|1 April 2012||Issue 0215||Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week||Advanced Search|
need academics but
don't pay them well
Among our highlights this week, in Commentary, Philip Altbach and Iván Pacheco use a global comparison to argue that academics are inadequately paid compared to other key professionals driving the knowledge economy. Claudia Reyes and Pedro Rosso argue that classifying and comparing types of university is crucial to raising standards. In Features, Jan Petter Myklebust reports on why top Swedish universities are continuing to expand despite the economic downturn. Wagdy Sawahel reveals that newest country South Sudan’s attempts to build a new higher education system are hamstrung by political problems. In World Blog, Tony Chan says European universities are too inward-looking – the big changes in higher education are happening elsewhere.
Brendan O'Malley – Acting Global Editor
EUROPEJan Petter Myklebust
The European Alliance for the Social Sciences and Humanities rebuts the European Commission's view that their field is adequately covered in the Horizon 2020 research agenda and calls for an added programme to be established.
Another prominent university has warned that it will have to cut jobs following a sharp fall in income. The Australian National University announced plans to slash expenditure this year by A$40 million, including a $25 million cut in staffing costs. The global financial crisis, sharp falls in enrolments by foreign students, wage rises and higher costs are causing universities across Australia to find savings in their budgets.
PAKISTANAmeen Amjad Khan
A Supreme Court ruling has given encouragement to academic staff pushing for an end to the appointment of post-retirement age professors as university heads. They believe it could pave the way for merit-based appointments.
UNITED STATESDavid Jobbins
The rate of increase in the numbers of US graduates is too small, a report by the Lumina Foundation warns. It suggests that the US must do significantly more to build on the modest gains in higher education attainment to keep up with its global competitors.
Nationally, 30 small courses in the humanities will disappear in their current form, including the only Portuguese programme in the country, because of budget cuts and government requests for profiling. All universities have been hit by cuts in government funding and as a result several have cancelled small and expensive courses in the humanities.
As nation states contribute less and less to higher education amid the fallout from the Eurozone crisis, Europe’s universities are anxiously seeking new, sustainable forms of funding. And increasingly they are looking with interest at England as a model, where the burden of paying for higher education has passed from state to student.
The European Union and South Korea have agreed a range of initiatives to strengthen research cooperation. South Koreans have also been invited to apply for European research funding under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for research.
After nearly five years of operation at a cost of at least A$600 million (US$620 million), the Australian synchrotron faced being shut down as money was about to run out. But an announcement on Wednesday by the federal and Victorian governments of a $95 million injection means the nation’s prized scientific asset will be able to continue.
Three major universities are facing censure over collaborations with a private think-tank established by Blackberry co-founder Jim Balsillie. The Canadian Association of University Teachers alleges that the universities compromised academic integrity by signing contracts that gave Balsillie influence over hiring decisions, academic programmes and curriculum.
Thousands of students at Egypt’s universities have staged protests against a decision by the Ministry of Higher Education to hold student union elections under regulations dating from the era of toppled president Hosni Mubarak.
Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has come under renewed pressure to reform the higher education sector, with a petition calling on him to set up an investigation into the death of a student activist and to scrap draconian legislation trampling on academic freedom.
ISLAMIC STATESWagdy Sawahel
A pan-Islamic research and education network spanning the 57 countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to enhance collaboration among research and education communities is being planned, alongside a range of ambitious ICT projects approved at the International Telecommunication Union's Connect Arab Summit.
The German students' union has criticised efforts to improve higher education funding, saying they contribute too little towards improving teaching and focus too much on a research elite.
GLOBALPhilip Altbach and Iván Pacheco
There have been few global comparisons of academic salaries around the world. New research paints a picture of a profession that, in many countries, is not valued as key to the knowledge economy.
CHILEClaudia Reyes and Pedro Rosso
A reclassification of Chile's universities highlights the importance of proper classification of universities to ensure coherence between mission, human and financial resources and the will to achieve the highest possible quality standards.
Rampant political interference, dismal government spending and failure to reform mean Nepalese universities cannot begin to make themselves world class. They must first concentrate on becoming functioning institutions.
SWEDENJan Petter Myklebust
Three years after the global credit crunch led to economic downturn, and widespread austerity budgets, cutbacks in resources and staff at many universities, some have been able to swim against the tide and actually expand.
SOUTH SUDANWagdy Sawahel
Academics and policy-makers have produced a vision for higher education in South Sudan, which achieved independence from Sudan last July to become Africa’s newest state. Problems facing universities have been identified, reform initiatives launched and possible ways to upgrade universities recommended.
The recent European University Association annual conference was greatly concerned with Europe's economic crisis, but much of what will affect it in the future is happening outside the continent. It should pay more attention.
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CANADAThe Star. In a new study of public university salaries in 28 countries – from the knowledge hubs of Asia to the powerhouses of Great Britain and the US – it is Canadian professors who outstrip all others in their pay’s purchasing power.
RUSSIAThe New York Times.
UNITED KINGDOMThe Telegraph.
CANADAThe Globe and Mail.
AFGHANISTANPress Trust of India.
SOUTH AFRICABusiness Day.
INDIAThe Washington Post.
UGANDAThe New Vision.
UNITED STATESInside Higher Ed.
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