ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0026  4 May 2008
HE Events Diary

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Students at Cairo University are among those to benefit from an EU programme supporting quality assurance for higher education in developing nations. See the story in this week's Special Report section.

They gave their name to a furry fruit, now kiwis are giving their brains to science. Find out more in this week's Uni-Lateral story.

A UN effort to encourage socially and enivronmentally responsible business education is gaining support. Our Business section reports on the Principles for Responsible Management Initiative.


This week in Cairo, 250 education spec ialists from countries in and around the European Union will discuss enhancing quality in higher education – the subject of this week's University World News Special Report.

SPECIAL REPORT: Quality assurance and enhancement

Soaring student enrolments are putting pressure on the quality of higher education around the world. Governments want accountability in exchange for liberty; students want value for money and more involvement in the decisions that affect them; the global knowledge economy demands access for all and internationally compatible degrees. But universities must remain centres of excellence if they are to meet public expectations, national priorities and the imperative to be internationally competitive – especially as league tables become more popular than ever.

Quality in higher education is a complicated and hotly debated topic that touches on every aspect of academia. This issue of University World News has our correspondents reporting on quality assurance and enhancement measures from around the globe, together with commentaries from international experts and links to recent key documents and initiatives.

OECD: Diverse processes, common objectives
Karine Tremblay*
Across OECD countries, tertiary education is rapidly becoming the baseline standard for citizens to perform and fully participate in the economy and society. The knowledge revolution taking place is highlighted by a trend towards mass participation and increasingly diversified and flexible types of provision.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Can quality assurance foster creativity?
Thérèse Zhang*
Quality assurance in higher education is often linked to standards, measurements, assessment and control. Setting standards for quality, however, should not diminish the importance of another crucial dimension of higher education: maintaining and developing a capacity to change, look forward, and be geared towards enhancement without fearing that thinking outside the box (of standards) might not be rewarded as a quality ‘indicator’ by either internal or external quality bodies.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Tempus puts spotlight on quality
John Reilly and Ard Jongsma
A new study published by the European Commission reviews European support for quality assurance in higher education in countries supported through its Tempus programme. Seven detailed case studies from Morocco, Egypt, Croatia, Russia, Bosnia and Kazakhstan bear testimony to the programme’s considerable achievements but also illustrate specific problems these countries face in implementing quality assurance mechanisms that can support continuously maintained excellence in knowledge societies.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: New qualifications framework
Karen MacGregor
A higher education qualifications framework will come into force in South Africa next January, strengthening a quality assurance system that has been operating for four years and laying the foundation for credit accumulation and transfer. All public and private institutions will have to register and restructure their programmes. But not everybody is happy about the workload the new policy demands and the fact it will eliminate some qualifications, including the core degree – the bachelor of technology – offered by ‘applied’ universities.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Audits hold institutions accountable
David Woodhouse*
Federal government reforms in the early 1990s amalgamated Australia’s universities and other higher education institutions into larger groupings. But little thought was given to harmonising the respective external quality assurance arrangements of the different sectors. Through the 1990s, the number of national quality assurance bodies around the world grew apace and Australia was increasingly out of step not having one. This was particularly noticeable because of the rapid growth in full-fee-paying overseas student numbers.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Drive to involve students
Diane Spencer
Will Haywood has the honour of being the first student to join the 15-strong board of Britain’s Quality Assurance Agency. Haywood is the academic affairs executive of the student union at Sheffield Hallam University and attended his inaugural board meeting last month. His appointment is part of the agency’s commitment to engage students in its work. The agency says the involvement of students is integral to both internal and external quality assurance systems while Haywood says: “This is a great opportunity from the student perspective to make a difference.”
Full report on the University World News site

SPAIN: Quality moves to centre stage
Rebecca Warden
Quality assurance is no longer a matter of choice for Spanish universities: it is increasingly being used to determine how much funding they will receive. The latest amendments to the Universities Law of 2001 mean that since autumn last year, all new programmes must be approved by the national quality agency ANECA before they can be launched.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

AUSTRALIA: Degrees offer wealth and marriage
Geoff Maslen
Marriage in Australia is increasingly becoming the province of university graduates, a new study has found. In the space of a decade, an education divide has opened between graduates, who are more likely to be married and well-off, and those with no post-school qualifications who are likely to be single and poor.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Proposals for greater university research role
Jane Marshall
Valérie Pécresse, Minister for Higher Education and Research, has approved proposals designed to streamline administration of the French research system. The measures are in line with government reforms to give universities a greater research role.
Full report on the University World News site

Germany ranks third as a destination for studying abroad, coming in after the US and UK, according to a new survey by the German Student Welfare Service, or DSW. The survey also shows that German students themselves are becoming increasingly mobile. Since 1997, the number of foreign students in Germany has risen from 100,033 to 189,450, with the overall number of students at just under two million.
Full report on the University World News site


US: The pope on academic freedom
John Akker*
During his recent visit to America, Pope Benedict XVI told leaders of Roman Catholic colleges and universities that academic freedom was of upmost importance – but did not justify promoting positions that violated the Catholic faith. The Pope said that church teaching should shape all aspects of campus life and that Catholic educators had a profound responsibility to lead the young to truth. Benedict reaffirmed academic freedom values but said attempts to use academic freedom to justify positions that contradicted the teaching of the church would betray the university’s identity and mission, Time Magazine reported. Benedict’s talk contained no concrete policy directives but emphasised the compatibility of faith and reason.
Full report on the University World News site


EU: Improving researchers’ careers
Alan Osborn
The European Commission is to launch an initiative by July to help European Union researchers promote their careers by moving between the EU’s 27 member states. The action follows public consultation on a commission Green Paper issued in April last year and titled The European Research Area: New perspectives.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Responsible management initiative takes off
Keith Nuthall
A United Nations-sponsored global initiative to encourage business schools to teach and promote social and environmentally responsible commercial practices has gathered a critical mass of support. More than 100 business schools worldwide have now signed up to the Principles for Responsible Management Initiative.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Star Trek virtual reality arrives
Monica Dobie
European university scientists have designed a virtual reality system that allows users to visit and walk around a digitised environment that will aid the tourist, town planning, architectural and medical sectors. As a test, the scientists’ CyberCarpet system enabled visitors to stroll around the Roman Empire Italian town of Pompeii and experience what it was like before it was destroyed by Vesuvius in 79AD.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Private universities enrol millions
As China has moved rapidly to mass higher education since its groundbreaking 1999 decision on expansion, private universities have come to account for 6.6% of student enrolments, or about 1.34 million of the 20.2 million students enrolled in formal higher education in 2006, write Professor Ruth Hayhoe of the University of Toronto and Professor Jing Lin of the University of Maryland in the spring edition of International Higher Education, the journal of the Boston College Centre for International Higher Education. Major public universities have also contributed, not only by expanding their regular enrolments but also by setting up second-tier colleges – income-generating extensions that benefit from the university's self-accrediting status and its qualified faculty. These effective private institutions have enrolments of 1.47 million students, around 7.3% of the total.
More on the University World News site

US: Higher education containment survey published
US universities and colleges “are witnessing measurable success in identifying and implementing cost containment strategies in order to reduce operating costs,” reports a study by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and SunGard Higher Education. Institutions rank cost containment among their top priorities, according to the survey of 114 universities and colleges. It identifies eight avenues of cost containment and reports that institutions mostly rely on three distinct areas – facilities and infrastructure (87%), business services and processes (83%) and academic programming (82%).
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

NEW ZEALAND: Picking kiwis' brains
John Gerritsen*
Kiwis – they gave their name to a furry fruit, now they are giving their brains to science. University of Auckland researchers are examining the flightless bird’s brain with magnetic resonance imaging technology for a study they hope will help save New Zealand’s national icon from extinction.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Summit on HE’s role in development globally
About 200 university presidents, split almost equally between American colleges and institutions abroad, gathered in Washington last week for an invitation-only summit on the role of higher education in furthering social and economic development on a global scale, reports Inside Higher Ed. The US Departments of Education and State hosted the star-studded summit. “The idea is to leverage every possible opportunity to expand opportunity,” said Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.
More on the University World News site

US: Rwanda leader – Africa’s higher education challenges
Rwandan President Kagame said that despite its indisputable role in socio-economic transformation, higher education in Africa was not always accorded the importance it deserves, reports The New Times in Kigali. He was delivering a keynote address at the opening of the Higher Education Summit for Global Development in Washington DC, which was convened by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and aimed at expanding the impact of US and foreign higher education institutions in worldwide social and economic development.
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Treasury holding higher education hostage
A few days before the end of his short term as deputy chairman of the Council for Higher Education, Professor Itzhak Galnoor has warned that Israel's higher educational system is in danger of collapse, reports Haaretz. He blames the Finance Ministry, which in recent years has cut about 20% of the budget for higher education.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Doors open wide for foreign universities
An increasing number of foreign universities are opening programmes in India, reports Transcript. According to a study by the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration in New Delhi, 131 Indian institutions – mostly business schools – currently work in partnership with British and American universities.
More on the University World News site

PHILIPPINES: Quality assurance guidelines to be drafted
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered the creation of a six-person special body that will draft a set of guidelines to ensure quality education at the tertiary level, reports The creation of the Coordinating Council for Accreditation, or CCA, stems from the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Educational Reform for the establishment of a “set of common standards of accreditation per discipline”.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Emily Carr to become university
From the comic strip sensation For Better or For Worse to Generation X to First Nations masks made out of Nikes, graduates of the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design have made significant contributions to popular culture – not to mention serious art. Now the school can boast an achievement of its own: It will be granted university status to become the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, writes Marsha Lederman in the Globe and Mail.
More on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Phishing hits South Island universities
South Island universities have been targeted in a “spear phish” campaign aimed at stealing staff and student login details, reports In the past month Otago, Lincoln and Canterbury universities have all had problems with phishing campaigns targeting email addresses.
More on the University World News site


CANADA: Dean, Faculty of International Education
Malaspina University-College, British Columbia
Full specifications on the University World News site
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