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05 May 2013 Issue 0270 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Canada – Philanthropy is more likely than fees to solve university problems

This week in Commentary, Nigel Healey looks at research showing that licensing agreements between UK universities and institutions abroad are not just money-grubbing exercises. Ellen Switkes describes the Berkeley Institutes on Higher Education, an initiative set up in response to the number of international visits the university was receiving and now a hub of debate on international higher education.
David Strangway argues that lack of funding and a focus on research prevent innovation in Canada’s universities – but that in recent years philanthropy and land asset exploitation have become major drivers of new activities. In World Blog, Grace Karram contends that a temporary freeze on tuition fee increases will not help solve long-term funding problems for Canada’s higher education institutions.
In Features, Jan Petter Myklebust looks at a study into the impacts of tuition fees on international student numbers in Nordic countries. Shirley Zhao writes that fee hikes for non-local students attending top Hong Kong universities have sparked fears of a fall in international student numbers.
Hiep Pham reports on an initiative between Vietnam and Russia to create a technology university in Hanoi – the latest in a series of partnerships with foreign governments aimed at creating world-class universities – and Ishmael Tongai describes a doctoral supervision course, launched this year at three South African universities, that aims to go continental.
Karen MacGregor Global Editor

The statement by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that people should not “commit sociology” but rather focus on law and order in thwarting terrorism, has outraged many social scientists. The upcoming conference “Worldviews 2013: Global trends in media and higher education”, co-hosted by University World News, urges attendees to “Keep calm and commit sociology”, and buy buttons in defiance. See more here, and don’t forget to register for the conference.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Alan Osborn

Europe’s top research universities are pushing for more structured forms of student mobility, to build on the achievements of the Erasmus exchange programme, which they say is reaching its limits. Newer forms of ‘networked’ and ‘embedded’ student mobility are needed.
Geoff Maslen

As national lobby group Universities Australia was calling on the federal government to rule out any further cuts to universities and students in this month’s federal budget, university staff staged industrial action on May Day in support of a new wage and conditions campaign.
Adele Yung and Yojana Sharma

Cherian George, an outspoken academic at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University who was denied full professorship earlier this year – sparking an international outcry – has failed in his appeal against the university’s decision to deny him tenure, it has emerged.
Ashraf Khaled

Recent decrees by Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi to create new colleges of dentistry, pharmacology, physiotherapy and nursing have drawn scathing criticism from professional unions. Meanwhile, last weekend students at 11 public universities staged mass protests in what was dubbed the ‘Day of Student Rage’.
Raghavendra Verma

An Indian court has thrown out an attempt by a student organisation to allow private campus-based photocopying shops to create bound, near-complete copies of course books, in a case that may have set a national precedent.
Wagdy Sawahel

Saudi Arabia is seeing massive development in higher education. This is in line with a plan to achieve goals outlined by Khaled Al-Anqari, the minister of higher education, at an international higher education conference held in the capital Riyadh last month.

Cambridge retained its place at the top of the UK’s 2014 Complete University Guide, published last Monday, with Oxford reclaiming the second place it had lost to the London School of Economics. But the most spectacular performance was by Northampton University, which soared nearly 40 places up the ranking to number 62.
Jane Marshall

France and China have entered into 11 agreements to strengthen higher education and research partnerships as well as student mobility between the two countries, the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research has announced.
Michael Gardner

Federal and state governments in Germany have agreed on an additional funding package for higher education. There will also be more money for teacher training.
Wagdy Sawahel

The African Virtual University and the International Council for Open and Distance Education – a global body for the open and distance education community – have launched an e-learning partnership aimed at providing cost-effective and efficient tools to promote access to higher education in Africa.
Maina Waruru

Kenya’s recently established Commission for University Education hit the ground running, awarding charters to more than 20 public and private universities as required by the law in the weeks after it was established earlier this year.
Jan Petter Myklebust

In 2010 there were 68,256 foreign students in the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Foreign student numbers were up by 117% from 2005 and they comprised 5.8% of the total Nordic student population of 1.18 million, according to a recent study.
Shirley Zhao

Hong Kong’s highly ranked universities have been magnets for students from the Chinese mainland. But there are fears that increases in fees for non-local students could put off some foreign students and jeopardise Hong Kong’s ambition of becoming a higher education hub.
Hiep Pham

Vietnam is to invest some US$150 million to create a state-of-the-art university of technology in Hanoi. Russia is to be the academic sponsor, the Ministry of Education and Training announced. This is the latest in a series of partnerships forged with foreign governments and aimed at creating world-class universities.
Ishmael Tongai

An innovative course that aims to produce a new generation of doctoral supervisors kicked off this year at three South African universities. The plan is to roll out the free course to other universities to raise the country’s PhD output, and eventually to offer it across Africa.
Grace Karram

A temporary freeze on tuition fee rises, such as that announced by Alberta Premier Alison Redford last month, only serves political goals and not the long-term interests of Canada’s higher education institutions.
Nigel Healey

Recent research suggests UK universities that set up licensing agreements are not just in it for the money. Many staff involved have built personal relationships with colleagues in other countries and are passionate about their role in higher education development.
David Strangway

New models of university education are springing up in Canada as a result of increased philanthropy and the exploitation of land assets. Innovation was previously limited by a heavy focus on research and government controls on tuition fees, but alternative sources of funding are aiding differentiation and new ideas.
Ellen Switkes

International interest in the University of California, Berkeley, and US education in general led to the creation of the Berkeley Institutes on Higher Education, an integrated centre for international and national higher education officials. In addition to hosting visits, it holds a summer programme that has become a centre of debate on internationalisation policy.
Michael S Roth, The Chronicle of Higher Education

My Coursera course, “The Modern and the Postmodern”, might have been labelled “course least likely to become a MOOC”. In many ways, it is an old-fashioned ‘great books’ course, although I prefer to call it a ‘good-enough books’ course, and in the 20 years I've been teaching it, it has always relied heavily on student interaction in the classroom.
Glyn Davis, University of Melbourne

The Australian newspaper recently reported that female attendees at an Islamic studies event held at the University of Melbourne had been directed to sit at the back of the lecture theatre, in breach of the principle of gender equity. The university’s vice-chancellor responds.
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Students across Europe have called for more investment in higher education grant systems, rather than the introduction of a new loan scheme as the European Commission has proposed, reports Malta Today.

Four people at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University died of gunshot wounds and 25 were injured when an armed fight broke out between students last Monday at the Maan-based university, also resulting in the suspension of classes, reports The Jordan Times.

A Tunisian court has convicted two veiled students of destroying public property in the office of a university dean they accused of slapping one of them. The court dropped the case against the dean of the faculty of humanities at Manouba University, ruling that there was no proof of an assault, reports Associated Press.

San Jose State University has publicly committed to using online courses to bring in more students – and bring down costs – but its philosophy department is balking. Faculty members issued a blistering statement about why they will not use materials from an online course called “Justice”, taught by academic superstar Michael Sandel of Harvard, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.

It would be easy to think that the leaders of American higher education are all in when it comes to MOOCs. But it turns out that, when asked privately, most presidents don't seem at all sure that MOOCs are going to transform student learning, or reduce costs to students, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.

The boring university lecture is going to be the first major casualty of the rise in online learning, says Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. The custodian of the world's biggest online encyclopaedia says that unless universities respond to the rising tide of online courses, new major players will emerge to displace them, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.

A leading platform for the popular massive open online courses offered by elite universities is moving into a new realm – the expansive field of continuing education for teachers, writes Justin Pope for Associated Press.

With student fees trebling in the past year in England, universities say they are focusing on the ‘student experience’. But academics at some universities warn that the race for research status is pushing good teachers into the shadows, writes Anna Fazackerley for the Guardian.

Three college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arrested and accused last Wednesday of removing a backpack containing hollowed-out fireworks from Tsarnaev’s dorm room, to keep him from getting into trouble, write Denise Lavoie and Bridget Murphy for Associated Press.

With strained family budgets and the soaring cost of tuition fees at American universities, the coveted university degree often comes with just too much debt for many students. The heavy debt load is persuading a growing number of young people to look north to Canada for an education they can better afford, write Rehema Ellis and Jeff Black for NBC News.

Ontario’s universities are not adequately preparing doctoral students for the reality that few of them will find jobs as professors, a new study has found. Over the past decade, the number of students enrolled in PhD programmes has doubled, even as the demand for professors “does not even come close to meeting the supply”, writes Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.

In the second mass food poisoning case to hit Egypt’s Al-Azhar University this month, 131 students fell ill last Monday night, according to the Ministry of Health, reports Al Arabiya.

A leading economist has called for a radical shake-up of Scotland's traditional four-year university degree, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland. Jeremy Peat, director of the Edinburgh-based David Hume Institute, said a more intensive, three-year degree would save money and get graduates into the workforce more quickly.

The Commission on Higher Education has ordered universities in the Philippines to institutionalise compassionate policies in providing assistance to poor students, following the death of University of the Philippines student Kristel Tejada last month, writes Helen Flores for The Philippine Star.
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