University World News Global Edition
29 April 2012 Issue 0219 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Branch campuses – Risks, opportunities, emerging models and curricula

In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha writes that ‘glocals’ – globally ambitious students who for various reasons must study locally – are a fast-growing market in Asia and universities should strategise ways to access them. In Commentary, Juan Luis Manfredi Sanchez argues that Spain should tap business schools and the internationalisation of higher education to dig its way out of recession.
The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education’s 2012 forum was held in Kuala Lumpur last week. David Jobbins outlines a report published ahead of the meeting on models for cross-border engagement. In commentaries by speakers, Michael Worton describes the opportunities and risks of overseas campuses and the University College London approach, and Margaret Mazzolini says the diverse backgrounds of students and academics at branch campuses provide the potential to produce truly internationalised curricula.
In Features, Yojana Sharma reports on the expansion of degree mills in China into lucrative new qualification areas. And as ministers gathered last week to discuss the Bologna process, Alan Osborn looks at a European Students' Union report that cites insufficient funding as the major obstacle to student mobility.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Chrissie Long
Universities in Central America have not been immune to the surge of violence infiltrating the region. Students have fallen victim to violent crimes, on-campus security measures have tightened and foreign exchange programmes have pulled out.
Geoff Maslen
An international forum has developed a code of ethics to apply to education agents and consultants who recruit international students for universities, colleges and schools around the world. The forum says the code and an accompanying statement of principles will facilitate a common approach and raise ethical standards in recruitment.
Alya Mishra
In a bid to curb a major brain drain of valuable medical personnel, India has said that doctors leaving for higher medical studies in America will have to sign a government bond promising to return after their courses – a move that has caused consternation among medical students and doctors.
Shafigeh Shirazi
Students in Iran who were involved in the 2009 anti-government protests will not be allowed to study at Iranian universities, Minister of Science, Research and Technology Kamran Daneshjoo has reiterated in a move that groups in exile say is aimed at cleansing universities of all opposition.
Brendan O’Malley
The University of Cambridge remains in top place in The Complete University Guide to the UK’s 116 universities, which was published last week. But Oxford drops to third, narrowly beaten by the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Geoff Maslen
Following months of tortuous negotiations with Ministry of Education officials in Beijing, Melbourne-based Monash University is to open a graduate school near Shanghai with Southeast University – the first Australian university to be granted a licence to operate a campus in China.
John Gerritsen
New Zealand’s third-ever evaluation of the quality of research at tertiary institutions has hit a speed bump. Just months ahead of the cut-off date for the Performance Based Research Fund, the government body that runs the scheme has warned that the credibility of some results might be under threat.
Karen MacGregor
South African vice-chancellors have welcomed a government commitment to introduce free undergraduate education for the poor – but said it should be “underpinned by adequate state funding” of universities – following a budget vote speech in parliament last week announcing an 11.7% increase in state spending on higher education and training.
Jan Petter Myklebust
Sweden’s Higher Education Ministry is to give doctoral students better working conditions and rights, in legislation being put before parliament.
Zeki Al Droubi
The civil unrest that erupted in Syria in March last year has left the country's scientific community in turmoil, researchers say. Heavy cuts have been made to research budgets, and work at most universities and research centres has ground to a halt.

Malawi’s new President Joyce Banda has moved to end police impunity for violence against students and lecturers, with the arrest of six law enforcement agents in connection with the death in police custody of a student in January.
Brendan O’Malley
Graça Machel, the renowned humanitarian and activist, is to be the new president of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. A former education minister in Mozambique who is the wife of Nelson Mandela, Machel takes over from Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, who held the role for 10 years.

The Zambian government has expressed concern at excessive beer drinking by local students studying in Russia as well as their relations with Russian girls. There have been violent incidents over the years, with the latest landing two Zambian students in hospital and four non-Zambian students under arrest following an assault on 19 March.
The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education forum 2012
The UK-based Observatory on Borderless Higher Education held its 2012 forum in Kuala Lumpur from 24-26 April, titled “New Players and New Directions: The challenges of international branch campus management”. University World News reports on the forum, and we publish commentaries by two of the speakers.

David Jobbins
Lack of a clear global strategy can be dangerous for universities, an international expert from the University of London has warned. Tim Gore said institutions could learn from industry in developing global strategies – but he stopped short of recommending an ideal model.
Honey Singh Virdee
Malaysia is to conduct a wide-ranging study into international branch campuses to help it draw up new guidelines on the kind of institutions it will allow into the country, Deputy Minister of Higher Education Hou Kok Chung told a conference on international branch campuses on Wednesday.
Michael Worton
Money should never be the prime motive for expanding overseas, though it is a factor. There are many potential benefits for overseas campuses, but also possible pitfalls. By keeping campuses small and focusing on niche areas, some of the opportunities may be realised and the risks avoided.
Margaret Mazzolini
The diverse backgrounds of branch campus students and academics provide the potential to produce internationalised curricula that develop faster at branch campuses than in their parent institutions. Just transplanting curricula taught at the home institution won't work.
Yojana Sharma
Degrees from Western universities have become so prized in China in recent years that degree mills and fake certificate producers have mushroomed, making the country one of the world’s major producers of bogus degrees – not just for customers in China, but across Asia and beyond.
Alan Osborn
Europe’s students cited the funding of student mobility as “the most contentious issue on the agenda” as ministers met to discuss the Bologna process on 26-27 April. They put a demand for more cash and a new mobility treaty to achieve movement of students and academics, on the ministerial agenda.
Hijratullah Ekhtyar
Sebghatollah’s dormitory room at Afghanistan’s Nangarhar University was designed for just four students, but he has to share it with 25 others. They sleep crammed into a 16 square-metre space, with a white plastic sheet suspended from the ceiling serving as a divider.
Rahul Choudaha
‘Glocals’ are globally ambitious students who for financial, academic or other reasons need to stay local. It is a market that is growing fast in Asia and universities need to think strategically about how to access these students.
Juan Luis Manfredi Sanchez
Business schools and universities hold the key to Spain burrowing its way out of the economic crisis. Internationalisation of higher education and the creation of global Latin business networks can provide the jobs of the future.
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Hopes of settling an unprecedented 10-week student strike in Quebec vanished quickly after talks between the government and students over tuition fee hikes broke down. There were fears that more clashes with the police and acts of violence would result from the impasse, given the social unrest of recent weeks, writes Rhéal Séguin for The Globe and Mail.
Higher education in India is set for a boost with the Human Resource Development Ministry finalising plans worth Rs800 billion (US$15.2 billion) to improve access to colleges and universities, writes Chetan Chauhan for the Hindustan Times.
India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has banned the use of live animals in dissection and other experiments in education and research institutions. But scientists conducting new molecular research will be exempted from the ban, writes Linah Baliga for The Times of India.
New York University will create an applied sciences campus in Brooklyn after becoming the second winner in a contest sponsored by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to boost New York’s global competitiveness in the sciences, writes Janet Lorin for Bloomberg.
Harvard Library says it can no longer afford the vast cost of academic journal subscriptions, and has advised staff at the university to support open access publishing instead, writes Justin Norrie for The Conversation.
Following worldwide coverage, Harvard graduate student Bo Guagu last week published an exclusive statement in The Harvard Crimson in which he defended some of the allegations against his academic performance, his lifestyle and the source of funds for his education.
Saudi student Abdul-Azeem Fakhr went to New Zealand to study because he could not get a visa for the United States, due to suspicions over his change of name. Fakhr said New Zealand was becoming a popular study destination for students from Gulf nations because it was "more friendly than America or Australia" and "easier to get a visa", writes Lincoln Tan for the New Zealand Herald.
Governor General of Canada David Johnston is leading a group of 30 university presidents to Brazil – the biggest such delegation ever sent abroad to promote the benefits of Canadian education, writes Heather Scoffield for The Canadian Press.
Chilean student leader Camila Vallejo has accused Education Minister Harald Beyer of a “contradiction” regarding the government’s stance on non-profit higher education in the new higher education finance plan released last week, writes Olivia Crellin for The Santiago Times.
Entry standards for elite courses are plummeting as universities juggle status with government-imposed equity and growth agendas, writes Julie Hare for The Australian. The government has removed caps on the number of government-funded places universities can offer, as part of a strategy to increase university participation and expand the skills base.
Record numbers of students from low socio-economic backgrounds are flocking to Australian universities this year, many of them the first in their families to take up tertiary education, writes Bianca Hall for the Sydney Morning Herald.
At a time when American higher education is under fire for dismal graduation rates that have eroded the nation's leadership in college degree holders, Slippery Rock University, a public university in western Pennsylvania, will graduate a record number of students, and do so more quickly than in years past, writes Jon Marcus for The Hechinger Report.
A growing number of public universities in America are charging higher tuition fees for maths, science and business programmes, which they argue cost more to teach – and can earn graduates higher-paying jobs – writes Alicia McCarty for USA Today.
After months of speculation, the College of Law was sold last week to a private equity firm with no experience in education. The sale to Montagu Private Equity, for around £200 million (US$322 million), is being seen as a possible model for growing involvement in higher education by for-profit companies, writes Harriet Swain for the Guardian.
Academics concerned about high tuition fees are setting up a university where students can learn for free. The group, which includes lecturers from the University of Lincoln, argues that higher education has become "highly commerc ialised and profit-oriented", reports the BBC.
The government is poised to announce whether it will extend the uncapped recruitment of students achieving the highest grades at A level after a delay driven by Treasury fears that the policy could lead to costly over-recruitment, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.
Youth groups protested in front of the Commission on Higher Education last week as it announced approval of a new round of tuition and other fee increases for the 2012-13 academic year, writes Vencer Crisostomo for Philippine Online Chronicles.
A Welsh university is planning to offer the first British joint degree in law and Mandarin, writes Emily Ding for the Guardian. Bangor University's school of law has announced a partnership with the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing that will establish a Confucius Institute.
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