University World News Global Edition
06 October 2012 Issue 0242 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Research networks, PhD training and international activity on the rise

In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha argues that universities should learn from BlackBerry's over-confidence not to overlook the significance of MOOCs. A study of PhD education in East Asia, Southern Africa and Latin America has shown that universities across the world are looking to build research capacity and are increasing the number of doctoral graduates they produce, Thomas Ekman Jørgensen reveals in Commentary.
Loveness Kaunda describes a special interest group focusing on curriculum internationalisation in an African context, launched recently by the International Education Association of South Africa, and Qiang Zha writes that more and younger Chinese students are studying abroad as a result of poor quality and uneven education in China.
Yojana Sharma interviews Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin, vice-chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, who is one of just two women university leaders in Malaysia, and in Features she speaks to participants at a British Council conference on research networks in East Asia, who called for greater collaboration between Asian and international universities to boost research output in the region.
Helena Flusfeder investigates the controversial move by Israel’s Council for Higher Education to close the politics and government department at Ben-Gurion University, and its implications for academic freedom, and Patrick Boehler reports on an overseas campus being established in Laos by China’s Soochow University – which is Laos’ first foreign campus.
Karen MacGregor Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Yojana Sharma

As international migration has risen in recent decades, the proportion of migrants with university degrees has also increased – with the most recent migrants to developed countries likely to be the best educated – according to just-released statistics from the OECD.
David Jobbins

Britain still has some of the best universities on the planet, vying for the top slots in the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings with leading US universities. But their relative strength lower down the rankings is under pressure and they face a collapse in their global position within a generation, the rankings compilers warn.
Alan Osborn

The European Union’s Erasmus student exchange programme has run into a major budget shortfall and may not be able to fund students studying abroad from next January. “There’s a problem here and certainly something has to be done,” said Dennis Abbott, the European Commission’s education spokesperson.
Jane Marshall

Higher education and research have been relatively spared in France’s austerity budget. While most other ministries have experienced cuts, the sector’s allocation for 2013 rose by 2.2% over the previous year, totalling nearly €23 billion (US$30 billion), with priority going to student support and including funding for 1,000 new university posts.
María Elena Hurtado

As a placatory gesture to protesting students, Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera has enacted a law that cut interest rates on student loans and has also increased education spending in his budget proposal for 2013. But despite all government efforts, students appear to remain unsatisfied.
Alison Moodie

The higher education sector in the United States may experience a fiscal blow in the new year of across-the-board cuts to federal domestic programmes, many related to higher education, if Congress fails to strike a deal by the end of the year to reduce the deficit. Discretionary programmes will see across-the-board cuts of 8.2% and mandatory programmes cuts of 7.2%.
Eugene Vorotnikov

A return to the Soviet practice of obligatory job placements for university graduates is under consideration by the Russian parliament to help meet a shortage of young professionals in the regions.
Robert Visscher

The number of Dutch students attending universities in Flanders in northern Belgium has increased for the 10th year in a row. Universities and politicians in Belgium are concerned about the trend, particularly because of the costs and the poor performance of Dutch students.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Stockholm University Rector Kåre Bremer last week announced that he would allocate SEK100 million (US$13 million) in extraordinary funds to enhance internationalisation.

The University of Malawi has said that the economic crisis gripping the country has forced it to increase tuition fees by more than 100%. It has also continued to enrol new students under the controversial quota system that bases recruitment on district of origin rather than pure merit.
Wagdy Sawahel

Space education and research at higher education institutions in Iraq are due for a major boost next year when the country, collaborating with La Svanza University in Italy, launches its first experimental scientific satellite, to be called ‘Dijlah’ (Tigris River).
Yojana Sharma

Research collaboration within Asia and internationally, fuelled by rapid expansion of the region’s higher education sector, will propel Asian countries to new economic heights in the future, a conference in Hong Kong heard.
Helena Flusfeder

“I thought academic freedom in Israel was very certain,” said Professor Rivka Carmi, president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and chair of the Committee of University Heads. But Israel is treading a fine line on academic freedom following a controversial move by the Council for Higher Education to close the university’s politics and government department.
Patrick Boehler

At 7.15 every morning, Professor Wen Shuming and eight Chinese colleagues share a breakfast prepared by two local maids, who have been taught how to cater to the tastes of alien educators. They are employed by Soochow University, but their office isn’t in Jiangsu province, nor even in China. It is on the outskirts of Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
Yojana Sharma

Women heads of universities are rare, especially in Islamic societies. Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin, vice-chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia – the National University of Malaysia – is one of just two women leaders in a country with some 20 public and more than a dozen private universities.
Rahul Choudaha

Universities with branch campuses should not be over-confident that they are the future of international higher education. MOOCs are evolving fast and could pose a serious threat, especially to newer branch campuses.
Thomas Ekman Jørgensen

There has been a big rise in the number of doctorates awarded across the world. But for developing countries more help is needed to build research capacity, and collaboration with other universities that have experience in this would help.
Loveness Kaunda

Internationalisation of the curriculum is a crucial starting point for a review of how universities in Africa become more international. But what do we mean by international or intercultural dimensions in the African context? A special interest group has been launched in South Africa to look at these and other issues.
Qiang Zha

The number of Chinese students choosing to study abroad is high and includes a rising proportion of school pupils. They are seeking higher quality education. China has responded by trying to boost the quality of its top universities, but uneven resourcing of the system could create further problems.
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Hackers last week published online thousands of personal records from 53 universities including Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, the University of Zurich and other universities around the world, writes Nicole Perlroth for The New York Times.

Research misconduct, rather than error, is the leading cause of retractions in scientific journals, with the problem especially pronounced in more prestigious publications, writes Paul Basken for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Pew Research Center last week released a snapshot of US student debt. In short, it's not a pretty picture. Roughly one in five American households either had outstanding student loan debt or loans in deferment, according to data from 2010, the most current available. The 19% figure is particularly striking because it's up four points from 2007, and is twice what it was two decades ago, writes Andrew McCarthy for Slate.

Nearly 500 public colleges that account for three-quarters of all four-year college students pledged last week to produce a combined 3.8 million additional graduates by 2025, an ambitious target that would help bring the United States closer to its goal of regaining its lost global lead in college attainment, reports Associated Press.

Nigerian police said last Wednesday that they had arrested ‘many’ suspects following a massacre at a student housing area that left at least 40 people dead, with victims shot or their throats slit, writes Aminu Abubakar for Sapa-AFP.

Legislation governing Ireland’s universities is to be amended so that the education minister can require them to comply with government guidelines on remuneration and staffing numbers, reports RTÉ News Ireland.

At a time when India is being looked at as the next big knowledge superpower, this could come as a shocker: just 3.5% of global research output in 2010 was from India, according to a study by Thomson Reuters, writes Kounteya Sinha for The Times of India.

A young man wearing a yellow hard cap grins as he stands proudly in front of an offshore drilling platform. Emblazoned on the front are the words, “Master’s in Business Administration – Concentration: Oil, gas and energy management”, writes Poly Pantelides for Cyprus Mail.

On the face of it, private providers of higher education have never had it so good. Long regarded as a threat by many in the sector, they have been warmly welcomed by the coalition government. And business is booming. Yet senior figures in the private sector are getting anxious. They say they are still wrestling with a system that was not set up to accommodate them, and until changes are embedded by legislation, they face an uncertain future, writes Anna Fazackerley for the Guardian.

Britain’s Cambridge University said it may sell bonds for the first time in its 800-year history after winning a top credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service, write John Glover and Katie Linsell for Bloomberg.

Online education is pushing some traditional campuses to the brink of extinction and universities will have to reinvent their role to preserve a bricks and mortar presence. That stark view emerged from university leaders at a conference in Melbourne on high-speed broadband and higher education, writes Benjamin Preiss for The Age.

As the US Supreme Court revisits the use of race in college admissions, critics of affirmative action are hopeful the justices will roll back the practice. A new report out last week offers a big reason for their optimism: evidence from at least some of the nine states that don't use affirmative action that leading public universities can bring meaningful diversity to their campuses through race-neutral means, writes Justin Pope for Associated Press.

Scotland's Education Secretary Michael Russell has ordered elite universities to admit hundreds more students from the most deprived backgrounds under a £10 million (US$16.2 million) initiative, writes Andrew Denholm for The Herald.

A government report outlining the case for a new ‘super’ university in southeast Wales has raised fresh concerns over potential job losses and campus closures. Documents obtained by the Western Mail, made public for the first time, suggest the integration of university systems would improve “efficiency and effectiveness in delivery”, writes Gareth Evans for Wales Online.

Sana’a University students staged a demonstration on Wednesday demanding that studies resume separate from the political conflict inundating the university and Yemen. Students also continued to refuse the presence of military personnel on campus, writes Ashraf Al-Muraqab for Yemen Times.

The Association of Vice-chancellors of Nigerian Universities has drawn up guidelines that ban tertiary institutions from awarding honorary degrees to serving politicians, reports Channels Television.

Schools should plan a repeat of action staged against Bristol almost a decade ago if institutions attempted to engineer their intake to hit controversial new admissions targets, said Chris Ramsey, the universities spokesperson for the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
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