University World News Global Edition
17 February 2013 Issue 0259 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
OECD countries face stiff competition in getting foreign students to stay

This week in World Blog, Hans de Wit and Nannette Ripmeester contend that OECD countries need to overcome barriers and competition to get talented international students to stay on, in their efforts to meet skilled labour needs.
In Commentary, Cathy N Davidson writes that whatever one may think of MOOCs, they are a game changer and are popular because there is a massive need for what they offer. Jordi Curell explains that Europe’s new multidimensional U-Multirank initiative is about improving higher education systems.
Abu Kamara argues that internationalisation has opened up new debates on the purpose of higher education and created a new language to describe it. And in Student View, Rok Primozic outlines a European Students' Union study that shows that while the student population across Europe has been rising, funding is increasingly being cut.
The Debates section brings together four articles from Africa. Nico Cloete calls for action to end the structural confusion of South Africa’s post-school system, and Johan Muller looks at the state of the South African differentiation debate. Tracy Bailey reveals that higher education councils in Africa are struggling with capacity and role definition, while PhD students Mari Elken and Jens Jungblut report on a summer school for postgraduate students from around the world, held in Cape Town last month on higher education policy and research project management.
In Features, Alya Mishra describes the revival of India’s Nalanda International University – the renowned institution burnt to the ground by Turkish invaders in 1193 – and Keith Nuthall and Carmen Paun probe a political struggle over how universities should account for expenses in Europe’s huge Horizon 2020 research programme.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Alan Osborn

After all the scare stories of recent months, the budget settlements for the European Union’s research and innovation policy Horizon 2020 and the Erasmus for All mobility programme for 2014-20 could well have been a great deal worse.
Michael Gardner

Christian Democrat Johanna Wanka was sworn in as Germany’s new education and research minister on 14 February. Wanka succeeds Annette Schavan, who resigned after being tripped up by a plagiarism affair.
Ishmael Tongai

Amid the turmoil of conflict in Mali, local residents saved the bulk of the treasured Timbuktu manuscripts by hiding them from Islamic militants, who regarded the artefacts as idolatrous and appeared intent on destroying them. The militants fled the city under attack late last month.

Academics and students at Tunisia's universities held a two-day strike following the murder of an outspoken opposition leader. In response, the government closed universities until Monday 11 February.
María Elena Hurtado

Ecuador’s higher education sector is on track again after the dramatic 12 April 2012 suspension of 14 higher education institutions that did not meet quality standards set by the government.
Dinesh De Alwis

Problems have arisen for the second consecutive year over the results of Sri Lanka’s university entrance examination. Student unions and political parties are complaining of inconsistencies in the just-released 2012 results, in a new fiasco that they say is jeopardising the credibility of the exam system.
Wagdy Sawahel

Ten North African and 12 Arab countries are to benefit from an initiative called the Open Book Project, which will provide universities with open access to high quality educational materials in Arabic, with a focus on science and technology.
Geoff Maslen

One of the world’s earliest open access science journals, PLOS, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a year-long series of events to “recognise and advance the innovations brought about through the adoption of open access publishing”. The activities will be aimed at members of the scientific community and the public at large.
Alya Mishra

India’s Nalanda International University, which is being built close to the site of Asia’s ancient Buddhist centre of higher education, will be a global institution focusing on research, pan-Asian integration, sustainable development and the revival of Oriental languages. At the same time, it will study local issues of environment, agriculture and livelihoods.
Keith Nuthall and Carmen Paun

A political struggle is under way over how universities and research centres should account for expenses in the European Union’s upcoming Horizon 2020 research programme. With a projected €70 billion budget from 2014-20, the sums available are significant.
Hans de Wit and Nannette Ripmeester

OECD countries require skilled labour, so they need to do more to encourage talented international students to stay on after completing their courses. However, competition is fierce and there are significant barriers to overcome.
Cathy N Davidson

The MOOCs debate has become polarised between those for and against, but many points on both sides are true. Whatever one may think of MOOCs, they are an important game changer in the anti-higher education conversation that raged not so long ago.
Jordi Curell

Is Times Higher Education worried about competition to its world university ranking from U-Multirank? It looks like it from the tone of its reporting on the new European ranking initiative launched in Dublin at the end of January.
Abu Kamara

Internationalisation has opened up new debates about the purpose of higher education. The language of internationalisation and discussions about benefits and drawbacks will shape the identity of institutions and their communities. There appears to be a struggle for the soul of universities.
Nico Cloete

A central feature of South Africa’s 1955 Freedom Charter was that, “The doors of learning and culture shall be opened – Higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit”. Implementing this laudable goal has been much more challenging than the charter’s authors ever imagined.
Tracy Bailey

A preliminary analysis of data from a study of higher education councils in eight African countries indicates that they all carry out important functions, but are all struggling with capacity and role definition. And to some degree or another, they are all in a state of flux.
Mari Elken and Jens Jungblut

One thing you almost never learn in masters or PhD education is how the world of successful project applications really works. In the context of unstable and competitive funding sources and expectations of impact and societal relevance, the nature of academic work is changing.
Johan Muller

Research in South Africa over the past eight years has clustered universities into groups based on performance indicators. It has made visible long-term stability and shorter-term dynamism in the higher education system, and contributed to the debate on differentiation.
Rok Primozic

A study of financing of students in European countries shows that, although student numbers are rising significantly, funding is being cut and students are increasingly being asked to foot the bill. The effect on higher education access and quality is yet to be evaluated.

Australian and South African researchers have shown that part of the two countries’ rich plant diversity was wiped out by the ice ages, proving that extinction rather than evolution influences biodiversity.

Four new forms of hantavirus, one of the most virulent pathogens transmitted from animals to humans, have been identified in Chinese bats by an international research team. The existence of the newly described hantaviruses in bats and other insect-eating carnivores has challenged the conventional view that they originated in rodents.

Nine astronomers from nine universities in five countries have collaborated in the discovery of a huge structure that stretches more than halfway across the sky. Poring over observations taken with Australia’s Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, the astronomers discovered giant outflows of charged particles emanating from the central regions of the Milky Way.
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

As the UK braces in anticipation of the full impact of the 2014 research excellence framework – its seventh countrywide research assessment exercise – Europe's other research giant has just given the green light to the introduction of its own assessment system, writes Elizabeth Gibney for Times Higher Education.

The number of students studying for UK degrees in overseas countries increased 13% last year, as universities focused their energies on international recruitment, writes Rebecca Ratcliffe for the Guardian.

Israel’s Council for Higher Education decided last Tuesday not to close Ben-Gurion University’s controversial politics department, after months of discussion on the issue, writes Danielle Ziri for The Jerusalem Post.

President Barack Obama didn't mention accreditation in his State of the Union address last Tuesday. But in a supplemental document released after the speech, the president made it clear that he is seeking major changes in the accountability system for higher education, writes Eric Kelderman for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The national movement to make US higher education institutions more transparent in terms of their comparative costs and student outcomes got a lift from the Barack Obama administration with the launch last Wednesday of the web-based College Scorecard resource tool, writes Ronald Roach for Diverse.

A local version of the European Union’s university profiling tool, U-Map, could be in place in Australia within six months as part of a bid to reduce sector obsession with research-biased rankings, while highlighting areas such as teaching, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian. But the tool will shine a spotlight on vulnerabilities, including poor research performance.

Higher education has reached a tipping point. International competition, increasing privatisation and the challenge posed by MOOCs mean that, on a global scale, higher education is in a state of metamorphosis, writes Jim Browne for The Irish Times.

When Barack Obama first became president, he set the goal of increasing America’s college graduation rate to 60% by 2020. But the idea of working towards becoming a nation of college graduates has a major problem, according to a report by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, writes Michael De Groote for Deseret News. There are not enough jobs that require a college degree.

In order to grow their economies, nations across Africa have long been trying to figure out how to stop the brain drain, writes Nick Chiles for Atlanta Blackstar. But recent studies indicate that the brain drain may finally be coming to an end. Many Africans studying abroad are now finding opportunities to use their training back home.

Myanmar’s universities were once considered by many to be among the best in East Asia. But years of mismanagement and a disastrous nationalisation process left the education system in such shambles that many students seek educational opportunities abroad, reports Voice of America.

It’s been three months since Hurricane Sandy barrelled along the US East Coast, plunging the majority of Manhattan and surrounding boroughs into darkness, and displacing hundreds of people from their homes, writes Alexandra Sifferlin for TIME. One group awaiting recovery funding is scientists and researchers from New York University.

India’s higher education sector is facing a shortage of capable leaders, according to a survey on leadership in the country's higher education system. Some 92% of respondents said this problem was expected to continue until 2020, reports the Deccan Herald.

Poor management and insufficient funding contributed to major construction problems that have caused the fifth significant delay of Duke Kunshan University’s opening, writes Lauren Carroll for the university newspaper The Chronicle.

There is multi-layered corruption in public universities in Egypt, ranging from harassment to nepotism, writes Sarah El Masry for the Daily News. The newspaper investigated the issue following recent corruption allegations against Ain Shams University.

Both Ohio Governor John Kasich and Ohio State University President E Gordon Gee have shown leadership in planning for a new era in how state government supports publicly funded higher education, with an eye towards the best interests of all residents, writes The Columbus Dispatch in an editorial.

The number of Scots studying postgraduate courses has fallen, sparking fears for the future of the economy. New figures show that the total number of Scottish postgraduate students studying north of the border declined by nearly 2% in 2011-12 from 9,570 to 9,395, writes Andrew Denholm for The Herald.
Terms and Conditions / ISSN 1756-297X / © University World News 2007-2013