University World News Global Edition
6 May 2012 Issue 0220 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
QA in Sweden scores low marks; some international students face prejudice

In Commentary, Carlos Felipe Escobar Roa writes that in reforming higher education, stakeholders around the world need to rise above narrow interests, listen to one another and share ideas. Phil Baty says complaints that rankings favour old universities has prompted Times Higher Education to publish a new league of the world’s top 100 institutions under 50 years old. Lorraine Brown and Gurhan Aktas describe a study of Turkish exchange students that revealed the need for support to counter possible prejudice and for links between tourism bodies and universities.
In Features, Jan Petter Myklebust says Sweden’s new quality assurance system has been rated ‘unsatisfactory’ by European experts, and Michael Gardner looks at new laws in Germany that will improve prospects for foreign academics and students – though many students report discrimination. Also, Brendan O’Malley outlines a new report that shows knowledge exchange embedded within the higher education sector as a strategic, integrated activity driven in part by the research impact agenda.
We report on the QS-MAPLE conference for university leaders in the Middle East and Africa, held in Durban last week, and in World Blog William Patrick Leonard argues that a disconnect in the US between student fees and the value of qualifications could be resolved by including parents, students and employers as voting members of university boards.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
Wagdy Sawahel
Syrian forces targeted student dormitories during an anti-government protest at Aleppo University early on Thursday, firing teargas and bullets into the crowd. Four students were killed in the attack, 28 people were injured and around 200 students were reportedly arrested.
Wagdy Sawahel
Egypt’s authorities detained 300 people, hundreds were wounded and a soldier died on Friday during bloody clashes between security forces and protestors – including student movements from several universities.
Mimi Leung
Almost 500 academics in Taiwan have signed a statement in support of environmental engineering professor Tsuang Ben-jei, after one of the country’s largest conglomerates filed a libel lawsuit saying Tsuang’s research had damaged its reputation. The move has had a chilling effect on researchers.
Geoff Maslen
Australian National University Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young has backed away from imposing an A$40 million cut in spending this year, including $25 million in salary savings that would have cost an estimated 150 jobs.
John Gerritsen
University leaders and staff in New Zealand are sceptical of government plans to focus their institutions more on STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.
Wagdy Sawahel
A strategy for setting up world-class teaching universities, with an outline for evaluating teaching and learning quality, was formulated at an international conference on higher education held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last month.
Han-Suk Kim
Students and professors at South Korea’s Kookmin University, the centre of a plagiarism scandal involving two recently elected legislators, have joined opposition politicians in demanding that the lawmakers give up their seats after being found to have copied material for their doctoral dissertations.
Alya Mishra
In an effort to control increasing cases of plagiarism and low quality research, the All India Council for Technical Education, AICTE, is to launch Project Factory – an online repository aimed at capturing abstracts of all postgraduate projects.
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya will admit 7,000 extra students to its universities in the next academic year, making use of additional capacity in the form of new colleges. This brings to 41,000 the number of students who will join universities in the coming academic year, up from 34,000 admitted last year – a 20% jump.
QS Maple
The second QS-MAPLE – Middle East and Africa Professional Leaders in Education – conference was held in Durban on South Africa’s east coast from 3-4 May, hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The theme was “Meeting the Global Challenges in Higher Education” and the event attracted 140 participants from 40 countries. University World News journalists were there.

Karen MacGregor
More and more countries are striving to secure a bigger share of the international student market. But while the market is attractive and growing, it is also “very competitive, highly risk-prone and not the only growth area in higher education – far from it”, said Richard Yelland, head of the policy advice and administrative division of the OECD.
Sharon Dell
Increased requests for joint and double degree programmes are encouraging South African universities to address policy vacuums and join the growing number of institutions around the world offering such degrees – as a way to deepen international partnerships, attract top international students and better prepare students for a globalised future.
Wanda Hennig
Governments have grasped the fact that innovation and economic growth will be generated from growing global networks of researchers, students and institutions. It is an accepted fact that nations are increasingly dependent on higher education to produce the highly skilled labour their economies need. In Africa, however, there are significant challenges.
Wanda Hennig
A South African university’s collaborative certificate in community-based work with vulnerable children and youth has mushroomed following the success of a pilot study, and is currently being implemented in 10 Sub-Saharan countries through the work of the African Centre for Childhood.
Jan Petter Myklebust
More than one in five of 189 study programmes evaluated by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education have been graded 'unsatisfactory'. And to the embarrassment of the Swedish government, the system of quality assurance itself has been rated unsatisfactory by a panel of European experts.
Michael Gardner
New legislation adopted by the German parliament is set to improve prospects for foreign students and academics, just as the results of a new survey show that many international students are put off staying on in Germany due to discrimination.
Brendan O’Malley
Every pound invested in higher education innovation funding adds at least £6 (US$9.70) in knowledge exchange income to the economy, according to a new report sponsored by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
World Blog
William Patrick Leonard
University boards appear to be ignoring the fundamental importance of exchanging value added for tuition charged. Including parent, student and employer representatives – and giving them voting rights – could focus governing bodies’ minds more.
Carlos Felipe Escobar Roa
Many higher education stakeholders around the world agree on the need for reform. But they do not listen to one another's perspectives enough or share ideas about the way forward. Ultimately, the mission of universities is human development, equality and quality of life.
Phil Baty
International university rankings are criticised for their focus on established elite institutions. Now Times Higher Education is preparing to publish the world’s top 100 institutions under 50 years old and showcase the universities to watch in the future.
Lorraine Brown and Gurhan Aktas
Little research has been conducted into the growing international exchange student market – particularly on Muslim exchange students. A study of Turkish students revealed the needs for more support to counter possible prejudice and for more links between tourism bodies and universities.
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World Round-up
And so it came to pass that in 2012 – a year after the Arab awakening erupted – the United States made two financial commitments to the Arab world that each began with the numbers one and three, writes Thomas L Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times.
For 15 days in late 2009, internet users in 36 countries including China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan viewed sensitive information about US weapons technology that was supposed to be for American eyes only, writes Daniel Golden for Bloomberg.
As 180,000 students continued their 12-week strike against tuition fee increases, and police responded with concussion grenades, pepper spray, batons, kettling and mass arrests, Quebec’s major city is becoming ungovernable, writes Jesse Rosenfeld for Now.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan last week condemned the “murderous terrorist attack” on worshippers at a university in the northern city of Kano that left about 20 people dead, reports News24.
The long-running Bologna process of European higher education has provided a flag around which reformers have rallied, and has been a catalyst for innovations, writes Sir Peter Scott in the Guardian.
The extent to which money does and should dictate the global exchange of college students was a touchy topic at a meeting of 16 nations, held in conjunction with the G8 Summit, writes Mitch Smith for Inside Higher Ed.
About a month ago, it was revealed that Jimmy Wales had signed on to become an official technology advisor for the British government. Now the details of his involvement have been revealed – Wales will assist the UK government in its effort to make taxpayer-funded research available for free online, writes Adario Strange for
In what is shaping up to be an academic Battle of the Titans – one that offers vast new learning opportunities for students around the world – Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week announced a new non-profit partnership, known as edX, to offer free online courses from both universities, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
India’s Rajya Sabha, the Council of States, last week passed two key bills to enable students at Indian institutes of science education and research to get their degrees and give eight new institutes of technology their status through an act of Parliament, reports
Austria’s fledgling science integrity agency is facing its first big test, as a protein crystallographer it found guilty of misconduct sues his university for unfair dismissal. If the court upholds the university’s move, it would bolster the agency’s efforts to change attitudes towards misconduct in the country’s universities, writes Alison Abbot for Nature.
The government has radically scaled back the number of ‘core and margin’ places that will be open to bids in 2013 from low-cost universities and further education colleges, raising the prospect that institutions that cut fees for 2012-13 could raise them again, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.
Keele University has become the first English university to join the common application system for university admissions in the United States. Keele will allow US students to apply for places using the same form as the likes of Harvard, Yale and more than 450 other institutions, writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.
One of Scotland’s eminent universities has denied treating English students as a ‘cash cow’ despite offering them more places than their Scottish peers for the first time. Edinburgh University has so far offered 4,996 English applicants a place, more than double last year’s total, after ministers allowed universities to charge school-leavers from the rest of the UK £36,000 (US$58,000) for a degree, writes Simon Johnson for The Telegraph.
When the new semester begins in Malaysia in September, all public university students will have to sign contracts that will include do's and don'ts on campus, write Chelsea LY Ng and Karen Chapman for The Star-Asia News Network.
Malaysia’s Higher Education Ministry has set a target for more students to study sciences instead of arts by 2020. Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the annual number of students studying science would be increased to 100,000 from the current 30,000, reports the official agency Bernama.
Part-time university lecturers in Taiwan last week urged the Ministry of Education to address a widening wage gap between themselves and full-time colleagues, reports the Taipei Times.
Israel’s State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss has blasted the Council for Higher Education for what he said was a failure to properly serve the public interest, in a report released last Tuesday on special programmes funded outside universities' regular budgets, writes Talila Nesher for Haaretz.
A petition demanding that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu be banned from a Catholic university in America has been challenged by a counter-petition that has received 16 times the number of signatures. The first petition calling for his invitation to be revoked slammed Tutu’s pro views on abortion and same-s ex marriage, writes Michelle Jones for the Pretoria News.
In 1966, the American Jewish Committee reported that fewer than 1% of American college presidents were Jews. At that time, about 1,000 presidencies had been filled since the end of World War II, and only one of them had gone to a Jew, writes Jonathan Zimmerman for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
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