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NEWSLETTERFive years of University World News – Global, independent, respected
University World News turns five years old today. We tell you our story and, in a related World Blog, Hans de Wit and Elspeth Jones review international higher education in the past five years as it has climbed the ladder of sector priorities, and reveal a shift towards new perspectives from different parts of the world.
In Commentary, Margaret Waters describes the new Erasmus for All initiative, which aims to upskill the European workforce through strategies that include increasing student mobility. Goolam Mohamedbhai argues that as African universities revitalise, it is important that they integrate the promotion of sustainable development into that process.
Toby Paltridge, Susan Mayson and Jan Schapper contend that local government in Australia has a vital role to play in providing services and listening to the concerns of international students. In Student View, Camila Vallejo says Chile's student movement is fighting to overturn an education system that aims to divide and to deepen inequality.
We interview Ernest Aryeetey, vice-chancellor of the University of Ghana, for the latest in our series “Thoughts and experiences of African university leaders”.
And in Features, Yojana Sharma reports that after a decade of rapid growth, private institutions in China are facing problems attracting students, while Hiep Pham reveals that a reduction in government spending on student loans in Vietnam has sparked concerns about higher education access.
Karen MacGregor Global Editor
FIFTH BIRTHDAY EDITION
University World News has come a long way since 14 October 2007, when we nervously hit the Send button on the first edition. The e-paper has achieved great success in reaching ever-more academics and higher education professionals – 40,000 in 150 countries now – and has earned a reputation for quality journalism and for being truly international.
GLOBALHans de Wit and Elspeth Jones
In the five years since University World News was launched, internationalisation has moved up the ladder of higher education priorities. No longer is the West the main player, and there is increasing recognition of the need to take into account different perspectives on internationalisation.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
SRI LANKADinesh De Alwis
Sri Lanka’s longest lecturer strike, which lasted for nearly 100 days, was called off by the university teachers’ union on Thursday after crucial discussions led to a government climb-down and capitulation to several union demands.
As international student mobility grows, the number of reported attacks on students has also been increasing and students are becoming more aware of the risks they may face when studying abroad.
Students around the world perceive the United Kingdom as the safest place to study, an international survey has found – and Israel is seen as the least safe destination country. The multicultural nature of British society was the main reason cited for its ‘safe’ reputation.
For the first time, foreign students in Australia have their own ‘bill of rights’. This follows the release by the Australian Human Rights Commission of a set of principles to promote and protect the rights of international students, which it says have too often been ignored by individuals and organisations.
The financial management of the elite Institute of Political Studies in Paris has been strongly criticised in an official report that found evidence of exorbitant bonuses, absence of controls and waste of public funds during the directorship of Richard Descoings, who died in April.
On 18 September, the McGill University Health Centre issued a terse statement: it confirmed that at 08h00, 12 officers of Quebec’s Unité permanente anti-corruption had raided its offices as part of a wide-ranging investigation into corruption in the province’s construction industry.
Nigeria’s National Universities Commission has announced the immediate suspension of all part-time programmes in universities, affecting over 20% of the country’s student population. The plan is to conduct a quality assurance audit of all part-time provision, which the commission believes is fraught with problems.
Contingency plans are being drawn up in North Rhine-Westphalia to cope with a huge onslaught of first-year students in 2013. Germany’s most densely populated state is bracing itself for around 45,000 more students than enrolled last year.
Violent clashes between rival Islamist and secular students on 3 October led to closure of the faculty of human and social sciences at the University of Tunis for three days, and caused considerable damage. The government is consulting on legislation regarding the niqab – the Islamic full-face veil – which has sparked controversy and conflict on campuses.
The United Arab Emirates has granted the land for and offered to bear all expenses related to the construction of the Islamic Virtual University, which aims to expand education and research cooperation in the Islamic world, produce and disseminate teaching knowledge, and promote higher education quality, internet access and e-infrastructure.
A federal government-commissioned review has called for an additional A$3 billion (US$3 billion) a year to be spent on health and medical research in Australia over the next 10 years. The review panel made 21 recommendations on how to strengthen the health and medical research sector and improve the integration of research with the nation’s healthcare system.
Kenyatta University, one of Kenya’s leading universities, has opened a campus in Dadaab, a town in the semi-arid northeast of the country that is home to the world’s largest refugee camp.
After more than a decade of phenomenal growth, private higher education institutions in China are beginning to face problems attracting students, with some colleges showing a significant drop in recruitment this year.
Vietnam has announced that it will spend 2,500 billion dong (US$125 million) on subsidised student loans during the 2012-13 academic year, which has just begun. But this is less than a third of what the loan scheme used to provide and there are deep concerns about access.
An African country won a place for the first time in a global university competition to build the best solar-powered house. The American University in Cairo was selected along with 18 other universities to compete for the top Solar Decathlon prize.
African university leaders series
With a career enriched by international experience, first as a postgraduate student in Germany and then as a member of academic networks, Professor Ernest Aryeetey has steered the flagship University of Ghana steadily into the wider world since becoming vice-chancellor two years ago. This, and the pursuit of excellence through change, define his leadership.
Erasmus for All is focusing funds on strategic objectives like promoting greater mobility for masters-level students, building partnerships between institutions and with business, and supporting policy reform in Europe and beyond.
A survey of universities in Sub-Saharan Africa revealed some commitment to and activity around sustainable development, though only among public institutions. Much more needs to be done, and help is required in specific areas. African universities are revitalising, and it is important that they integrate the promotion of sustainable development into that process.
AUSTRALIAToby Paltridge, Susan Mayson and Jan Schapper
The responsibility for international students in Australia has devolved to institutions. But the fact is that these students face more off- than on-campus problems. Local government should be involved in helping international students to integrate and deal with security issues, as well as listening to their concerns.
Privatisation and attacks on the humanities impoverish education and society. Chilean students and their colleagues across the Americas are fighting for a diverse and equitable public education system.
Children given more ‘fast food’ meals will grow up to have a lower IQ than those regularly given freshly cooked meals, according to a study by an academic at Goldsmiths, University of London.
DNA techniques are being used to analyse genes in rice in pioneering research that aims to develop a new variety of the grain with greater health benefits, according to researchers in Britain, Bangladesh, India and the Philippines.
SOUTHERN AFRICAIngvild Nilssen
Today’s climate models are not accurate as far as Southern Africa is concerned, says Professor Brian Chase, who has made revolutionary discoveries about the climate, based on fossilised badger urine. Chase says the study is changing understanding of environmental trends in South Africa.
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International students are spurning the UK's most prestigious universities as a result of government immigration curbs, writes Richard Garner for The Independent. Some courses at universities in the Russell Group – which represents 24 top institutions, including Oxford and Cambridge – have seen a drop of up to 30% in applications from Indian students.
Student Abdul Basir was giving an interview last Monday. “We don’t want politics at the university,” he said, speaking softly, in conciliatory tones. “It should not be named after a political figure.” Suddenly Basir was punched in the face and yet another melee was under way between rival groups over the decision by President Hamid Karzai to change the name of Kabul Education University to the Martyr of Peace Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani University, writes Rod Nordland for The New York Times.
As the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments last Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas at Austin, it became evident that the court's past rulings on such policies have failed to provide colleges – or even the justices themselves – with clear guidance, writes Peter Schmidt for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
It's official. Higher education is shrinking, for the first time in at least 15 years, writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed. Total enrolment at American colleges and universities eligible for federal financial aid fell slightly in the autumn of 2011 from the year before, according to preliminary data released by the US Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics.
Continental Europe still offers heavily subsidised higher education. And in some countries, such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria and much of Germany, it is free. Other popular destinations, such as The Netherlands and France, offer postgraduate qualifications at a fraction of the price now charged in Britain, writes Helena Pozniak for The Independent.
An education and research agreement that will see 4,000 Brazilian undergraduates study in Ireland over the next four years was signed last week during Enterprise Ireland’s trade mission to Brazil, writes Grainne Rothery for Business and Leadership.
When the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulations of Entry and Operations) Bill was introduced in parliament in 2010, no less than 50 foreign universities showed interest in setting up operations in India. Two years down the line, their interest seems to have dwindled, writes Kalpana Pathak for Business Standard.
Universities in the United Kingdom are being urged to waive the tuition fees of Syrian doctoral students who have had their funding from the Damascus government cut off, writes David Matthew for Times Higher Education.
University leaders have welcomed a rule change that will mean overseas students no longer have to register in person with the police. Last week saw students queuing at night outside an office in London in order to meet a registration deadline. But from Monday, students will be able to register through their universities, reports the BBC.
Since the 1970s, we have witnessed the forces of market fundamentalism strip education of its public values, critical content and civic responsibilities as part of its broader goal of creating new subjects wedded to consumerism, risk-free relationships and the destruction of the social state, writes Henry Giroux of McMaster University in Canada, for Counterpunch.
When it comes to attracting the best business students, Ali Mallekzadeh knows what it takes, writes Mará Rose Williams for The Kansas City Star. “Very astute students walk through the doors of your college with a check list,” said Mallekzadeh, dean of Kansas State University’s college of business administration.
Education Minister Costas Arvanitopoulos has underlined that “upgrading public universities is a top priority”, while at the same time saying that Greece has too many universities – 40 for a country of 11 million people – and needs to consolidate or merge institutions to reduce costs, writes A Papapostolou for ANA-MPA.
Cambridge University, the 800-year-old alma mater of Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking, sold its first bonds, tapping investor demand that let Portugal Telecom SGPS SA (PTC) issue its first benchmark notes since 2011, writes Katie Linsell for Bloomberg News.
Oxford and Cambridge have rejected plans to scrap traditional degree classifications in favour of school-style report cards, it emerged last week. The two institutions are among up to 10 members of the elite Russell Group with no plans to award graduates with the new Higher Education Achievement Report, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
Emory University is apologising for years of anti-Semitism at its dental school, during which dozens of Jewish students were failed or forced to repeat courses, leaving many feeling inadequate and ashamed for decades despite successful careers, reports Associated Press.
Economic depression drives youngsters back to campus. The lack of job opportunities in India has spurred tech graduates in Kolkata to arm themselves with an additional degree rather than try their luck in the job market, writes Prithvijit Mitra for The Times of India.
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