, a small town 180 kilometres south of Francistown and 260 kilometres north of the capital Gaborone. Locally it is being billed as ‘Palapye University’ and a blog with that name is promoting it. The idea is to develop a research-oriented university with postgraduates comprising one in five of 10,000 students within a decade.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Training Botswana academics for new university
Philip Fine
Almost two dozen graduate students, more accustomed to a baking southern African sun than a late-winter freeze, have been hunkering down in Canada. They are hoping to play an important role in the early history of a new university in Botswana. The 18 men and five women, all studying in eastern Canada, along with five others enrolled in an American university, form a first cohort of potential professors needed for the nascent Botswana International University of Science and Technology. If they graduate with good academic standing, the masters students will likely find a spot on the BIUST faculty, beefing up the numbers of qualified domestic teachers for an institution that will open its doors in early 2010.
Full report on the University World News site


BOTSWANA: Africa mourns Swedish educator
Obituary: Ulla Kann, educator
4 April 1938 –22 February 2008
Dorcas Molefe, Owen Pansiri and Sheldon Weeks*
Africans are mourning a Swedish educator who devoted her life to empowering the isolated and disadvantaged. Ulla Kann, who trained as a psychologist before moving into international aid and development, left a particular mark on education in Botswana and Namibia. She believed in promoting girls' education, encouraging women in science, developing remote areas, minority empowerment and education for all. She died of a heart attack at her home in Stockholm on 22 February, just short of what would have been her 70th birthday on 4 April.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

GREECE: Third time lucky for jailed chancellor
Makki Marseilles
Former chancellor of the Athens Pandio University, Emilios Metaxopoulos, will be released from prison after his third successive application to be freed for health reasons was accepted by the National Parole Board. Metaxopoulos was jailed for 25 years following a trial in which he was accused of mismanaging university property in a celebrated €4 million misappropriation of funds case involving several academics and other university staff (See University World News, 13 January 2008). He is suffering from a liver complaint and has been treated for the last three months in the prison hospital under guard.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Prisoners paid £730,000 in university grants loophole
Prisoners have been paid student grants and loans totalling £730,000 while taking university courses in jail, the Government has admitted. The figure is almost three times higher than parliament was told recently, reports The Times. More than 100 inmates exploited a loophole for a decade to get loans and maintenance grants even though they were already being housed and fed at taxpayers’ expense.
More on the University World News site

U-SAY: Readers’ letters

RUSSIA: Still no three-year degrees
Zoya Shardyko
I write concerning Nick Holdsworth's story – 'Bologna about to take root' – which mentions that Russian universities and degree awarding colleges will offer three-year bachelor degrees from 2009. Actually, since 1992 four-year bachelor degree programmes have existed in Russia. From 2009 we are going to adopt a new generation of State Educational Standards. The main innovation concerning bachelor degrees is that the programme will be developed in ‘units’ (equivalent to ECTS credits) instead of academic hours. A bachelor programme will be 240 units – equivalent to four years of full-time study. Three-year programmes will be possible only where credits are transferred from previous tertiary level studies.
Read other letters in U-Say


CHINA: Moves to develop higher education
China will invest 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) on creating around 1,000 key subjects between now and 2011 in the country's universities. This is the third phase of the ‘211 Project’, which is being implemented jointly by China's Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission. It aims to concentrate resources to construct about 100 key higher education institutions and disciplines in the 21st century, reports
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Push for overhaul of "b astardised" loans
The Federal Government is under growing pressure to revamp the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), as students seize on research suggesting it could contribute to reduced home ownership, low fertility rates and tax evasion, reports The Age. Less than two weeks after Education Minister Julia Gillard announced a sweeping review of Australian universities, the government has been urged to also examine the impact of the HECS debt on the national economy.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities split on fast-track revolution
England’s universities follow 'a teaching year that mimics the medieval agricultural and religious cycle', as one professor puts it. 'Anything outside Monday to Friday from late September to May – and three weeks off at Christmas and Easter – has to be the subject of special deals and usually higher pay.' But now, reports the Financial Times, Whitehall is trying to drag universities from the 11th century into the 21st, with a radical paper that speaks of courses with a timetable and content that suits business demands – reaching its apogee in a proposal for 48-week degrees. 'This would require something of a revolution,' says the professor.
More on the University World News site

GHANA: Call for quality assurance in African HE
Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr, Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities, has called on higher education stakeholders to work seriously to ensure adequate quality assurance in higher education, reports Modern Ghana. With the establishment of more universities in Africa it was imperative to work seriously on quality assurance systems so that higher learning progressed, he said at a three-day validating meeting to discuss a strategies for executing African Rating Mechanisms for Higher Education and for moving the African Union higher education programme forward.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Fee hike versus affordability tension
Fee increases and the lack of student funding at tertiary institutions are placing severe strain on disadvantaged students and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, according to South Africa’s Minister of Education Naledi Pandor, reports Independent Online. 'There is a tension between the legitimate belief that charging higher fees is a reasonable way of raising university income and the certain knowledge that charging fees will deter qualified students from disadvantaged backgrounds from going to university,' she said.
More on the University World News site

UK: Farewell to women's studies
Women's studies, which came to prominence in the wake of the 1960s feminist movement, is to vanish from British universities as an undergraduate degree this summer, writes Nina Lakhani in the Sunday Independent. Dwindling interest in the subject means that the final 12 students will graduate with a BA in women's studies from London's Metropolitan University in July.
More on the University World News site

US: The ‘double hit’ on women’s salaries
Surveys abound showing that women in academe (and the rest of society) earn less than men. Likewise, theories abound for why this is the case, so many years after it ceased to be acceptable for deans (or other bosses) to automatically assume a woman could make do with less, writes Inside Higher Ed. A scholar at the University of Iowa, who has been mining national data, told the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association that the results indicate – even using the most sophisticated possible approach to take into consideration non-s exist reasons for pay differentials – that the pay gap remains, based on gender. While this cannot be definitively tied to s exism, there are not a lot of likely alternative explanations – and the study suggests that the salary gaps may be here to stay.
More on the University World News site

US: Online celebration of historically black colleges
The first digital collection of documents and materials chronicling the founding of America's historically black tertiary institutions is available online at ( 'A digital collection celebrating the founding of the historically black college and university' includes more than 1,000 scanned photographs, manuscripts, letters and publications from 10 institutions, reports The project, funded by The Andrew W Mellon Foundation, represents the first collaborative effort by libraries at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to make a historical collection digitally available.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Market needs to dictate, says HE minister
Concerned about the large number of jobless graduates, Malaysia’s new Higher Education Ministry may limit the number of students enrolled in courses that do not fit market needs at public higher education institutions, reports The Star. Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said it would be necessary to ensure that courses offered were what the country needed, and it might be necessary to reduce the student numbers on 'non-relevant courses'.
More on the University World News site
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