ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0029  25 May 2008
HE Events Diary

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Pune University is among Indian institutions opposed to a government plan for a central fund to aid less well-off universities. See the story in this week's News section.

He might still be President of Zimbabwe, but Robert Mugabe is fast losing his other titles. Universities around the world are stripping the dictator of his honorary degrees, our correspondent reports.

The private university sector could heading for boom times, according to speakers at a conference organised by the World Bank's International Finance Corporation. See the story in this week's Business section. Pictured is the corporation's executive vice-president Lars Thunell. Photo: IFC



ZIMBABWE: Economic crisis devastates universities
Clemence Manyukwe
Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has taken its toll on state universities which have been devastated by a mass exodus of academics, resulting in plummeting standards. The flight of lecturers had hit crisis levels, said Professor John Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, the country’s oldest institution. Major push factors were low pay for academics in a collapsing economy with 165,000% inflation – the world’s highest – poor working conditions, lack of transport and computers, and problems finding accommodation.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Foreign graduates fail job search
Geoff Maslen
Overseas students whose first language is not English are graduating from Australian universities unable to find work in the fields for which they are qualified. As is happening elsewhere, the universities have been accused of allowing students to graduate without the communication skills needed in the workplace.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Figel says students key to quality
Ard Jongsma
Students are to be taken more seriously in higher education. It may sound like a superfluous comment but the EU’s Tempus conference on quality in higher education in Cairo earlier this month showed that student involvement is still too weak to guarantee true outcome-oriented and student-centred learning. Commissioner Jan Figel reiterated a call for greater involvement of students in the quality enhancement process.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Call for scholarship re-think
Diane Spencer
British vice-chancellors have called on the UK government to reverse a decision to cut funding for two major scholarship programmes which attracted students from Canada and Australia. During a debate in the House of Lords, Diana Warwick, Chief Executive of the vice-chancellors’ organisation Universities UK, said the cuts would affect Britain’s ability to attract highly talented students and the competitiveness of British universities in the global education market.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Private universities shocked by revenue tax
Ashraf Khaled
Egypt’s private higher education institutions, which have sprung up in recent years, are considering raising tuition fees following a decision by the government to levy a 20% tax on their annual revenues. The tax move came as a surprise to institutions and will have negative impacts on universities and parents, said Khaled el-Tokhi, chairman of the board of trustees at the privately owned Misr University for Sciences and Technology near Cairo.
Full report on the University World News site

N IGERIA: Academic union threatens indefinite strike
Tunde Fatunde
N igeria’s Academic Staff Union of Universities has already held two one-week ‘warning strikes’ to press a range of demands, including an improved salary scheme and reinstatement of 49 lecturers who were dismissed many years ago. But the demands have been ignored so now the union has threatened nationwide indefinite action – and in response the government, concerned that another strike could jeopardise fragile peace on campuses, has warned that lecturers who participate will not be paid.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Researcher rating system should stay
Karen MacGregor
A review of South Africa’s long-established researcher rating system has found that it is credible and should be retained. But the review has called for ratings to be re-linked directly to funding for self-initiated research by academics, for aspects of the ratings categories and processes to be changed, and for new tools to be developed to assess teams, innovation, multi-disciplinary work and management capacity. The board of the National Research Foundation, which operates the rating system, will decide on the system’s future next month.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Universities defy state on educational fund
Suchitra Behal
Many universities in India are unhappy with the creation of a central fund to aid less well-endowed institutions. Maharashtra’s wealthy institutions have refused to support a development corpus to help their poorer counterparts in the state. Pune University is one of the wealthier institutions to have told the state government it is not willing to part with even a penny from its coffers to help less well-off universities.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: US university may strip Mugabe of degree
Clemence Manyukwe
Trustees of the University of Massachusetts will rule next month on whether to strip Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe of an honorary degree awarded him two decades ago. Last year the University of Edinburgh revoked a degree given to the increasingly despotic leader, and revocation petitions have also been lodged at Michigan State University.
Full report on the University World News site


GERMANY: Asia and Bologna
Germany has hosted the first get-together of Asian and European education ministers in the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting network. The meeting focused on closer links between education and the labour market to promote employment and on co-operation in higher education among the partner countries.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: A first for Flinders
Britain’s Higher Education Academy has awarded two of its senior fellowships to overseas recipients for the first time – and both have gone to academics at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia.
Full report on the University World News site

CAMEROON: Bologna adopted – but little understood
In common with other universities in Cameroon and French-speaking African countries, the University of Yaoundé is introducing Bologna process reforms. But a report in Le Quotidien Mutations reveals that not all students understand the point of the new European degree system known as BMD. Modelled on three, five and eight years of higher education, the system leads to bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, with credits transferable between different institutions.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Massive growth in private tertiary sector
Keith Nuthall
The opportunity for massive growth in the private university sector, especially in the developing world, has been highlighted by a major conference staged in Washington DC by an arm of the World Bank. The International Finance Corporation-organised Investing in the Future: Innovation in Private Education conference heard middle classes were globally the fastest growing segment of the population.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Research fund aims for $2 billion
John Gerritsen
New Zealand businesses are expected to contribute NZ$700 million (US$534 million) to an ambitious government project aimed at injecting $2 billion into research and development in the pastoral and food sectors. The government has signalled that universities and research institutes would be key players benefiting from the fund but just how it will work in practice is not yet clear.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Solar plane developed by European scientists
Monica Dobie
European university scientists are at the heart of a research project in developing a solar powered aircraft that could fly around the world without fuel. This development may have a significantly positive impact on the environment in the long term, as well as a potentially huge overhaul of the airline industry, should the technology become widely adopted.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: What is a university?
Stephen Schwartz*
Universities are big places and it is easy to lose your way. We have taken to placing maps at strategic locations to help people navigate their way around. I recall a California university president describing how one map was the victim of graffiti. Right under the orientation arrow and the words “You are here”, someone had written “But, why?” Universities are also wondering why they are here.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Professionalise or perish
Diane Spencer
Universities must radically improve the quality of their teaching otherwise academia will be increasingly controlled by bureaucrats, warns a leading Californian professor. In a paper, No college student left behind? prepared for the Center for Studies in Higher Education, Steven Brint, professor of sociology at the University of California Riverside, argues that institutions are being challenged by the “accountability movement” which grew out of the 2006 Spellings Commission. US Education Secretary Margaret Spelling’s report on the future of higher education was highly critical of the performance of America’s colleges and universities.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Death of academia
Academia in Pakistan is dead. We may have more colleges and universities today, and still more are in the pipeline, and they may throw out bigger numbers of graduates, but none of this gives us the essence of higher education, or what it means, says Dr Rasul Baksh Rais in the Daily Times.
More on the University World News site


BELARUS: It shouldn’t happen to a foreign correspondent
Nick Holdsworth
What should have been a relatively straight forward overnight trip from Moscow to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius to meet students and academic staff at the European Humanities University – the Belarusian university in exile – turned into an embarrassing impromptu stop over at a remote rural border crossing.
Full report on the University World News site


N IGERIA: New university for Ondo
The National Universities Commission has given approval for the establishment of a spec ialised university to be called University of Science and Technology, in Okitipupa, Ondo State. This would bring to 93 the total number of universities in N igeria and 32 state universities, reports
More on the University World News site

KOREA: Special admission for high flyers
Next year, universities will be able to choose applicants through special admission programmes after signing contracts with science high schools and gifted and talented science high schools. The number of the two types of high schools will increase to 30 from 21 by 2012. The number of students will double for gifted and talented education. The Education, Science and Technology Ministry announced the measures last week in the first gifted and talented educational forum organised by the Korea Educational Development Institute in Seoul, reports The ministry will expand these special admission programmes given the excellence of students attending math and science high schools for the gifted and talented, after they sign contracts with universities.
More on the University World News site

TRINIDAD and TOBAGO: Call for creative energy
Trinidad and Tobago President George Maxwell Richards has called for a change in university syllabuses to provide the intellectual and creative energy needed to enhance the economic performance of developing countries. He said that knowledge had become the critical factor in shaping economic life, reports the Trinidad and Tobago Express.
More on the University World News site

SLOVENIA: A new ‘Mediterranean’ university
A new university centre for Euro-Mediterranean studies will open in the Slovenian tourist town of Piran next month. Students from around the Mediterranean, including Israel, Syria and Morocco, will be able to study there and also take part of their courses in highly-regarded universities in Barcelona, Haifa, Latakia and Bir Zeit, reports the Jerusalem Post.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Government help for student loans
Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh said the Indian government was considering a proposal to provide counter-guarantee for students who apply for bank loans for higher education, report The Hindu Times and The Times of India.”We are actively considering the proposal,” Singh said at the international education fair in New Delhi organised by the Association of Commerce and Industry.
More on the University World News site

UK: Student satisfaction survey manipulated
Tougher guidelines are to be issued to warn universities against manipulating the results of a league table of student satisfaction. The Higher Education Funding Council says it will issue these for the next National Student Survey. Last week lecturers at Kingston University were revealed to have told students only to put positive comments in this official national survey, reports BBC News.
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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