University World News Global Edition
8 April 2012 Issue 0216 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Wanted: Blue skies thinking on universities, strong leaders and salary reform

In World Blog, Serhiy Kvit describes an unprecedented move by the prime minister of Ukraine to involve academics in drafting a new higher education law.
In Commentary, Anne Corbett and Sacha Garben argue that it is time for blue skies thinking about the future of higher education in Europe, and Elaine El-Khawas finds that more effective leaders can make a major difference to universities. Also, Gregory Androushchak and Maria Yudkevich call for academic salary reform for post-Soviet universities, the latest in a series of articles from the new book Paying the Professoriate.
In Features, Francis Yu reports on the connection of Cambodia’s top universities to a high-speed pan-Asian research network. Chrissie Long writes about 50 students from Equatorial Guinea who recently flew to the Caribbean’s Dominican Republic on scholarships aimed at developing their West African country – and at connecting Dominicans with their African roots – and Kaci Racelma describes the implementation of Bologna-style degree reform in another West African nation, Niger.
In Student View Abdimalik Buul writes about Somali students in the US who have been raising funds to fight famine, linking up with students in Mogadishu for a research project and helping first generation Somalis in America access higher education.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
Brendan O'Malley

Michael Gove, the education secretary, is to hand universities the leading role in the design and development of A-level qualifications in a major rolling back of government control over the key qualifications driving university admissions.
Han-Suk Kim

Nearly 9,000 professors from state-funded universities cast a no-confidence vote against South Korea’s Education Minister Lee Ju-Ho last week, in a protest against attempts to force universities to reform how their leaders are selected – or face the risk of cuts to government subsidies.
Makki Marseilles

Universities and technological institutions in Greece face a huge reduction in their reserves despite the 53.4% write-down in the value of government bonds that reduces the country’s debt by €100 billion (US$133 billion).
Michael Gardner

Public universities are unable to charge tuition fees this summer semester as a result of the Austrian government’s failure to come up with a new framework for fees in time. Earlier regulations were declared unconstitutional and moves by institutions to reintroduce fees on their own have been sharply criticised by students.
Geoff Maslen

For the first time, students can compare Australia’s 39 public universities on the basis of their courses, student satisfaction levels, the qualifications of academics, staff-student ratios, drop-out rates and graduate employment. Although criticised for including information of doubtful validity, the MyUniversity website is probably unique in providing so many comparative details of each university’s operations.
Mimi Leung

Students and academics from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong researching the working conditions of student interns at factories in China have said that an officially agreed investigation into working conditions at Foxconn factories, which produce Apple iPads, did not provide a “full picture” of the extent of abuse of the internship system.
Wagdy Sawahel

European Union and southern Mediterranean partner countries plan to establish a mechanism to enhance collaboration and the responses of universities and research centres to socio-economic needs.
Jane Marshall

Richard Descoings, the innovative and charismatic head of the French Institute of Political Studies, died on Tuesday in New York where he was due to attend a United Nations conference for university leaders.
Wagdy Sawahel

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education opened a new faculty of education at Herat University last week. It is one of six new education faculty buildings being funded by the United States Agency for International Development and was constructed by the US military.
Francis Yu

Researchers in Cambodia’s leading universities are to be connected to a pan-Asian research and education network via a high-speed link, improving access to regional and international data, helping to boost research quality and facilitating international research collaboration.
Chrissie Long

Fifty students from Equatorial Guinea – a tiny Spanish-speaking country in West Central Africa – climbed off a plane on the lively Caribbean island Dominican Republic in mid-February, destined for a long-standing agricultural university.
Kaci Racelma

West African countries are continuing to implement the bachelor-master-doctorate system, or LMD – with Niger being one of the latest. Now the system is standard for West Africa’s largest country, which has a population of 15 million people and is mostly Saharan desert.
World Blog
Serhiy Kvit

In an unprecedented move earlier this year the Ukrainian prime minister called for a review of draft laws deciding the future of higher education. Academics and interested groups have been given the opportunity to shape the proposed legislation. Could this mark a dramatic change in how universities are run?
Anne Corbett and Sacha Garben

The 2012 Bologna ministerial conference takes place in Bucharest later this month. It is time to reframe the debate and look long-term at ways of addressing those who lose out in the process. It is time for blue skies thinking about the future of higher education in Europe.
Elaine El-Khawas

Do rectors appointed from outside make more effective leaders of universities? Or is this only a structural change – rearranging the furniture? Research suggests that stronger university leaders can make a difference.
Gregory Androushchak and Maria Yudkevich

Post-Soviet universities pay faculty mainly for teaching and do not incentivise research. Many staff moonlight to boost their wages and universities are losing out on future staff who are being siphoned off by industry. Raising wages could boost quality and retain staff.
Student View
Abdimalik Buul

Somali students in the US are joining together to help first-generation Somalis get into higher education, and are linking up with fellow students in Mogadishu in a research project to promote positive change.
Science Scene

When South African botanist Lyall Watson claimed in his 1973 bestseller Supernature that plants had emotions and that these could register on a lie detector, scientists scoffed and branded it hippie nonsense. But new research has revealed that plants appear to react to sounds and may even make clicking noises to communicate with each other.

For the last 100 years, scientists have assumed that the Earth has the same chemical make-up as the sun. But now scientists at the Australian National University have challenged the belief. Ian Campbell and Hugh O’Neill said their research had reshaped scientists understanding of the Earth’s chemistry – “right to the core”.

Last month, astronomers began to blast 8,500 cubic metres of rock from a mountaintop in the Chilean Andes to create a base for the Giant Magellan Telescope – the world’s largest once completed towards the end of the decade. The telescope will be located at the US Carnegie Institution’s Las Campanas Observatory – one of the world’s premier astronomical sites, known for its pristine conditions and clear, dark skies.

Chinese and American scientists have uncovered a forest buried under volcanic ash in Inner Mongolia during the Permian period, some 300 million years ago. The researchers say permian flora are important because they represent a time of oscillating climatic changes that might serve as an analogue for modern global vegetation change.
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World Round-up
Hungarian President Pál Schmitt resigned from his largely ceremonial post last Monday amid a storm of criticism over what he called “unfounded allegations” of plagiarism in his 1992 doctoral thesis, writes Palko Karasz for The New York Times.
China's Ministry of Education has stepped up the scrutiny of advertisements for overseas study programmes in an attempt to uncover the issuing of illegal or counterfeit diplomas, reports the official news agency Zinhua.
China’s Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling has assured the public that university tuition fees will not be raised this semester despite numerous calls made by local higher education institutions to do so following a years-long tuition freeze, writes Joseph Yeh for The China Post.
The first Sino-US higher education institution – New York University Shanghai – will start to admit undergraduate students in 2013, sources from the university said last week, writes Wang Hongyi for China Daily.
On the edge of a small park in Singapore’s financial district lies ‘Speakers' Corner’, a courtyard that serves as the only place where public demonstrations are allowed. Elsewhere, the government more strictly curtails activism and freedom of expression. But Yale administrators say Yale-NUS College will create a new space for political discourse in the nation, write Ava Kofman and Tapley Stephenson for Yale Daily News.
The number of Taiwanese with a college, university or other type of higher education degree has increased every year to 39% of the population in 2009, statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior have revealed, reports the Taipei Times.
In the face of the economic downturn, French higher education is beginning to debate openly the prospect of introducing higher tuition fees – but university presidents warn that the country must boost scholarships and state funding before making any change, writes Clea Caulcutt for Times Higher Education.
The day after the shootings at Oikos, an unaccredited institution in an east Oakland office park that enrols fewer than 100 students, a scholar of Asian-American studies who advocates for multicultural education urged colleges to view the incident through a different lens, writes Libby Sander for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Intelligence agency GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) has selected eight universities as collaboration partners to improve government and industry cyber security, writes Richard Tyler for The Telegraph.
Boundless Learning Inc says it will liberate college students from big textbook bills with free online versions built from public web content. But the Boston start-up is being accused of copyright infringement by three of the largest educational publishers in the world. They say it creates its texts by stealing from well-known textbooks, writes Michael B Farrell for The Boston Globe.
Two major universities in the city of Coimbatore have locked horns after a research paper published by one of them more than two years ago figured in an international scientific journal bearing the credentials of a research student and an associate professor from the other university, writes Binoy Valsan for The Times of India.
Traditionally, for-profit colleges have operated on the lowest rungs of America's educational ladder, catering to poor and lower middle-class students looking for a basic, convenient degree or technical training. Aspiring Ivy Leaguers have remained far out of the industry's sights. That is, until now, writes Jordan Weissmann for The Atlantic.
The National Skills Fund and sector education and training authorities are to allocate R2.5 billion (US$317 million) towards the refurbishment and construction of new further education and training (FET) college campuses over the next three years, President Jacob Zuma announced last week, writes Henry Lazenby for Engineering News.
Israel’s Council for Higher Education is expected to require that presidents of all higher education institutions be professors, council sources said last week. The council stipulated in 2003 that all college presidents must be professors, but no such prerequisite was expressly stated for universities, writes Asaf Shtull-Trauring for Haaretz.
Universities will continue to offer alternative therapies including Chinese medicine and acupuncture in spite of increasing pressure to distance themselves from non-medical therapies, write Jen Rosenberg and Carolyn Webb for The Sydney Morning Herald.
It sometimes seems that university administrators and faculty inhabit different worlds. And that’s even true at the one national conference each year devoted to bringing together faculty union leaders with the administrators they face across the negotiating table, writes Kaustuv Basu for Inside Higher Ed.
The burden of paying for college is wreaking havoc on the finances of an unexpected demographic: senior citizens, writes Ylan Q Mui for The Washington Post with Bloomberg.
Half of Wales’s 10 campus-based universities will reduce their tuition fees to £7,500 (US$11,800) next year, writes Gareth Evans for Wales Online. Glamorgan, Trinity Saint David, Swansea Metropolitan, Newport and Cardiff Metropolitan universities have all chosen to lower the cost of their courses.
Two controversial papers on bird flu will be published by scientific journals this year after the go-ahead was given by a US biosecurity panel, writes Ted Thornhill for the Daily Mail.
California’s college and university system is looking into asking students about their s exual orientation on enrolment forms and applications. Given the size of the California system – which includes 144 campuses – the idea is seen as a potential litmus test for whether other states might follow suit, writes Daniel B Wood for The Christian Science Monitor.
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