University World News Global Edition
11 March 2012 Issue 0212 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
IFC and Universities Australia conferences, flying faculty and study-abroad benefits
This week University World News reports on two important conferences. Yojana Sharma was in Dubai for the International Finance Corporation’s private education conference, and the IFC’s Dahlia Khalifa writes about the role of private institutions in tackling the Arab World’s youth unemployment crisis. Also, Geoff Maslen reports on the Universities Australia annual conference.
In World Blog, Jehona Serhati says universities in Kosovo are operating without sufficient information and need to access funds to boost research. Doctoral education in South Africa is the focus topic in Features this week, with a contribution from higher education expert Goolam Mohamedbhai. In Commentary Nico Cloete probes weaknesses in South Africa’s thinking on post-secondary education.
Also in Commentary, Karen Smith looks at the challenges and benefits of ‘flying faculty’, academics who teach for short, intensive periods in other countries. Robert Coelen argues that improving the experiences of international students will attract more and benefit local students, and Andrea O’Leary describes a study-abroad programme that has made a real difference to the lives and attitudes of American and German students from under-served populations.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Brendan O’Malley

Campaigners have issued an urgent appeal to stay the execution of a university lecturer at the same time that a UN investigation has reported widespread human rights abuses in Iran including arbitrary arrest, torture and imprisonment of students and academics.
Wagdy Sawahel

US universities remain the most prolific international patent filers among higher education institutions worldwide, accounting for 30 of the top 50 institutions. The US is followed by Japan and South Korea with seven institutions each, the UN World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO, reported on Monday.
Alya Mishra

India’s regulatory authority for technical and engineering institutions has said it may stop accepting proposals for new technical colleges in states with surplus capacity. Scores of engineering and business management institutions have announced closures.
Eugene Vorotnikov

Russia’s Ministry of Education wants to introduce a compulsory unified state examination for undergraduates. Students will have to pass before they can be awarded a bachelor degree.
Ameen Amjad Khan

A new university ranking by Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission, announced on 23 February, has stirred controversy in academic circles. Many critics have rejected the criteria, declaring the ranking system faulty and contradictory to international standards and practices.
Michael Gardner

The coalition committee of Germany’s centre-right government has announced a plan to widen the scope for higher education cooperation with the country’s state governments.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Helga Nowotny, president of the European Research Council, has strongly defended the high percentage of ERC grants that go to Europe’s top universities.
Ashraf Khaled

Dozens of students at the privately-run German University in Cairo have been protesting for more than two weeks after five of their colleagues were dismissed in what the university said was disciplinary action.
IFC – Making Global Connections
The International Finance Corporation held its fifth private higher education conference in Dubai from 6-7 March, titled “Making Global Connections”. Private education providers worldwide discussed issues such as the global skills gap and possible responses, the role of equity in private education, building and maintaining quality and supporting graduate employment. University World News was the media partner to the conference.

Yojana Sharma

With increasing investment in private higher education worldwide it is important to strike the right balance between public and private universities to ensure quality and equity, according to participants at last week's International Finance Corporation conference on private education.
Yojana Sharma

Higher education has emerged as a major economic issue in many countries because of its importance in preparing young people for the job market. Yet it is often not seen as relevant to the needs of the economy, the International Finance Corporation conference heard in Dubai on Tuesday.
Dahlia Khalifa

One in four Arab youths faces the frustration of not being able to find a job, twice the global average. Education in the region is heavily public sector financed, centralised, outcomes-driven and unresponsive to market needs. There is a major role for the private sector in helping to provide quality education and create jobs.
Dahlia Khalifa

The numbers are stark. A third of the population in the Arab world is below the age of 15 and a further third is aged 15 to 29. Some 50 to 70 million youths are expected to enter the job market in the next decade. But formal education is not enabling youths to find jobs, and two-thirds feel they do not have the necessary skills.
Leigh Thomas

Quality is the biggest challenge for United Arab Emirates (UAE) education hubs offering private tertiary education, experts said on Thursday during an International Finance Corporation conference in Dubai.
Universities Australia annual conference
Universities Australia, the peak body representing the nation's universities, held its annual conference in Canberra last week. Geoff Maslen reports.

Geoff Maslen

With a proposed budget of €80 billion (US$105 billion), the European Commission’s new Horizon 2020 plan complemented the approach being taken in most of the EU's member states to increase investment in research and innovation as the routes to future growth, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU commissioner for research, innovation and science, said last week.
Geoff Maslen

The federal government’s lifting of restrictions on enrolments that individual universities could accept had boosted student numbers this year by more than 30,000, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, told the Universities Australia conference last week.
Geoff Maslen

Australia’s new system of higher education, where universities decide how many students they will enrol, means some will thrive with expanding enrolments and quality offerings while others will be bankrupted and fail to attract sufficient students. “No sector introduced to a market rationale is ever the same,” said Professor Glyn Davis, chair of Universities Australia and vice-chancellor of Melbourne University.
Geoff Maslen

The demand-driven university reform introduced by the Australian government this year is significant on the world scale. This is because the reform established one feature of a genuine market: open competition for market share, albeit funded by a government voucher not commercial fees, and operating in some rather than all institutions.
Jehona Serhati

Kosovo needs to seek funds for research, whether or not its universities are teaching students the right skills to help build the country's economy and future. Currently all information is based on word of mouth and unsystematic surveys, rather than on rigorous research.
Goolam Mohamedbhai

South Africa’s National Planning Commission, in its 2011 National Development Plan: Vision for 2030, set out a series of goals for improving education, training and innovation in order to promote economic development by using the information-knowledge system as a driver. Two of those goals relate directly to doctoral education.
Karen MacGregor

Seven years ago, South Africa introduced incentive funding for postgraduates in an effort to meet an urgent national need for more high-level skills. But new research shows that only some universities have been able to respond and that the annual increase in doctoral graduates is limping along at only 3.6% a year.
Nico Cloete

South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, in an article following his attendance at a universities conference in Havana, raised some very important issues for this country’s higher education debate – which, as he suggests, is completely moribund, from bottom to top.
Karen Smith

Some transnational higher education teaching models include ‘flying faculty’, where home country academics are flown in to teach for a short period in another country and culture. It's a challenging job, but with many benefits.
Robert Coelen

Improving international students' experience will attract more and will also benefit local students. That includes changing the way we teach to ensure international students have a voice.
Andrea O’Leary

Can a short immersion study-abroad course really make a difference to students and universities? The director of one award-winning international programme says it can and the answer is through students forging strong friendships and reflecting on their identities.
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Islamist and leftist students fought running battles at a Tunisian university last week in the latest incident involving rising religious sentiment in the North African country, reports Associated Press.
The US Department of Homeland Security announced last week the formation of a new council to advise Secretary Janet Napolitano on student visa issues and other security-related topics that affect academe, writes Karin Fischer for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The maximum tuition fees that can be charged by universities in England are to be frozen at £9,000 (US$14,218) for the 2013-14 academic year, the government has announced, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.
Thousands of student places are being stripped from traditional universities and handed to former polytechnics and local colleges under government reforms, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
Several universities have threatened to withdraw from the UK's centralised admissions system if post-qualifications applications are introduced, casting doubt on the future of proposed reforms, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.
The Confederation of University Students of Chile, CONFECH, has presented a document aimed at significantly reducing out-of-pocket higher education expenses for Chileans, writes Nick Lavars for The Santiago Times.
University students and administrators are complaining of a climate of uncertainty as the government rolls out changes in the higher education system, including sharp cuts in the number of state-sponsored students and an obligation for them to work in Hungary after graduation, writes Palko Karasz for The New York Times.
Massachusetts will soon track civic engagement at its public colleges, addressing increased concern that Americans aren’t equipped to impact on their communities or interact meaningfully with government, writes Mitch Smith for Inside Higher Ed.
College will get costlier for millions of low- and middle-income student loan recipients starting next autumn, unless Congress intervenes, writes Raju Chebium for USA Today. The fixed interest rate on Stafford federal subsidised loans, held by nearly eight million undergraduates, is set to double on 1 July.
When a Ryerson University electrical engineering professor announced last month that one of his papers had been plagiarised in its entirety by academics at Islamic Azad University in Iran, it seemed like an isolated and extreme scandal, unearthed accidentally by an alert research assistant, writes Joseph Brean for the National Post.
What qualifications are needed to work as an academic in Ireland’s post-secondary institutions? Do you have to have a PhD or will a masters do? What about a simple honours degree? Well, believe it or not, it appears to depend on the institution, writes Grainne Faller for the Irish Times.
Who runs Scotland’s universities? Most people probably assume that academics take most of the key decisions. You might also suppose that academics make up most of the workforce. Figures released last week suggest that both assumptions are wrong, writes John Field for The Scotsman.
Two decades ago last week, a former Conservative government enabled polytechnics to become universities. There were worries that allowing them to award their own qualifications could devalue degrees, besmirch Britain’s reputation for educational excellence and dilute their distinctive purpose. But they have proven popular, reports The Economist.
An audit of public universities has revealed that they have become incubators of ethnicity, writes Peter Opiyo for The Standard. The institutions are in total violation of the constitution, which demands ethnic and gender balance for all public appointments.
Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said last week he would conduct an audit of all further education and training (FET) colleges, as part of plans to transform them into institutions of choice for tertiary study, writes Sbu Mjikeliso for Business Day. The government aims to boost college enrolment to four million students by 2030.
The National University of Singapore has said it welcomes a discussion with Yale University after professors at the Ivy League institution expressed concern about civil and political rights at a branch campus scheduled to open in the Asian city-state next year, writes Dan Hart for Bloomberg.
The two-year legal pursuit of climate scientist Michael Mann by Virginia's climate-sceptic attorney general ran into a dead end at the state supreme court recently, writes Suzanne Goldenberg for the Guardian.
A 140-year-old missive written by a suffragette calling for her to be allowed to study medicine at St Andrews University has been discovered by researchers, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.
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