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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Never mind the Ivy League; new research shows that professors in the ivory towers of Canada are on average the best paid in the world, writes Louise Brown for The 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.
James Critelli knew only five words of Mandarin, but he didn’t let that stop him from applying last year for a summer internship in China, writes Alison Damast for Bloomberg Businessweek
Bogota's Government Secretary Antonio Navarro Wolff said guerrilla groups are infiltrating Colombian universities, according to local media reports last week. Navarro's comments come after the death of a student in the central city of Tunja last week and the deaths of three youths in Bogota. Police said the students were killed by their own homemade bombs and influenced by guerrillas, writes Arron Daugherty for Colombia Reports
Chinese higher education institutions are three times ahead of their Indian counterparts in research performance, a new comparative study has shown, exposing the deep chasm between the centres of higher learning in two Asian giants, reports the Deccan Herald
After it was reported this month that not a single Russian university had cracked The Times Higher Education’s
ranking of top 100 schools by academic reputation, Education Minister Andrei Fursenko said that Russia was in the process of creating its own rating system, writes Sophia Kishkovsky for The New York Times
India is facing an emergency in higher education, according to the India Labour Report
by TeamLease Services. According to the report, the situation has been caused by low college enrolment, an employability crisis of unskilled labour and lack of flexibility in the education sector, reports Business Standard
Radical proposals to allow students to apply for degree courses after receiving their A-level results were dropped last week following concerns it would cut sixth-form teaching time and undermine the quality of exam marking, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph
Thousands of Brazilian students will fill the halls of Canadian universities over the next four school years as part of the rising South American country’s project to send vast numbers around the world to study science, writes Campbell Clark for The Globe and Mail
A ‘squeezed middle’ of English universities is expected to suffer sharp falls in student numbers this autumn, according to figures published last week, writes Jeevan Vasagar for the Guardian
Afghanistan proposes to double the number of its students in Indian and Turkish universities as part of moves to boost educational standards in the war-torn country, reports the Press Trust of India
The government’s focus on maths, science and technology in higher education had come at the expense of the humanities, which should be revitalised in the interest of South Africa’s overall development, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said last week. Nzimande — who holds a doctorate in sociology — was referring to seriously declining student enrolment and falling graduation rates in the humanities and social sciences, writes Karl Gernetsky for Business Day
Scotland’s universities are joining forces to increase the number of spin-out companies they launch and the amount of their research being licensed out to industry. Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Strathclyde universities have submitted plans to the Scottish Funding Council for a ‘modular’ system that could be used by institutions to boost business formation rates, writes Peter Ranscombe for The Scotsman
After studying for two years to be a teacher, Anam Naqvi found out that the degree her school offers is worthless. Now, instead of attending classes and finishing a mandatory internship, she and her classmates protest every day outside the gate to their university in the northern city of Aligarh, writes Rama Lakshmi for The Washington Post
Renowned scholar Professor Mahmood Mamdani has blamed the World Bank for the poor quality of university education in Uganda and across Africa. Mamdani particularly attributed Makerere University's current woes and fading glory to the World Bank’s ill-fated structural adjustment policies on education, writes Francis Kagolo for The New Vision
The number of Welsh students applying for a place at university has fallen, new figures have shown. Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) revealed that there were 2.2% fewer applications last week than at the same time last year, writes Gareth Evans for Wales Online
Just over 34% of conservatives had confidence in science as an institution in 2010, representing a long-term decline from 48% in 1974, according to a paper published last week in American Sociological Review
, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed
Scottish universities have warned that changes outlined in last week's budget for wealthy charitable donors could undermine fundraising, writes Andrew Denholm for The Herald
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