University World News Global Edition
19 August 2012 Issue 0235 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
China, Poland woo foreign students; Australia the indigenous and poor

In Commentary, Jandhyala BG Tilak reveals that India's Universities for Research and Innovation Bill has raised huge issues around accountability and the purpose of universities, and Myint Oo contends that Burmese society needs to change its attitude towards higher education if the country is to progress.
Anne MacLachlan argues that policies to broaden higher education participation in America have been misappropriated and the gap between the included and excluded is widening. And in World Blog, Serhiy Kvit urges Ukraine’s student organisations to overcome ideological differences and work together to tackle higher education and societal problems.
In Features, Yojana Sharma writes that China has been wooing foreign universities and students as part of a ‘soft power’ policy to project itself globally – but its targets may be overly ambitious – and Bianka Siwinska reports on a campaign by universities in Poland to recruit more international students, including through a free iPhone and iPad app.
Geoff Maslen looks at efforts by universities in Australia to attract more indigenous, rural and poor students into higher education, which have been boosted by government’s lifting of enrolment limits, and Jan Petter Myklebust finds that long-term strategies and expert committees are helping to boost research productivity in some Nordic countries.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Erin Millar

A new government-commissioned report has urged Canadian universities to nearly double international student enrolment, from 240,000 in 2011 to 450,000 by 2022. It signals a fundamental policy change in Canada.
David Jobbins

For the tenth year in a row, Harvard retained its top place in the 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities produced by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The UK lost its second place behind the US for the number of universities in the Top 500 to China – if universities in Hong Kong and Taiwan are included.
Makki Marseilles

Greece's Education Secretary Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos has tabled changes to controversial legislation on the management of universities, under special urgent rules. But the move has failed to repair divisions in higher education.
John Gerritsen

New Zealand’s universities want to shorten their masters degrees in a bid to attract more foreign students.
Naw Say Phaw Waa

In a bid to improve much-needed science and technology capacity in Myanmar, the government has announced that it will reopen two technological universities – in Yangon and Mandalay – that were closed by the military junta more than two decades ago.
Michael Gardner

Heads of Germany’s higher education institutions say they see severe shortcomings in the new bachelor degrees introduced as part of Bologna reforms and warn that they are failing to supply the graduates the country needs.
Suluck Lamubol

Controversy over plagiarism in the PhD thesis of Supachai Lorlowhakarn, director of Thailand’s National Innovation Agency, has highlighted concerns over academic integrity and a widespread culture of plagiarism. Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University revoked the PhD – for the first time in the institution’s history.
Ria Nurdiani

In the wake of the Indonesian parliament’s hasty passing of a Higher Education Act last month, several concerned organisations have said they are planning to submit documents to the Constitutional Court demanding a judicial review of the new law.
Kudzai Mashininga

Women vice-chancellors have formulated strategies for empowering women in higher education that include demands for quota systems, at the sub-forum for the sixth World Women University Presidents Forum held in Zimbabwe from 15-16 August.

A European higher education institution has joined some of America’s top universities in offering free online science courses to anyone anywhere in the world. Germany’s Hasso Plattner Institute plans to start offering the courses next month for all who are interested.
Moses Michael-Phiri

The first high-speed internet link between national research networks in Sub-Saharan Africa was launched last month when Zambia was linked up to South Africa by a cable passing through Zimbabwe.
Jan Petter Myklebust

An emeritus professor from the department of geoscience at the University of Bergen is leading a pioneering scientific expedition towards the North Pole on the hovercraft Sabvabaa. It is the first polar expedition with such a vessel.
Yojana Sharma

Peking University’s Zhong Guanxinyuan Global Village Building No 6 opened three years ago offering “perfect facilities” for international students. The air-conditioned accommodation, with soft beds and TV in every room, was a far cry from the shabby, four-person dorms with wooden slat beds that local students put up with.
Bianka Siwinska

Polish universities have introduced a free iPhone and iPad app to spread information internationally about opportunities in Polish higher education, and an Android version is promised soon. Universities have been driving a campaign in recent years aimed at recruiting more international students.
Geoff Maslen

When enrolment limits on Australia’s 38 public universities were lifted this year, universities were told to start boosting the number of indigenous, rural and poor students. Successive governments have tried to grow the proportion of under-represented students, especially those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, who comprise around 15% of all students but whose share of the overall population is 10% more.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Nordic governments are increasingly using academic experts on committees mandated to advise on research into economic, societal and environmental issues. The extent to which this influences research policy, and political and strategic government choices, may depend on whether the appointments are short term and ad hoc or part of a long-term strategy.
Serhiy Kvit

Student movements in Ukraine are active but divided along ideological lines and not sufficiently focused on higher education transformation. Student groups could exert real influence if they got together to fight problems both inside and outside the university.
Jandhyala BG Tilak

India's Universities for Research and Innovation Bill envisages a fast track up the global rankings. But it will do nothing for the majority of universities in the country and will allow a greater role for private universities, without adequate regulation.
Myint Oo

Burma’s students are too heavily focused on passing exams through private tuition and rote learning, and are obtaining degrees that are not in line with the country’s needs and are not worth the paper they are written on. The country, officially known as Myanmar, needs a change in attitude towards education if it is to compete with the rest of the world.
Anne MacLachlan

Broadening participation programmes in America are failing to deliver a more inclusive system, and some have been misappropriated. There is widespread disparagement of going to college, serious cutting of higher education funding and a climate actively hostile to the poor, minorities and women. Truly broadening post-secondary participation requires a different vision.

An international team of researchers has predicted that the size and weight of shellfish and other marine animals will decline because of increasing ocean acidity largely caused by burning fossil fuels. Ocean acidity makes it harder for marine animals to make shells and skeletons, and could reduce the food source for tropical seabirds, seals, large aquatic animals and humans.
Stefan Bode with Michael Farrell

When it comes to intelligence, what factors distinguish the brains of the exceptionally smart from those of average humans? New research suggests that as much as 10% of individual variance in human intelligence can be predicted based on the strength of neural connections between the lateral pre-frontal cortex and other regions of the brain.

Empathy is a distinctly human trait, despite suggestions that other animals are capable of recognising and sharing the feelings of another individual of the same species, according to researchers from four institutions in America, Britain, France and Portugal.
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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, on behalf of 14 states, is urging the US Supreme Court to uphold racial preferences in college admissions, writes Michael Virtanen for Associated Press.

Pearson, the major international publisher and education firm, is to become a for-profit private higher education provider in the UK, reports Sean Coughlan for BBC News. The firm is opening Pearson College, teaching a degree course validated by existing London universities.

Just 24 hours before the publication of A-level results last Thursday, it was disclosed that many institutions were effectively operating ‘two-tier’ clearing systems, with more courses being made available for students applying from outside Britain and Europe, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.

All doors to higher education are now closed to expatriate students in Saudi Arabia. After the Arab Spring, Arab expat children cannot study in universities either in the Kingdom or abroad, reports Arab News.

Taiwan’s cabinet passed a draft amendment on Thursday that will loosen the regulations pertaining to university teaching positions, as part of the government's efforts to attract more foreign talent, reports Focus Taiwan.

The booming education market is luring more overseas universities to open branches or establish partnerships in China, but the marriages do not always seem happy, writes Cheng Yingqi for China Daily.

Pakistan's universities have witnessed phenomenal growth in research publications, which have increased by 87% from 2002-11 despite a 40% cut in Higher Education Commission (HEC) development funds in the past three years, writes Waqar Lillah for Business Recorder.

Canterbury University is asking staff to take voluntary redundancy as it looks to minimise the impact of “inevitable” compulsory job losses, reports Fairfax NZ News. It is the second time in 10 months that the university has made such a call.

Peak body Universities Australia has criticised the Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Taskforce for understating the value of basic research as a contributor to innovation, reports Charis Palmer for The Conversation.

The number of students already accepted onto university courses has dropped by almost 7%, official figures show. As of last week, a total of 357,915 applicants had had their places confirmed, down from 384,649 at the same point in 2011 – a fall of 6.95%, write Alison Kershaw and Lauren Turner for The Independent.

The UK government appears to be preparing for a battle between selective universities and Les Ebdon, the new director of fair access, by giving him stronger legal backing in case he rejects, changes or enforces universities' access agreements, writes John Morgan for Times Higher Education.

Students taking free online courses offered by the startup company Coursera have reported dozens of incidents of plagiarism, even though the courses bear no academic credit, writes Jeffrey R Young for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Pennsylvania State University received a warning that its accreditation is “in jeopardy” following the child s ex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, writes Oliver Staley for Bloomberg News.

Institutions are getting the message about messaging. Elite colleges and universities are still attracting plenty of applicants, but weak job-placement numbers for graduates and heavy student debt loads have put them on the defensive, forcing institutions to prove to families and state governments that a degree is worth the investment, write Emily Glazer and Melissa Korn for The Wall Street Journal.

Its late-night broadcasts on BBC2 were for years the only exposure most young people ever had to the Open University. But new figures show the institution has recorded a huge increase in the number of under-25s studying for qualifications, as young Scots try to avoid crippling levels of student debt, writes Chris Marshall for The Scotsman.

The student editorial staff of the University of Georgia’s The Red & Black newspaper walked out last Wednesday evening after a non-student was named editorial director with final say on all editorial content, writes Karah-Leigh Hancock for Online Athens.
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