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24 March 2013 Issue 0264 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Four national research university groups unite to form global network

This week in News, Geoff Maslen reports on the impending creation by four of the world’s major research university groups of an international network to work alongside the global research council set up last year.
In commentary, Philip G Altbach writes that while rankings are interesting, they should not limit which universities to consider as global partners. Ryan M Allen finds that Far East countries are looking to expand international student numbers using similar tactics, and Santiago Iñiguez makes the case for management studies to have a firm grounding in the humanities.
In World Blog, Abu Kamara argues that local and foreign students need to live and learn together if international higher education is to progress. In the latest in our article series “Thoughts and experiences of African university leaders”, we interview internationally renowned scholar Mahmood Mamdani of Makerere University in Uganda and Columbia University in New York, who is an intellectual leader in African higher education.
In Features, Yojana Sharma probes the implications for higher education of China’s new leaders, who were sworn in at the National People’s Congress this month. It was World Water Day on Friday, and Alecia D McKenzie looks at the role of higher education in providing water research, training and management.
Jan Petter Myklebust describes a workshop in Brussels that debated ways of improving student attainment among underrepresented groups and stemming drop-out rates in Europe. And Ria Nurdiani investigates essay mills in Indonesia.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
“Worldviews 2013”, the second international conference on global trends in media and higher education, to be held in Toronto from 19-21 June, is offering five media fellowships to journalists to attend and participate. Journalists, find out more about the fellowships here, and apply soon. All readers, check out the conference – co-hosted by University World News and aimed at advancing understanding of (and between) the academy and the media – here.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Geoff Maslen

Four of the world’s major research university groups are to form an international network as a parallel organisation to the Global Research Council of Science and Engineering Funding Agencies, established last year by agency representatives from nearly 50 countries.
Geoff Maslen

The world’s first global research council was formed by the heads of 47 research funding agencies from 44 countries and officially launched in May last year during a multinational summit promoted and hosted by the US National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia.
Alya Mishra

Key education-related bills, including the foreign education providers bill that would allow overseas universities to open campuses in India, have finally been cleared by a parliamentary committee comprising members of several political parties – after a delay of more than two-and-a-half years.
Hiep Pham

Vietnam’s Ministry of Higher Education and Training has said it will slash enrolments by thousands of students at 23 universities and colleges. Deputy Education Minister Bui Van Ga told local media last week that the new policy was to “focus on quality instead of quantity”.
Eugene Vorotnikov

The Russian government plans to significantly improve higher education infrastructure through an initial RUB40 billion (US$1.3 billion) injection of funds to develop campuses and student residences at national universities.
Makki Marseilles

When Greece joined the European Union and later the monetary union, it looked forward to a long period of security with its neighbours and robust economic growth. But in the past five years the combined policies of the EU and IMF have thrown the country into a maelstrom of recession. Now higher education is experiencing the cuts demanded by international creditors.
David Jobbins

Part-time students in the UK are shunning higher education because of the costs they face, says a new report from the Higher Education Policy Institute. Demand has dropped significantly despite the fact that some part-time students now qualify for access to loans on a similar basis to full-time students.
Ashraf Khaled

A ban by the Egyptian authorities on political party activities at universities has raised fears among students and academics of a crackdown by the ruling Islamists.
Maina Waruru

Thousands of Kenyan students pursuing post-secondary technical and vocational education and training, or TIVET, will start benefiting from state loans for the first time this year. Previously, students in public universities had the monopoly on state support.
Wagdy Sawahel

African ministers, senior United Nations officials and representatives of the private sector and civil society met in Tanzania this month and identified key priorities in promoting the role of science, technology and innovation in supporting development in Africa.
African Universities Leader Series
Josh Kron

The role of senior academics in leading higher education is more difficult to define than that of vice-chancellors. But some intellectuals are arguably so prominent that they inspire change and development – and such is the case with Professor Mahmood Mamdani, internationally renowned commentator on African history, politics and society.
Yojana Sharma

China’s National People’s Congress formally installed the country’s top leadership at its annual session from 5-17 March. But the higher education minister remains unchanged and analysts say ‘talent development’ will continue to be a key part of China’s economic development policy under the new leaders.
Alecia D McKenzie

Megha Kumar is a 23-year-old Indian student who came up with the winning slogan for the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, launched last month. Her catchy phrase – “Water, water everywhere, only if we share” – has set the tone for a year when the topic of water is on many official lips.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Improving attainment among underrepresented groups in higher education and stemming drop-out rates across Europe were top of the agenda at a workshop of the EMMA – Embracing the Modernisation Agenda – partnership in Brussels last month.
Ria Nurdiani

Jakarta’s Pramuka Street intersection is well known for its essay-production services, as Indonesian universities continue to be dogged by the problem of ghostwritten essays. By paying a sum, a student can graduate without making much effort writing the final-year dissertation.
Abu Kamara

Internationalisation of higher education needs to focus more on developing strategies to get home-based and international students to share living and learning experiences.
Philip G Altbach

International rankings of universities are one way of measuring university performance and reputation. But they don't tell the whole story, and obsessing about rankings is a mistake and could limit the global alliances universities might form.
Ryan M Allen

Far East countries from China to South Korea are looking to grow international student numbers through a variety of strategies, including promoting learning of their languages.
Santiago Iñiguez

Management studies needs to embrace the humanities, in order to create entrepreneurs and managers of the future who have a good grasp of their own and others' cultures and a flair for innovation.
Florian Kaiser

The European Union’s Social Dimension is a key part of the Bologna process. But social integration is likely to suffer as a result of the financial crisis, so now is the time to push for more action on access to higher education.
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A number of higher education unions and the ‘Let’s Save Research’ campaign group in France called a strike on Thursday, demanding withdrawal of a bill to reform higher education and research that was adopted by cabinet last week, reports Nature.

The US Senate has delivered a “devastating blow to the integrity of the scientific process at the National Science Foundation” by voting in an amendment that restricts the use of its funding for political science research to matters of national security or economic interests, the American Political Science Association said in a statement last week.

Ever since the European Council’s decision in 2000 to transform the European Union into “a competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy”, Germany’s government has been pumping money into research and development, writes Gunjan Sinha for Science. As a result, not only are German research institutions forging major changes in the way that researchers teach, collaborate and advance in their careers, but they are also creating jobs.

All scientists receiving European Union funding will have to publish their results for free online, Neelie Kroes, the commissioner responsible for Europe’s digital agenda, said last Monday in Stockholm. She also launched the global Research Data Alliance – a group committed to pooling and coordinating scientific data so they can be shared better – writes Anna Leach for The Wall Street Journal.

Russia’s Ministry of Education has developed new criteria for monitoring the effectiveness of universities. Starting this year, the ministry will calculate the number of out-of-work graduates applying for positions at job centres, in order to identify universities that are producing the most unemployed graduates, reports Kommersant.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has instructed his minister of science and technology to dismiss the heads of the universities of Tehran and Tarbiat Modarres, referring to them as "possible security" concerns, reports Radio Zamaneh.

The Saudi Arabian head of Pakistan's International Islamic University has sparked a controversy by firing employees who spoke to women colleagues and taking action against an official for allegedly watching a movie on the internet, reports the Press Trust of India.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s budget has revealed that the government appears to be scrapping plans to grant VAT exemption to for-profit higher education providers, a move that is aimed at exposing universities to greater competition, writes John Morgan for Times Higher Education.

Finance directors of Welsh universities say the government's student fees subsidies are leaving the sector with an uncertain financial future. They told BBC Wales that they cannot be sure there will be enough money left for them after the subsidising of Welsh students who study elsewhere in the UK.

As globalisation and technology blur national borders, universities must work even harder to demonstrate their distinctiveness, said leaders of top universities in the Asia-Pacific region, writes Karin Fischer for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

A group of America’s top research universities – the Stanfords, Harvards and MITs of the world – will join a White House-led effort to train 100,000 new maths and science teachers by 2022, writes Anna Kuchment for Scientific American.

When the University of Texas at Arlington named the sole finalist for its presidency last week, the pick was featured in a glowing profile in the world’s largest newspaper by circulation – The Times of India. That’s because Vistasp Karbhari was born and completed his undergraduate education in India, writes Kevin Kiley for Inside Higher Ed.

Fuel hikes and the increased cost of higher education are top concerns raised by businesses in Malaysia, said an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants report, Drivers of Change in Asia-Pacific, according to the official news agency Bernama.

Federal universities have partnered with a UK information technology firm for the deployment of plagiarism detection software in all federal universities, reports the News Agency of Nigeria.

Four protesting students were arrested last Monday following clashes with police and security guards at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Durban campus, as anger over accommodation again brought the institution to a standstill, writes Kevin Lancaster for The Mercury.

A former student of the University of Central Florida shot and killed himself early last Monday in a dormitory apartment where police found guns, four bombs and writings suggesting he had been planning a campus attack, reports Reuters.
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