University World News Global Edition
03 February 2013 Issue 0257 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Will land pressure hamper Hong Kong’s bid to become a higher education hub?

In Commentary, Nassif Ghoussoub finds out why the Canada Excellence Research Chairs programme has been greeted in a lukewarm fashion by academics, and Carlos Olivares writes that a scandal involving the accreditation body in Chile has highlighted faultlines in a small academic community. Stephen Wilkins and Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan report on a study into student perceptions of the branch campus experience in the United Arab Emirates.
In an article tied to last week’s conference in Washington DC of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, its President Judith S Eaton argues that federal regulations that place authority for student learning outcomes in the hands of US officials and not academics are undesirable and likely to be ineffective.
In World Blog, Serhiy Kvit contends that Ukrainian higher education is entering a new phase and is fighting to defend autonomy – including through his university’s lawsuit to defend admissions policy.
In Features, Yojana Sharma reveals that pressure on land in Hong Kong could hamper its efforts to become a higher education hub. Alya Mishra reports that an expert panel has begun investigating ways to make campuses in India safer for women – but female academics say much also needs to be done to grow women’s participation in leadership.
And in Finland, a proposal to charge students from outside Europe tuition fees gained support in parliament but has met with opposition from students and mixed responses from university rectors, write Jan Petter Myklebust and Ian R Dobson.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Alan Osborn

A new university ranking system, U-Multirank, was officially launched by the European Union in Dublin last Wednesday, bringing a new and broader approach to the assessment of universities. Some 500 universities worldwide are expected to sign up and the first results will be published in early 2014.
Jane Marshall

Gender parity in university governance, teaching and training on gender equality for students and personnel, and promoting research into gender are among measures ratified last week by French government ministers and organisations representing higher education institutions.
Adele Yung

Singapore’s top public universities have teamed up with private education providers, in a new alliance that will help them secure education and training opportunities overseas, starting with training civil servants in China.
Geoff Maslen

The current trajectory of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, is a movement from free online courses to fee-charging, credit-bearing programmes, according to a new report from the Observatory on Borderless Education.
Geoff Maslen

More than a year ago, Australia’s government released a report it had commissioned on base funding of higher education. Among other findings, the report called for a boost in spending on university teaching and learning. But last Monday, the government quietly announced that it had rejected the report’s key recommendations, in particular that all students should pay 40% of the cost of their courses and the government 60%.
Alya Mishra

India’s University Grants Commission has done away with a mandatory requirement for universities to select and promote academics based solely on a performance index that includes scores for research publications and attracting research grants. The decision will affect more than a million university and college lecturers.
Sarah King Head

A new report from the Institute of International Education – US Students in China: Meeting the goals of the 100,000 Strong Initiative – has shown that US students are increasingly choosing to explore China’s higher education offerings in a range of ways other than through traditional for-credit programmes.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Chalmers University in Sweden and the Swiss Federal Polytechnique in Lausanne have been selected to coordinate the European Union’s two biggest ever research grants. The Graphene and Human Brain mega-projects each have a budget of around €1 billion (US$1.36 billion).
Wagdy Sawahel

African leaders have supported higher education and research by adopting the statute for the Pan-African University, approving plans for a Tunisia-based African Union Institute for Statistics, and endorsing the creation of an African Observatory on Science, Technology and Innovation and a Pan-African Intellectual Property Organisation.
Shafigeh Shirazi

The president of a top Iranian technology university slapped with European Union sanctions announced in December, has said his institution – Sanati Sharif University of Technology in Tehran – had not been violating sanctions and he would “complain against the decision”.
Ishmael Tongai

The president of the University of Liberia has defended a proposed tuition fee hike that sparked student protests last Monday, saying that the income will be critical to raising education quality at the country’s flagship institution.
Ameen Amjad Khan

Pakistani academics have warmly welcomed proposed legislation in the United States senate that aims to provide special scholarships for Pakistani women to pursue higher education. The bill is named after Malala Yousafzai, the teenage women’s education activist who was shot by the Taliban last year.
Yojana Sharma

When Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying told a radio programme that land on a site understood to be earmarked for student accommodation in the Kowloon area would instead be partly used for private residential flats, students and teachers from Hong Kong Baptist University staged a number of demonstrations.
Alya Mishra

In January India’s higher education regulatory body, the University Grants Commission, set up a panel of top academics to prepare a blueprint aimed at making campuses around the country safer for women and more gender sensitive.
Jan Petter Myklebust and Ian R Dobson

On 21 December, more than half of Finland’s MPs agreed to a proposal to change legislation to allow for students from outside Europe to be charged tuition fees for degree programmes. The fees would be between €3,500 and €12,000 (US$4,700 and US$16,000) a year.
SPECIAL REPORT: CHEA annual conference
More than 400 people gathered in Washington DC last week for the annual conference of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, CHEA, and the first annual meeting of the CHEA International Quality Group. University World News interviewed CHEA President Judith S Eaton and we publish her pre-conference commentary on the ‘credit hour’.

Judith S Eaton

If the United States government now defines the ‘credit hour’, decides the data that are to be used for student learning outcomes, and leads experiments in alternative approaches for using an outcomes-based approach to the credit hour, what is left for the academy to do?
Karen MacGregor

The first annual meeting of the US Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s International Quality Group was held last week, with a focus on the open education movement, growth of online, competency-based education and learning outside the traditional university – major higher education trends worldwide.
Serhiy Kvit

The Kyiv-Mohyla Academy has launched a lawsuit to defend its admissions policy in the face of moves by the minister of education and science to standardise entry requirements for masters courses and erode university autonomy.
Nassif Ghoussoub

The Canada Excellence Research Chairs programme aims to attract the world's most promising minds, but it has not been greeted with the same enthusiasm by academics as the earlier Canada Research Chairs initiative was. Part of the reason is that there are too few research chairs involved and universities have to stump up too much of their own funding.
Carlos Olivares

Chile's National Commission of Accreditation has become mired in scandal. The case has highlighted problems of peer review in a small academic community and a lack of data on universities' financial standing. The accreditation system needs urgent reforms to restore public faith in it.
Stephen Wilkins and Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan

Much research on branch campuses focuses on the effectiveness of teaching and learning, but a new study looks at the perceptions of those at the sharp end of the experience – students. Its findings are largely positive, with the main areas of criticism revolving around social life and facilities.

An insect with a tiny brain and minimal computing power has become the first animal proven to use the Milky Way for orientation. Scientists from South Africa and Sweden found the link between dung beetles and the spray of stars comprising our galaxy.

IBM has unveiled its latest ‘5 in 5’: five predictions about technology innovations that will change the way humans work, live and interact within the next five years. The ideas come from thousands of IBM scientists who predict that computers will , in their own way, begin to mimic and augment the five senses of humans – to see, smell, touch, taste and hear.

Researchers in Melbourne have discovered that the death of immune system cells is an important safeguard against the development of diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The finding suggests that these so-called autoimmune diseases could be treated with existing medications that force long-lived immune system cells to die.

An international team of scientists has shown how the shape of a crocodile’s snout could determine its ability to feast on certain types of prey, from large mammals to small fish. Using computer technology, the researchers subjected the jaws to the sorts of biting, shaking and twisting loads that crocodiles use to feed on large prey.
University World News has a popular 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 twin explosions two weeks ago that killed more than 80 people and wounded 150 also left Aleppo student Laila determined to return to the university as exams and normal class schedules resumed last Tuesday for the first time since the blasts, write Patrick J McDonnell and Lava Selo for Los Angeles Times.

A plan to streamline Greece’s higher education system, leaving fewer departments offering courses on the most popular subjects and abolishing those with scant demand, was unveiled last Thursday by Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos, reports Ekathimerini.

Under proposals backed by David Willetts, the UK universities minister, publicly funded research will shift to an ‘open access’ model by 2014, writes Nick Collins for The Telegraph. But leading scholarly societies have warned that the move could have a serious impact on academic life.

The chairs of five parliamentary committees have written to British Prime Minister David Cameron to urge him to remove overseas student numbers from migration targets, reports BBC News.

There are too many private colleges in Malaysia and so the government has disallowed new ones to be set up in the next two years, writes Priya Kulasagaran for The Star.

After the centre-left government assumed power in 2011, it stressed that attracting highly skilled foreigners was a vital prerequisite for Denmark’s ability to compete internationally. But despite promises to ease immigration restrictions, the government has made it more expensive and difficult for universities to hire foreigners, reports The Copenhagen Post.

Six British Columbia universities have ramped up their push for an increase in government funding, releasing a report that shows the province’s economy will soon be facing a shortage of thousands of university and college graduates, writes Jonathan Fowlie for The Vancouver Sun.

A celebrated Montreal scientist and a senior executive at one of the world’s biggest drug companies co-authored a study that contains “intentionally contrived and falsified” images, according to a report from McGill University, writes Margaret Munro for Postmedia News.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education Ali Jarbawi last weekend issued an official condemnation of a Gaza university’s decision to implement an ‘Islamic’ dress code for female students, reports Ma’an.

Colleges and universities depend largely on donations, and if one estimate holds true, giving to higher education institutions is on track to exceed the watermark set before the 2009 recession, writes Whitney Burdette for The State Journal.

After two strong years, college and university endowments lost ground slightly during the fiscal year ending last 30 June, with their investments declining 0.3% on average, according to a new study, writes Justin Pope for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Taking an administrative leave in Benin for the past six months provided an eye-opening contrast to my first study-abroad experience in Mexico City back in 1980. Of particular note was the insidious impact of new communication technologies on living and learning in another culture, writes Robert Huesca for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Universities have welcomed a 3.5% increase in the number of students applying to start university this autumn, but warn that applications are still not back on track, writes Rebecca Ratcliffe for the Guardian.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged $350 million to Johns Hopkins University, mainly to expand its interdisciplinary research on an array of issues including global health and urban revitalisation, as his lifetime giving to his alma mater eclipses $1 billion, reports Associated Press.

A spokesperson for the Sana’a University Employees’ Syndicate, Mohammed Abdulqawi Al-Absi, has declared a comprehensive strike at several of Yemen’s public universities to protest against the passing of a law that allows academics but not administrative staff to be elected to senior posts, writes Bassam Al-Shamori for Yemen Times.
Terms and Conditions / ISSN 1756-297X / © University World News 2007-2013