University World News Global Edition
21 October 2012 Issue 0244 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Emerging Latin America offers opportunities for university partnerships

In World Blog, William Patrick Leonard argues that international rankings do not assess value added by universities, but that a ranking in the United States features two output measures that warrant attention. Baroness Margaret Sharp writes in Commentary that a recent debate in the British House of Lords on the European Commission’s proposals for modernising higher education shed little new light and the government gave little ground.
Also in Commentary, Betty Leask outlines areas of agreement on internationalisation of the curriculum in Australia and points out that it is no longer about teaching international students, but about teaching all students and preparing global citizens. Angel Calderon finds that higher education in Latin America is set to expand rapidly and international institutions can play an important part in raising standards.
In Features, Yojana Sharma looks at what a Nobel prize for literature might mean for university teaching and research in China and, in another article, at the growing need for public policy studies to provide the skills required to govern Asia’s expanding economies.
Jane Marshall describes research from a high-level think-tank in France into the lessons universities can learn from abroad on how to provide services for students, and Alya Mishra reports on the challenges the South Asian University faces in juggling regional cooperation with educational aims.
Karen MacGregor Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Jan Petter Myklebust

Sweden has announced a further expansion of its already massive investments in higher education and research. A new proposal is to add a further €450 million (US$589 million) to the total budgets, representing an increase of 30% between 2009 and 2016.
Michael Gardner

The PhD of Annette Schavan, Germany’s education and research minister, has been reviewed following allegations of plagiarism that she has denied. Leaked results from the review, which appear to strengthen the case against her, have met with mixed response and the University of Düsseldorf has been slated for procedural errors.
Suvendrini Kakuchi

Euphoria over the awarding of a Nobel prize in medicine to a Japanese professor has been dampened by a new scandal that has rocked the academic world – false claims by another Japanese researcher that he had conducted groundbreaking stem cell trials.
David Jobbins

More than 1,000 of the 2,600 international students affected when London Metropolitan University was stripped of its ability to sponsor students from outside the European Union have either completed their courses or have graduated from the university.
Wagdy Sawahel

“More Arab women than men are graduating in science, but not at all are finding their way into postgraduate research or into the workplace,” says a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit. It calls for new ways of teaching and improved workplaces to tackle the problem.
Ashraf Khaled

One month after the start of the academic year in Egypt, thousands of students at various public universities have staged protests against lack of availability of accommodation in state-subsidised residences.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Several Norwegian higher education institutions have been offering study abroad in exotic places in collaboration with companies, partly financed by the Norwegian government loan board but also by comparatively high fees paid by students.
Maina Waruru

The African Union-backed Pan-African University has reached another milestone with the selection of the first intake of masters students for three of its institutes, in Cameroon, Kenya and Nigeria. The 193 pioneer students from across the continent are to start later this year.
Poorna Rodrigo

The leaders of a project to set up a women’s university in Malaysia say that they have cleared land purchase problems that had been holding up construction. The Asian Women’s Leadership University Project says it is now on a solid path to the institution opening in 2015.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Under a European Research Council programme, Professor Marius R Busemeyer of the University of Konstanz in Germany has received €1.5 million (US$2 million) to conduct a survey in eight countries to map out citizens’ attitudes to education and its connection to the welfare state.

The chronic under-representation of women in higher education in Afghanistan – both among students and staff – is the focus of a US$1 million initiative announced last week that will offer university scholarships to academically qualified and financially disadvantaged women.
Yojana Sharma

China’s ‘first’ Nobel prize for literature, awarded this month to author Mo Yan, has been celebrated in China as a national triumph. Academics believe it could have a big impact on humanities teaching and research in universities and may call into question the huge amounts being poured into science research.
Jane Marshall

French universities could learn lessons from abroad on how to provide services for students, according to research from a high-level think-tank, which says their education should be more student-centred, and that with universities’ newly increased autonomy they should take over more responsibility from the state for students’ living conditions.
Yojana Sharma

The importance of developing the skills needed to govern Asia’s growing economies is often overlooked. But Kishore Mahbubani, dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, believes public policy studies is a discipline whose time has come – not just to train people to serve their countries, but also to solve global problems.
Alya Mishra

The new South Asian University hopes to promote a shared understanding of the region and pool resources and academics for research. With its main campus in New Delhi, it will eventually have linked campuses in other South Asian countries. But the university faces huge challenges.
William Patrick Leonard

The major rankings focus on narrow input measures that tend to put the same institutions in top places. But these universities attract bright students so it is difficult to assess how much value they add. The Washington Monthly ranking has two output measures that merit special attention.
Angel Calderon

Enrolment in higher education is set to increase rapidly in Latin America. International institutions looking to partner with universities on the ground should take into account the local context and language issues.
Baroness Margaret Sharp

The British House of Lords debated the European Commission's proposals for modernising higher education in Europe and highlighted issues such as the UK's need to increase modern language learning. But little new was learned and the government gave little ground.
Betty Leask

Internationalisation of the curriculum in Australia has moved on from being about teaching international students and is now about preparing global citizens. There is agreement on key points, but it is also increasingly recognised that disciplines approach internationalisation in different ways, and many challenges remain.
University World News has a new Facebook group. If you are not a member, do consider joining to see our regular updates, post on our wall and communicate with us and other University World News fans. You can also follow University World News on Twitter @uniworldnews

The University of Phoenix, America’s largest for-profit university, is closing 115 of its brick-and-mortar locations, including 25 main campuses and 90 smaller, satellite learning centres. The closings will affect some 13,000 students, about 4% of its student body of 328,000, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.

The University of Texas System – which comprises nine universities – plans to put up US$5 million to join the EdX online venture, started by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to help meet demand for low-cost college courses, writes David Mildenberg for Bloomberg Businessweek.

The Iranian currency has lost about a third of its value against the US dollar as sanctions have cut hard currency earnings from oil exports, writes Yeganeh Torbati for Reuters. Thousands of students have watched helplessly, as this and the abolition of a government policy that helped them meet costs have made a foreign degree so expensive as to be nearly impossible.

Portraits of toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi may no longer adorn the walls of Tripoli University, but it is likely to be a long time before new values and higher standards become entrenched, reports AFP.

Under Israeli pressure, United States officials have quietly cancelled a two-year-old scholarship programme for students in the Gaza Strip, undercutting one of the few American outreach programmes to people in the Hamas-ruled territory, writes Lauren E Bohn for

A programme geared towards integrating the ultra-Orthodox into Israeli universities has been set in motion and will increase the number of Haredi academics by 50% over the next three years, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced last weekend, writes Asher Zeiger for The Times of Israel.

India’s University Grants Commission has decided to relax norms for the selection of vice-chancellors in state universities. Commission Chair Ved Prakash said the move followed requests from several state governments to ease the standards, reports TNN.

International development experts have expressed much concern about the brain drain of African scholars to universities in North America and Europe. Largely neglected in this discussion is the movement of academics taking place within Africa itself, writes John D Holm for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Shanghai New York University, the first institution of higher education jointly established by China and the United States, was officially founded last Monday. Experts say the venture will be a melting pot for cultivating innovative talent and will help China tackle its brain drain, write Wang Hongyi and Cheng Yingqi for China Daily.

The American public and senior administrators at colleges and universities overwhelmingly agree that higher education is in crisis, according to a new poll, but they fundamentally disagree over how to fix it and even what the main purpose of higher education is, writes Josh Sanburn for TIME.

From her modest classrooms tucked away in a Hong Kong convention centre, Janet de Silva, dean of Ivey Asia – a branch campus of the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business – is battling the likes of Columbia, Harvard and the London Business School for student enrolment and revenue, writes Caroline Alphonso for The Globe and Mail.

Research funding at Canadian universities hit US$6.6 billion in 2011, a paltry 2.2% rise from the US$6.48 billion raised for research and development in 2010 – and the smallest gain in the past decade, writes Christine Wong for

Australia’s university sector has hit out at "ever-diminishing budget certainty" and fears a freeze on grants for higher education in the lead-up to the federal government's Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, writes Daniel Burdon for Warwick Daily News.

Work is under way to build the Francis Crick Institute in London, a research behemoth that looks set to project three London universities into the global super-league for biomedicine. The site will not be ready until 2015, but already the building is casting a big shadow over the rest of the country, writes Anna Fazackerley for the Guardian.

Universities in the UK are scrapping traditional interviews over concerns that they favour applicants from middle-class families and independent schools. The move follows claims that the usual format, where candidates are questioned by a panel of academics, could give an advantage to confident and articulate pupils who have been coached in how to respond, writes Julie Henry for The Telegraph.

Noam Chomsky has joined an international campaign to reinstate a professor suspended for alleged ‘gross misconduct’, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education. Chomsky, emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at MIT, is one of 72 academics to sign a letter in support of Ian Parker, professor of psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, whose removal from campus has caused outrage.

Indonesia’s Health Ministry last Monday signed a new partnership agreement with 26 state universities to create a national database of plants from across the archipelago that have therapeutic effects, writes Dessy Sagita for The Jakarta Globe.

A university under threat of dissolution has warned that Wales could “sleepwalk into an unmitigated financial and educational disaster” if controversial merger plans are approved without a costed business case, writes Gareth Evans for WalesOnline.

The University of Canberra is going national, partnering with the fifth biggest TAFE (technical and further education provider) in Australia – Holmesglen Institute of TAFE in Victoria – to become the University of Canberra Melbourne next year, writes Emma Macdonald for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Terms and Conditions / ISSN 1756-297X / © University World News 2007-2012