University World News Global Edition
05 August 2012 Issue 0233 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
MOOCs and problems with export model call branch campuses into question

In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha ponders whether Massive Open Online Courses make starting up new branch campuses seem outdated. In Commentary, Christian Leder writes that new institutions have emerged in Switzerland that are tied closely to industry, enabling a flow of ideas between the two sectors.
Research by Peter Bodycott and Ada Lai reveals that Chinese parents play a major role in decisions about whether and where their children study abroad – though teenagers are beginning to have their voices heard – and Julius Kravjar describes a nationwide anti-plagiarism programme that is helping Slovakia to beat academic cheats.
Alya Mishra interviews Indian theoretical physicist Ashoke Sen, one of nine winners of the new Yuri Milner Fundamental Physics Prize, and in Features, Dinesh De Alwis reports on the entrance exam fiasco in Sri Lanka that has denied thousands of students university places.
Also in Features, Geoff Maslen describes a new report that finds some universities considering transforming the branch campus model into fully-fledged multinational institutions, and looks at a speech by David Finegold presenting contrasting descriptions of how China and India are expanding higher education.
In Myanmar, Naw Say Phaw Waa writes that moves to restore Yangon University to its former glory have captured the public imagination, and Tunde Fatunde covers the 13th World Congress of the International Federation of French Teachers in Durban, where participants found that the future of the language could lie in Africa.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Eugene Vorotnikov

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a reorganisation of state universities that will lead to some closures. One in five universities could be shut down or forced to merge over the next two or three years.
Makki Marseilles

Greece’s Education Minister Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos has indicated that the new coalition government is willing to negotiate a compromise on controversial higher education reforms inherited from the two previous administrations.
María Elena Hurtado

Sixty-five out of the 250 universities in the 2012 QS ranking on Latin America published late last month are Brazilian, with the University of São Paulo taking the top spot. Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina make up 80% of the universities from the 19-country ranking.
Wagdy Sawahel

Two countries recently pledged further support for African universities and students. The China-Africa strategic partnership has strengthened its focus on higher education, and the Australia-Africa Universities Network seeks to build collaboration with African institutions.
Yojana Sharma

Professors and students joined a major Hong Kong rally last Sunday against the imposition of ‘national education’ about China in secondary schools, saying it could have a detrimental impact on the entire education system including universities, if allowed to take hold.
Michael Gardner

A new law giving foreign academics and students more job-seeking opportunities has come into effect in Germany, as the share of foreign students enrolled at German higher education institutions rose again last year.

Zambia’s government has decided to scrap its national bursary scheme and replace it with student loans, following controversies including allegations of corruption that have dogged the bursary initiative for years.
Maina Waruru

The struggling Association of African Universities, the umbrella body for higher education institutions across the continent, has lost another secretary general prematurely.
Geoff Maslen

More than 200 degree-granting international branch campuses of universities are now located in foreign countries. But a new report says some universities are considering transforming the branch campus model into fully fledged multinational universities “by slicing up the global value chain in ways akin to multinational corporations”.
Wagdy Sawahel

Technology experts believe market factors will push universities to expand online courses, create hybrid learning spaces, and move towards lifelong learning models and different credential structures by 2020, according to a new report. “But they disagree about how these whirlwind forces will influence education, for the better or the worse.”
Dinesh De Alwis

They had a dream. They had a target. They had a future. But their dreams have been shattered and the future is uncertain for thousands of Sri Lankan students who have failed to gain admission to state universities because of a mess-up in the calculation of the results of entrance exams held last year.
Naw Say Phaw Waa

The campus of Yangon University, formerly Rangoon University, in the centre of the city, is semi-abandoned. Tall grass surrounds the old convocation hall still used by a number of universities for delivering degrees. But other structures, particularly the old student buildings, are in a dilapidated state.
Geoff Maslen

China and India together represent more than 35% of the global workforce and both are seeking a transition from a low-skill equilibrium to high-skill ecosystems – although India will continue to have large numbers of lower-skilled jobs – according to David Finegold of Rutgers University. He described the implications of their growth and rapidly expanding higher education systems for America, Europe and Australia.
Tunde Fatunde

More than 800 delegates from educational institutions including universities in 150 countries attended the 13th World Congress of the International Federation of French Teachers held in South Africa recently. The major concern was how to protect French from contending languages in a fierce global world – and the future could lie in Africa.
Alya Mishra

Theoretical physicist Ashoke Sen, a string theorist at India’s Harish-Chandra Research Institute, is one of nine winners of the first Yuri Milner Fundamental Physics Prize. At US$3 million, the award is worth nearly three times more than a Nobel and is the most lucrative academic prize in the world.
Rahul Choudaha

Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs – offer a low risk, low cost way of reaching international students. Will they replace branch campuses? Established branch campuses are unlikely to die out any time soon, but newer versions may need to take developments in internationalisation into account.
Christian Leder

New higher education institutions in Switzerland are closer to industry than traditional universities, and a new development in which external actors are brought onto the boards of institutions could bring them more benefits, boosting professional development, shaping better educational opportunities for students and furthering research on current issues.
Peter Bodycott and Ada Lai

Universities that host Chinese students studying abroad need to pay more attention to the factors that influence their choices to study overseas – primarily their families. Little is known about how contemporary families in China make such decisions.
Julius Kravjar

A national system for countering plagiarism has been initiated in Slovakia, and findings after two years show it has reduced copying and increased the quality of dissertations and theses.

Recent archaeological discoveries have revealed that pigment use, beads, engravings and sophisticated stone and bone tools were already present in Southern Africa 75,000 years ago. But many of these artefacts had disappeared by 60,000 years ago, suggesting that modern behaviour appeared in the past and was lost before becoming firmly established.

Researchers at Shandong University in Weihai and Murdoch University in Western Australia have found distressing trends in the catching and trading of threatened whale sharks around the Chinese coast. Results indicate that whale sharks are increasingly being targeted because of high demand for large shark fins and a rising appetite for shark meat in general.

Seas and oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, host the majority of its biomass and contribute significantly to all global cycles of matter and energy. All life on Earth most likely originated from microbes in the sea, says a report by the European Science Foundation’s Marine Board.

Ultraviolet radiation has caused a steep increase in deaths among marine animals and plants, according to an international team of marine scientists. The team found the marine life most affected by ultraviolet B radiation were protists such as algae, corals, crustaceans, and fish larvae and eggs, thereby affecting marine ecosystems from the bottom to the top of the food web.
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After a two-year investigation of the for-profit higher education industry, US Senator Tom Harkin last Monday unveiled an exhaustive report on the colleges’ business practices, highlighting institutions that charge excessively high tuition fees and short-change academic investments in order to maximise revenues, writes Chris Kirkham for Huffington Post.

Ukrainian higher education is on the verge of major changes, with the long-awaited adoption of a new law on higher education scheduled for the end of this year, writes Eugene Gerden for the Royal Society of Chemistry.

After Turkey suspended its recognition of Bulgaria’s university diplomas, Bulgarian Education Minister Sergey Ignatov reacted last Monday by announcing that the problematic diplomas were forged by Turkish citizens, reports Sofia News Agency.

Rising numbers of students from crisis-hit European countries are flocking to British universities to flee economic chaos at home, with figures suggesting that demand for courses abroad has soared by more than 150% among students from Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.

More than 100 students who had planned to go to UK universities under Brazil's Science Without Borders scheme have gone to the US after failing to meet language requirements set by the UK Border Agency, writes Elizabeth Gibney for Times Higher Education.

Canada's institutions must stop charging foreign students higher tuition fees than Canadians pay, a government report said recently, in a bid to attract more of the foreigners who have boosted the economy, writes Muhammad Iqbal for Business Recorder.

Canada’s federal government wants to strengthen rules surrounding student visas to crack down on fraud and human smuggling – even though it is not clear just how big a problem this is, writes Tobi Cohen for Postmedia News.

Vancouver police and the Chinese consulate in Vancouver have launched a new safety initiative aimed at Chinese international students, writes Cheryl Chan for The Province. The initiative includes a Mandarin-language video outlining police and consular resources posted to the their websites.

Probably no one – except perhaps party leaders themselves – has a bigger stake in the outcome of the upcoming provincial election than Quebec's students, who have been battling the Liberal government for six months, writes Karen Seidman for The Montreal Gazette.

Last year, Georgia lawmakers mulled over a bill that would have barred undocumented immigrants in the US from attending college. A group of college professors then banded together to offer those students an education. Now a similar effort to Freedom University, as it was called, is going national, reports Associated Press.

Striking a blow against a Silicon Valley institution that attracted foreigners with student visas, US federal agents last week raided Herguan University and charged its CEO with visa fraud, write Lisa M Krieger and Molly Vorwerck for San Jose Mercury News.

The points-based system used by students applying to higher education is now likely to be scrapped after the move gained widespread support from universities and schools, writes Alison Kershaw for The Independent.

The acting chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Ekpo Nta, has said it is set to purge Nigeria’s university system of the menace of corruption with the collaboration of the National Universities Commission, writes Favour Nnabugwu for Vanguard.

The billions of rand allocated to South Africa’s sector education and training authorities must be diverted from private training providers to further education and training colleges, says Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, writes Karl Gernetzky for Business Day.

Public university employees in America can expect two things from their universities over the next few years: new programmes with an emphasis on increasing tuition fee revenues, and a whole host of ‘operational efficiency’ initiatives designed to get more bang for each buck, writes Kevin Kiley for Inside Higher Ed.

The Holy See’s denial of a top Peruvian university’s right to call itself ‘pontifical’ and ‘Catholic’ is the latest battle – but unlikely the last – in a long conflict over what it means to be a Catholic university, writes Alejandro Bermudez for the National Catholic Register.

Columbia University will start an Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering in New York City. The institute, which will be housed at Columbia’s existing campuses in Morningside Heights and Washington Heights, is expected to employ 75 new faculty members over the next 15 years, writes Henry Goldman for Bloomberg.

A professor has been fired by his university and disqualified from China's Recruitment Programme of Global Experts for copying his resumé and academic articles from three other academics with the same name, writes Xu Chi for Shanghai Daily.

A Taiwanese university has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, claiming that its Siri software infringes on two of the university’s patents, writes Salvador Rodriquez for the Los Angeles Times.

Oxford University students will no longer have to wear gender-specific academic clothing, after concerns that it was unfair to the transgender community. It will mean men can attend formal occasions in skirts and stockings and women in suits and bow ties, reports the BBC.
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