University World News Global Edition
20 April 2014 Issue 0316 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Ukraine – New university reform must not betray the Maidan protests

In World Blog, new Ukrainian writer Yegor Stadny argues that the draft law on higher education reform, put before the country’s previous parliament and recently adopted, was a compromise that needs amending to ensure the transparency and democracy demanded by the Maidan protests.
In Commentary, Vangelis Tsiligiris proposes a double-dip strategy for internationalisation that would help to meet student-centred objectives of enhancing employability and value for money as well as multicultural exposure and understanding.
Shima Barakat describes research at Cambridge University on women in academia that challenges notions of success and aims to inspire change. Steve Tombs and David Whyte maintain that academics in Australia, under pressure to attract funding, are failing to challenge collusive relations between government and corporations.
In Features, Alecia D McKenzie charts the ever-changing world of education technology as debated at the recent Princeton-Fung Global Forum on "The Future of Higher Education". Wachira Kigotho outlines a study by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning that found job market demand for varied skills to be driving growth in non-university tertiary education in five countries – Azerbaijan, Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria and South Korea. Tunde Fatunde traces the development of French language studies in Nigeria, as discussed at a recent conference.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Jan Petter Myklebust

The Swedish government has done an about-turn on quality assurance in higher education, announcing that the current model is to be reviewed. Last weekend 37 rectors – all of the members of the Association of Swedish Higher Education – and Swedish National Union of Students chair Erik Arroy signed an article in Svenska Dagbladet stating: “We are fully capable of undertaking the quality assurance of our degrees and courses ourselves.”
Munyaradzi Makoni

The World Bank’s board of executive directors on 15 April approved US$150 million to fund 19 university-based centres of excellence in seven countries in West and Central Africa. The bulk of the funding will go to universities in Nigeria, which won 10 of the centres.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Three ministers have presented the Danish government’s new plans to attract highly qualified people to the country and retain international students from outside Europe after graduation, including tax perks, a fast-track employment system and simplified immigration.
Geoff Maslen

Lacklustre efforts by governments around the globe have failed to stop greenhouse gases reaching unprecedented levels. The result will be a planet that continues to warm with possible disastrous impacts on all living things, according to the latest report from the world's leading climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Ria Nurdiani

In an effort to increase the number of people with postgraduate qualifications in Indonesia, the government this month launched the Indonesia Presidential Scholarships, which are tenable at the world’s top universities.
Sergey Berzin

Professor Andrei Zubov, the leading historian and theologian at Moscow State Institute of International Relations who was fired last month following a critical media article on Russia’s actions in Ukraine, has been temporarily reinstated after the dismissal proved to be unlawful. But he will reportedly still have to leave the institution at the end of June.
Wagdy Sawahel

Algeria is building the first astronomical observatory of its kind in the Maghreb region and the Arab world. The major observatory in Tamanrasset, which is located in the desert of the Hoggar region nearly 2,000 kilometres south of the capital Algiers, will be opened in 2019.
Karen MacGregor

The United Kingdom’s 10 top-ranked universities have a combined total of more than 400,000 followers on Twitter, according to new research – but they are failing to engage with potential students and "stand out from the crowd through social media".
Gilbert Nganga

Kenya has kicked off the search for trustees to head an agency that will review tuition fees in public universities, which have remained unchanged over the past 19 years.
Wagdy Sawahel

Three years after the February 17 Revolution, some universities in Libya are moving from co-education to segregating male and female students on campus.
Munyaradzi Makoni

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, or RUFORUM – a research and training network on agriculture based in Uganda – has received US$16.2 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen agriculture in Africa.
Alecia D McKenzie

If universities aren’t careful, the future of higher education could be a nightmarish ‘MOOC world’ where there are fewer jobs for researchers and a scholar becomes a ‘rare bird’. This was the scenario painted by Gideon Rosen, an American professor of philosophy, at the second annual Princeton-Fung Global Forum.
Wachira Kigotho

Non-university technical programmes are the fastest growing forms of post-secondary education, according to UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning. Studies in five countries – Azerbaijan, Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria and South Korea – indicated that increasing job market demand for varied skills is the primary driver of the emerging trend.
Tunde Fatunde

The Nigerian state has invested heavily in French language studies in higher education since the country’s independence 64 years ago. The various strands of Francophone studies that have subsequently developed were investigated at the recent 16th Annual Conference of the University French Teachers’ Association of Nigeria.
Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education

It’s the lull between Northeastern University’s afternoon and evening classes, and adjunct instructors drift in and out of a windowless room set aside for them in Ryder Hall. Lacking offices on campus, they come here to log on to shared computers or to grab books from shelved cardboard boxes that serve as makeshift lockers.
Yegor Stadny

The draft law on higher education put to Ukraine’s previous parliament was a compromise and needs amending in line with the drive towards greater transparency and democracy promoted by the Maidan protests.
Vangelis Tsiligiris

To progress, internationalisation of higher education has to put students at its heart. This includes adapting the curriculum to take account of students’ backgrounds and allowing their voices to be heard. A double-dip strategy could meet student-centred objectives of increasing employability, and enhancing value for money and multicultural exposure and understanding.
Shima Barakat

The challenges and barriers women face in academia have been well catalogued. A new study shows how universities can embrace different ideas of what it means to be successful within a university context, and aims to inspire change.
Steve Tombs and David Whyte, The Conversation

Academic researchers should challenge collusive relationships between government and corporations that allow workers, communities and the environment to be endangered. Instead, reliance on government or business funding has failed to protect the public.

An international investigation by a large team of researchers has revealed the most comprehensive reconstruction of past climate records in the Southern Hemisphere, providing a clearer picture of Earth’s temperature history than ever seen before.

Future episodes of extreme weather will lead to mass extinctions of insects and reptiles in the next century, according to a study by Danish and Australian scientists. Cold-blooded species such as insects, spiders and skinks – collectively referred to as ‘ectotherms’ – rely on the environment to regulate body temperature and are vulnerable to environmental changes.

Astronomers have combined all the observations of supernovae ever made to determine that the strength of gravity has remained unchanged over the last nine billion years. It had been suggested that Newton’s gravitational constant, known as G, could have been slowly changing over the 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang but this has been shown not to be occurring.

Each year at its annual conference, the Australian Cooperative Research Centres Association holds a “Showcasing Early Career Researchers" session. This year 48 researchers – two years out from submitting their PhD to five years after submitting – braved the cameras and shot a 30-second video explaining their research topic, what they have done and what it means.
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Egyptian riot police have attacked supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, reports Al Bawaba.

Universities are resorting to "extreme measures" to make sure they do not fall foul of immigration compliance requirements, according to a House of Lords report. Some of these measures, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education, include fingerprinting international students before lectures.

Professor Mohammed S Dajani took 27 Palestinian students to visit Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland a few weeks ago as part of a project designed to teach empathy and tolerance. On his return, reports William Booth for The Washington Post, his university disowned the trip, fellow Palestinians branded him a traitor and friends advised a vacation abroad.

An almost countless number of ideas for revamping accreditation have pinballed around Washington in recent years, as higher education's system of peer-reviewed institutional accountability has been bashed for lax oversight of poor-performing institutions and for overregulation and quashing innovation, reports Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed.

Administrators from California’s two public university systems have called for the state to provide student loans to some immigrants in the country illegally, to cover expenses not met with state scholarships, reports Patrick McGreevy for the Los Angeles Times.

Reports of university data breaches are becoming almost commonplace, writes Rick Dakin for Last month the University of Maryland reported that its system had been hacked for the second time in four weeks. Indiana University’s server was breached in February, potentially exposing personal information of 146,000 students and recent graduates.

New figures show that university leavers have seen starting salaries plummet over the past five years, reports Jack Grove for Times Higher Education. Research by the Complete University Guide says graduate starting salaries in professional posts fell by 11% in real terms between 2007 and 2012.

In a high-ceilinged classroom, eight students lug heavy textbooks to their desks and prepare for their lesson: proteins, reports Jon Marcus for Hechinger Report. It’s a small group for a bachelor degree-level course in biology. At four-year universities, classes like this are often taught in large lecture halls, with hundreds of students.

Pay is falling, except for those at the top, and staff tensions at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies are a portent of what the whole sector can expect, reports Richard Seymour for the Guardian. This is the bizarre state of higher education: universities are running healthy budget surpluses, and yet for four years pay has been falling. The University and College Union estimates that staff pay has dropped by between 13% and 15%.

Fewer than one in five senior management posts in Irish public universities is held by women because they lack ambition and political skills, and their lifestyles are "unhelpful", a study has found, reports Catherine Shanahan for the Irish Examiner.

Hundreds of millions of dollars being pumped into Asian universities are one reason Australasian institutions have dropped in international rankings, a new analysis says, reports Nicholas Jones for the New Zealand Herald.

The major bragging source of Ethiopia’s ruling party over the past few years has been its ‘achievements’ in the education sector, particularly in university education, reports Alem Mamo for IndepthAfrica. What is not included is the obliteration of quality and depth of teaching and learning in these so-called ‘universities’.

An independent report released recently says the University of Missouri failed to follow parts of the federal law that governs s exual harassment on campus when handling the case of a former swimmer's suicide, reports Alan Zagier for the Huffington Post.
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